October 27, 2022

The Meyer Lemon is believed to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or an orange. It originated in China and was brought to the USA in 1908 by Frank Meyer, a USDA employee working as a plant collector. Sweeter and less acidic than a standard lemon, the Meyer lemon is prized for its intense fragrance and complex flavor. The white flowers are fragrant and loved by bees. 


Meyer lemon trees are a bit sturdier than other varieties of lemon tree. This plant can tolerate colder temperatures better than any other variety of lemon tree and will bear fruit in fall and winter. There are several circumstances, however, that will influence your Meyer lemon tree’s overall life expectancy.


Life Expectancy

 

When grown in ideal conditions, a Meyer lemon tree can live for up to 30 years or more. Factors that negatively impact a Meyer lemon tree’s life expectancy include:

  • Improper soil management
  • Poor irrigation
  • Exposure to long-term disease

When these conditions are left uncorrected, a Meyer lemon tree may suffer from die-back and live for only 10-15 years. 


Ideal Temperatures

 

 

 

Although Meyer lemon trees can withstand cold temperatures better than other lemon tree varieties, citrus generally grows best between 55* and 85* F, with optimal photosynthesis occurring in this temperature range. Cold snaps (especially prolonged exposure to below 44* F) will reduce a Meyer lemon tree’s lifespan. Exposure to extreme heat (104* F and higher) will also be damaging to your tree’s longevity.

 

Physical Damage

 

Another factor to consider is potential wind damage to your Meyer lemon tree. Strong winds can easily damage your tree’s more fragile limbs and damaged branches can potentially have a negative impact on a Meyer lemon tree’s lifespan. With this in mind, plant your tree in a location where it will be wind-protected, if possible. 

 

Pruning

 

Proper Meyer lemon tree maintenance includes regular pruning. Flowers will appear from small shoots that originate where the leaves meet the stem. Flowers will appear sporadically throughout the year, heaviest in the spring. If too much new growth is produced at the branch tips, don’t be shy about cutting it back to a lower position to shorten the tree's height as it begins to re-grow. Maintaining an airy canopy will keep your plant’s leaves, flowers, and fruit dry. This will in turn prevent diseases such as bacterial infections and rot. 

 

For more information on proper care of your Meyer lemon tree, please visit our Meyer Lemon Tree Care page.