Why do lemon trees have yellow leaves

The lemon tree is losing leaves? These are the causes

Lemon trees are among the great favorites among the exotic, because the tropical plant also bears fragrant flowers and even fruit in our latitudes. Unfortunately, citrus limon is not that straightforward to care for as a potted plant. The lemon tree usually indicates care errors by losing its leaves - and action must then be taken quickly, because the lemon tree does not tolerate incorrect treatment or unfavorable locations. If a large part of the leaves on your lemon tree suddenly trickles down, you should clarify the following questions and possible causes.

Why does the lemon tree lose leaves?

When a lemon tree loses its leaves, it is usually due to incorrect care. The lemon tree must neither stand too dry nor too wet. Pay attention to an even water supply without waterlogging. During the winter, the citrus plant must not be exposed to large temperature fluctuations or excessively dry air. Pests can also be responsible for a leaf fall.

Is your lemon tree possibly too dry?

If the lemon tree loses masses of leaves, it should be checked whether something is wrong with the water supply. If you water the citrus plant too little overall, the leaves roll up, hang limply on the tree and finally fall off. When caring for the lemon tree, make sure that the water supply is even, because the exotic fruit does not suffer from watering intervals that are too long. The lemon tree cannot compensate for a continuous alternation between flooding and drought. So always water enough 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! With a sunny spot on the terrace, a sapling can use watering every day in summer. When hibernating the lemon tree, make sure that the lemon is supplied as required, instead of following a fixed weekly rhythm when watering.

Is moisture the cause of leaf fall?

The same problem that the lemon tree has with drought, it also has with waterlogging. If you have watered your tree and the root ball has been standing in wet soil for days, Citrus limon also reacts by shedding leaves. In addition, the tips of the young shoots die off. If you find that the root ball of the lemon tree is still wet days after watering, repot the plant in dry substrate as soon as possible. When planting, you should also put in a drainage layer made of expanded clay or grit on the bottom of the pot so that the risk of stagnant moisture is reduced in the future. Overflowing water in the saucer should be emptied daily.

Does the lemon tree lose its leaves in winter quarters?

The lemon tree sheds its leaves particularly often if it is exposed to excessive temperature fluctuations during 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 illuminated by the sun (for example in a glass house or through a window), the tree does not know whether to rest or grow - the result is leaf fall. So make sure that your lemon tree is overwintered either in a cold (three to ten degrees) and dark or shaded area, or in a light and warm (over 20 degrees). Even a low level of humidity in winter quarters can cause the lemon to lose its leaves. Caution: When leaves fall in winter quarters, the evergreen lemon tree - unlike deciduous native woody plants - always shows stress, so in this case you should act quickly and check its location and care.

Has there been a change of location?

Moving a plant from one place to another often results in leaf shedding. This can happen when you move the lemon tree from one room to another, bring it home from the shop or bring it to winter quarters in autumn. The change in light output, humidity and temperature is a problem for 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 to the winter quarters a little earlier, before the outside temperatures drop too much. The change from cool (below 20 degrees) outside in autumn and warm (over 20 degrees) inside otherwise ensures rapid leaf fall shortly after the move. A location that is generally too dark also leads to leaf shedding on the lemon tree. A change of location or a plant lamp can help here.

If pests such as spider mites or scale insects are the reason for the leaf shedding of the lemon, you can usually see this on closer inspection of the tree. Although spider mites are very small, their woolly webs between the leaf axils are clearly visible. Scale insects appear as small greenish-brown bumps on the leaves and twigs. Aphids can also appear in large numbers in summer and become a nuisance, mealybugs are less common on the citrus plant. Check the lemon tree regularly for pests, especially in winter quarters, because these tend to settle on the plants when the air is dry.

What to do if the leaves of the lemon tree fall?

Caution: If the lemon tree - for whatever reason - has already lost a number of 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 significantly, so that waterlogging can quickly occur in the pot. Even if drought caused the leaves to fall, you should slowly take care of the tree and increase the watering amount step by step so as not to drown the lemon after a long period of drought.

Practical video: repotting citrus plants

In this video we will show you step by step how to transplant citrus plants.
Credit: MSG / Alexander Buggisch / Alexandra Tistounet