Pruning Meyer Lemon

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I have a nice varigated Meyer Lemon tree. It wintered indoors and has not even produced a flower since about Dec. I re-potted it and moved out doors about two weeks ago. Should I prune the tree? If so any suggestions as too method?

thanks, George in San Antonio

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

Generally, citrus do not need pruning. Removal of rubbing branches helps avoid damage. Pruning can help straighten a tree that is growing lopsided. Sometimes, water shoots will sprout and those have to be removed.

How long has it been since you fertilized? That could explain lack of flowers. I have quite a number of citrus trees, including a Meyer lemon, (I suffer from zone denial) which I overwintered in a greenhouse. They began blooming in early February. One advantage of a Meyer lemon is that if it's happy, it may bloom and fruit more than once. When I lived in San Jose, CA, my Meyer lemon there bloomed so often it had fruit of all sizes. Where did you buy the varigated variety? I want one. I wanna, I wanna.

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I found it at a local Nursery. It is beautiful with yellow and two different shades of green on every leaf. If you are going to the get together in Kerrville I will be bringing seeds...that is if I can get it to grow some lemons before then. I may just bring the Lemons (they are also variegated)
and let folks choose the manner they extract and prepare the seeds. Anyway I think you are correct and will get some fertilizer to the plant ASAP.

Thanks, George in San Antonio

Oakland, CA(Zone 9b)

The only variegated lemons I've heard of are variants of Eureka, but apparently there is indeed a variegated Meyer. Here is a thread I pulled up on the Web from 2003 discussing it:

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

I need to get a picture up for you guys.

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

I went to the acornsprings link. They recommend contacting Hines Horticulture. I hit a dead end. All search for Hines Horticulture seems to be business related stocks, bonds, etc. Additionally, they seem to be headquarted in Florida and citrus from Florida can't be shipped to Texas. I wonder if there is another source?

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

Thanks Bettydee, I love a google challenge! Try here: and let me know what you get. Put in your state and get indep HH dealers... I never heard of them, but since I looked them up for you, found one near me. ~ Suzi :)

Southern, United States

I saw a verigated meyer lemon at Kmart this weekend and at Walmart a couple of weeks ago. They both looked pretty healthy and had tons of blooms.

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

Fran, Suzi,
See enclosed link for information on what is being sold as Variegated Meyer lemon. I'll wager that the plants you saw were upright and rather open. That's a Variegated Eureka Lemon.

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

Any luck w/ the indep HH dealer? About only cold hardy citrus I could find was the flying dragon trifoliate. If/when I get a better job and more money, then I will either put on a big deck with fr doors in back, or put greenhouse on side so could put a citrus in a pot in/out. Wouldn't want to chance it otherwise.
Suzi :)

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)


I found 3 independent HH dealers in Austin, about 65 miles away. Hines produces regular sized citrus trees, though. Regular sized trees can get up to 35 feet tall. Dwarf citrus will stay smaller and therefor longer in a pot, but given a good sized pot, may grow as high as 8 feet. The Flying Dragon Trifoliate tree can be grown as an ornamental, but it's normally used as dwarfing rootstock and to impart some cold hardiness to the grafted scion. Cold hardiness for short periods of time. The small fruit is very sour.

Here in zone 8b, I live beyond the ideal citrus growing climates because winter lows are typically in the mid to low teens. Satsuma mandarins, kumquats and maybe Meyer lemons may be planted in the ground here, given a protective microclime. Kumquats are able to withstand temperatures to below 20F for short periods. Satsumas down to about 24F. Meyer Lemon does to the low 20s, too. In your area, any kind of citrus would have to be overwintered indoors.

Texas has only one dwarf citrus tree producer. I purchased several dwarf trees from Acorn Springs Farms about 1-1/2 months ago. I bought the potted ones because it was a little late to purchase bare rooted ones. Texas has strict quarantines against the importation of citrus from other states, but I doubt that Pennsylvania does. You can purchase your tree anywhere. Trifoliate is usually not used in Texas because it is very sensative to alkaline soil and most soils in Texas are alkaline. If grown in potting soil in a pot, that shouldn't be a problem for you.

When I lived in California, I purchased my dwarf trees from Four Winds Nursery. There a number of other dwarf citrus tree nurseries in California. You would find a greater selection from nurseries. I was told by an expert from the TAMU Citrus Center, that Florida is not a good place to buy citrus because it's having virus problems.

Would you be able to overwinter a pot indoors? A Meyer Lemon tree would be a great choice. It is usually smaller than other citrus so it is a great container plant. It can be overwintered indoors and if given plenty of light, remain happy while indoors. A kumquat would be another great choice. Both of these citrus have small fruit, but the trees fair better indoors.

This message was edited May 24, 2005 8:49 PM

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)


I'm thinking I need deck +/or the greenhouse first. Wouldn't want to get the potted citrus outside in spring, then be unable to get it back into the house, if (when!) my back should give out again.

How many yrs could I expect it to stay small enough to lift/carry? Girls could prob carry for couple yrs, till too big. 19 y/o not here forever, and the almost 8, would be in transition and may not be able to do it by herself.

I know that the FDT is sour, but I figured some citrus is better than none, even I have to make juice out of it and sweeten it. Besides, I got both of them cheap,
think was either $6 or $8 total. Thought they would be good in the front yard. Their thorns will look good w/the rose thorns, LOL.

You keep suggesting I get one of those Meyer Lemon (or another) and I'll prob have one by this time next year!! May have to beg someone to come over and bring it in for me though! Might have to buy supplemental lighting for it too. We don't get a lot of light due to the porch on the front.

I thought about putting it upstairs. Would get light... but, would I ever be able to get it in and out?!

~ Suzi :)

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)


I didn't realize you had already bought the trifolitate orange trees. I thought that as long as you were going to have a potted citrus tree, it might be great if you had one that had more uses than a trifoliate. There is a reason I kept on about the Meyer Lemon.

First, it is naturally smaller than other citrus. Grafted onto a Flying Dragon Trifoliate rootstock, its size is further reduced by about 75%making it a great container plant.

Second, although not a true lemon, it tastes like one, but with a more completx flavor. It can be used in any recipe that calls for lemons.

Third, it's one of the most cold hardy citrus.

Four, it's shape is compact and produces lots of fruit.

A dwarf 'Improved' Meyer Lemon, not the standard 'Improved' Meyer Lemon, can remain in the same pot up to 5+ years. Rootpruning and repotting (the same pot) every other year, with some top pruning when you do, should keep the tree happy for quite a while.

I bought a dolly, one with a deep platform to move my pots.After I bought my dolly, I saw one that is specially designed to travel up and down stairs. I'd have to look for it again.

Is Moon Twp, PA any where near the same latitude as Cincinnati? I lived there for 4 years. Some winters would get down to 5F, but counting the wind chill factor, it was closer to -25F. No sane citrus tree would volunteer to live there in the winter, If your winter temperatures are consistantly under 32F, the fruit will be lost most likely before it matures. Temperatures under the high teens for longer than a few hours, the whole tree is lost. You could try to build each tree a temporary greenhouse and provide a heat source for each. Plastic is not that great an insulator so every with a heater, survival is not guaranteed. That is why container growing citrus is recommended for areas lower than 9a. Zone 8a and Zone 8b might be able to plant Satsuma mandarin, Kumquat and Meyer lemon in the ground provided they are given protection and given some warmth.

I found some information for trifoliate orange,

If you don't already know, ask you local county agent what the average lows are in your area, Ask him under what curcomstances can a citrus survive there.

I think that even the triffoliate has to be grown in a pot and overwintered in a warn place, Verify it with you extension agent.

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)


I didn't buy the "trifolitate orange trees." They are only hardy to 0* and grow to 10'. I got the "Flying Dragon Trifoliate," which is a contorted form of trifoliate orange. FDT only get about 6'; can make citrus-aid w/fruit by adding sweetener and water; can also be made into a prize-winning bonsai.

According to the nursery I purchased these at, both FDT and TO can be grown outside in Zone 6. I remember FDT is hardier, but couldn't find specific info tonight as to how hardy. I did plant them in the front, where they won't get hit directly with the cold north winds.

Pleased to report that they both made it through winter with flying colors! Didn't even lose the leaves till Jan, which was very surprising to me, esp considering the snow and all.

Thought about possibly putting them in pots inside, but I bought outside kind so wouldn't have to. They were cheap/on sale or I prob wouldnt have bought them. Took the chance they would make it and was good to my zone, like catalog said.

If they do die, then I will have to get a great tasting one that will have to go in and out. Plan to wait; build up money supply first. Then can put on a back deck or possibly a side entrance directly into living room, with French or patio doors, for direct access in and out w/dolly.

I didn't want to buy anything that would grow too big to take in/out till I have easy access because I know myself. I am too stubborn and indep. I'd ask DD (19) to move it; then do it myself if she didn't do it right away. Waiting patiently is not in my vocabulary. Or worse yet, DD moves out before little one is able. I wouldnt ask someone else to come over and move it. And I have had too many back probs to do that to myself on purpose!

My 6b is not as warm as down south; but I am where I am. I had to take what I could and hope that it would give me at least some of what I wanted.

Yes, after hearing everyone extol the virtues of the dwarf 'Improved' Meyer Lemon, and lots of other things, I want one of everything! If I lived way down south, I would have a yard full of citrus and be moaning because I couldn't have cherries, nectarines, lilacs, etc...

Of course, up here I am mad at the deer that keep munching on my cherries and nectarine!! LOL Later ~ Suzi :)

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

You're right about zone regret. I went through that when I moved to central Texas. I went from winter temperatures mostly in the low 40's, high 30's with an occasional dip down to 30F for a few hours and between 900 - 1000 chill hours to a place with lows in the loo teens and around 650 chill hours.

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

Where is La Grange? I lived in Ft. Hood. I know, hated that couldn't have lilacs... ~ Suzi :)

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

La Grange is about 60 miles southeast of Austin off Highway 71 on the way to Houston. Our ranch is 17 miles slightly northwest of La Grange. The list of plants I can't grow any more is long. If the irratic winter weather (80F one day, in the teens the next) doesn't kill them, the hellish summer heat will.

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

Wow! Not much fun for the garden! Ex went to work on the motorcycle one day in short sleeves. He had duty that night, came home the next morning in over a foot of snow!! LOL Phone had kept coming unplugge. No, I did not unplug the phone on him, but he sure bought a new one ASAP!! I was there waiting for him to call and he never did... ha ha ha

Had cherry, nectarine, pear, apple and peach in half-whiskey barrels there and complained about no lilacs! Cherry proved not able to survive even though they said to zone 8. At least the roses did great! A little lesson to try to teach me to appreciate what I do have and can grow! Sure way to get transferred was to get lots of plants!! ~ Suzi :)

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

Good news and bad news... I remembered that you said w/root pruning and replanting it could stay in the pot for 5+ years. I was getting rooting hormone and there was this citrus that sat there and BEGGED me to take it home! It has 4 lemons on it, 3 are big, 1 is small and just starting. Had 5, but 1 broke off, Boo hoo!

It's in a one gallon pot ($15). Since this is the "Meyer Lemon," how long can it stay in ea pot? What kind of potting soil should I get for it? Maybe I will be in trouble when I have to get it in and out... +/or have to repot it.

All my determination to wait just melted... Hate to admit it, but I hurt my back (again!) 2 weeks ago. Still hurts too, guess I have to call my excellent, friendly chiropractor... I got a cart, just in case, but the lemon was light. Light enough for my 7 y/o to carry now, I was thinking! Actually, she is almost 8, 54" and 85#.

They had a "Variegated Pink Lemonade" one too. Is that the one you were saying might be Eureka? I remember reading that the Pink Variagated were a "bit fussy in a pot over the winter." Would those be the same ones too? I was tempted... still am. Was in a 3 gal pot for $25. My favorite drink is pink lemonade with lemonade a close second!

Think they were upright, not sure... If you send me back to check, it might have to come home with me too. They had a key lime too... Guess I should feel good that I only got one, LOL! Oh, my poor back (in the hopefully, very distant future!) Yes, I am willing to admit that there is a slight possibility that I am addicted... LOL ~ Suzi :)

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

It's amazing, plants call out to me too. This year, I've heard and heeded the pleas from a Varigated Eureka (Pink) Lemon, a Meiwa Kumquat, and 2 different Satsuma mandarin oranges. My husband says he can't hear them.

The Eureka lemon is an upright grower. It also has a more open appearance and growing habits. All my experience has been with dwarf varieties because of the ultimate size that standard citrus trees reach. In California, I had a dwarf Variegated Eureka (Pink) Lemon in a 24" pot, but I started out with a 5 gallon potted plant. It overwintered outside so I didn't worry about the pot size and I wanted to avoid having it pot it on within a few years. I never thought it was a fussy pot plant. The leaves are larger than on the Meyer lemon and because of that need a bit more water than the Meyer. They do get taller faster and are a much bigger tree than the Meyer. So you should consider that. The "Pink" is a faint color, but compared to a regular store Eureka lemon, it is slightly pink. The flavor is the same. Having given you all the negatives, it is one of my favorites. I like variegated plants and the variegation on the Eureka lemon is outstanding. The fruit has vertical stripes of cream or light green and a darker green. So the whole plant looks delightful with its variegated leaves and striped fruit. I had to leave my citrus behind when I moved so I had to start anew 4 years ago.

Carefully remove the Meyer lemon from its 3 gal. pot and check the rootball. If the rootball stays intact and has completely filled the pot, it's time to put it in a new pot. Choose a pot that has a diameter 4" larger than the one it's in. This gives you 2" all the way around for root growth. The Meyer should be happy in that pot for 2 or 3 years. According to some citrus books I have the "ideal" pot is a 24" pot. In a pot that size the Meyer could still be "happy" seven years later. At that point, you can root prune and renew some of the soil (top pruning as well), but remember I'm speaking of a dwarf tree. Standard sized trees will get bigger much sooner. The Eureka lemon would have to be repotted a year or two sooner.

The soil would have to be a fast draining potting soil mix. One book suggests adding water retaining polymer beads to the mix so you don't have to water as often. About a month before the trees have to be taken indoors, they should be moved to an area where they get less light. Gradual acclimation to the lower indoor light levels helps avoid most of the leaf drop due to shock.

The Mexican (Key) Lime is very sensitive to cold. It's twiggy with lots of long thorns. The Bearss (Tahitian or Persian) lime is more compact, has few thorns and is slightly more cold hardy. Welcome, citrus addict.

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)


I'll be going over there tomorrow to look for fencing. I KNOW if they still have the pink lemonade, I will be tempted. (They had 2, what are the chances?) Hopefully the price will help disuade me.

I was talking to her on the way home... Introduced herself as BettyDee! Isn't that an amazing coincidence, you both have the same name, LOL She said I should have brought her cousin Pink, too...

Just checked the pot, don't see any roots down the side, but didn't take it all the way out, to check the bottom. That will have to wait till I have more strength in my rt hand. Thanks so much for all the helpful info! ~ Suzi :)

St. Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Hey ladies!! I am a new citrus addict and was just wondering how your trees were doing. I received an Improved Meyer Lemon for Mother's Day (standard size, I believe). After that one came I just HAD to have a Key Lime tree. Then, while placing a gift order for my mother, I just HAD to have a Ponderosa lemon cutting from the 100+ year old Logee's tree. Then, wanting to round out my collection, I just HAD to have a variegated pink lemon tree (dwarf variety). Mind you, this has all been in one summer. We just moved out of an apartment and into a home so I have really been trying to make up for lost gardening time. I swore to my fiance that the pink lemon would be the last one. While shopping for a pot for the pink at my local greenhouse, there sat a Bearss Lime, all by his lonesome. And he was on sale for $8. After trying to stay true to my word, I left without him. Once I got home I couldn't stop thinking about him, so I went back for him an hour later. I am officially done for the season (especially since they all have to come into my living room this winter!!) Anyway, just wanted to share in the citrus addiction with you ladies. :)

Let me know how yours are doing since this is such an old post. Thanks!!

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

LOL That kind of addiction sounds very familiar. I experience it from time to time.

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