Why can’t my Bearss Lime Tree just talk?!
I've read through all of the articles and waffled back and forth multiple times on what is going wrong with my Bearss Lime Tree. I purchased it from the nursery in March (3 months ago), came home and replanted it the same day and ever since it has just steadily declined. I planted it in a soil mix meant for Citrus in as large of a pot as I could buy from the store. At first, I soaked the tree every 2 weeks based on an article I read that suggested as much. I noticed that the tree started dropping leaves like crazy. So, then, I stopped watering it entirely, worrying that it may have root rot and the best solution would be to allow the soil to dry out as much as possible before watering again. At this point, ALL leaves had dropped, but I had some hope as some new baby leaves started growing on one of the highest branches. THEN, I read an article that says NEVER let your soil dry out entirely. So I tested the little tree by giving it just a spritz of water yesterday, hoping it would not soak the potentially damaged roots, but maybe give the tree some needed moisture. Now, today, the tree is dropping the few leaves that had started to grow! Even though the soil is still bone dry! The only solution I can think is that the planter I have only has one large hole in the middle of the bottom of the container. To help with air flow I have turned the base upside down and slightly propped up the container to allow more air flow under the hole. But is there any information on a minimum number of drainage holes required in a planter or something? I can't find anything. All you see online is "get a planter with good drainage", "select a container with good drainage", "good drainage", blah blah blah drainage. Can we get some specifics here? Please help a dying Bearss lime tree.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
It does seem to be a watering issue. First thing, if you think the base of the pot is waterlogged, I would replace the soil. I don't know how big the original container was, but the rule of thumb when transplanting is to just go up one or two sizes in the pots. If the pot is too large, too much water will be retained. While you have the plant out of the pot, add 4 to 6 more holes in the bottom. One is not enough. Also you can buy clay feet to elevate your pot for more drainage. Is your pot indoors or out? It looks like it is on a patio, so you don't need the saucer. If you will bring it indoors in the fall, you can add the saucer back, but make sure water does not sit in it.
Get on a regular watering regimen again. Our articles say to keep soil moist but not soggy. Let it dry a bit between waterings. Then water enough to bring water out the drainage holes. Also remember your plant may be in some transplant shock, too, so that could be part of the reason for leaf drop. Here are more articles that should help: