I will admit to having been something of a novice when it came to citrus trees, until, way back in December 2019, my other half bought me a dwarf lemon tree. It was a part of my Xmas pressie and bought not just as a thoughtful gift but also a jest, as this tiny tree had 3 large lemons which, he insisted, would see me through Christmas for G&Ts.
Once Christmas was over and lemons duly used up I made the newbie mistake of keeping the plant in the dining room and was alarmed when the leaves started to drop. Some reading around informed me that citrus trees, despite coming from warmer climes, don’t like centrally heated rooms.
With the application of some citrus feed it was moved to our tiny unheated conservatory and did recover. I also followed advice from online sources and put the tree out on the garden table for the summer months.
It thrived, and perfumed the Courtyard on the warmest days, right up until it was brought back inside in September complete with several green fruits.
Looking at it this week I noted that my lemon had grown well but outwards rather than upwards, and was taking up a lot of space for its height. In reading on how I could make it a better shape all of the books talked about leaving the ‘lead’ stem untouched; something my poor lemon tree did not possess. The growers had kept the tiny tree compact by snipping off the branches including the lead shoot, so that it was really more of a sprawling bush.
Stealing a strong thin cane from one of my dormant orchids I eased one branch as upright as I dared stress it without snapping the branch or disturbing the roots.
I clipped this new lead stem in place and voila – further persuasion and trimming will be required but that lemon bush is almost a tree – with several fruits still to ripen!