Today's Gardener (todaysgardener.com) participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.
Have you ever tried growing lemon trees in pots but failed?
I know, it seems difficult, maybe even impossible. A lemon tree requires a lot of attention in order to grow and give fruits.
That’s why I will share with you all my tips and tricks that will help you grow a lemon tree in a pot.
If you follow these tips step by step and continue to maintain your lemon tree once it’s grown, you can be sure that you’ll enjoy its fruits in years to come.
How to Grow Potted Lemon Tree (10 steps)
Before you start planting your lemon tree, you need to keep in mind all that’s necessary for its growth. It won’t be as easy as planting common flowers, oh no, but you already knew that.
I order to have a lush and strong lemon tree, you should purchase a special soil mixture that is slightly acidic because lemon trees grow their best when planted into the acidic ground.
The next thing you need is an organic lemon seed. Make sure you purchase only high-quality, organic lemons because it’s the healthiest option, and from there you can take out your seed.
You should keep a bottle of water that has an acidic pH level next to you. How to achieve that, you may ask? It’s quite simple, actually.
Because the tap water has a neutral pH level, it’s important to add something to make it slightly acidic. You can easily add a tablespoon of white vinegar into your water and voilà – it will immediately have a lower pH level.
When planting a seed, you will need small planters for baby plants because they will give your seed enough space to develop roots and it will still be small enough to keep the moisture for a long time. You will also need a plastic wrap that’s transparent.
However, make sure you also have a bigger pot for later, so you are ready when your lemon tree needs to be replanted.
Other than that, you can invest in a humidifier if you live in an area where the air is dry, as well as grow lights if you don’t have a window that offers the access to a lot of sunlight because lemon trees need the light and warmth to grow.
Now that you know what to purchase for growing lemon trees in pots successfully let’s talk about the entire process of planting, step by step.
1. Fill half of the smaller pot with soil
The first step is the same as with any other plant. However, make sure that the acidic mixture is slightly damp. It shouldn’t be wet and with too much water, but only moist enough for the lemon seed. Take your small pot for baby plants and fill half of it with this mixture.
2. Take out the lemon seed
Cut your organic lemons in half and take the seeds out. The seed needs to be completely clean and without the pulp before you plant it, so keep that in mind. Once you clean it, put it inside the soil and spay some water on top of that.
The seed shouldn’t be out from the lemon for too long so the ideal timing would be to plant it as soon as you take it out and clean it. If you wanted to do it a couple of hours before in order to prepare everything, that wouldn’t be the best solution.
3. Fill the rest of the pot with the soil
Now that the lemon seed is in the pot, you can fill the rest of it with the damp mixture and spray some water on top of it. Place the plastic wrap on top of it and make some holes. This will make the process faster and create optimal conditions for the seed to develop roots.
4. Don’t forget the sunlight!
Place the pot next to a sunny window or install the grow lights. This step is extremely important because lemons need up to 12 hours of the exposure to the light in order to grow. However, don’t exaggerate with the light because every plant needs some dark time to consume energy.
If you have a grow tent, you can install your grow lights there and adjust the intensity to the lemon tree needs. It will also be easier to create and mimic natural condition inside the tent, especially if you live in a cold and dry area.
5. Create the air flow
The lemon trees adore warm air circulating through the leaves. This can benefit the seed as well. That’s why you should make sure that the room you hold your pot in has good ventilation and allows the warm air to flow.
6. Optimal temperature
One of the most important things, when planting flowers but also growing lemon trees in pots, is to keep an eye on the temperature of the room. The ideal temperature for the lemon tree to grow is up to 21 degree Celsius.
If the temperature is below 12.8 degrees, the tree won’t die, but it will stop growing, and that’s not what anyone wants. That’s why you should control the temperature of the room and adjust it according to this.
7. Keep the soil moist
You need to water your lemon tree every week, sometimes even more often if the soil becomes dry. This is important because the lemon trees prefer damp soil in order to consume all of the nutrients.
Make sure that the water is always acidic, and it would be perfect if you had a soil meter that will control the pH level as well as the sunlight exposure and moisture of the soil.
8. Lemons love humidity
The previously mentioned humidifier will have a significant role in growing lemon trees in pots. Lemon is a plant that thrives in a humid climate, and that’s why a humidifier next to your lemon tree will help it grow better.
9. Replant as soon as the tree starts growing
Your seed will need up to two weeks to develop roots and start growing. That’s when you need to replant the baby plant in the bigger pot. The process is the same as with the seed, but in this case, you have one thing more to worry about – the roots.
Make sure that the roots aren’t tangled because if they are, they won’t be able to consume the nutrients in the right way. The soil should be moist, of course, and you should spray some water on top of it while replanting.
You should always choose a pot that’s 25% bigger than the roots of your tree because it this way, they will have the space to continue growing. That’s why you’ll probably need to replant the tree a couple of times as its growing.
The ideal pot should be deep because it will help with the balance when the lemon tree gives fruits and becomes heavier. You can either use plastic or ceramic pots as those are the easiest to maintain and move around the house.
10. Choose the pot with the drainage holes
Why is this important for lemons? Even though lemon tree needs a lot of water and continuously damp soil, it hates overwatering and it will die if you exaggerate with the water. The drainage holes will get rid of the water excess and help your lemon tree.
Should I prune my lemon tree?
While removing dead leaves and branches is important and will help your plant because the dry parts take away the nutrients, pruning a lemon tree too often will only harm it. That’s why you should prune your lemon tree only once a year.
Can I use fertilizers?
Yes! And you should. The ideal option would be to use fertilizers that are rich with nitrogen and to fertilize your lemon tree every three weeks during warm months and every six weeks during fall and winter.
How can I know if I should water the lemon tree more often?
This is one of the most important questions when it comes to growing lemon trees in pots. I already shared with you that you should water the lemon tree at least once a week, if not more often, but you will easily notice if your tree is suffering and needs more moisture.
If you notice the leaves on your tree becoming yellowish, this means that it requires more water and you should start watering it more frequently to stop it from drying out.