How to Pollinate a Meyer Lemon Tree Indoors

pollinating a meyer lemon tree

Meyer Lemon Tree Blooms Indoors

meyer lemon tree blooms
Meyer Lemon tree buds & blooms.

I have an Improved Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree that I keep in containers. It almost died last summer.  All the leaves had fallen off. I assumed I had a dead stick until I did a scratch test in the fall.

A scratch test is when you take a finger nail or knife & lightly scratch of a small portion of the trunk or a branch. If you see a green hue underneath, the plant is alive. If it’s all grey, at least that part of the plant is dead.

Some of the branches were dead, which I pruned off. I fed it with a citrus tree specific fertilizer. To my surprise, new leaves emerged a few weeks later. As colder weather approached, my Meyer Lemon tree was full of leaves and pushing out new growth!

I live in grow zone 7, so I brought my Meyer Lemon tree indoors for the winter.  A few days after moving them in a few buds started to pop up. It’s late December and now there’s dozens of them with that amazing, sweet citrus aroma already filling the room from the buds that have bloomed.

When the trees bloom outside mother nature takes care of the pollination. For my backyard, the blooms attract bumble bees in droves.

I’ve had problems in years past where very few of the blooms that emerge when indoors bear fruit. And most of the ones that do pollinate usually fall off before growing at all.

Turns out this is a common issue.  Indoor pollination and proper watering to get fruit to mature isn’t difficult to do, you just need to know what you’re doing.  Kind of like me putting together a kids toy on Christmas Eve. If all else fails, read the directions!

How Do You Pollinate Indoor Meyer Lemon trees?

meyer lemon pollenThere’s two parts to the flower. The long center stem with the yellow pollen at the end is the female part, called the pistil. The tip needs to receive pollen when it becomes sticky. It will almost have a shiny look to it.

The other filaments in the center and around the pistil are collectively called the stamen. These are the male parts. You can usually see the yellow pollen grains, called anthers, at the ends of the filaments.

To get the pollen grains on to the center stem ‘filament’, simply use a cotton swab or a small paint brush. Gently gather the outer pollen & Meyer lemon Bloomsrub it on to he center filament ‘pistil’.

A lot of times it is difficult to know which flowers have pollen that is ripe. The solution is to simply rub each flower daily while in bloom. Rub the outer parts first, then the inner pistil with your brush or cotton swab.

I just keep using the same cotton swab every day. It accumulates pollen this way, helping ensure pollination.

Watering a Meyer Lemon Tree Indoors

First off, make sure your Meyer lemon tree is positioned near a southern facing window so it can get the most sunshine. It’s also helpful to rotate your potted tree every 3 to 4 weeks to ensure an even exposure to sunshine.

I learned the hard way. Both over-watering and under-watering will hurt fruit production. As a general rule, water your tree once every 2 weeks. The key is to let the top 2 to 3 inches of soil dry out before watering again. You can always stick your finger in the soil to determine if it dry.

plant tray with gravelYou also want to have a soil mixture that drains the water well. Also make sure your container never sits in standing water.  I use some colorful gravel that the container rests on, making sure water drains out.

Your leaves will also tell you if they have too much or too little water. If the leaves look like they’re drooping, almost like they are too heavy, than your tree has been over-watered. Meyer Lemon tree leaves can also turn yellow and even drop off from over-watering. If they don’t get enough water, the leaves will curl upwards, start to turn crispy and drop.

With a little TLC, your Meyer Lemon tree will reward you in winter with the amazing aroma of their blooms and produce a lot of delicious Meyer Lemons!

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About the Author

Doug Hall