meyer lemon dropping buds

I need some help with my meyer lemon..
I live in zone 5 in the US, so my lemon tree is a potted plant. It normally lives outdoors after spring frosts, and comes into the house before fall frosts. The tree is 3-4 years old.
I got one lemon off it the second year, and last year I picked off all 3 fruit buds (silly me) checking to see how secure they were. Now the tree is beginning to bloom again, and I am pollinating, and seeing fruit buds again. However, the tree has dropped a bud, and this time I wasn't playing with it, and I would like to know what's going on and how I can get it to set fruit again.
Details.. Tree lives in my living room where it gets decent morning and afternoon sun via south-facing picture window. Temps are coolish, maybe 60 at night, but warm during sunny days, otherwise low-mid 60s. I am watering when the soil is dry, generally once per week, with water.
I do have a water softener, but a young orange tree (3 years but tiny) and a mandevilla spending the winter inside (and a few various houseplants) show no signs of problems with the water, they all get similiar treatment, although a tomato plant just producing did keel right over and die on me.
Once a month I fertilize with miracle-gro, maybe a bit on the strong side (1 tsp/liter bottle). I did put a 1/8-1/4 inch by 2 inch houseplant fertilizer stake in the soil about 4 inches away from the trunk when I noticed the first blossom.. not sure but I think this is another miracle-gro product, comes in a package of 6-8; only one inserted.
Leaves look ok, they don't seem to be dropping or turning yellow. There are.. eleven? blossoms on the tree; one fruit bud (used to be 2), several of the blossoms are just starting so they are tiny, maybe 3 are mature blossoms (open). Should I pick off remaining blossoms..?
The tree is in a standard 8 inch terra-cotta clay pot, and stands 32 inches tall. Soil was recently added to the pot to cover some roots that were exposed last time I watered (Ball brand potting soil, light fluffy - great stuff).
What I'm calling a fruit bud is a mini-miniature green swelling that looks to me like a pint-sized green lemon, smaller than a pea, so I'm assuming the hand pollination worked. It forms at the base of the blossom. The first lemon it set was pollinated during the summer, and the fruit was picked that December. Since then, two blossom cycles have occurred.. during the winter!
Any ideas what might be happening to the fruit, or how I can ensure another crop..? Thanks..
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I have not grown citrus indoors but I can tell you that an 8" pot sounds WAY too small for a nearly three foot tall citrus. And it appears that you may be overfertilizing. I have found that plants typically do not like to be messed with when they are flowering--adding a fertilizer spike during this time would not be my choice.
It is important to follow the directions on fertilizer packages. Fertilizer salts build up in the soil and will burn the roots. The softened water would just make the situation worse. I would suggest that you stop concentrating so much on the fruit and put more emphasis on growing a healthy plant; repot the tree in a 12" pot with fresh potting soil; fertilize according to the directions on the package. If your tree is healthy and happy then you should get plenty of fruit.
Others will chime in with better info specific to citrus. Good luck. There is nothing like the perfume of a citrus tree in full bloom!

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I live in SW Ohio, I am pretty much at the border between zones 5 and 6. I too have a Meyer's lemon tree, although mine is about a year younger than yours. It spends the winter in my basement under a high pressure sodium grow light, so it get pretty good light, and it stays about 65 degrees F.
For the last two summers it has been pollinated and produced three lemons the first year and this year four lemons. All were pollinated by bugs outside during the summer months. I just picked the first ripe one this year and the other three are pretty much ready. This is its third winter inside and the first two I tried hand pollinating it. It did not take very well, like you the ovaries started to swell, but then stopped and fell off. I believe it was because of inadequate pollination. I am going to try a new technique this year. For some clivia that I grow it was suggested that a little sugar water be put on the stamen before applying the pollen. This apparently helps improve the polination. Also, maybe someone on this list will have other suggestions on how to improve pollination of the these trees when they are growing indoors.
Linda
gonzo wrote:

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I have one lime one orange and two lemon trees under MH lighting and have never hand pollinated them and get fruit from all. I have alot of fruit drop but still some hang in there. At first sigh of bloom I use a good blooming nutrient and the tree fills with blooms.when the tree is not in bloom I use a good growth nutrient and all is well. My water plan islike this nutrients,water,water,nutrients,water,water. give nutrient and on next two waterings just water then start over. I use Hydroponic nutrients even with my soil plants. hope this helps

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It sounds like your pot is a little small but I doubt that is a real problem. I have had serveral Meyer lemons and blossom drop is quite common. Normally most trees produce far more blooms and small bud fruit than the tree can support. The tree reacts to this condition by dropping a certain number of buds. Perfectly normal. Let the tree go through its normal cycle. You may have more good lemons than you expect
Have Fun
Jim

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Is it normal that the leaves drop off of the meyer lemon tree but it continues setting fruit? Any info would be great! Thanks
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Leaf drop is almost guaranteed when you bring the tree into the house over winter if you do not provide really good light from a South facing window. With out leaves, eventually the buds will drop even though the tree is in a bloom cycle. No leaves--no mature fruit. I try to keep my trees in full sun except when really cold below freezing weather is predicted. I live in zone 8a so I don't have the same problem as more Nothernly zones. Check this link out. http://mitglied.lycos.de/Reichel/Citrus/WLD.html
Have Fun
Jim

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mine is doing the same thing....let me know if you find anything out about this problem. my email is snipped-for-privacy@aol.com...Thank you
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