Question: Lemon plant
a few days ago I bought a potted lemon plant, about 50 high. Unfortunately I live in an apartment, and from my balcony the plant receives only a few hours of sunshine a day, about three. So I wanted to ask you if this amount of sunshine is sufficient to keep the plant healthy or if it can cause problems. I also noticed that the leaves are already losing their green color to get closer to yellow, and I read that I should add iron extracts to the soil. Is this a correct hypothesis?
Thank you very much in advance for your help.
Answer: Lemon plant
lemons often turn yellow due to a disease called ferric chlorosis; this disease develops when the plant is unable to absorb iron from the soil, both because the iron is not present in a bioavailable form, and because the soil is excessively calcareous; in these cases, the plant fails to use soil iron, which is essential for producing chlorophyll; the leaves therefore tend to have little chlorophyll and take on a yellow color. This type of problem however develops over weeks, sometimes even months; since your plant has been bought for a short time, I believe that yellowing depends on other factors, unless in the nursery where you bought it it was kept in really bad conditions, without repotting for years (which I think unlikely). The exposure of your terrace could be acceptable for your lemon, even just a few hours of sunshine a day can allow the garden to vegetate, only with good probability it will hardly produce flowers and fruits; to have a healthy, lush and flower-filled plant you should at least double the hours of daily sunshine received. As for the yellowing, it could also be due to a problem related to watering. Lemons love regular and abundant watering, but at the same time they fear water stagnation; they are watered only when the soil is dry and, especially in conditions of poor direct sunlight, they can easily withstand short periods of drought. So, either you're over-watering the plant, and the soil remains constantly moist, and therefore doesn't allow gas exchange at the roots; or perhaps you are watering the plant very little, and it has remained dry for a long time.