The Unhappy Lemon

They tell you that growing citrus in pots is easy and that they love it in containers. But I have been growing a dwarf lemon in a huge terracotta pot for about four years now and, after a brief moment at the beginning where it seemed to be happy, it has been suffering from depression on and off for about three years.

I admit to keeping one or two sneaky lemons in the first couple of seasons instead of picking everything off to direct its energy into growth, but I dutifully picked all the flowers and tiny fruit off most times. I topped it up with new compost whenever it seemed to need revitalising; but perhaps I did not keep enough water up to it – a mistake in my garden as I have a chronic ant problem, the suspected cause of my slow lemon death.

My little Meyer finally succumbed to a severe scale infestation and got covered in sooty mould. I am quite ashamed of my dreadful parenting and the fact that I could potentially lose such a beautiful little tree to sheer neglect. After fighting a losing battle with white oil as a weapon against the tiny monsters, I gave up and went for the drastic option – I cut everything off, dug it up, and planted it in the ground. It is in a special spot at the back of the garden, where I will also put the dwarf lime so they can keep each other company. (The special spot being where my beautiful Zoe was buried two years ago.)

My gorgeous Zoe, not the prettiest girl but the most beautiful!


Less than two months later and the first signs of new growth are coming through!

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