They gradually mature and gain sweetness; in fact, the fruit may take as long as nine months to ripen. Once the fruit is mature, it can be left on the tree for a few weeks, but it does not ripen more. So first off, the lemons may not be turning yellow because they have not been ripening on the tree long enough.
While lemon trees can tolerate a range of soils, including poor soil, most prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Lemon trees should be set slightly higher than ground. Therefore, dig a hole somewhat shallower than the length of the root ball. Place the tree in the hole and replace soil, tamping firmly as you go.
Lemons and other citrus plants ripen on the tree; once you pick a lemon, it will no longer ripen. If you picked an under-ripe lemon, you may have some success with leaving it in a bright location until it turns yellow, but you won't be able to make the lemon taste sweeter.
A Meyer lemon tree grown on its natural roots can reach between 10 and 15 feet tall, while true lemon trees can grow as tall as 20 feet. A shorter tree does not mean fewer or smaller fruits. Meyer lemon fruits have a diameter of approximately 3 inches, close in size to the fruit of true lemon trees.
If Limes are allowed to fully ripen on the tree, they actually turn from green to yellow. Because of this, some people believe (erroneously) that Limes are just unripe Lemons. Whereas, truth to tell, even the Lemons that we buy are unripe Lemons. Limes have more sugar and citric acid than do lemons.
Whether grown in a container or planted in the ground, Meyer lemon growing requires at least six hours of sunlight. In the hottest summer areas, morning sun and afternoon shade is best for growing Meyer lemons. Start with a healthy tree, grafted onto a hardy rootstock.
Whole or cut, lemons stay good indefinitely in the freezer, but their quality suffers since the fruit's flesh can turn mushy. You can still use the juice, though. Lemons that have gone bad may not yet have visible mold growing on them, but they may have other signs of spoilage: Brown or soft spots on the skin.
Limes and lemons are from the same citrus fruit family, rich in vitamin C but different in color. Limes are green and smaller, whereas lemons are yellow and big in size. Despite the difference in flavor, color and size; limes and lemons have the same nutritional benefits and are low in calories.
Most true lemons have sharp thorns lining the twigs, although some hybrids are almost thornless, such as 'Eureka.' The second most popular citrus fruit, the lime, also has thorns. Thornless cultivars are available, but supposedly lack flavor, are less productive and are thus less desirable.
If the plant does bloom but still fails to fruit, this might be because the tree is not old enough. Lemon tree fruiting occurs at three to five years old, depending upon the rootstock.
Variety. "Eureka" lemons can often be picked year round, but the primary season of harvest is from late winter to early summer. The "Lisbon" variety also produces fruit sporadically throughout the year, though the main season is in winter and early spring.
Citrus trees feed heavily on nitrogen. Your fertilizer should have more nitrogen (N) than phosphorous (P) or potassium (K). Use at least a 2-1-1 ratio. Miracid Soil Acidifier is a water-soluble product that works well and is a 3-1-1 ratio.
Don't wait too long to pick your lemons — the fruit's flavor will deteriorate if left on the tree too long.
- Place a ladder on stable ground under the lemon tree.
- Twist fully yellow lemons from the tree and place them in a bucket.
- Cut the stems of green lemons that are 1 1/2 to 2 inches long.
Lemon trees (Citrus limon) love warm temperatures. The trees are thought to have originated in India and are usually grown in warmer climates, such as in Italy, California and Florida. If you live in an area that gets frost each year, you can grow a lemon tree in a container.
Limes will actually turn yellow when fully ripe. They develop sugars and are actually quite delicious in the yellow stage. Pick and eat in early fall for green fruit. Lemons are green as they develop, turning yellow when first ripe.
Lemons. The tart fruits of the lemon tree (Citrus limon) are damaged when temperatures drop below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Blossoms and young fruit die at 29 degrees. When temperatures reach 22 to 24 degrees, the tree's leaves are damaged and will drop.
When to Harvest a Lemon. Lemons are ready to pick as soon as they are yellow or yellow green in appearance and firm. The fruit will be 2 to 3 inches in size. It's better to wait until they are the right size and not worry so much about color than to wait for them to be completely yellow.
- Moisten the potting soil so that it is damp, but not soaked, all the way through.
- Fill the smaller pot with soil, all the way up to an inch below the rim.
- Cut open your lemon and remove a seed.
- Do not delay to plant.
- Spray the soil that is directly above the seed gently with water from a spray bottle.
Acidifying Mulches. The best soil pH for growing lemon trees and other citrus is 6.5, according to University of California Riverside Research Facility. If your soil has a higher pH, use mulches that acidify the soil, like pine needles or coffee grounds. Regularly test your soil's pH to avoid making it too acidic.
But lemons are another story. And although it may take anywhere from 3-6 years for your tree to be capable of producing fruit, there is something extra rewarding about starting from seed.
You can see the yellow pollen grains in the sacks, called anthers, at the top of the filaments. To accomplish hand pollination of your lemon tree flowers, you transfer ripe pollen to the sticky stigma. You can manually pollinate lemons in this manner with a small paint brush or a bird feather.