How big does a dwarf meyer lemon tree get

Everything You Need to Know About Meyer Lemon Trees

If you haven’t heard of a Meyer lemon before, you’re missing out on this farmers market favorite. Meyer lemons are a thin-skinned hybrid fruit, part lemon and part mandarin orange, making them much sweeter than the kind of lemon you’d see at a grocery store.

You can’t find Meyer lemons on your grocery run, since they aren’t grown commercially. If you want to get a taste of these sweet-tart fruits, you need to consider getting your very own Meyer lemon tree.

Meyer Lemon Trees at a Glance

Meyer lemon trees can yield fruit in just two years after planting them. Whether you choose to place one in your lawn or in your patio, your Meyer lemon tree can be both ornamental and a source of citrus sweetness.

  • Cross between lemons and mandarin oranges
  • Chefs use the sweet-tart skins
  • Self-pollinating
  • Can bear fruit in as little as two years
  • Will fruit indoors and outdoors
  • Heavy harvest in winter
  • Require consistent misting

History of the Meyer Lemon Tree

The first Meyer lemon trees were introduced from China in 1908. Unfortunately, this initial variety was very susceptible to disease, especially a fast-spreading virus that threatened the citrus industry in California in the 1960s by infecting nearby healthy citrus trees.

In 1975, the University of California introduced an all-new variety, called the “Improved Meyer lemon tree.” That’s the one we know and grow today. It’s more disease-resistant, and insect-resistant.

Appearance of Meyer Lemon Trees

Standard Meyer lemon trees grow to be 6-10 feet tall, while the dwarf variety grow to be 5-7 feet. If you grow your Meyer lemon tree in a garden pot, it will grow according to the size of the pot and be smaller.

Meyer lemon trees have glossy, dark green leaves and fragrant white blossoms that are purple at the base. When they’re ripe, the skins of Meyer lemons will take on the color of an egg yolk—yellow with a faint orange tinge. Meyer lemon skins are fragrant and a popular ingredient among chefs.

Appearance Details & Characteristics

AppearanceGlossy green leaves, white blossoms, yellow-orange fruits
Height6-10 feet tall, with dwarf variety of 5-7 feet tall
Hardiness Zones8-11
Type of treeFruit
Sunlight requirements8-12 hours of direct sunlight per day
Soil composition5. 5-6.5 pH level
LifespanUp to 50 years

Growing Meyer Lemon Trees

Here’s what you need to know before you decide to grow your own Meyer lemon tree.

Ideal Hardiness Zones

Meyer lemon trees flourish in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11, which are regions on the southern coastal margins and deep southern half of the US. Hardiness Zones are the standards gardeners use to determine the best growing regions for their plants and crops.

Planting Meyer Lemon Trees

These are the steps to follow to plant your Meyer lemon tree in a pot.

  • Select a sturdy container with drainage holes that is 1-2 sizes larger than the container the tree arrived in.
  • Place a 2-inch layer of stone at the bottom of the pot.
  • Create a potting mixture with peat moss, potting soil, and either vermiculite or perlite in the pot.
  • Slide the tree out of the container.
  • Cut off dry roots and fluff matted roots.
  • Place the tree in the center of the pot.
  • Place the potting mixture in the pot so that the crown of the roots rest just above the line of the soil.
  • Add water slowly.
  • Place the tree by a south-facing window.

Soil Requirements

The trees require soil with good drainage and do well in loamy and sandy loam soils. The soil can range between 5.5 and 6.5 pH. You can amend your soil to reach the desired pH level, either adding sulfur to increase soil acidity or lime to lower overly acidic soil.

Sunlight Needed

Meyer lemon trees thrive in full sunlight, requiring 8-12 hours of direct sunlight per day, preferably from the southwest, whether indoors or outdoors. If this isn’t possible inside, consider investing in grow lights.

Watering a Meyer Lemon Tree

Citrus trees need soil that is moist but not wet to thrive, especially if they are grown in pots. The best method is to water deeply but infrequently. Water when the upper two inches of the soil is dry. You can test this by pressing your finger into the soil down to your second knuckle and seeing if the soil feels dry or moist.

Citrus leaves crave humidity. If you have an indoor Meyer lemon tree, mist it daily. It’s also a good idea to place rocks and water in the saucer beneath your garden pot, so that humidity will rise up.

Optimal Temperature

Meyer lemon trees thrive between roughly 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you should bring your Meyer lemon tree indoors until it heats up again.

Pollination Tips

One major benefit of Meyer lemon trees is that they are self-fertile. You only need one of these self-pollinating trees to get fruit. Planting several will increase your overall harvest, but isn’t necessary.

Meyer lemon trees start bearing fruit at different times, depending on how they were grown. Trees grown from grafted rootstock can start bearing fruit in as soon as two years, while seed-grown trees, which tend to be less healthy in general, start bearing fruit at three to seven years old.

Meyer lemon trees will fruit either indoors or outdoors once or twice a year, with especially abundant harvests in fall and winter.

If your Meyer lemon tree is located outdoors, pollination should take care of itself. But if you have an indoor Meyer lemon tree—or an outdoor one that you bring inside during cold temperatures—you can assist with pollination. Take a paintbrush or cotton swab and ease it into the center of a Meyer lemon blossom and swirl it, collecting the pollen. Then, repeat the process with every other blossom on the tree.

Pruning a Meyer Lemon Tree

You should prune your Meyer lemon tree periodically to keep it in its best health, maintain its structure and shape, and ensure that its branches can support fruit. Cut back the branches that do not produce fruit—called long leads—as they grow. The side branches will spread into that space and strengthen so that they can bear the weight of the fruit. Cut any branches that are growing toward the trunk to increase airflow between the branches.

Pruning your Meyer lemon tree before its fruit develops—cutting off every bud in a cluster except for one—can help stimulate the growth of larger lemons.

Fertilizing a Meyer Lemon Tree

Your Meyer lemon tree can benefit from monthly fertilizations from April through September. Select a slow-release nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Some are created specifically for citrus trees. You can also use organic emulsions or kelp.

Yellowing leaves can be a sign you need to fertilize your Meyer lemon tree.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a Meyer lemon tree to bear fruit?

The amount of time it takes depends on how the tree was grown. A grafted tree can bear fruit in as little as two years, while seed-grown Meyer lemon trees can take anywhere from three to seven years to produce fruit.

How do you take care of a Meyer lemon tree?

Caring for a Meyer lemon tree involves watering the soil deeply but infrequently and misting its leaves, promoting good soil drainage, allowing your tree to get at least 8 hours of direct sunlight, and more.

How big do Meyer lemon trees get?

Standard Meyer lemon trees grow to be 6-10 feet tall, while the dwarf variety grow to be 5-7 feet tall.

Are coffee grounds good for Meyer lemon trees?

It depends on the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. The ideal soil pH for your Meyer lemon tree is between 5.5 and 6.5 pH. Coffee grounds can slightly increase the acidity of your soil but likely not enough to make a big difference. Ammonium sulfate would be a better choice to aid in soil acidity while also adding nitrogen. A fertilizer specifically formulated for citrus trees would be the best option to create the right soil conditions for your tree.

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How Tall Do Meyers Lemon Trees Get? | Home Guides

By SF Gate Contributor Updated October 20, 2020

A 'Meyer' lemon tree (Citrus x meyeri), also called Meyer's lemon because of the man who introduced it to the trade, brings homegrown citrus within the reach either outdoors or indoors. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, 'Meyer' lemon trees are suited for the cooler summers of coastal gardens. Glossy-leaved 'Improved Meyer' lemons are disease-resistant, bearing the heaviest fruit crops between December and April and adding the distinct perfume of citrus blossoms to the air for most of the year. While self-rooted trees need ground space for full growth, the compact size of 'Improved Meyer' lemon trees grafted on dwarf rootstock make them suitable for containers.


When growing 'Improved Meyer,' the full grown lemon tree may reach 15 feet tall under ideal conditions. A 'Dwarf Meyer' or 'Dwarf Improved Meyer' in a container will grow 6 to 8 feet tall.

'Meyer' Lemon Self-Rooted Growth

The original 'Meyer' lemon is thought to be a cross between true lemon (Citrus limon) and an unknown variety of mandarin ( Citrus reticulata) or sweet orange ( Citrus sinensis), according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. At the grocery store, garden center or online, you may see trees labeled or referred to as 'Meyer' lemons. In reality, only the virus-free 'Improved Meyer' lemon trees have been available since the mid-1970s. 'Meyer' and 'Improved Meyer' are used interchangeably when referring to the current cultivar and its fruits.

An 'Improved Meyer' lemon tree grown on its natural roots can reach between 10 and 15 feet tall, while true lemon trees can grow as tall as 20 feet. A shorter tree does not mean fewer or smaller fruits. 'Improved Meyer' lemon fruits have a diameter of approximately 3 inches, close in size to the fruit of true lemon trees.

Grafted 'Dwarf Meyer' Lemon Tree

Grafted on rough lemon or sweet orange rootstock, the 'Dwarf Meyer' or 'Dwarf Improved Meyer' lemon tree grows to between 6 and 10 feet tall. The practice of grafting the original 'Meyer' lemon tree to sour orange stock was discontinued when it was determined that the cultivar was a symptomless transmitter of sour orange-borne virulent tristeza virus. Today, only the 'Improved Meyer' cultivar is used when grafting to dwarfing rootstocks.

When growing lemon trees in pots, indoors or out, Master Gardener Steve Albert recommends using a 10- to 15-gallon container. In general, use a pot that is at least 2 feet in diameter for a new 30- to 36-inch tree. Repot the tree every two years, or when it outgrows its container. Mature container-grown plants may reach only 6 to 8 feet tall.

'Improved Meyer' Lemon Light Needs

'Improved Meyer' lemons need eight to 12 hours of direct sun per day. Outdoor trees can tolerate partial shade but grow best in full sun. If you're growing 'Improved Meyer' lemons indoors, supplement the necessary hours of light with a grow light or fluorescent light fixture suspended above the tree. Warm temperatures, between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, are also helpful in encouraging the tree to produce its tart-sweet fruits.

'Improved Meyer' Care

In the ground or in pots, 'Improved Meyer' lemons favor light, pH-neutral well-drained soil and do poorly in heavy, wet soils. Plant the tree with the root crown very slightly above the soil, advises Oregon State University Extension. At the same time, water needs are moderately high and outdoor 'Improved Meyer' lemons need at least 40 inches of rain per year. Indoor trees should be watered regularly, allowing the soil to become barely moist between waterings. You can also provide additional humidity in the form of water-filled gravel trays if you're growing it inside.

Regular fertilizing, especially for container-grown trees, helps the trees reach full height. Use a slow-release, balanced fertilizer or one designed especially for citrus consistently throughout the major fruit-bearing season. If there's little sun or light in winter, feed more sparingly.

Water sprout branches and spindly overgrowth divert plant energy from growth and fruit-bearing. In spring, prune long, weak, and vertically growing branches and root sprouts to foster healthy productive new growth. Be sure to sterilize your cutting tools by immersing in rubbing alcohol or Lysol for at least five minutes before trimming or pruning your tree.


  • Oregon State University Extension: Meyer Lemons Can Be Grown in PNW If Protected From Winter
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Citrus x meyeri
  • Harvest to Table: Lemons for Backyard Gardens

Growing a lemon tree at home. Photo — Botanichka

The lemon tree is a perennial plant that loves warmth and sufficient moisture. Under natural conditions, it grows in a subtropical climate and reaches a height of three meters (dwarf varieties) to eight. Due to its unpretentiousness and love of warmth, a lemon tree can be grown in an ordinary city apartment or house.

Lemon tree sprouts. © Megs

Home-grown lemon trees produce edible fruit all year round if cared for. True, such trees begin to bear fruit at the age of 7-10 years from the moment of planting. Planting can be done in two ways: from a simple lemon seed bought at any store, or from cuttings and seedlings. Lemon trees grown from seeds grow more actively, they are healthier and more unpretentious than those grown from seedlings or cuttings, but the latter begin to bear fruit much faster.

To grow a lemon tree from seed, it is necessary to choose neat, ripe and well-formed lemons in the store, without signs of spoilage. Seeds are extracted from them, the best specimens of which are used for planting. It must be done immediately after extracting the seeds from lemons.

Seeds are planted in small pots or boxes five centimeters apart. Suitable for planting soil, mixed from peat and flower soil in equal proportions. At the bottom of the pots, drainage from expanded clay or small stones must be present. Seeds are planted to a depth of 1 centimeter.

Lemon tree. © Pam

The soil should not be allowed to dry out, but it should not be overfilled with water either. Shoots of a lemon tree will appear within a couple of weeks after planting. Among the sprouts that appear, you need to choose only the strongest and grow them until several true leaves appear. Growing is done by covering the lemon sprouts with a jar and placing them in a bright place. In this case, direct sunlight should be avoided. Once a day, the jar rises briefly so that the plant gains access to fresh air.

When the leaves appear, the strongest sprouts of the lemon tree are transplanted into separate small pots with soil from flower soil and humus. A layer of drainage is laid out at the bottom of the pot. Lemon sprouts should be in this pot until they reach a height of about twenty centimeters, after which they are transplanted into larger containers. Growing lemons need to be watered twice a week. Soil moisture should be balanced: without drying out or waterlogging.

Lemon tree sprout is ready for transplanting. © Megs

To grow a lemon from cuttings, you need to take a branch that is five millimeters thick and about ten centimeters long. The cut stalk is placed in water for several days, after which the twig should be planted in a small pot or box.

The soil for rooting such a seedling should consist of sand, flower soil and humus, which are taken in equal proportions. The branch is buried in the ground to a depth of about three centimeters. The soil is well moistened (without flooding), and the plant itself is sprayed daily with water from a spray bottle. After a month and a half, the plant that has taken root can be transplanted into a pot.

Meyer lemon sapling. © Josh Puetz

For a permanent location in which to keep a pot of lemon trees, you need to choose a bright room where the grown plant would have access to direct sunlight. The lemon tree does not like moving around the house, so it is better to immediately find a suitable place for it, where the plant will be all the time. It is only allowed to slightly turn different sides of the plant towards the light to form a uniform crown. Yes, and this must be done carefully, gradually turning the lemon tree at a small angle.

Every year, the lemon should be transplanted into a slightly larger container, carefully moving the roots and the old earth ball into a new pot. After that, new soil is poured into the free space in the pot. When the size of the pots used to transplant the lemon tree reaches 10 liters, you can limit yourself to updating the topsoil and regular top dressing. Also, once a week, you need to spray the lemon from the sprayer. During the heating season, this should be done daily.

Lemon tree sapling. © Maja Dumat

To form a beautiful dense crown, the upper shoots of the lemon tree must be pinched off. Thanks to this, the plant will produce side branches, thereby ensuring density.

When the plant begins to bloom, it should be pollinated with a cotton swab or brush, with which the pollen is gently transferred from the anther to the sticky stamen. Further, active fruit setting will begin. To avoid depleting the tree with too many ripening fruits, some of them are best removed when the ovary is abundant.

Meyer Lemon

Meyer Lemon is one of the most common varieties of indoor lemons. This variety combines small size, easy care and excellent yield. It is for these qualities that he gained his popularity. But any experienced and novice citrus grower should know not only how and where to buy Meyer Lemon , but also how to care for it. In this article, we will talk about the proper care of this citrus, as well as its origin and basic properties.


Meyer's Lemon (Latin name Cítrus × méyerii) is a hybrid citrus species that was created by crossing lemon and orange in natural conditions, combining their properties. There are still disputes about its origin, but the most common version is that this lemon comes from China. Therefore, it is sometimes called the Chinese lemon. There it grows in natural conditions, reaching a height of 8 meters. Also, this lemon is very popular among the Chinese as an indoor ornamental plant.

The Meyer lemon was introduced to the USA in 1908 by Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the US Department of Agriculture. It is in honor of him that this variety got its name. It was actively studied in laboratories, but gained popularity as a food product and home ornamental plant only in the 90s of the last century. Gradually, the Meyer lemon from the USA spread to Europe, and then to Russia, and now we can see it in our apartments.

General characteristics

Meyer's lemon is a small tree 1.5-2 meters high. It has dark green leaves, they are shiny and oval. Plants of this variety differ from their counterparts in high productivity and the ability to grow in a variety of climatic conditions. This variety has a moderate growth rate, it is early flowering. Caring for this lemon is simple, even a novice citrus grower can handle it.

Flowering and fruiting

Meyer lemon is very productive. Plants can bear fruit all year round. Flowers on it can form not only on adult shoots, but also on young branches. These citrus fruits are characterized by abundant flowering. But, despite the beauty of the flowering of the plant, some of the flowers should be removed, as the plant spends too many resources on flowering. This negatively affects the general condition of the plant, contributes to its depletion, and subsequently the quality of the fruits suffers and their quantity decreases.

Meyera's flowers are small, white with a purple base and have a very pleasant smell. They are collected in small cluster-shaped inflorescences.

The first fruiting usually begins at the age of three years. The fruits of the Meyer variety are round and small, their weight ranges from 70 to 150 grams. The zest is dark yellow, turning a little orange over time. They have a thin and smooth skin. The flesh of the lemon is dark yellow, it tastes sweeter and not as sour as other lemons, a bit like an orange. There are not very many seeds in these lemons, up to 10 per fruit.

But the fruits of the variety do not tolerate transportation well and quickly deteriorate, which is why this variety is not of great commercial interest. And, accordingly, buy Meyer lemon , as a fruit you will not succeed in any store.

Care instructions

The Meyer variety is high yielding and easy to care for.


Meyer is a light-loving plant, so good lighting is very important for this lemon. The best solution is to provide the lemon with 12 hours of daylight throughout the year, otherwise the plant may throw off all the leaves due to lack of lighting.

Lemon should be grown in bright diffused light. In summer, you can take the pot with the plant to the loggia or balcony. In winter, the lemon needs additional lighting, you can provide it with the help of fitolamps. It is recommended to place the plant on a window on the west or east side. Also avoid prolonged exposure of the lemon tree to direct sunlight.

Temperature conditions

Sudden temperature changes and drafts have a very negative effect on this variety of lemon, so you need to protect your lemon from this. It is not recommended to take it out to an unglazed balcony when it is cool outside. In summer, you need to protect the lemon tree from being in direct sunlight for a long time to prevent the plant from overheating.

In winter, it is worth keeping the lemon away from radiators and open windows to avoid the negative effects of overheating and drafts.
The most optimal temperature for growing Meyer lemon is 20 C.

Watering and air humidity

Meyer lemon loves humid air, so the humidity in the room where it is kept must be maintained at a level of at least 70%. It is especially important to pay attention to humidity in winter. To maintain humidity, use a humidifier or water containers.

In summer, the lemon tree requires fairly frequent watering. Watering is carried out by the root and foliar method: at the same time, the soil in the pot is watered and lemon leaves are sprayed from the spray gun. For watering and spraying use settled water at room temperature.

The soil of the lemon should be slightly moist at all times, drying out can adversely affect its health. In the autumn-winter period, the number of irrigations is reduced.

Top dressing

Lemon needs top dressing during its growth. To do this, you need to feed the plant with mineral complex fertilizers twice a month.
To achieve higher yields, fertilizers must be applied throughout the growing season. In autumn, feeding stops.


An important aspect of care for Meyer Lemon is transplanting. Young trees under the age of 5 years should be replanted annually. Adult trees can be transplanted less often - once every 2-3 years.

The transplant pot is best chosen from clay. The size of the new pot is selected depending on the size of the roots of the tree. Do not plant a small plant in a pot that is too big for it.

As for the selection of the substrate for planting, it is best to make a mixture of humus, leafy and soddy soil in equal proportions. You can also add a handful of sand to this mixture. Or you can buy special soil for planting citrus fruits in the agro-shop. Keep an eye on the acidity of the soil, a neutral pH is optimal.


Every spring, preventive pruning of lemons is carried out: dry, dead, diseased branches are removed, as well as shoots that bore fruit last season.
You also need to form the crown of a lemon tree, you can read about how to do it correctly in one of the previous articles.

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