Gardening · GYO · Houseplants

When Life Doesn’t Give You Lemons

AKA – I have no idea why this is happening…


This is the lemon plant that lives in the bathroom. It’s on a window ledge that faces East. So only gets direct light in the morning and indirect light all the rest of the day.


These two are in the the kitchen, south facing and gets direct sunlight through the hottest part of the day between about 10am and 6pm but no real indirect light at all.

Both plants are watered and fed at the same time and have the same medium. Obviously the one in the bathroom is doing FAR better, maybe its the lack of strong direct light, early light is not as strong as the light from midday onward, and abundance of indirect light that does it. I don’t think it’s the fact that bathrooms tend to have more moisture because we have an extractor fan in both the bathroom and kitchen that is permanently on. So other than shower time it doesn’t get that wet. The kitchen gets just as much moisture in the air when I am cooking… Swings and roundabouts there, I’m thinking.

I’m considering moving one of the kitchen plants to my computer room which is north facing but is also quite light with indirect light filtered through from the kitchen. The only issue is that this room is much cooler than the others.

Funny thing though. The one on the right in the kitchen has no spines, but is darker in leaf… The other two are lighter in leaf colour and have spines… Connection?
Answers on a postcard, please!

P.S. I’m thinking that I am going to have to repot that one in the bathroom soon. It’s starting to get a bit top heavy. I’m thinking that will give that one a boost that the other two won’t get. I swear it feels like I’m playing ‘Favourite child’! B-)


17 thoughts on “When Life Doesn’t Give You Lemons

  1. My first thought is sourcing. Did you start them from seeds? Are lemons like artichokes and apples in that each seed produces a unique fruit? Did you buy the plants from someone who may have mixed up different kinds? The absence of thorns on one is why I ask. Do share as the experiment continues!

    1. They all came from the same lemon. It was a Meyer lemon I bought specifically. So it should be a fairly good reproducer.

      As to uniqueness… I really don’t know. I wouldn’t have thought so. Having said that most fruit trees are grafted nowadays and so the seeds may NOT be what you expect.

  2. We don’t produce identically children, so seeds could definitely be a reason.

    The lemons might be getting scorched on the south side, though to be honest if my lettuce (which in comparison with lemon trees prefers cool temps and shade) isn’t getting scorched on the south side of my house, I doubt this is an issue.

    Maybe try moving your plants to different locations to see what happens?

    1. Yeah. I may keep one plant in the kitchen and move one to my room. Not sure where to move the other to. Maybe I could find a place in the library with some indirect light.

      But the issue I don’t understand is that lemon trees live outside in Florida! Way hotter and lots more sun than Old Blighty!

      1. There’s nowt so funny as plants!

        Maybe the taller plant is that way because it is reaching for the light? Also, as your trees are indoors, the ambient temperature will be pretty constant as well as free of air turbulence (bar perhaps a draught from an open window), which I’d have thought would be kinder than daytime/nighttime fluctuations and being rocked by air currents.

        1. I don’t think its reaching. For a start it’s even spaced out its leaves and the stem isn’t thinner and discoloured which is what I would expect to see from a plants reaching for light… Plus those leaves are big, green and glossy… Not a sign of a light starved plant.
          One thing though… In the kitchen it MAY suffer heat changes from when I am cooking… This may well be a real issue… But then I would expect both plants to be effected equally.

          1. I think the test would be where the trees can set fruit.

            Maybe take them out of the kitchen and just see what happens elsewhere. I agree that it does all seem a bit strange but I have similar issues with my lavender. When it comes down to it, I think plants are simply more individual than we give them credit for 😀.

                1. Lol… Yes. B-)

                  Anyway… I have no moved the one without spines, the one on the right kitchen photo, to my room. It’s North facing but gets only indirect light… We shall see.

    1. Anything that is selectively bred is a hybrid. The question is if they breed true. Heirloom plants will. I *thought* Meyer Lemons were one of them.
      I guess I was wrong!

      Thanks for the link, BTW… It was a good read!
      I have had one of those Bael fruit years ago when I worked on a wholesale fruit and veg market. They were bloody awful! Like a cross between a coconut and a sour lemon! >.<

      1. Technically a hybrid involves two or more species, but I get what you mean. I wonder if the peeps at the citrus place could tell you if meyers are stable that way. They would know.

        Despite living in a city with large immigrant populations and multiple ethnic grocery stores my quests to find “interesting” fruit including citrus has turned up nada but the occasional pomelo or Buddha’s hand. Still, I keep looking. 😀

        1. Have you considered looking online? Sounds daft but many places will sell fresh fruit and veg!

          IIRC you are in Wisconsin, USA, yes?

          It seems very strange that you would have exotic stores near but they wouldn’t carry wonky fruits! O.o

          Having said that… The US has some strange rules about importing and exporting fruit… I remember that from when I worked on a wholesale fruit and veg stall in the 90s.
          Getting Macintosh and Washington Red apples from the US was a nightmare at times. >..

    1. I don’t think I will see a difference too quickly. The plant that was doing the worst is now moved. If it shows any sign of improving then I know it will be the kitchen that is the issue.

      I’ll keep to the same watering schedule though.

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