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Video: Indoor Lemon - Growing Rules
Features of growing indoor lemon in pots or tubs
In Russia, indoor citrus growing dates back almost three hundred years, because lemons were brought to the country even under Peter I. And now we have many amateurs growing this evergreen fruiting plant in a room or on an insulated loggia in pots or tubs.
The perennial lemon tree blooms quite abundantly, but its flowers, as a rule, are not striking, since during this period they are usually completely covered with leaves. But you instantly feel that the air of the room is filled with a fabulous aroma.
And even if you enter a room with a large set of indoor plants, then in this case the hard leathery shiny leaves of the lemon tree immediately attract attention, even if it has not yet started flowering. And even if this plant is "wild", i.e. not grafted, it is still unusually decorative, because it has beautiful emerald shiny leaves.
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And it is no coincidence, apparently, in countries where citrus crops are grown, the bride is decorated with a large wreath of flowering lemon or orange branches for a wedding. By the way, if we see blooming apple orchards from afar - three to four hundred meters away, then the fragrance of a blooming grove of lemons, presumably, spreads for many kilometers.
Admittedly, growing lemons at home is not easy. First, for this it is desirable to have a sufficiently spacious room with good lighting. Secondly, homemade lemon requires more attention than regular indoor flowers. But at the same time, it has many advantages over them: more hardy and durable; the whole plant smells good, releasing volatile essential oils that ozonize the surrounding air.
In indoor conditions, the oldest trees reach a height of 1.5 m, although in large rooms with huge light windows, lemons grow up to 3 m or more.
Growing lemon fruits is a rather long and painstaking process, so you need to be patient in advance to wait until the lemon tree finally gains strength and blooms, and good-sized fruits form from the flowers.
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When growing homemade lemon, it is imperative to take into account its biological and varietal characteristics, know the agrotechnical methods of cultivation, methods of its propagation and measures to protect against numerous pests and diseases.
Hopefully, after reading this article, the number of people growing this magnificent plant at home will grow significantly. Having started a lemon garden at home, in a few years you will be able to treat relatives and friends with your own grown lemon fruits. After all, a normally formed five to seven-year-old lemon tree can give a citrus-lover from 15 to 50 fruits per year (depending on the variety).
Lemon is a small tree or shrub with strong, usually thorny branches. At the tops of its young shoots, the color is purple-violet. Leaves are oval, oblong, serrated; have many glands containing essential oil. Their change on the plant occurs gradually (as they age): the leaf lives for about 2-3 years. Lemon flowers are bisexual, arranged one at a time, in pairs or in small clusters, they are large (4-5 cm in diameter).
The bud grows and develops for about five weeks, the flower blooms for at least 7-9 weeks. The period of growth and development of the fruit from setting (falling of flower petals) to the beginning of ripening under indoor conditions during the spring flowering of the plant can last up to 230 days. In the summer (optimal temperature and better lighting), this period is reduced to 180-200 days.
If in the first year a young, recently grafted tree gives flowers, they should be cut off (better when they are still in buds) so that the plant does not waste its energy and preserves them for further normal development. With secondary flowering, the buds are no longer removed; most often, the tree itself decides how much it can "feed" the fruits, and how many "extra" flowers it needs to drop.
It is recommended to allow flowering and fruiting of a lemon if it has at least 20 full leaves.
Fruits on lemon are formed both with pollination of flowers and without pollination - parthenocarpically (in this case, seeds are not formed in the fruits). Lemon fruits are oval or egg-shaped. When ripe, their skin acquires a light yellow color and a strong lemon scent. Their flesh is usually greenish, divided into 9-14 slices, very juicy and sour. Seeds of irregular ovoid shape, white, covered with a parchment-like shell.
There is a close relationship between the number of fruits and the number of leaves on the tree. It has been established that for the normal growth and development of each lemon fruit, the crown of the tree must have at least 9-10 mature (physiologically active) leaves.
When growing lemons, care for the plant should be such that leaves do not crumble from it. Most often this happens during the winter. The condition of lemon trees can be judged by the degree of their foliage: the more healthy leaves on a tree, the better it grows and bears fruit. Without leaves, the plant will not be able to bear fruit: if, under unfavorable conditions, the lemon loses many leaves, then the next year it will not form fruit. Therefore, the main task in winter is to preserve the leaf apparatus of the tree.
The full ripening of lemons is fully evidenced by their characteristic intensely golden peel, the color of which is given by carotenoids - sources of vitamin A. After full ripening, the fruits, as a rule, do not fall off, they continue to grow in the next year. But, increasing in size, they at the same time worsen their qualities (the peel thickens strongly, the pulp dries up and becomes flabby, the juice becomes less acidic).
Under normal conditions, lemon grows, blooms and bears fruit throughout the year, therefore, the same plant can simultaneously have ripe fruits, young ovaries, flowers and buds. The period required for fruit ripening, and it begins from the moment they are set, largely depends on the period of flowering and setting.
Fruit ripening during lemon flowering in the summer months occurs 1-2 months faster than in the spring. The time from setting to ripening of fruits can vary widely (7-14 months). Experienced amateur flower growers know how to regulate the timing of lemon flowering, skillfully applying various techniques, for example, temporary drying of the tree.
Thus, a tree dried up (to the initial degree of wilting of leaves) stops growth and flowering and enters a forced dormancy in which craftsmen can keep it for some time. If after this they give abundant watering, then the lemon begins vigorous growth and profuse flowering.
When growing a lemon in a tub culture, it is very important to achieve its dwarfism, especially since the lemon tends to form very powerful, long (not branching only at the top) branches, so it will need to be cut regularly: without this, the shoots make the crown very voluminous. According to experts, it is advisable to prune all strong growths of a tree after 5-6 leaves, which makes the crown more compact, mechanically strong and productive. Systematic care is also required for the roots (as a rule, it is carried out during transplantation), since they provide the vital activity of the plant. With abnormal development of the root system, lemon growth is inhibited, the color of the leaves changes, etc.
The life span of indoor lemon under favorable conditions can be quite long. For example, I saw in the city of Pushkin a wonderful almost three-meter 30-year-old tree, it grows in a greenhouse and is, one might say, in its prime. Several hundred fruits hang on it at the same time.
A significant role in reducing the longevity of plants is usually played by their diseases and pests. If the owners treat their pet lemon caringly, like a family member, then under favorable conditions the tree's lifespan may well be 35-45 years.
Being a southern plant, the lemon tree will definitely give a good harvest of fruits in indoor conditions, if it is provided with good care and all the conditions necessary for normal life. But I will note right away: it has rather high requirements for heat, moisture and light.
The optimum temperature for the growth of lemon leaves and shoots is about 17 ° C, and for the development of fruits 21 … 22 ° C. Very high air temperatures are harmful to lemon, the plant reacts especially negatively if the temperature rises sharply with a simultaneous low relative humidity. This happens in the spring months and early summer - it is caused by a sharp warming outside. A similar phenomenon can lead to the fall of flowers and ovaries, and a strong temperature drop in the autumn and winter months - and foliage.
Soil temperature should also be close to air temperature; especially harmful is a sharp lag of soil temperature from air temperature. This happens when a tub lemon, which has stood for a long time in the summer and even in the fall in the open air, is immediately brought into a warm living room when it gets cold. He sometimes responds by shedding foliage.
Lemon is sensitive to fluctuations in humidity in the room. It reacts negatively to its deficiency, which is most dangerous (especially at high temperatures) during flowering and fruit setting. This causes shedding of flowers and ovaries. Some experts believe that the higher the air humidity, the longer the life of lemon leaves.
Lemon is a plant of short daylight hours; he quite tolerates the lack of sunlight. With a long daylight hours, its growth is enhanced, and fruiting is delayed. The most favorable for indoor growing are windows on the south and east sides. On the south side, it receives a lot of light in summer, but it should be shaded with a gauze curtain from direct sunlight (this is especially important during the midday hours). Some experts consider the eastern side to be universal: its morning sunbeams, although bright, are not so scorching, and such lighting is enough for plants.
So that a one-sided tree does not grow, it is recommended to turn the box with the plant every half month at a small angle. Although due to this procedure, the growth of shoots and leaves is somewhat inhibited (lemon is very sensitive to changes in lighting and rearrangement from place to place), but the plant is formed of the correct shape.
Other experts advise making turns of about 10 ° every 10 days: then it will take a year for the plant to rotate completely. It should also be borne in mind that lemon is sensitive to a sudden change in lighting: as its intensity decreases, the size of new leaves increases.
During the winter period, the lemon will not be disturbed by daylight (5-6 hours) with a fluorescent lamp (or a 100-150 W incandescent lamp), which is placed at a height of 60-80 cm above the plant.
The period from October to March is the most difficult for plants, due to non-compliance with the conditions of detention during this period, they often die. In winter, with battery heating, the air in the room is dry, so it is better to move the plants away from the heating devices (sometimes the batteries are covered with damp cloth); you can spray the leaf surface with a spray bottle. However, it must be remembered that excessive spraying of the leaf surface, especially the Meyer variety, can contribute to the development of fungal diseases. It also does not hurt to keep water on the surface of the soil in a pot (or nearby) in a wide bowl for evaporation. In summer, it is advisable to rinse the leaves under the shower at least once every 1-2 weeks or gently wipe them with a damp cloth so that they are clean and breathe deeply.
The lemon tree has been grown in the same soil for several years, therefore, a substrate that is correctly selected for it, as well as fertilizing with fertilizer mixtures, is of great importance for its normal life. We'll talk about this later.
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