Monday, December 21, 2009

Lemons, Limes & The Cold Weather

I love having plants in containers. They add so much texture & structure to the front door or patio. The tough part of container gardening is borderline hardy plants in winter. I don’t have a greenhouse so they are left to “fend for themselves”. I know this sounds harsh but, it’s a chore to protect them & coddle them.
The very, very cold spell we had 2 weeks ago took its toll on my ‘Bearss’ Lime plant (pictured on right). I did take it & the ‘Improved Meyer’ Lemon plant inside during the wickedly cold nighttime temps. In the morning, I put them back out on the deck. I’m not used to paying attention to daytime temperatures. I figure it warms up during the day so what’s the problem. Not so during that week. Our highs were in the high teens & low 20’s.
Limes are not that hardy. They are not as hardy as ‘Improved Meyer’ Lemon plants.
On my way home one night from the gym, I noticed the temperature reading at the local school was 26F. Oh-Oh. I had left the citrus out all day. I pulled them both in & saw leaf damage on the Lime. The Lemon looked OK.
Over the next days, the leaves kept turning browner & browner. It finally dropped all of them. The Lemon & even its flower buds look great (pictured on left)!
I think the Lime will eventually recover. The stems are still green. I think it will leaf out by spring after a bit of dormancy.
I did put it back outside on the covered front porch. It’s more protected than the deck & it’s out of the wind. I believe Citrus plants do better outside than in our too warm, dry houses.
Whatever happens to my Lime plant, it is OK by me as it’s an experiment. Gardening is always an experiment as every year is different. Now I know what it can really take by way of winter temps. Next year, I will be smarter about plant protection or not. If I need another Lime plant, I know where to get one.

Enjoy the Holidays

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