How tall does a meyer lemon tree grow

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 increase the acidity of the soil if needed.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at [email protected].

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

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.

Meyer's 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 has a high yield. 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 bottle. 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 lemon 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. With proper pruning, you can create a neat crown for your tree.


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Lemon variety Meyer (Meyer Lemon): photo, reviews, description, characteristics.

Buy seedlings

Citrus meyeri is widely known among lovers of home citrus growing, distributed in many countries. In some of them, it is also an industrial crop, occupying significant agricultural areas. It belongs to the classic hybrid varieties, differs significantly from the representatives of the "real lemons" group. In the description of his appearance, as well as in the recommendations for care, there are many contradictions. Let's get to know him!

Origin of variety

A person interested in Meyer's "biography" will immediately notice that many sources contain a phrase similar to the following: "The origin is not exactly known, there are many options and assumptions." But this same attentive person, continuing his search, will soon discover that there really is no “many options”, but there are only two versions:

1) Meyer arose in nature long ago, as a result of natural, spontaneous hybridization between oranges and lemons .

2) This is a variety of the so-called "Cantonese lemon", which Chinese gardeners-breeders thoroughly worked on many centuries ago. In any case, both plants are so close that some citrologists propose to combine them into one species.

The plant that we now call the Meyer variety was and remains a popular tub culture in China, especially in the southeast of the country. Here, in Beijing, the American botanist and businessman Franz Meyer noticed him, and brought several specimens to his homeland.

This event happened in 1908, and a few years later the newcomer was widely distributed in California nurseries. Naturally, the Americans named the variety after its "godfather", although other variants of the name are still used in the world: Peking or Chinese lemon, Chinese dwarf. Agree, in historical justice, they are even more appropriate!

The vicissitudes of lemon fate

One important event happened in the life of a Chinese tree on a new mainland. By the 40s of the XX century, being already a popular industrial variety, trouble overtook him. It turned out that almost all plants are carriers of the malicious tristeza virus, which killed millions of citrus fruits around the world. Those who did not die from the virus remained infertile. The Meyer specimens themselves almost did not suffer from the action of tristeza, but were asymptomatic carriers of the disease.

It was a verdict on the variety! The vast majority of his trees in the United States, and then in Europe, were destroyed.

But in 1950, the Californians managed to develop a variety of Chinese dwarf, which was practically not infected with the ill-fated virus. After numerous tests and checks, she was certified, and by 1975 received permission for industrial breeding. The new clone began to be called "improved Meyer."

The problem is that in Europe and Asia there was no complete destruction of the "old clones", as happened on the American continent. Now they are mixed with the "improved version", so much so that sometimes without laboratory tests you won't understand who is in front of you. Tristeza still causes massive damage to citrus plantings.

There is a distinct "Soviet trace" in the fate of our hero. Back in the 30s, it was introduced from America to the Soviet Union. The scientists of the country of the Soviets, having studied the guest, came to the conclusion that it will grow well on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus due to its increased winter hardiness. In addition, here they began to graft him on trifoliata, and kept him in the open ground. To the surprise of the breeders, the “American” grafted on trifoliate was much less infected with tristeza. Since then, it has remained one of the most popular in the Union, and many people still call it "Abkhaz".

Description of the crop

It is excellent for indoor keeping, primarily due to its compact crown and quick fruiting.

Interesting! Seedlings of this citrus begin to bear fruit in the fifth, and sometimes in the fourth year after sowing - an indisputable record among all lemon varieties!

In addition, the fruits have excellent taste, and the tree itself is highly decorative.

Crown Features . At home, it grows to a height of 1.5 m, most often even lower. The shape of the crown is rounded, symmetrical. The Chinese dwarf tends to grow many side branches even without much human intervention. The spines are small, there are very few of them on the branches.

A relative disadvantage is that citrus tends to grow not as a standard tree, but as a bush. To create a bole, you have to do a special shaping pruning in the very first years of the plant's life.

Meyer's foliage is thick and beautiful. The leaves themselves are small, saturated dark green in color, very hard (denseer than ordinary lemons), shiny. They are egg-shaped, with small notches along the edges.

Interesting! The leaves of this plant, when rubbed in the palm of your hand, are devoid of the characteristic lemon smell. Their smell is also strong, but rather resembles an essential oil with a citrus tinge.

When kept indoors, this citrus tends to lose a lot of leaves in winter, sometimes they fall almost completely. Inexperienced citrus lovers are frightened by this fact, but you should not worry too much. Usually in spring, after an increase in daylight hours and an increase in air humidity, the foliage grows back.

If cool wintering or additional illumination is provided in winter, such leaf fall does not occur. Apparently, this explains the scatter in the assessment of plant resistance. Someone considers it unpretentious, well tolerated by dry air and lack of light, while others, on the contrary, complain that the variety is demanding on the conditions of detention.

Attention! To date, there are many forms and clones of Meyer. Indeed, sometimes they behave differently in care. This should be taken into account when introducing the "Chinese" into your collection.

And one more factor is impossible not to mention when describing the crown of this citrus. It belongs to the most winter-hardy members of the family; adult specimens are able to survive a short drop in temperature to minus 10 °C!

Flower characteristics . Remontant variety, up to four waves of flowering per season are observed! As already noted, even seedlings bloom unusually early, and on cuttings, fruits can be set in two seasons. True, at this age they are undesirable on branches.

An important feature is that the buds appear on the young shoots of the current year. They, like the blossoming flowers, are pure white in color, although some lines still differ in a subtle, purple or bluish tint. The flowers are small, about 3 - 4 cm in diameter, very fragrant.

Interesting! The pleasant smell of these flowers has an exciting effect on many people.

The buds are arranged differently in the crown. Solitary ones predominate, but often they form small inflorescences.

Fruit description . Meyer fruits are easy to distinguish from all other members of the species. They are small, with an average weight of 80 to 120 grams, almost round in shape. Their color is unusual - bright yellow, more likely even orange. It is much more like the color of an orange. Remember the first version of the origin of the variety? The color of the fruit perfectly demonstrates it!

The skin is thin, easily separated from the pulp. The surface is smooth, shiny, devoid of characteristic tuberosity.

The plant is characterized by increased precocity, sometimes only 8 months pass from bud to ripe fruit. The disadvantage is its low transportability. In order to somehow compensate for this, fruits are plucked slightly unripe, later they are able to ripen.

Important! Often, consumers note the excessive acidity of the fruit. Probably, the opinion was formed precisely from the tasting of insufficiently ripe specimens. A truly ripe Meyer is very sweet; it is perhaps the sweetest of all lemons and can be safely eaten without sugar.

Other characteristic features of :

- The pulp is unusually juicy, the weight of the juice is sometimes more than 51% of the weight of the fruit itself.

- The color of the pulp is yellowish, like orange. The pulp is tender, fragrant, consisting of 6 - 10 slices.

- Most consumers note the unusual taste of the fruit. It is difficult to express it in words, most often they say - "something not lemony is felt." In any case, along with a pleasant, delicate sweetness, there is a small, refined note of bitterness.

- There are always a lot of seeds inside the pulp. Usually there are about a dozen of them, but sometimes more.

- Increased yield. Good specimens are sometimes simply dotted with small orange fruits.

Summing up

Describing our hero, we often used the word "unusual". Indeed, the Meyer lemon stands apart from other varieties. Did you notice that its Latin name doesn't even contain the word "Lemon"? Many connoisseurs, biologists, as already mentioned in passing, generally suggest not to consider it as such.

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