I Might Have Gone Too Far

I normally would have started bringing my houseplants back inside by now, it is September after all, but we’re getting a warm spell this week so my plants get to enjoy the natural sunshine for a bit longer. I did start preparing them for their trip inside though, and for my lemon that means a major pruning, partly for the health of the plant but mainly so I can fit it through the back door.

My potted lemon

My potted lemon (ignore the BBQ and accessories in the background)

I think I might have pruned it a little too much. It doesn’t look too bad right now…

… but then there’s this. I think I removed more than half the leaves.

Pink Croc for scale

Pink Croc for scale

To be fair, it really needed it. It was so bushy that there would have been no airflow in and around the leaves, a recipe for a sick plant down the road. Plus it was lopsided and nowhere near tree-shaped. I’m sure it will spring back, and hopefully it won’t take too long doing so.

In the meantime I was able to pick eight (yes, 8!) yummy lemons. I know they look like limes, but they’re the size of lemons, they smell like lemons, and they taste like lemons, so I’m calling them lemons.

Delicious lemons

Delicious lemons

I’ve already made a strawberry lemon cake (using strawberries from my garden), and lemon squares will soon follow.

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7 thoughts on “I Might Have Gone Too Far

  1. Oh my gosh! I didn’t know you had a lemon! I have so many questions… starting with: did you grow it from seed or a cut off an older tree?

    I sprouted around 14 seeds this summer, a few didn’t make it once potted but now I’ve got about seven nice sprouts, three of which I’ve moved to larger pots, but by the looks of your pots, their new homes might not be big enough!

    Should I be cutting the newly sprouted stems down like you do with avocados to thicken the “trunk” or just let them grow?

    • I bought this one as a plant a few years ago; I’m pretty sure it was a cutting from an older tree that was then grafted onto dwarf rootstock. It started out in a much smaller pot and I moved it up a size every few years as needed. This is the last pot it’s getting though, it just barely fits through our door!

      I did have some grapefruit plants that I started from seed, so I’m going to assume most citrus will be fairly similar. I cut the stems down to thicken the trunk but this made them more like a bush than a tree – I would still recommend cutting them, but I would let them get taller before doing so (I think I cut them when they had around 6 true leaves, but I think if I were doing it again I would let it get at least a foot high before cutting it). They made gorgeous plants but I’ve read that when growing them from seed it will be years before they flower/fruit – if ever. I had mine for about 3 years or so but I got rid of them last winter because I was running out of space inside for all my houseplants. And just a note, both my lemon and my grapefruit had some serious thorns on them.

      • None of my lemons are anywhere near a foot high yet, the oldest lemon is probably four inches high! But my two year old avocado is about four and a half feet tall, I’m quite proud of it!

        I didn’t know citrus trees had thorns on them! Is it true that the leaves smell like the fruit? I don’t mind not getting fruit if the leaves are slightly scented!

      • Wow – that avocado is impressive! I think my grapefruit were about 4 or 5 inches when I pinched them back and I really wished I had let them get taller, but you’ll know best when your plants are ready 🙂 And I had no idea about the thorns either until I had my own plants. They do smell lovely, especially the new leaves, but it’s not a strong smell. It’s kind of like an herb in that I had to rub the leaves before I got any scent from them.

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