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Hyacinth Plant

Q.Meyer Lemon Tree

Zone Heflin, Alabama - zone 7 | annewright1 added on October 26, 2017 | Answered

I have had this tree outside, growing beautifully and it is about frost time, so I just brought inside. It is actually in it’s first year and is approximately 36 inches tall, beautiful bright green leaves, no fruit as yet. Problem: plant has some thorns that have developed on stems as of late and I do not know what it is or why. Can you explain?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on October 27, 2017

Almost all young citrus produce thorns in there first few years. Some will even keep these permanently. I am concerned, as Meyer lemons are one of the few that will rarely ever produce large thorns. This leads me to believe one of a few different things: Did you plant this from seed? If so, you may not likely have a Meyer lemon. Many citrus are pollinated with wild citrus for better fruit set. If this is a seed, then you could be looking at anywhere between 3 and 10 years to even see the first flowers. If this is a seed from a fruit you have eaten, then it is very likely that the tree will not be the same as the fruit you have gotten it from.

If this tree is a young graft purchased somewhere, I would then be inclined to question whether the scion has died off, and the original rootstock has grown back. In this case it will more than likely be a wild fruit as well.

In the wild, citrus have thorns for protection. In care of a gardener these are not totally necessary. You can cut these thorns off at any time.

If you can provide pictures that clearly show the size of the thorns, the leaf structure (some citrus are winged at the base of the leaves, and others are not) then I can better assist you in determining what is going on here.

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