Overwintering a lemon tree

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tropical Tom

Overwintering a lemon tree

Post by tropical Tom » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:57 pm

I recently went to Limone on the shores of Lake Garda in Italy. I was determined to bring back a Lemon tree as Limone is famous for it's ancient lemon groves, going back to Roman times. After hunting through every shop there, I finally found one icon_cheers two weeks and 17 euros later it's now repotted and in my conservatory. The tree is about 15" tall and looks very healthy.
My question is this:
Will it be ok over winter in the conservatory? I have heard they can suffer from leaf drop if the leaves get sun but the roots are cold! Also that they need 400hrs of temps below 12degs before the spring to encourage flowering! Can anyone confirm this or give me some sound advice? I would like to try to get it to at least flower next spring/summer.

Thanks in anticipation, Keith. :D

khaskings

Re: Overwintering a lemon tree

Post by khaskings » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:21 pm

We've overwintered lemon trees about 1m tall for the last couple of winters in an 'only just heated' conservatory. They do drop leaves but ours continued to flower throughout, water sparingly too. We did notice that the number of fruit successfully setting dropped too, but nothing that affected the following spring. Look out for mealy bugs and that moth whose larvae wrap themselves in the plants leaves. Besides those 2 minor issues, the next problem was it's wayward growth and keeping it looking neat and tidy!

Mike.

ourarka

Re: Overwintering a lemon tree

Post by ourarka » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:39 pm

I will ditto the caterpillar/moth things!! They only seem to pounce when brought inside. Other than that, leaf drop isn't too much of an issue if you introduce it gradually to the conservatory. My opinion is that it can go pretty chilly so can probably be outside for 10 months a year ... but depends a bit on your local climate. I've certainly never had a problem with it kicking back in to growth, with good flowering, come the Spring.

Adrian

Re: Overwintering a lemon tree

Post by Adrian » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:56 pm

I have many Citrus trees and Ive wintered them for many years now, some go into the conservatory, some in unheated plastic green house (aluminium frame) and I have wintered them outside with fleece and the thin plastic shelving units/mini greenhouses.
By far the best is the unheated greenhouse, never had any damage at all to C. sinensis (orange), Limon or the calamondin orange.
I have a variegated lemon that does suffer but that one is a funny old plant that I should really put out of its misery but I keep with it.
Kumquat seems happy in the heated greenhouse whereas the others will drop leaves in there.
A big calamondin orange standard tree goes into the conservatory but come feb/march time its dropping leaves.
I have a big bush calamondin that came into the conservatory as well last winter as it was absolutely covered in fruit and so was very ornamental, too nice to hide for winter. Too big to get into any of the greenhouses anyway.
Sinensis and Limon are the only ones Ive wintered outside and they were fine, I did have a heating cable at the ready and used it a couple of nights, they actually liked the condensation that these plastic things suffer from.
That last line sums them up, they dont like dry air, definately not central heating.

If they do drop loads of leaves then dont worry as they soon get them back again but of course if you can keep them full of leaves then all the better.

The only Citrus that I have lost through a winter was a lime but I cant remember where I lost it.
I also have a mandarin thats being trained as a half standard that was also fine in the unheated greenhouse.

A good read if you are serious about Citrus is "Growing Citrus" by Martin Page published by Timber Press and will cost you in the region of £20.
Theres also a great little paper back that you might find in the local GC book stand, its in the "success with" range of books and its simply called "Citrus Fruit" costs just £2.99, not as much detail as the first book I mentioned but an absolute must have.

Adrian

Re: Overwintering a lemon tree

Post by Adrian » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:58 pm

Just looking back at Khastings post, if you prune a plant to keep in shape then you sacrifice fruit, they do need keeping in check but try to think two years in advance.

tropical Tom

Re: Overwintering a lemon tree

Post by tropical Tom » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:22 pm

Excellent advice, many thanks (still don't know what I'm going to do tho') :lol:

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