Several days ago I moved a calamansi (calamondin) potted tree into an open terrace for the first time. According to meteorological reports, there was a wind of 3 mps (three meters per second) yesterday. The wind turned over several larger leaves and snapped their petioles into unnatural positions. One of them started to dry today. I moved the tree to a wall of the terrace trying to cover it from the wind but it also means reduced sunlight over the course of the day. Should I be worried? In particular, is it a one-time damage due to the tree being unprepared for stronger winds if grown inside or should I expect it to become only worse in the future? I am also curious whether it is something specific to citrus trees.

A few leaves snapped unnaturally under other leaves by the wind. A drying leaf is shrinking.

1 Answer 1


It is perfectly normal for any plant that has been living indoors to find the great outdoors a bit of a challenge for its first days outside. Most of the damage seen your pictures are mechanical in nature where the wind has indeed bent the petioles but give your citrus tree more time outdoors and it should use the extra light and air to strengthen its shoot structure and reward you with a more resilient structure.

Bear in mind that the light levels outdoors can be 100 to 1000 times more than you get indoors even through a south facing window and if you let it adjust carefully over the next few days, it will quickly adjust to what must be better for it outdoors.

It is a little like taking the stabiliser wheels off your kid's bicycle. At first the kid will wobble and fall off a bit but very soon she or he will be cycling faster and be more daring than with the stabilisers.

I was faced with a similar challenge yesterday and after I brought home a plant rescue that has infected my monsteras with thrips and I had to take them outside and treat them with pesticide in order to protect my aquarium fish and shrimp. The plants are going to look worse before they get better but I hope the return of fragile British summer temperatures this week will ultimately give them sufficient boost to help them get over those pesky pests.

So, nothing to worry about regarding your lemon tree. Losing a few leaves is no big deal and will not affect the well-being of your tree. You are wise to leave it in some half shade for the next few days and even in half shade it will probably be getting more sunlight than indoors.

Trees really DO need to be outdoors for them to thrive but in your case, so long as frosts are not imminent of course. When you take your tree indoors again in early Autumnn, it will be much more sturdy but in the meantime, I hope you have the pleasure of seeing some fruit this summer.

  • 2
    I grew an orange in a pot for many years. It would lose its leaves when I brought it outside for the summer and again when I brought it inside for the winter. My kids hated it because it was so thorny and I eventually tired of the leaf drop and spider (not mite) webs.
    – Jurp
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 0:20
  • 1
    +1 for the bike analogy.
    – dandavis
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 19:58

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