Large-scale leaf fall indicates that something is wrong with the evergreen lemon tree. Then you should quickly check the conditions of cultivation to save the citrus plant.
Lemon trees are among the great favorites among exotics because the tropical plant bears fragrant flowers and even fruit even in our latitudes. Unfortunately, however, Citrus limon is not entirely uncomplicated when it comes to caring for it as a potted plant. Mistakes in care are usually indicated by the lemon tree losing its leaves – and then you have to act quickly because the tolerance to incorrect treatment or unfavorable locations is not very high in the lemon tree. If your lemon tree suddenly loses most of its leaves, you should ask yourself the following questions and check the possible causes.
Is your lemon tree possibly too dry?
If the lemon tree is losing masses of leaves, check to see if something may be wrong with the water supply. If you water the citrus plant too little overall, the leaves will curl up, hang limply on the tree and eventually fall off. When caring for the lemon tree, make sure that the water supply is even, because the exotic fruit also does not like too long watering intervals. With a continuous alternation between flooding and drought, the lemon tree can not compensate well. So always water enough so that the root ball is well moistened without waterlogging, and repeat the watering process as soon as the top layer of soil has dried. Lemon trees need a lot of water! If you have a sunny spot on the patio, a small tree can tolerate daily watering in the summer. Also, when wintering the lemon tree, make sure to supply it as needed, rather than following a set weekly rhythm when watering.
Is wetness the cause of leaf drop?
The same problem that the lemon tree has with dryness, it also has with waterlogging. If you have overwatered your tree and the root ball is in wet soil for days, Citrus limon will also react by dropping leaves. In addition, the tips of the young shoots will die. If you notice that the root ball of the lemon tree is still wet days after watering, repot the plant as soon as possible into the dry substrate. Also, at planting time, add a drainage layer of expanded clay or grit to the bottom of the pot so that the risk of water pooling is reduced in the future. Overflowing water in the saucer should be emptied daily.
Does the lemon tree lose its leaves in the winter quarters?
The lemon tree often loses its leaves if it is exposed to large temperature fluctuations during the winter or if the temperature difference between the roots and the crown is too great. If the roots are cold (for example, on a stone floor), but the crown is exposed to sunlight (for example, in a glasshouse or through a window), the tree does not know whether to rest or grow – leaves fall is the result. Therefore, make sure that the wintering of your lemon tree is either in cold (three to ten degrees) and dark or shaded quarters, or in a bright and warm (above 20 degrees). Low humidity in the winter quarters will also cause the lemon to lose its leaves. Caution: With leaf fall in the winter quarters evergreen lemon tree – unlike deciduous native woody plants – always indicates stress, so in this case, you should act quickly and check the location and care.
Has there been a change of location?
Moving a plant from one location to another often results in leaf drop. This can happen as soon as you move the lemon tree from one room to another, bring it home from the store, or bring it to winter quarters in the fall. The change in light levels, humidity, and temperature will be hard on the plant and it will take some time to get used to the new situation. Tip: If you overwinter the lemon tree in a bright and warm room, bring it into the winter quarters a little earlier, before the outside temperatures drop too much. Otherwise, the change from cool (below 20 degrees) outside in the fall and warm (above 20 degrees) indoors will cause rapid leaf drop shortly after the move. A generally too dark location also causes leaf drop in the lemon tree. A change of location or a plant lamp will remedy this.
Is there a pest infestation?
If pests such as spider mites or scale insects are the reason for leaf drop in lemon, you can usually tell by looking closely at the tree. Spider mites are very small, but their woolly webs between the leaf axils are clearly visible. Scale insects show up as small green-brown bumps on leaves and twigs. Aphids can also appear in large numbers in the summer and become a nuisance; more rarely, mealybugs are found on the citrus plant. Check the lemon tree regularly for pests, especially in the winter quarters, because they especially like to settle on the plants in dry air.
What to do if the leaves of the lemon tree fall?
Attention: If the lemon tree – for whatever reason – has already lost quite a few leaves, reduce the watering and temporarily stop fertilizing the citrus plant. Due to the significantly reduced leaf mass, the tree’s water and nutrient requirements drop sharply, so that waterlogging can now quickly occur in the pot. Even if drought was the reason for the leaf fall, you should slowly nurse the tree back to health and increase the amount of watering step by step, so as not to drown the lemon after a prolonged dry period.