Citrus × meyeri
Common Name: meyer lemon 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rutaceae
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11 where this small citrus tree will grow well in sandy, neutral, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. It has the best winter hardiness of any of the lemon-type fruits. Best performance occurs in full sun. Provide consistent and regular watering. Avoid wet poorly drained soils. When grown outside, this tree will bear fruit year around in warm temperatures, however it may slip into dormancy if winter temperatures dip significantly below 55F. It will tolerate brief temperatures around 32 F., but generally does not tolerate frost. This plant thrives in climates where daily temperatures range from low 70s F. in the daytime to high 50s F. at night. Elsewhere it may be grown in containers as a houseplant. Use an all purpose potting mix. Set container outdoors in late spring in full sun in a location protected from wind. Bring pot indoors in fall for overwintering in a bright sunny southern window. Mist plants with water almost daily in winter. Indoor plants usually fruit in spring. Hand pollination may be needed for indoor plants due to the lack of insects. New plants may be easily grown from cuttings.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Citrus, x meyeri, commonly called Meyer’s lemon, is native to China. It was introduced into the U.S. by Frank Meyer who reportedly found the plant in 1908 near Peking, China. It is believed to be a hybrid cross of Citrus limon (lemon) and Citrus reticulata (mandarin orange). It is less acidic, juicier and sweeter than common lemons. Trees typically grow to 6-10’ tall. Shiny dark green leaves are evergreen. Waxy, fragrant, white flowers appear year around in warm climates. Large rounded yellow fruit (to 3” diameter) with smooth, thin skin lacks the rough texture and pronounced nipple of the true lemon. Original Meyer lemon trees were symptomless carriers of a virus (tristeza) that killed other citrus family trees. Those original trees were mostly destroyed and replaced with a virus-free variety that today is referred to as improved Meyer lemon. Not much commercial growth of this fruit is done because the fruits are thin skinned and ship poorly.

Genus name is from classical Latin.

Specific epithet honors Frank Meyer.

Problems

Susceptible to anthracnose, scab, sooty mold, greasy spot, canker and gummosis. Potential insect pests include aphids, thrips, cutworms, leafrollers, mealybugs, scales and whiteflys. Watch for mites. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Excellent small tree for fruit production. Ornamentally attractive around homes or patios. May be grown as a houseplant.