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I have a small lemon tree I am growing in a pot in our bright office (I have no idea what kind, it was given to me with a tiny label just saying "lemon"!)

It's still a very young plant, but has three fruits on it. One is now about 4-5cm in size and as just turned a very bright yellow all over, should I pick this now and will it be safe to eat? I'm a little unsure whether it's ripe; it's quite small, it's also a brighter yellow than a typical lemon and is very round, not the usual rugby-ball type shape!

All help is very much appreciated, I've never tried growing anything like this before, but it's a much loved plant!

Pictures: whole plant lemon

  • You should ask your sister, if the lemon is edible, hoping she remember it, when she bought it. Many lemon plant are not edible. – Giacomo Catenazzi Oct 20 '16 at 14:01
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    Three is a lot for a tree that size. If the lemon is no longer hard, pick it and give it a taste. AFAIK, there are no toxic citrus fruit, at worst bad tasting ones. Picking will also increase the nutrient supply to the other fruit. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 20 '16 at 14:21
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    If the fruit has been on the tree since you were given it, DO NOT eat it - growers use products which are not suitable for edible plants in order to force flowering and fruiting to make the product more attractive to sell. Any subsequent fruits it forms on its own won't have the same problem - but I'm not sure whether the fruits it forms are edible anyway. The fruit that's there looks more like an orange than a lemon – Bamboo Oct 20 '16 at 17:10
  • Wayfaring stranger saw what jumped out at me and that is getting that lemon/orange off your plant is important to help the other fruits to ripen. Check the place where you purchase this and ask. Get there full name, writie it down, mumble the date and time and trust me they will be very truthful. Need to transplant SOON. Potting soil, that yellow pot will work fine. Also, find out when the last time it was fertilized before choosing a fertilizer formulation. Osmocote 14-14-14 would be a safe easy choice for this plant. Only need to fertilize twice a year for indoor plants. – stormy Oct 21 '16 at 5:27
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This is Citrus Limon Improved Meyer Lemon. It IS a cross between lemon and mandarin orange...check it out when you discuss how this plant was grown, maintained, all chemicals. This is the sweetest of lemons and pretty tough plants, very forgiving. To a point...I've been ordering seeds and came across this lemon I have actually seen whilst working at a nursery a year or so ago. Do research the background of your plant. This is one of the most prolific of the citrus varieties.

This is an instance where staking is important...the weight of the fruit is bending the leader over. Not saying that is a bad thing but I would think you'd want to maintain a central leader for a year or so then start learning to prune this guy to stay the size you want. Try to get this plant out on a covered porch for the summers. That will give your plant enough food to get through the winter...no fertilizer is NOT food. Plants make their own food, stored mostly in the roots. I'd get a thin broken branch from under some tree with a Y at one end the size you need to stand that plant up after removing the ripe lemon. Gently lift the main stem. Where you are holding the stem by your fingers will be a good place for support, ideally at a junction of stem and petiole or branch. Prop the end of your branch tool in the soil. Should be plenty of support for the indoors. Always support that leader when bearing fruit if you don't want a horizontal plant.

  • Many thanks for your advice! I have removed the ripe lemon and will prop the plant up today! – Lizzie Oct 21 '16 at 9:12

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