Garden Types - Created Date : 2.8.2019

How to Grow Indoor Meyer Lemon Trees

How to Grow Indoor Meyer Lemon Trees

How to Grow Indoor Meyer Lemon Trees

Growing your own indoor Meyer lemon trees is so easy and rewarding that you may stop buying the fruit at the store all together. | Source

Indoor lemon trees—especially the Meyer variety—are easy to grow and very satisfying. They are perfectly sized to grow in a container inside during the colder months, then love to be outside in the warmer months on a patio or deck.

The juicy, full-sized lemons are delicious in drinks and all of your favorite recipes. The fruit is a light orange-yellow color, with juice sweeter than that of most lemons. For its size, the dwarf Meyer lemon tree is one of the hardiest and most productive of all dwarf citrus trees.

Of all the indoor fruit trees available, we recommend an indoor lemon tree the most. They're a particularly good choice if you've never tried to grow citrus indoors before, as the trees are beautiful, very prolific, and quite hardy! Since it's both fun to grow and also rewarding, you may never buy lemons from the store again!

Read on for more info, pictures, and how to buy a dwarf lemon tree for your home.

Five Quick Tips for Growing Lemon Trees Indoors

Pot in a container using a well-drained, light potting mix.

Place near your sunniest window indoors. South or southwest window exposure is best.

Do not overwater. They dislike wet roots. Overwatering is the #1 killer of lemon trees.

Mist every day, since the trees like humidity.

Prune by cutting spindly branches from the top. Leave most bottom branches since they produce the most fruit!

Watering & Care Tip

A wilted tree means too little water. A tree with yellow leaves or folded leaves can indicate too much water.

Where to Buy a Meyer Lemon Tree

Meyer lemon trees are the most popular indoor citrus tree. They are prolific and easy to maintain as houseplants. We have successfully grown them for 10 years now and are very happy with the results: a large crop of tasty lemons and a delightful, tropical aroma from the blossoms.

Every once in a while, you can find an indoor lemon tree (also called a dwarf lemon tree or dwarf Meyer lemon tree) at a local nursery. Typically, the tree will be about two years old, possibly a bit younger. The only issue is the cost will be much higher—we saw an indoor fruit tree for sale at a local garden center for over $100!

While we love supporting local businesses, that's a bit too much. But there are various places online where can buy several different varieties of indoor citrus trees, including indoor lemon trees, for under $20 (including delivery).

How to Pot a Meyer Lemon Tree

When you purchase your tree, it will arrive in a suitable container, usually a plastic one. At some point, it's likely you will need to change containers. Mostly this is due to root crowding. If you notice yellowing leaves, for example, your tree might be pot-bound and telling you it is time to replant into a larger pot.

Here's how to repot your lemon tree:

Fill the new pot halfway up with potting soil. It doesn't matter too much what kind—any bagged potting soil should suffice.

Place the tree in the new pot at the same depth of the old pot, meaning the roots should extend as far down into the soil as the height of the old pot.

Make sure the roots are spread out to facilitate growth.

Fill the container with soil to about 3 inches below the top.

Firm the soil around the tree with your hands and water generously.

Be sure you do NOT fertilize until you've noticed some new growth, as fertilizing right after replanting will shock the root system and may burn the tree.

Top off the pot with a little bark or mulch to help retain moisture.

Moving Your Lemon Tree From Outdoors to Indoors (and Back Again)

Your Meyer lemon tree can be kept in a protected area outside, such as a patio or deck in warm weather. Once fall hits and it starts getting colder, however, you should move your dwarf lemon tree inside so it doesn't freeze.

When should you bring your lemon tree indoors?

It's best to bring them indoors when evening and nighttime temperatures get down to 45°F. Your tree can tolerate even lower temperatures, but it's best not to risk it.

We live in the Midwest, and our rule of thumb is to keep our indoor citrus trees out on the patio from after Mother's Day to the end of September. Of course, your weather conditions may vary though.

Give your lemon tree a transition period before moving indoors or outdoors.

Before you bring it indoors, place the tree in partial shade for a couple of weeks to transition from full sun. Check for insects on the leaves before taking your tree indoors for the cold months.

No matter the variety, indoor citrus trees seem to flourish a bit better when they spend some time outdoors. It's certainly not mandatory, but that's been our experience over the years.

Once the weather begins to warm up again, you can repeat this process after all danger of frost is past. That is, place your indoor plant outdoors in partial shade for a few weeks before you start leaving it in full sun. Adjust watering as needed.

How to Prune Your Meyer Lemon Tree

You may need to prune your tree every once in a while, especially if it's a prolific grower. There are two ways to tell if pruning is necessary.

First, if you're getting a growth of spidery, twiggy branches, prune a few of these off. This will direct energy to the more solid branches of the tree, thereby helping ensure you'll get a bountiful fruit crop and strong branches to withstand the weight of the lemons.

Second, sometimes a Meyer lemon tree will get a little top heavy. Watch for excessive growth at the top of the tree and not much outward growth. If this is the case, you will typically notice higher-than-normal leaf shedding and possibly some branches dying off. If so, prune the tree back. Cut off the dead branches and any branches that are shedding an excessive amount of leaves.

On the whole, however, you don't have to worry too much about pruning. It is highly unusual to have to prune an indoor fruit tree more than once a year. That's the beauty of these little powerhouses. They are easy to maintain and very rewarding!

Make the streusel: Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter into the flour mixture until small-to-medium clumps form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to three days).

Make the cake: Cook lemon slices in a medium saucepan of simmering water for 1 minute. Drain and repeat. Arrange lemon slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch angel food cake pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest with a mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). With the mixer running, add eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream.

Spoon half of the batter evenly into a cake pan. Arrange half of the lemon slices in a single layer over the batter. Spread remaining batter evenly over the top. Cover with the remaining lemon slices in a single layer. Sprinkle the chilled streusel evenly over the batter.

Bake until cake is golden brown—a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. This should take about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a baking sheet, and let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and remove the outer ring. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the center tube. Slide two wide spatulas between the bottom of the cake and the pan and lift cake to remove from the center tube. Let it cool completely on a rack.

Make the glaze: Just before serving, stir together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake, letting excess drip down the sides. Let glaze set before slicing, about 5 minutes.

Note: This cake can be stored for up to three days. The lemon flavor will intensify with time.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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Glenda Evans

4 months ago

I live just below Atl Ga, and I have a Meyer lemon tree of several years that has never bloomed. I keep it in the sun room in the winter and outdoors spring summer and fall. I was told to prune off the branches with thorns (which are about an inch long). I have not done that because all branches have thorns. Do you have any suggestions?

Jennifer McLarty

6 months ago

Hi! I've been growing a meyer lemon tree in my house for about 2 years now. It grows really well in the Spring, Summer, and Fall but it always goes dormant in the Winter. I do a transition period before bringing it in for the winter - though this past winter the transition wasn't as great because we got some sudden cold and frost and I didn't want the plant to die so it came in sooner. It always comes back in the Spring and grows really well until the late Fall when it's time to transition it in again and then it goes dormant. Is there anyway to prevent it from going dormant?

Diane mccrostie

10 months ago

After reading all the articles I am going something wrong with my lemon tree. I get a lot of flowers but they fall off and for the second year I get one lemon. Now all my leaves are dropping off.i don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Can you help

Daniele M Robbers

20 months agofrom Clearlake

Wow thank you I have some seeds for these I look forward to planting them soon. One day they will be traveling the country with me in my rv. I have to say thank you for all the recipes those were quite the surprise!

Alexa Rain

20 months agofrom egypt

Beautiful look,

and very delicious plates.

great Hub!


21 months ago

Hi there! I got an indoor Meyer lemon tree in the Spring. It was doing really well all summer and now that fall is here, it's been moved back in. However, the leaves are falling off! They are green, healthy looking leaves but they're falling off! I thought maybe not enough water so I watered more but the leaves are also now folding in a bit which I know indicates too much water! So how do I prevent the leaves from falling off??


2 years ago

Thanks for the very informative article. I just bought a small lemon tree and am not show how to look after it. New at this


3 years ago



3 years ago

I was given a lemon tree and gave it a new pot, soil, mist it and it was really starting to grow. It has about 16 buds on it which seem to be doing well and growing but some of the new little leaves that were coming out have dropped off. what am I doing wrong?


4 years ago

I have had a lemon tree for five years, but I got it from someone else so it was older. The first year I had it we harvested 40 lemons at Christmas time. Since then I have had trouble with citrus scale. I spray it with neem oil but they never seem to go away completely. Do you have any problem with scale?


4 years ago

I am very interested in getting a meyer lemon tree for my home.. Just two questions, how often do they produce fruit and how often do ou have to repot them into a bigger pot? Thanks so much and can't wait to get myself a tree :)



5 years ago

@shellmc: Hi Shellmc, Sorry to hear your Meyer Lemon Tree is being tempermental! Try this: water deeply, but infrequently. The soil should dry out slightly between waterings. Leaf drop can be caused by soggy soil and water that stagnates in the tray. So make sure to dump it out after a good, long soak. Youâll know it is time to water when the soil is dry a couple of inches down into the pot. Use your finger to check.

Since citrus trees are heavy nitrogen feeders, try to use a fertilizer with a 2-1-2 or a 3-1-2. In some stores, you'll be able to find specialized citrus/avocado fertilizers.

There are a few more things you can do to help the tree retain fruit and increase blooms. From bloom to mid June, do not let the tree get too dry. This is a balancing act--too dry the tree will drop fruit, too wet the tree can develop root rot. Citrus trees will only keep the fruit it can support--if it gets too dry in the early stage of fruit growth --it will drop the fruit. Excessively low humidity can also cause the buds to drop before they open. Drafty conditions could also cause buds to fall prematurely. Good luck!


5 years ago

I have had a meyer lemon tree for 4 years now. The first year, it produced about 12 lemons for me and I was so excited. Since then my tree will produce many flowers and small "lemon buds" but they always fall off. I fertilize it in the spring with a tomato fertilizer that was recommended by the garden centre but still no luck. Do you have any more advice for me??

Char Milbrett

5 years agofrom Minnesota

I started 8 lemon trees from seed from a lemon I got from the grocery store. They seem to be doing okay.


5 years ago

I love Meyer Lemon trees and have an indoor lemon tree as well. It's so great to get a fresh lemon right from your own tree. Lovely lens, really enjoyed reading it.



5 years ago

@meli3773: Hi Meli3773, I agree with your nursery to cut off the remaining lemons so the tree can focus on leaf production. Quite often leaf loss happens during moving your tree from outside to inside. The Meyer is quite sensitive to light changes; dramatic changes in light often cause the tree to drop most or all of its leaves to replace them with new leaves better suited to the new light. Be careful not to overwater during the winter months. The good news is these trees are quite resilient and the leaves will grow back. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!


5 years ago

My tree lost all of its leaves and the nursery told me that was normal for winter and to cut off the 3 lemons I had. Is that normal? I just got the tree in the summer.


6 years ago

mmmm indoors sounds awesome..

Nancy Tate Hellams

6 years agofrom Pendleton, SC

I would really like to have a lemon tree and enjoyed learning more about them


6 years agofrom Christchurch, New Zealand

Nice to know you can grow them indoors. I had a Meyer lemon tree and the frost got it the first year!


6 years ago

I have a a Meyer Lemon tree that is about 10 years old and started producing flowers last year. Though i did not get any fruit. I hope to this year. Nice lens! Squid like and pined it!

Fran Tollett

6 years ago

I would LOVE a lemon tree! Love your lens. You have some great tips for growing a lemon tree indoors.


6 years agofrom Canada

My dad grew a lemon tree years ago inside. I don't think he took it outside in the Summer, but it never looked as healthy as these.



6 years ago

@anonymous: Sounds like you are taking good care of your lemon tree MomDecor! Unfortunately when growing them from seed it usually takes a few years until they bear fruit. Continue to meet the light and water requirements plus fertilize monthly. It takes time and patience when starting from seeds, but eventually you should see lemons.


6 years ago

How long does it take for a lemon tree started from a seed to produce lemons? I planed several seeds about 3-4 years ago. I have four that have grown. The largest is 34 inches tall. Next is 16 inches tall. The third is 14 inches tall and the smallest, which isn't doing as well is about 5 inches tall. They are all in the same pot and last summer I moved them from a smaller pot to a bigger one and it grew tall and rather quickly. When we rub the leaves we get a beautiful fresh scent of lemons. We live in Iowa so the trees are out in the sun all summer, but brought in before it gets cold. It sits near a sunny window on the north side of our home and sometimes I have it in the kitchen window on the table in the south side of the house.

Teri Villars

6 years agofrom Phoenix, Arizona

Those cookies made me hungry. This is well done. Thanks for posting. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

kabbalah lm

6 years ago

I'd like to try growing lemons indoors. Thanks


6 years ago

I'm planning to get a lemon tree for my terrace this summer. Great tips on this page!

GardenIdeasHub LM

6 years ago

Your tips about growing indoor lemon trees are really great! Thanks!


6 years ago

great tutorial you have here! love the tips and instructions you have here


6 years ago

This is a lovely lens.


6 years ago

Ooh, nice lemon recipes!


6 years ago

Great lens! :)


7 years ago

I love lemons and would absolutely LOVE if I could have one indoors. I'm not sure how it would be if living in Colorado and it being so dry here...... But sure am going to try! Thanks for the great lenses!

Little Linda Pinda

7 years agofrom Florida

This is just what I was looking for. Lemons are so good for you but so expensive. Do you know what the hardiest regular Dwarf Lemon Tree. How long can it go without watering.

jseven lm

7 years ago

I so would love to have an indoor lemon tree. The recipes and pics look great, blessed!


8 years ago

Very nice Squidoo. A lot of time in this one. Loved it greatly, good bits to know for the first time. I love this Squidoo.


8 years ago

Lovely lens, I love lemon trees too and now I know I can grow them in my apartment :)


8 years ago

Really nice lens! blessed by a Squidoo Angel on 12/26/2010. Have a great day!


8 years ago

Nice lens. I love lemon trees. Thanks for the info.


8 years ago

Great lens! My mom bought me a lemon tree (but it is outside in a planer on my porch) and it produced lemons like crazy the first two years and now all of a sudden this year it has stopped. Do you have any suggestions or ideas?


8 years agofrom Vancouver

It is a good thing I live in a small apt. because after reading your lens I would have a small indoor orchard :)

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