Species: C. × meyeri
The Meyer lemon, called Citrus or Meyer is a fruit of the citrus and inhabits China. Considered as a crossbreed of pure lemon and either a normal orange or a mandarin, it was Frank Nicholas Meyer, an agricultural explorer of the United States, who introduced this tree; he was employed in the United States in the Department of Agriculture. On his way to China, he gathered a sample of this plant. In the year 1980, he found this plant grown in pots as ornamental domestic plants in China. This Meyer lemon tree, very soon gained fame in the places where citrus was grown in that country, but unfortunately, they became an asymptomatic transporter of the virus which was dangerous to the other citrus plants; this led to the destruction of many of them.
In China, we see the Meyer lemon plants generally grown in garden pots as an ornamental plant. At the termination of the 1990s, during the California Cuisine revolution, chefs in the United States rediscovered it as a famous food product when Martha Stewart started making it prominent in her recipes.
The Meyer lemon tree (Citrus x meyeri), on account of its size, is convenient to grow indoors. This tree, loves sunlight; it is self-pollinating, and bears fruit as long as you give it sufficient sunlight and care. In case you are fortunate, it gives you few tangy citrus with flavor for your kitchen.
Meyer plants are productive, compact and hardy, as such, it is well known as an ornamental tree. It is ideal for growing in containers and excellent for decoration.
When fully mature, a Citrus x Meyer tree grows to a height of 6 to 10 ft. (2 to 3 m). You can even prune it to a shorter height. They have glossy green colored leaves. The flowers of this plant are fragrant and colored white with the base purple.
The fruit of the Meyer lemon is yellow in color and perfectly globular when compared to the real lemon. It has a thin skin which is fragrant and of color dark yellow with an orange hue at the ripened state. The flavor of the Meyer lemon is less acidic and sweeter when you compare it to those at the famous European supermarkets. The pulp of the Meyer lemon is deep yellow, and every fruit has 10 seeds in them.
- Here is the gourmet of lemons.
- The taste of the Meyer lemon is perfect and more or less floral, however, resembles a perfect lemon in flavor.
- The Meyer lemon is sweeter and less acidic, compared to the real lemons.
- The fruit of the Meyer lemon is very juicy but seedy.
Growing at Home
The most important aspect to take into consideration while caring for the Meyer lemon tree is searching for the ideal place for your tree, irrespective of whether it is in or a container or for your garden. For proper growth, a Meyer lemon needs a minimum of 6 hours sunlight. When it is extremely hot in summer, morning sun and noon’s shade are ideal for the growth of Meyer lemons.
Soil for Planting
Plant your Meyer lemon in soil that is loamy, because it flourishes well in that kind of soil, however it grows well in the majority of soils. In case your tree is short, a 1 gallon pot will be sufficient. If it is fully grown or has reached full growth, then you need a 5 gallon pot of height 6 to 10 ft.
While growing the Meyer lemon, take into consideration the proper drainage of the soil. Even then the soil has to retain sufficient moisture. In between your watering, place it in the sun for a while for drying.
While planting, prepare a superficial water basin right round the Meyer lemon plant. This is done by making a wall with the dirt of height 3 to 4 inches and encircling the plant in a circle of diameter 2 ft. Fill this shallow pit with water in a gap of 3 to 4 days.
Keep the Meyer lemon tree close to the window where sunlight strikes. Similar to all citrus trees, the Meyer lemon tree too thrives where total sunlight is available daily for around 6 hours.
2 weeks following planting, cut down watering, fill the shallow basin only once in 10 days. After a few months, the Meyer lemon tree gets firmly rooted and set, then it needs watering only once in 2 weeks.
Temperature and Humidity
Citrus x meyeri is, to some extent, hardy, and it flourishes in climates that are warm. In case you intend planting it in pots, and then maintain the room temperature comparatively cool. At day time, 65°F is appropriate and at night time, 55 to 60°F is a good option. In summer, it becomes difficult to maintain these temperatures because you would need cool using energy (like A/Cs for example).
- When compared to several limes or lemons, Meyer lemon trees are hardy.
- In short, the Meyer lemon tree is more resistant to heat than the majority of citrus.
- Even though this tree survives at a temperature of 32°F, the appropriate temperature is between 50 to 80° F.
Flowering and Maturing
Photo by: Pimpinellus
In order to enhance production, growth and flowering, your Meyer lemon tree needs frequent fertilizers. Beginning from the initial new growth during spring and after the tree has ceased producing fruits, stop adding fertilizers. In the commencing year of planting, add 0.4 pounds of 6-6-6 fertilizer, and apply it in 5 equal portions. When the third year begins, add 1.9 pounds of fertilizer, apply in 4 equal portions. When the 4th year begins, add 4.4 pounds of fertilizer and apply them thrice. Further add 6.1 pounds divided into 3 equal applications and for the 5th year and every following year hence.
In order to enrich its nutritive level, once in every 6 to 8 weeks in spring, mix a citrus fertilizer along with the pot’s soil. When summer approaches, cease fertilization. Based on the size of the pot and that of the tree, add the required amount of fertilizer as given in the package’s instructions.
From spring to fall, when the tree is growing, frequently supply your citrus plant, either with a gradual release all-purpose fertilizer or a high nitrogen fertilizer. Citrus trees react to situations when extra “foliar’ food (a method of plant applying a liquid fertilizer to the leaves directly) is added with a liquid fertilizer such as liquid kelp of fish emulsion or compost tea.
Every alternate day, inspect the dampness of the soil. In case to feel the surface dry, insert your finger into the soil to a depth of 3 inches and see whether it is damp further down. In case it is damp, then water the soil the next day. On the contrary, if it is dry, add 4 to 6 cups of water. Inspect the soil once again and investigate if it is damp still further down. If it is not damp there, then add further 2 cups of water. And so on.
When the small lemon fruits are the size of a marble, prune them to one or two clusters. In order to grow large size lemons, prune them prior to development of fruits and retain only one bud in a cluster; discard all the rest.
Pest and Pesticides
Meyer lemon trees are attacked by pests such as leaf borers and aphids leading to the development of stress and other issues that makes the tree week and lessen the production of fruits. During spring when the citrus pests begin to act, methods of defending against them should commence. Maintain hygiene by picking up the lemon fruits that have dropped on the ground and maintaining a garden free of weeds. If you observe any pest, spray standard horticulture oil or spray insecticidal soap. This will get rid of the majority of the pests.
- The Meyer lemon tree is liable to the attack of the suspected pests such as aphids and citrus leaf miner.
- Aphids are destroyed easily with a spray of horticulture oil, but, the mix of leaf miner works well on the aphids.
- Every kind of plant bug is eradicated by the great Tangle foot, which is a very good treatment. The sap suckers have hardly any opportunity to escape from the tangle foot or one or two combo of spray. The greatest advantage of this treatment is that it is not a toxic pesticide.
- In spite of contrary information, citrus roots are eaten by the gophers. It is possible for them to make your tree dead, therefore fabricate a gopher cage to trap the gophers.
- Sometimes, you observe little dark holes on the rear side of certain lemons that touch the ground while ripening. Taking into consideration the thick growth of the Meyer lemon tree, it is possible for some fruits touch the ground. Notwithstanding what is digging into the fruit from below, it does not penetrate into the fruit. It takes place just for some fruits that touch the ground. Those fruits hanging from the branches at a distance from the ground are not affected, so preventing it from reaching the ground will be advisable.
Harvest Month and Storage
Harvesting is quite vigorous; trees that develop from seeds start bearing fruit in 4 years and produce thousands of lemons. When fruits are produced all the year round, many of the crops are ready for harvesting in winter.
In case your lemon tree is kept indoors during winter, it takes about one year for ripening, This is because citrus fruits get ripened so long as they are on the tree, therefore be certain that your fruit is ripe before you pluck it. When the Meyer lemon fruits are ripe, they turn yellow in color like the color of the yoke of an egg. And it is a bit soft to touch. The best way of fruit picking is by clipping it with a knife or scissors so that you do not damage the fruit by plucking a big piece and destroying it.
- The tree bears fruit throughout the year, but much of the crop gets ripe in winter,
- They are inclined to bear fruits on alternate years. (which means, they yield a good crop on alternate years).
The Medicinal and Therapeutic uses of Lemon
Lemons have several Therapeutic uses of extremely important nature. Their cooling, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-scorbutic (regarding scurvy) anti-periodic (preventing recurring of infections) properties and their work as astringents, carminatives and rubefacients (that bring inside heat to the surface) are extremely important to the human body and helpful in treating several maladies.
Many people consume lemon internally for its anti-inflammatory features. Its function as a diuretic in promoting body cleansing by promoting perspiration is beyond dispute. Lemon is really a great citrus fruit with several health promoting activities like strengthening the immune system of the body, encouraging appetite, aiding in digestion and relieving pains and cramps are but some of its special features. Lemon, they say, also plays an important part in dilating blood vessels.
Apart from all this, lemon is known as a provider of Vitamin C that can considerably free your body from the free radicals that cause muscle problems and even constrictions of the airways leading to hassles like asthma. The lemon is also an ideal fruit that helps the immune system from various attacks of infections, cold and flu.
Recipes using Meyer Lemon
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Until a few years ago many considered the Meyer Lemon as redundant and available only in some obscure markets. Today, most markets are full of this citrus fruit, which peaks from November to March. The juicy, plump Meyer Lemon that is a cross between a Mandarin orange and lemon is excellent for manufacturing marmalades of extraordinary flavor.
All you need for Meyer Lemon Marmalade are 6 Mayer lemons, 4 cups of sugar, half teaspoon of baking soda, and quarter teaspoon of butter (unsalted). Do not add any preservatives or colors. Here are the steps that you should follow for a yummy bottle of Marmalade.
Set the sugar aside in the separate bowl.
Cut the lemon zest into lengthwise strips.
Transfer the strips to another container, add 2.5 cups water plus a little baking soda boil it and leave to cool.
Now cut off the pith of the lemon, cut the lemon into segments, squeeze and release the lemon juice in the segments into a bowl (you should have nearly a cup).
Now add the juices and the segments to the pot after removing the seeds.
Add butter and a dash of pectin into the bowl and, stirring steadily, bring to boil.
Now add the 2.5 cups of sugar to the pot and again bring to boil with constant stirring.
Remove the slurry from the surface, leave to cool and then package into containers.