Meyer lemons are a popular lemon tree known for its year-round blooming and fruiting. They also make for a fun dwarf tree you can keep in a pot. Because of this, it can be a sad sight when a Meyer lemon tree doesn’t bloom or its flowers fall off before fruiting. So, how can you help your Meyer lemon tree bloom?
Meyer lemon trees are self-pollinating and will bloom on their own. However, they need sufficient sunlight, water, nutrients, and temperature to bloom. If yours still isn’t blooming, then it could mean it’s not getting what it needs or the tree is still too young.
Let’s take a further look at how to get your Meyer lemon tree to bloom and what to expect.
When do Meyer lemon trees bloom
Meyer lemon trees need to mature before they start to bloom. Typically this means about 3-4 years of age. The exception to this is if they’re from a dwarf rootstock, in which case you could get fruit within as little as one year.
Because they’re self-pollinating, Meyer lemon trees don’t need another tree, or outside pollinator, but can still benefit from it. By keeping multiple Meyer lemon trees close together, you could increase the chances of pollination.
If you’re keeping your tree outside, then bees and hummingbirds can definitely help it fruit. If your tree is inside, then you don’t really need to worry. If you’d like to still try to increase the pollination, you can take a clean, dry toothbrush and gently brush the blossoms to spread the pollen.
Why your Meyer lemon tree isn’t blooming
There can be several reasons why your Meyer lemon tree isn’t blooming. Most commonly, it’s due to the plant’s age. Although, a lack of water, sunlight, or proper fertilization are key factors as well.
If your Meyer lemon tree is less than 3-4 years old, then it might be too young to bloom and is still prioritizing leaf growth. There’s not a way to force it to bloom at this point.
Consider waiting a bit longer to see if the tree matures enough to bloom. However, if it’s already matured past this window, then the lack of blossoms could be related to some other factors.
Either over-watering or under-watering can prevent your Meyer lemon tree from blossoming. Over-watering can drown the plant and cause root rot, while under-watering can signal to the plant to conserve water. This prioritizes leaf growth and delays blossom development until more water comes along.
To know if you’re watering your tree enough, wait a week after watering and poke the soil with your finger and go 2 inches down. If the soil is still wet from the previous week, then you’re either over-watering it or you’re not allowing for enough drainage. Drainage is usually only an issue with potted trees.
If this is the case, and it’s not draining, you might want to consider drilling a few more holes in the bottom of the pot. If the water has been sitting long enough, root rot could be starting and your Meyer lemon tree’s roots could be getting damaged. To tell if there’s root rot, dig up a small corner of the soil and check to see how wet it is. If it’s still sopping wet and smells stale, you may need to repot it with new, uncollapsed soil.
If you’ve waited a week, and checked the soil by poking it with your finger and found it bone-dry, then you’re likely under-watering it. There’s no one measure of water for any plant. It largely has to do with container size, weather, soil drainage, and several other factors. For this reason, you’ll have to find how much water to provide your Meyer lemon tree to last it until the next watering.
The goal for watering should be once every 1-2 weeks, and the soil should be neither bone-dry nor sopping wet. If you’re in a hot climate and water is evaporating fast and drying the soil, consider using a mulch like leaves or straw to keep the moisture in and the soil shaded from the sun.
Lack of sunlight
Meyer lemons are like most other citrus trees in that they need full sun. This amounts to at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. If you’ve placed your tree near a sunny window, it likely has enough sunlight to start producing blossoms. A southern-facing window works best as it often gets the longest amount of sunlight.
If you’re growing your tree indoors, and don’t get enough sunlight, then consider getting a full spectrum bulb and placing the plant no less than 12 inches away and no more than 12 hours a day.
While it can be a bit trickier to use grow-lights, it’s still a viable method for Meyer lemon tree.
Also, remember that proper pruning can provide more leaves with enough sunlight to start developing blossoms.
Lack of warmth
Being a subtropical to tropical citrus tree, Meyer lemons need warmth to survive. Depending on the rootstock, they can survive in temperatures down to 20ºF (-6ºC), however, they prefer a temperature between 65-75ºF (18-23ºC).
To promote growth and blossoming, it’s best to consistently provide warmth for your Meyer lemon, although an occasional period of colder temperature (around 45ºF (7.2ºC) can help stimulate growth.
Whenever you’re helping your tree transition from different temperatures, it’s best to take it slow. Many plants are used to slower transitions from the seasons, so it’s best to mimic this. Try to space out increasing or decreasing drastic temperatures over at least a few weeks to a month.
Wrong or not enough fertilizer
Generally, fertilizing your Meyer lemon tree is a great idea, however, when you’re trying to increase the number of blossoms, it can do more harm than good.
Fertilizers high in nitrogen are great for promoting new leaf growth but can signal the tree to focus too much on foliage and not enough on the blossoms and fruit. If this happens, then you might get little to no blossoming.
So, instead of fertilizers high in nitrogen, try fertilizers higher in phosphorus to help promote blossoming.
When to fertilize a Meyer lemon tree
In general, try fertilizing your Meyer lemon tree once a month. Bone meal or fertilizers high in phosphorus can help promote blossom and fruit growth.
If your tree’s blossoms are falling off, you may want to hold off on the fertilizer and identify what could be causing it. If you suspect it is the fertilizer, you could try another brand and NPK combination, or get your soil tested.
Pruning is another vital aspect when it comes to the blossom-rate of Meyer lemons. If you prune too much, you risk the tree not having enough resources to blossom and instead focus on foliage.
If you prune too little, then it can be over-grown and the many branches and leaves can expend a lot of the tree’s energy, and shade many leaves from sunlight.
The goal when pruning is to provide enough sunlight and air circulation to the tree’s branches and leaves. This will help keep mold and fungus from developing. It’s best to only prune when necessary.
Additionally, pruning properly will help the Meyer lemon tree grow the appropriate amount of fruit. Too much fruit production can lead to the tree not able to provide enough resources and result in many small fruits. On the flip side, too little fruit production will result in meager harvests.
When pruning your Meyer lemon tree, keep the branches and shape of the tree wide and reaching out. If you have any branches that are growing more vertically, it can be best to trim these as they often don’t produce fruit. Prune branches at a 45º angle with the flat cut facing up.
If you have a potted Meyer lemon tree, it’s best to keep several clusters, or no more than 15 lemons developing at once for best results. If you have a planted and mature tree, you can keep several dozen developing fruit on it and should be fine. Keep in mind, this does vary across several growing conditions, so prune your tree for what works best for your climate and environment.
When to prune a Meyer lemon tree
You can prune a Meyer lemon tree when it is nearing maturity and is healthy. This is usually in the first year or two. Be careful not to over prune and take out healthy branches.
There are also times to prune it when it’s not healthy, such as if some leaves are diseased or moldy, but in general, it can be best to let the tree reach full height (or near it) before starting to prune. Additionally, you can prune if the leaves are yellowing and dying.
Do Meyer lemon trees self-pollinate?
Meyer lemons are self-pollinators, meaning they don’t require another Meyer lemon tree or pollinator such as bees. However, there’s a chance you could increase the success of pollination by keeping another Meyer lemon tree nearby or using a toothbrush to manually pollinate blossoms.
Why do Meyer lemon blossoms fall off?
Blossoms begin to fall off when a Meyer lemon tree is either over, or under-watered, or lacks certain nutrients. The tree sheds the flowers to conserve energy and water consumption to increase the odds of survival. If this happens, consider checking your watering schedule or fertilizer.
For more information about caring for lemon trees, make sure to check out my recent post: Lemon Tree Care: The Complete Guide (Indoor & Outdoor).