Why is my lemon tree in a pot dropping its leaves?


Hi Tui, I bought an established lemon tree late last year and it is in a container, it seems to look healthy right now and the fruit is growing fine but it is dropping a lot of leaves and at this rate it will have none left! Do you have any ideas what the issue could be? Thanks



Hi Indi, there could be a number of reasons why your lemon tree is dropping its leaves.

It is especially important container grown plants get two or three good deep waters once a week over the summer months, even if there has been rain, the pot may still need watering. Plants drop leaves when they are stressed to save themselves and conserve water, is your lemon tree getting enough water? 

Container grown plants need regular feeding. For container grown plants and citrus the best fertiliser to use is a controlled release fertiliser such as Tui Enrich Fruit, Citrus, Tree & Shrub. It contains a controlled release fertiliser that releases over time at the same rate that the plant grows. Blended fertiliser such as Tui Citrus food is too concentrated to use in pots and containers as it has no control mechanism and can burn the plants roots. It is recommended for garden plantings only, not for pots and containers. 

Make sure the plant in a large enough pot for the tree to grow. If the tree is pot bound, it will start dropping its leaves. Now (winter) is a good time to repot the tree into a bigger pot, use a quality potting mix such as Tui Citrus and Fruit mix or Tui Pot Power for the best results. If the tree has fruit on it, wait until it has ripened before repotting.

Can you see any insect pests on the underside of the leaf? Mites and thrips are two common insect pests of citrus, you will see a webbing or dark spots on the underside of the leaf, talk to your local garden centre for a suitable control if you suspect insect pests.

Sudden changes in temperature can cause leaves to fall. Citrus are a sub-tropical fruit and so frost tender, move to a more sheltered position for winter if frost is suspected.

Regular applications of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic will be beneficial for your lemon tree, it helps stimulate root growth, builds resistance to pests and disease, helps plants tolerate temperature fluctuations and improves overall plant health. Apply at a rate of 30ml per 9L watering can. 

The Tui Team.


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