Growing a Meyer Lemon Tree

Author: Meera, August 16, 2015

Meyer Lemon is California’s favorite backyard fruit tree. Here, in the Bay Area, I am growing it on my farmette along with Satsuma tangerines, blood oranges, naval oranges, and lime trees. We love marmalade made from our citrus as well as juice, pickles, and desserts.



Leaving the tag attached for the first year can guide a gardener to caring for the plant

Leaving the tag attached for the first year can guide a gardener to caring for the plant according to grower recommendations




In two beds at the front of my property along a fence line, I’ve planted several citrus trees, among them, an improved Meyer lemon.


First introduced from China to the United States in 1908, Meyer Lemon takes its name from an agricultural explorer with the USDA named Frank Nicholas Meyer. These beautiful thin-skinned lemons are more round, juicier, and less acidic than their counterparts Lisbon and Eureka. It takes four years to grow one tree from seed. Today, the improved Meyer is widely available in California.


In the 1940s, Meyer lemons were believed to be carriers of the Citrus tristeza and tatter leaf viruses. Although these viruses did not harm the Meyers, it harmed other varieties of lemons grown by commercial growers. Ergo, the California department of Food and Agriculture dictated that the Meyer lemons would have to be eradicated. See,


In the 1950s a virus-free selection was identified and then in 1975, an improved Meyer was cloned. It tested free of those viruses, resulting in this new, “improved” Meyer Lemon again being planted in California. If you love the bright flavor and the clean, fragrant scent as well as the versatility of this lemon that can be roasted, salted in brine, drizzled into cake, made into pie, and even candied, consider planting an improved Meyer Lemon tree. They are vigorous growers that produce a bountiful crop.




lemons are an important ingredient in my jams

Lemons are an important ingredient in my jams




Six Steps to Growing a Meyer Lemon

1. Plant in a container (the method many Chinese gardeners love) or in the ground.

2. Dig in a south-facing spot that will receive plenty of sunlight (at least eight hours per day).

3. Water when needed, but don’t over-water; this citrus likes a good drenching and then a chance to dry-out.

4. Four times per year, apply organic citrus fertilizer and water it into the roots.

5. Give support to young trees against wind, and thin fruit on young trees until they are are well established.

6. Prune off branches after the late winter/spring harvest to keep them (or the fruit) from touching the ground.






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