Potting a Meyer's Lemon

greenwood85(6b)April 28, 2009

I just received my Meyer's lemon tree in the mail. It is about three feet tall. It says on it "bare root (even with soil)". How should I pot this? What size pot do I use? What kind of soil?

I don't want to be pushy but quick replies would be appreciated since I just got it and would like to pot it ASAP! Thanks!

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justaguy2(5)

Why would you order something and have no idea how to pot it? Kind of late in the game wondering about what to do once it has arrived, isn't it?

If I told you, as an example, to pot it in 1 part Turface MVP, 1 part pine bark fines and 1 part Gran-i-Grit would you be able to do that?

Do you have any mixes/ingredients on hand? If so what are they?

What sized pot does it look like the roots would require as a minimum size?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 7:06PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Where do you live?

How much will your trees be outdoors?

Justaguy2 makes sense for anyone thinking of ordering a braerooted plant.
Make sure you have the soil ready before you order. The poor thing has to have a place to sleep when it arrives at it's new home...:-)
There is lots of ideas here..

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 7:55PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Wrap the roots in a damp towel & put the root portion in a plastic bag and in a cool spot out of direct sun until you decide what you'd like to do about the soil. A few days won't hurt anything as long as roots aren't too wet or too dry.

Here is a little something to read about soils. And here is something about rearing trees in containers.

It would be helpful if you add your state to your user info.

Al

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:38PM
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greenwood85(6b)

I'm in Kentucky. I do have basic soil ingredients on hand, perlite, peat moss, pro mix, vermiculite, course sand, pea gravel, compost, earthworm castings, succulent mix, maybe some other stuff I'm forgetting. I figured that kind of information, you know, planting directions would come with the tree, instead they sent me planting directions for just about every other plant they sell other than Meyers Lemon.

I went ahead and put it into a 4-5 gallon plastic nursery pot. I used a combination of Pro Mix, perlite, and earthworm castings.

By the way, should a $40 tree be taller than 3 feet and have more than two leaves?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:10PM
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justaguy2(5)

A $40 Meyer will generally be around 2-3ft tall, but it should have decent branching and be covered in leaves.

If it has no leaves there was something wrong with it at the nursery. Citrus are not deciduous so they never lose their leaves unless something is stressing it in which case leaf drop is normal, but not complete defoliation.

Call the seller and tell them your tree is dead and ask for a refund or HEALTHY replacement. You should not have to pay shipping for the new tree. Your tree may not be dead (yet), but with no leaves it isn't exactly living either.

May we inquire what the source of this tree was? I wish to avoid them in the future. I have purchased from Rain Tree Nursery and Four Winds. Rain Tree doesn't direct ship and I am pretty sure their plants come from Four Winds.

Tapla gave a couple good links for further research into potting mixes for healthy growing as well as growing trees in containers.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 9:38PM
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greenwood85(6b)

Park Seed Company. I'll have to call them tomorrow.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 10:13PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

I HATE them and will never go back....

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 8:37AM
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greenwood85(6b)

Update: I called and they sent me a new one free of charge without much fuss. Let's hope this one is better. Even so, I don't know if I can trust them with another order.

OK, so now I have a week, what should I plant in? I have time to round up just about anything.

Al, I've read your article on containers and water retention and have taken to wicking my pots. Which mix should I plant in? The Gritty mix? What kind of pot should I use? What size? It's amazing how little information there is out there about Meyer Lemon Trees. Any help would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 10:34AM
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justaguy2(5)

I would recommend the gritty mix for your citrus. I made a mix last year for mine that is 50% pine bark and 50% Turface MVP. This mix might be perfect for someone in an arid climate, but in Wisconsin I have found it holds more water than I would like. If I water even once per week in mid summer I would be surprised. Taking it into the house over the winter I don't think I have watered even once per month.

These are in 16" pots and the trees are 3ft tall.

I guess what I am saying is focus on building a durable mix that will maintain good aeration at least until you expect to repot (2-3 years). Don't worry too much about building a water retentive mix. The gritty mix will hold more water than you likely think it will and should be a good match for your tree.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 11:21AM
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ianna(Z5b)

I have a 7 year old meyer lemon tree grown from seed and it's planted in a terracotta pot in regular potting soil mix. It's happy in indirect sun. I'm told it takes about 10 years before it can start setting fruit in which case I have about 3 more years to go.

Ianna

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 1:44PM
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greenwood85(6b)

10 years?!?! The info I found (which, as I said, was not easy to find) said it will start producing in the third year. Maybe you should try putting it in direct sunlight this year (assuming it's in a pot). Or maybe yours isn't ever going to fruit since you started from seed. The tree I ordered is grafted.

Gritty mix, hmm. I guess I finally need to decided whether Al's mix is worth trying. Hmmm....

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 3:45PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

I second that on the gritty mix!

I use the equall parts of bark,turface, and crushed granite since I live further north and like my containerized citrus to dry out more frequently...I like the feeling of watering freely without the fear of loosing my plants to root rot..

My citrus love this media and they tell me by looking marvelous!:-)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 5:50PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Greenwood - I use the gritty mix for all my containerized woody material. I do like to include the granite because it allows me to adjust the water retention of the soil. Eg:
6 parts uncomposted pine or fir bark
4 parts Turface
2 parts crushed granite
will hold a lot more water than:
6 parts uncomposted pine or fir bark
2 parts Turface
4 parts crushed granite

What I usually do, is have a batch of 1:1:1 soil on hand at all times. If I'm potting something that wants more water retention, I add a little more Turface. If I want LESS water retention, I add a little more bark. I try always to keep the organic component of the soil at 1/3 or less. It reduces the fine particles that find their way to the lower part of the container.

Ianna/Greenwood - Like humans, plants go through life cycles - embryonic, juvenile, adolescent (intermediate in plants), and mature (reproductive in plants) are stages a plant must pass through before it can flower fruit. I have had several hawthorn bonsai under my care for about 15 years, and they have not flowered or set fruit yet. It can take up to 30 years in a container before they flower.

When you GRAFT buds or scions to rootstock, the wood is taken from plants already in the reproductive phase, so it is actually CAPABLE of producing flowers and fruit immediately, though it usually doesn't until its feet are well set. See the difference between 'from seed' and grafted material? The wood may be new to you, and LOOK like new wood, but ontogenetically, it's OLD wood.

Al

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 6:35PM
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greenwood85(6b)

OK, you talked me in into it, Al. I'll check back.

Now to track this stuff down...

I'm in Louisville if anyone has any hunches.

A few more questions:
Will a plastic nursery pot do or should I go terracotta? I'm planning on putting it in full sun this summer and under a plant light/west window in the winter. Will that be appropriate for my part of the country?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 7:56PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Try Caudill Seed in Louisville for Turface - (800) 626-5357. You should also be able to get the equivalent of Turface MVP (Allsport) at the John Deere Landscaping outlets at 13909 Aiken Road - (502) 245-0465, at 13155 Middletown Ind. Blvd. - (502) 254-2790, or at 4017 Produce Rd. - (502) 968-1242.

You should be able to find the grit by doing an MSM Yellow Pages search for Elevators in Louisville. Try first: Lawrence County Farm Supply, Waskom AG Center, Azalia Elevator, Harker Sales & Service. Ask for either grower grit by Gran-I-Grit or #2 Cherrystone.

Your plant will be happier in terra cotta, but you will need to water more frequently for the choice.

Al

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 8:18PM
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greenwood85(6b)

Wow! Thanks a ton for your help, Al. One more question, you mentioned to use the gritty mix and that you adjust for water retention. So, would you deviate from the 1:1:1 mix if you were planting this tree in Louisville, KY?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 10:05PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

No. It will work just fine there. ;o)

Al

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 8:59AM
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ianna(Z5b)

Thanks for the information on the lemon tree Al. I'm a fairly patient person when it comes to containered trees and I must confess I have been neglecting my lemon meyer. I'm not that interested in it's fruit, but more on it's trunk shape. However I may do something this summer.

I have in fact dabbled with bonsai for years but sadly had to leave my plants behind (in good hands) when I migrated from Asia to Canada. I don't have the space nor the full sunlight I need to restart my hobby here. Among the plants I left behind,the oldest plant is a bougainvilla about 47 years now and still flowering - the ones I started from seeds average 25 years. I tend to do things on a whim and sometimes do things rather differently, for example my attempt to bonsai a coconut tree from seed.. I was half successful but being young then, didn't have that much experience to sustain the plant. - However I diverse. Anyhow, thanks for the info on the lemon.

Ianna

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 10:28AM
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greenwood85(6b)

Are fir bark "fines" a suitable substitute for pine bark fines?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 8:24PM
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greenwood85(6b)

Update on this thread: Park Seed Co never sent me a new tree. I called and they said they ran out. I'm guessing they tried to pawn off the last nearly dead one on me. I got my money back for the purchase but not the sipping and handling. Oh well. I really want a lemon tree and no one sells them in this area. I might try Four Winds. Anyone else ever successfully order a lemon tree from the internet?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 2:32PM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

greenwood: I'm running into the same thing with Spring Hill. I will absolutely never order anything from them again. It took them almost 2 months to even ship me my Dwarf Lime Tree. They finally shipped it on Monday. I hope it arrives in better conditions than yours did, so I can actually keep this one, as i'm sure if I had to call them to get a replacement it'd probably take 3-4 months this time.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 3:09PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

I hate Spring Hill nurseries too!! I won't even tell you what happened to me to discourage you any further.
Good luck with them ok. Let us know how it went..:-)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 3:34PM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

lol...uh oh

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 5:13PM
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justaguy2(5)

I really want a lemon tree and no one sells them in this area. I might try Four Winds. Anyone else ever successfully order a lemon tree from the internet?

Yes, from Raintree Nursery who gets their [Citrus] stuff from Four Winds. I wouldn't hesitate to do business with either. Just this year I got 4 3 year old blueberries from Raintree to replace what my dogs ate last year and I was blown away how well branched and rooted they were.

I also ordered two orange trees from Raintree which drop ship from Four Winds and they came very healthy and well rooted as well.

It's slightly cheaper to order citrus from 4winds than Raintree, but as far as I am concerned both provide accurate descriptions of what you are paying for and deliver a quality product.

The Meyer Lemon I got from them I allowed to produce a few lemons in year one and this year it was covered in blooms that were beautiful. Time will tell how well it fruits, but the point is it's very healthy.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 12:14AM
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