Here is what my Meyer Lemon Tree looks like:

enter image description here

No leaves anymore. Is there a chance that it will ever revive itself?

6 Answers 6


Scrape back the skin of the bark with your fingernail - do it near the base of the plant. If what's beneath is dry and brown, its dead - if there's any green or moisture, then it might recover - though not if you leave it sitting in water.


You've said it seems green inside and you've removed it from the standing water. It needs warm temperatures and sunlight, but it will not like being sited in a window which has a radiator or heat source directly beneath - I can't tell if there is one. Water only when the surface of the compost feels just dry to the touch, but not so dry its shrunken from the sides of the pot. When you do water, water well, but empty out that tray after 30 minutes, and again 30 minutes later if more excess water has collected.

  • It is still green. It is not sitting in water anymore. Thanks for the tip!
    – Asimov4
    Apr 16, 2015 at 18:45
  • @Asimov4 see updated answer...
    – Bamboo
    Apr 16, 2015 at 19:07

The hope seems pretty small, especially if it's been like this for any length of time.

No leaves, sitting in a saucer-full of water.

Either it's been soddened to death or it was parched to death and the soddening is a belated attempt to compensate. In either case sodden is not good for anything that doesn't normally live in a bog. Moist is about as much as you want, especially when there are no leaves on the tree.

Edit - there's definitely more hope for it if you weren't the person who killed it; thanks for making that clear. If there's green there's the hope of a latent bud waking up and putting out a new leaf, and all that follows from that...

  • It was just given to me so I do not know what killed it. I did prune some of the dead branches that had super dry leaves.
    – Asimov4
    Apr 16, 2015 at 18:46
  • 2
    If you have some green and you keep it moist, it may yet make Zombie Lemons ™
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 17, 2015 at 1:29

Looks like you're in northern hemisphere, so you'll be heading to summer.

Three things to consider...

Citrus trees are tough but as others have mentioned, cannot survive wet roots and require extremely good drainage.

Citrus trees, in their natural state, feed from their drip line. This means that the tree's feeder roots will be in line with the outside edge of the tree's branches. Your tree is young so I'd not concern yourself too much with this, but it is an important consideration as the tree grows. What I'd suggest is that you consider moving the tree to a pot with a larger diameter - if possible. This will also allow you to ensure the soil medium is improved and provides the extremely good drainage necessary.

Finally, in the southern hemisphere, citrus trees put out their annual burst of new growth in Autumn. I cannot imagine this would be different in the northern hemisphere. So, if you can keep your tree alive until autumn, there is every chance the new growth will shoot then.

I'll repeat the comments by others... allow the soil to dry between watering. Do not allow to become "bone dry", but so the top inch of soil is dry and below that moisture is scarce.

If you're interested you could by a soil moisture meter to help you with the watering decision. Old style analogue meters are relatively inexpensive.


Yes, there's definitely a chance that it will revive itself, but at that size, I'm thinking something must have caused the leaves to fall off, and if it wasn't underwatering (which seems to contribute heavily to leaves falling off, although it appears to have more than enough at present), then the issue may still be present. If your window is cold or if you've got a fan in the room (which would dry the leaves), that might be contributing to the leaves falling off. Improper soil amendments may also be an issue. My grapefruit tree really didn't like basalt rockdust, for instance (none of our houseplants did, although some outdoor garden plants, such as cantaloupes, seem to love it).

If it was under-watered before the leaves were gone, or if it didn't have enough light, then I'm sure the leaves will grow back now that it has water and a window, as long as it's still alive. It's possible that you have too much water in there, now, though (especially as there are no leaves), but if your waterings haven't been frequent, I wouldn't worry about the excess over-much (maybe drain most/all of it out if the plant doesn't absorb it all within a day or two of when it was first given).

I have experience with a grapefruit tree (it's 20-something years old), but I've never grown a lemon tree. It sheds its leaves sometimes (usually if it doesn't have enough light or water). Mine uses any excess water I give it within a day or so, but I don't have to water it terribly often, and it's not in the most humid area. Although the leaves usually grow back pretty fast once conditions are corrected, I believe they were gone for maybe two weeks or more, once (but the conditions may not have been corrected quickly). It was probably at least a couple feet tall (grown from seed) before it ever lost all its leaves.


The over watering and wet roots is an issue . When the leaves return use a spray containing macro nutrients on the leaves. Spray heavily and especially the bottom of the leave where the stomates are . Spray during the day when the stomates are open


It would have a better chance if you could put it outdoors in some sunny location.

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