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What is going on with my lemon tree?

So this is my lemon tree:


 It's been doing this for years. Producing a few leaves, but nothing else. What exactly is going on here?

Does anyone have any advice to wake it up a bit?


Thank you image


  • How frequently is it repotted?  Does it ever go outside?

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Does it get fed with citrus feed?  Does it get more light than we can see here?  So much depends where you live.  It is possible to grow lemons in this country, but it is hard work, and they do need alot of attention and care.  It is always a god idea to think where plants originate when trying to grow them, and see how closely you can replicate those conditions.  Sadly with the best will in the world, hot sunshine for several months in the summer is not usually given to us here!

  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    I have two dwarf orange trees that sit on the windowsill in the bedroom. They have as much sun as you can get in Yorkshire and I've noticed seem to appreciate the heat from the radiator as they're both green and bushy and one is producing the most beautiful of flowers.

    In June one of them suffered a massive citrus feed overdose when one of the little drop feeders I'd been happily buying from Homebase decided to empty itself in the space of not many hours. The reason I'm telling you this is because all of the leafs dropped off over the following week except for two and it looked just like yours. It stayed like this for a month as I tried to work out what best to do. Each time it perked up I would water it only to flood it with feed and any new leafs would drop off again. Could this be happening to yours and why it hasn't perked up with the seasons?

    I went to a garden centre and brought special citrus compost and repotted the plant in a pot several sizes up having first knocked off as much of the old soil as possible to remove the contaminated soil (I also ended up buying another dwarf orange tree for £1 as they'd over watered it and its leafs had also dropped off).

    I've no idea how often you water yours or whether you use citrus feeds or not (mine only get watered when the leafs start to curl slightly (about once a week) as they both suffered a period of over watering which they did not appreciate and I'm currently only even them a half dose of feed every three months) but giving it some new soil, finding the warmest sunniest place in the house or conservatory and perhaps trimming down any dead wood would certainly be a good start.

    One thing I noticed with my orange trees which might be true of citrus in general is that they don't seem to do much for a long time so it might be wise not to expect to see changes in a month. BUT - once they do get going they go crazy!!


    I'll try and find out some photographs of my little tree and how it changed if you like.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,442

    I would give it a hard prune to get rid of the straggly bits. Then repot into citrus compost in a larger pot. water with rainwater wherever possible. Put it outside in a sunny position from late may until late September. When you bring it in, keep it away from radiators and give it as much light as possible. A frost free conservatory would be the best place to overwinter.

  • ClaringtonClarington Posts: 4,949

    Phillippa I've had little oranges off both of them (one has produced lots of buds after I delicately tried to fertilise them with a paint brush which I'm hoping will turn into oranges) but I'm afraid I lost the labels as to what varieties they are (they're both ever so slightly different) so I have never eaten any just kept them as decoration.

    One was flowering over Christmas and I was so upset that I missed the best of its display! (Because of the rough year they had I kept them over a radiator to try and boost their growth rather than let them hibernate. Fortunately our radiators don't pump out too much heat as to over stimulate them as we're tight fisted!)

    Fidget you've just reminded me - I was told always to water them with rain water that had been allowed to sit in the room for half an hour so it was the same temperature as the soil. I've no idea if this makes a difference but I've always done it!

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