How to Grow Meyer Lemons and Other Citrus Trees in Containers

Meyer lemons

Growing a Meyer lemon tree indoors

Did you know you can grow citrus indoors no matter where you live? The easiest citrus to grow indoors is the Meyer lemon. Meyer lemons are prized for their sweet flavor, a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon. The best part is the Meyer lemons available today are called improved because they don’t carry any citrus virus. Here are some tips to help your citrus tree thrive and produce fruit indoors.

What to know before you get started

Lighting your lemon tree

  • Citrus trees need 8-12 hours of light per day with southern or southwestern exposure to produce fruit
  • Supplement natural light with full spectrum fluorescent lighting or a professional grow light
  • Place your new tree in your desired location for 2 weeks before potting to be sure the tree is happy
  • When you have a place it’s happy, pot it

Watering your lemon tree

  • Citrus trees like deep and infrequent watering
  • Citrus trees like to be moist but not soggy
  • Use a moisture meter to tell when your tree needs watering, water when the top two inches of soil are dry
  • Add Thrive Alive B-1 to the water to encourage root growth

Pollinating your lemon tree

  • If your tree is flowering inside, take a cotton swab and transfer pollen from one blossom to another

Fertilizing your lemon tree

How long does it take for a Meyer lemon tree to bear fruit?

  • Meyer lemon trees typically flower and fruit twice a year starting at 3-5 years of age

How to pot a Meyer lemon tree for indoor growth

  1. For a 2-3 year old tree, use a 5 gallon plastic pot about 12-15” in height with good drainage
  2. Create a potting mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 potting soil, and 1/3 perlite that will fill the pot
  3. Slide the tree from its container, cut away dry roots, fluff if matted/encircled
  4. Add tree to center of pot and add your potting mixture with the crown of the roots just above the soil line
  5. Slowly add water while pulling the tree up slightly to remove any air pockets

Best way to grow your Meyer lemon tree indoors

  • Place your tree in the brightest part of your house, near a south-facing window
  • If the tree doesn’t get 8-12 hours of light a day, add some low-energy LED grow lights
  • Fill a pot tray with rocks
  • Add water to the tray, filling it just below the top of the rocks to allow your tree to sit on the rocks but not IN water
  • Place the pot with tree on top of the rocks

Maintenance schedule for a lemon tree

  • Water as noted above
  • Weekly: Turn your tree a quarter turn to ensure the tree is getting even light
  • Every 2 weeks: Spray down your foliage
  • Every 2 years: Repot your tree after pruning the roots to avoid the tree getting root bound
  • Anytime: Prune your citrus tree to control its shape and size

Moving your citrus tree indoors to outdoor & vice versa

  • Best time to move your citrus or lemon tree is when the temperatures are close to the same indoors and outdoors
  • When switching, keep the tree in the shade for 2 weeks
  • Your citrus tree will grow and need larger containers over the years, so be sure to get help from a friend or use a moving dolly to move the pot around

Best alternatives to Meyer lemon trees

These citrus trees are also easy to grow indoors:
  • Lisbon lemons
  • Washington navel oranges
  • Bearss limes
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Vicki, I cannot make any specific recommendations for what to use to treat scale, however, this is the list of products we do sell that are listed for scale. If you want to repot it, it is best to do it in the winter when it is probably less active than in the spring or summer.


My Meyer lemon tree is approximately 10 years old, spends summers outside on the patio and winters inside in my southeast facing sunroom, I live in zone 7B. I’ve been fighting scale with Imidacloprid almost since I bought it, so I’ve been unable to use the lemons for eating. Obviously this is not working and I’d like to go the organic route.I have two questions. Can I use neem oil to fight the scale, and then I would be able to use the lemon it produces? Also it’s been in the same pot for many years and needs repotting, but it is almost always either in bloom or fruiting. When is the best time to repot? Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.


Y- meyer lemons can bloom all year, with the heaviest blooms coming in the spring and fall. You can either let the blooms be or try to hand pollinate them with a small brush. Brush each flower with the brush and do not wash the brush until you are done. You should repeat this process several times to ensure that all the flowers have been pollinated. If they do not get pollinated, they will just wither and fall off the tree.


Why is my Meyer lemon blossoming now? (Mid December). It is indoors in south window.


Kathy, you might want to wait until the tree has acclimated to its new location before planting. Give it a few weeks before planting it. I would not plant it closer than 2-3 feet from the house. I have the same advice for the mandarin or orange tree. Orange trees are a little less cold tolerant than mandarins, so if you are worried about the temps dropping too low, you might want to locate it closer to the house on a warm side, like the west or south side, depending on your situation.


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