My little lemon tree needs a little help


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Hi all

So, recently my wife kindly purchased me a lemon tree from the grocery store. It was a small little fella not doing so good. It wasn't in terrible condition or anything, just some curling of the leaves. Some of the leaves had damage and also there were some dead branches. The good news is it had the starting of many little lemons and two pretty plump ones, still green, but getting there.

It lives inside and gets pretty good light. I pruned it a little, and gave it some water. It's been 6 days and the leaves seem to have curled a little more, some look like they might be yellowing. I would love some advice on what I should do.

I have been looking into fertilizers, and was going to get some miracle grow for citrus, avocados and mango. Would this be suitable? I have seen many different recommended NPK ratios, and I am a bit lost. The miracle grow has an NPK of 13-7-13.
 
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I have no personal experiance, but did do a quick google search. The is one version of indoor tree (meyer I believe) that is said to be a tad finicky about things (light water ETC). In general it seems they don't like to much water and should be fairly dry before watering again, on the other side if they get to dry and you water them , same things happen and leaves curl.

The plant people on weekly radio show here tend to frown on miracle-grow type of fertilizer (leaves salts I think), and tend towards more organic products ( I have no particular names)
 

Pat

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Check your pot, losen the sides of the pot and slide the plant out, if it is potbond you need a new pot and water. The pot is too small for the plant.
 
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Hi all

So, recently my wife kindly purchased me a lemon tree from the grocery store. It was a small little fella not doing so good. It wasn't in terrible condition or anything, just some curling of the leaves. Some of the leaves had damage and also there were some dead branches. The good news is it had the starting of many little lemons and two pretty plump ones, still green, but getting there.

It lives inside and gets pretty good light. I pruned it a little, and gave it some water. It's been 6 days and the leaves seem to have curled a little more, some look like they might be yellowing. I would love some advice on what I should do.

I have been looking into fertilizers, and was going to get some miracle grow for citrus, avocados and mango. Would this be suitable? I have seen many different recommended NPK ratios, and I am a bit lost. The miracle grow has an NPK of 13-7-13.


Hi and welcome to the forum :)

As a grower of almost every kind of citrus tree - I have to say that as there are quite a few reasons - as to why citrus tree leaves may curl up and turn yellow - its going to be difficult to say exactly what the problem is - like for instance - it can be due to

not getting enough sun
the environment is too cool
too much water
too much fertilizer
as well as a lack of Magnesium

the latter of which can easily be rectified with a light dose of epson salts.

As for fertilizer - I would strongly suggest that you avoid using miracle grow - as apart from the fact that the ratio is way too high - it also has a tendency to clog together and leave a build up in the soil over time - in fact as Citrus prefer a fertilizer with a high potassium, phosphorus, magnesium content rather than high nitrogen - you would be far better looking out for a high quality rose fertilizer - especially as roses have exactly the same nutrient requirements as Citrus.

I would also just add - that as Citrus don't actually fair too well with too much fertilizer - you will get a much stronger healthier tree - if you only give yours a very, very light dusting once a year and preferably in early spring - around late February to early March :)
 
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Thanks for all the great feedback. I will happily avoid Miracle Grow, I feel better about using an organic product. @gata montes, I got some epsom salt today, going to give that a try and I get some organic fertilizer tomorrow.

@Pat , Great tip, I checked and it seems okay.

The soil at the drainage holes do seem a little soggy, the top is dry and about an inch down feels like a good level of moisture to me. I don't know if this is a drainage problem or just how it works.

Thanks again, really appreciate the help.
 
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The soil at the drainage holes do seem a little soggy, the top is dry and about an inch down feels like a good level of moisture to me. I don't know if this is a drainage problem or just how it works.


Although its quite possible that the soil is still drying out after being over-watered - I'm more inclined to think from your description - that you may well have a problem with drainage and as this is a very common problem with potted plants and more often than not the reason why they meet an untimely demise - due to root rot caused by water-logging and especially lemon trees which need to grow in extremely well drained soil.

I think it might be idea to check the bottom of the pot - as although many pots come with pre-drilled holes - they are generally not enough or in some cases not big enough to allow adequate drainage - as well as maybe think of adding some drainage crocks to the bottom of the pot and possibly even standing the pot on what are called " pot feet " which raise the pot off the ground just enough to allow extra drainage.
 
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Although its quite possible that the soil is still drying out after being over-watered - I'm more inclined to think from your description - that you may well have a problem with drainage and as this is a very common problem with potted plants and more often than not the reason why they meet an untimely demise - due to root rot caused by water-logging and especially lemon trees which need to grow in extremely well drained soil.

So, I have an update. Last night I re-potted my lemon tree. I guess it was re-potted not long before I got it as the dirt came out in two sections. The lemon tree itself had clearly been pot bound and its roots had not started to grow into the new soil (I suspect it had been in this container for about 6 weeks). As for the new soil, it was very compact and quite damp. The soil that the lemon tree roots were in were quite dryer. So, I broke up the roots a bit and re-potted it in some citrus potting soil.

I fertilized it recently, but now 60% of the soil has been replaced and the top soil where the fertilizer was is gone. Should I apply a small amount of fertilizer to replace that what was lost?
 
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So, I have an update. Last night I re-potted my lemon tree. I guess it was re-potted not long before I got it as the dirt came out in two sections. The lemon tree itself had clearly been pot bound and its roots had not started to grow into the new soil (I suspect it had been in this container for about 6 weeks). As for the new soil, it was very compact and quite damp. The soil that the lemon tree roots were in were quite dryer. So, I broke up the roots a bit and re-potted it in some citrus potting soil.

I fertilized it recently, but now 60% of the soil has been replaced and the top soil where the fertilizer was is gone. Should I apply a small amount of fertilizer to replace that what was lost?


As you've just re-potted your tree and have used citrus potting soil and the potting soil very likely contains all the nutrients that your tree currently needs - no I wouldn't recommend adding more fertilizer - however that said - giving your tree a light dose of epsom salts in a few weeks time when it has had a chance to settle down - would be a great idea :)
 
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Hi and welcome to the Gardening Forum. I don't have a lot of experience with lemon trees but have been experimenting and started 3 from seeds. I will say that moving to Israel has made me more aware of when things are in season. Lemons are most abundant and hearty
here in the Winter months. My small (and I do mean small) trees withstood the cold fairly well and don't seem to like a lot of water. They do like a fair amount of sunlight. I apply crushed egg shells to add calcium to the soil as well as to keep certain pests at bay. Like I said, not an expert but I am growing small lemon trees and I hope to be able to have fruit from them within a few years!
 

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