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Thread: Repotting a Lemon Tree

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    Lorraine70's Avatar
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    Default Repotting a Lemon Tree

    A couple of weeks ago I bought a lemon tree from Aldi. It's doing very well in my sun-room, but I'm wondering whether or not I should re-pot it? There's not much room in the pot for watering, only a couple of centimetres so watering is very difficult!

    I've done a bit of research on-line, but am still unsure. Some sites recommend ericaceous compost but others say not too, others say use John Innes#3.

    Can anybody help me?

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    starloc's Avatar
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    I wouldnt repot yet, its not warm enough, they need to be rapidly growing to repot, the soil in the pots isnt that good but watered corectly the plants will be happy a long time without repoting

    Do not water them from the top , let the compost dry out nearly to dust about 2 inch down ( the moss on the pots will look dead! ) , and then fill a bucket with slightly warm water ( about 30c ) with citrus fertiliser, and then lower the pot into it till all the bubbles stop, try not to get the trunk of the tree wet! to prevent rot, the water will soak upwards to the top layer, dont leave it in the bucket for more thsn 5 to 10 minutes, then take it out and let it drain well, buy leaving the pot raised up from the surface till it stops dripping out

    When you repot the plant will grow fairly quickly, but will not flower as much till it fills the new pot.

    Only go up a tiny bit in pot size, if at all, the ones i bought last year are in the small hight morrisons flower buckets, they are about an inch bigger than the pot they came from aldi in, you need to chop lots of drainage holes in the bottom and the sides at the bottom
    in june i took them out of the pot from aldi and used a sharp kitchen knife, chopped the outer 1/2 inch from the sides and bottom of the root ball, scraped it slightly till it was rough, knocked the top layer of soil with the moss on from the top and then repotted in a mix of the soil from the pot ( with most of the roots removed ) and a handfull of b+q soil, a handfull of perlite and a handfull of b+q growbag compost, just put some of the mix in the bottom and put the plant in and poke it around and put compist back on top, leaving the top surface of the roots just visable, dont bury them

    Its best to use very free draining compost if your changing it all ( unlike what they are potted in ) , use something like

    30% horticultural grit, 30% sphagnum moss ( the hanging basket type ) and 1/3 bark chips ( the type used for orchids, not the garden mulch )

    or a compost sold for citrus, mixed 70/30 with perlite

    or , i have used things like 30% b+q soil, 30% b+q ericacious compost and 30% perlite

    you can use coconut husk chips but they need treating before using with variaous chemicals to remove salts in them, so its a real pain and i found plants need watering too often when in coconut husk

    Myself im not repotting the ones i got from aldi this year for another year or so, i just need to be carefull to let them dry out well between waterings as the soil doesnt drain that well
    Last edited by starloc; 13-03-2011 at 09:59 AM.
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    Lorraine70's Avatar
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    Wow, Starloc, thank you so much for your reply! At last, easy to understand and clear instructions. I'll take your advice on board and not repot this year, and will follow your instructions on watering. I'll print off your response and keep it for future use.

    Once again, many thanks.

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    lots of infor above.

    i bought a lemon tree from a local nursery last week. it was in quite a small pot and i was advised to repot in a slightly larger pot with a mix of JI no 3 and multi purpose compost. plenty of crocks in the bottom to aid drainage and place it in my heated conservatory to maximise light until it is warm enough to go outside.

    it seems ok so far - i'm no expert though!

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    putting anything in the bottom of the pot can cause a lot of problems, you create a perched water table within the pot actualy causing the compost to stay wetter even though it should drain better it doesnt

    What happens is the water runs down and when saturated will run out of the pot fine, but as soon as its not totaly saturated (to the point that the weight of water pushes the water down) air gaps form below the damp compost, the air bubbles prevent water moving downwards so preventing the compost draining , stagnent water forms and the roots will rot , its all about the surface tension of the potting media

    Ji no3 will work, but it does stay too wet so its best mixed with some gravel or perlite to let air in, perlite works better at holding air in the pot, its not over watering thats the problem its lack of air to the roots, the roots need oxygen to work and prevent them rotting


    Be carefull at this time of year while the sun is strong and the temperature is colder, direct sun on the leaves while the pot is cool will cause major leaf drop, keep an eye on the compost temperature if you have bright light on the plant, if the pot is cold keep the tree with no direct light
    Last edited by starloc; 14-03-2011 at 08:09 PM.

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    Hillwalker is offline Sprouter
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    Quote Originally Posted by starloc View Post
    putting anything in the bottom of the pot can cause a lot of problems, you create a perched water table within the pot actualy causing the compost to stay wetter even though it should drain better it doesnt

    What happens is the water runs down and when saturated will run out of the pot fine, but as soon as its not totaly saturated (to the point that the weight of water pushes the water down) air gaps form below the damp compost, the air bubbles prevent water moving downwards so preventing the compost draining , stagnent water forms and the roots will rot
    Interesting post, starloc. Not heard this drainage view before, is it based on your own experience and/or that of others? Can you provide links to similar views?

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    starloc's Avatar
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    theres loads on info on the internet about it, particularly on websites about things like citrus, orchids etc that have root rot problems

    about halfway down this page from the university of Florida ( 4th paragraph below figure 3 )

    BUL241/CN004: Growth Media for Container Grown Ornamental Plants

    and just another i found

    The new way to succeed in container planting - Dry Heat Gardener
    Last edited by starloc; 04-03-2014 at 09:12 PM. Reason: link to Florida ref updated

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    Thanks. I'll give them a read.

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