Miniature Meyer Lemon tree in pot
My miniature Meyer lemon tree is about 4 years old. It had many blossoms and they are gradually dropping off and teeny tiny lemons are starting. However, they are turning black and falling off. What is the problem? I did feed the tree Vigaro Citrus food late November. And nitrogen a month before that. What can I do to still get a lemon crop this year?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Most citrus trees will shed fruit if they do not have the nutrients and/or water to support the fruit. You can always expect some fruit drop as the tree evens things out, but if there is a lot of fruit loss, you can fertilize and increase water to the tree to help it keep its remaining fruit. Too much nitrogen fertilizer, however, limits fruit production. Adding more phosphorus should help with this, such as bone meal.
Lemons and limes are similar in their growing conditions and, therefore, the following article should be of some help to you: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/lime/is-lime-fruit-and-lime-blossoms-falling-off-tree-normal.htm
It sounds like you've over-fertilized. Very common in potted plants. I've done it myself. You need to stop your fertilizing until well into Spring and possibly waiting until Summer. Most fertilizer instructions are meant for ground planting and using that amount on potted plants can kill them quickly. I wouldn't put nitrogen on citrus, ever. The Citrus Food has everything your lemon tree needs. Make sure that you follow the instructions exactly for potted citrus. There is probably a phone number to Vigaro on the container.
I know a lot of people think if a little fertilizer is good, a lot must be great. Not so. My mother had potted plants, including dwarf citrus and peaches, that were doing fine and thought she should fertilize them. She had similar issues as you had with dropping small, black fruit so she fertilized more. Unfortunately, she killed all of them!
Part, not all, of her problems were that she didn't have effective drainage holes in the pots either. The plants/trees simply soaked in the fertilizer bath she'd created, burning the root balls. She won't do that again!
She definitely learned the hard way!