Lemon Tree Care
Growing Lemons

5 important aspects of lemon tree care. Care of lemon trees indoors and out. Lemon tree pruning. Fertilizing lemon trees and protecting them from frost. Growing lemons as flowering houseplants.

Ripe lemons on a tree.

The 5 most important aspects of growing lemons are these:

  1. Proper siting and installation of the tree. Planting Lemon Trees in Your Yard lays out all the details about the type of soil and exposure lemons require and will tell you how to get your tree off to a good start.
  2. Proper watering. A newly planted lemon tree should never be exposed to drought conditions but you do not want to keep it as wet as you would most other evergreen trees.Citrus roots need more air than the roots of most other trees in order to survive. Water displaces air in the soil. Your lemon tree's roots will rot in constantly moist soil. Let the soil dry to a depth of about an inch and then water it thoroughly.Avoid frequent light sprinklings that only wet the surface of the soil. This practice causes tree roots to grow up toward the surface rather than down and out the way you want them to. You
  3. end up with a shallowly rooted tree that has zero drought tolerance and will fall in a storm.
  4. Proper feeding. Lemon Tree Fertilizer will explain what you should feed a lemon tree and how often.
  5. Pruning Lemon Trees offers advice on pruning citrus trees of all types.
  6. Frost protection. The tricky business of protecting lemons from the cold is addressed below.

This covers the basics of caring for lemon trees which are planted in the ground. Let Growing Lemon Trees in Pots be your guide to raising lemons in containers.

Lemon trees are robust plants. Given a modicum of care, they will thrive. If problems should arise, Lemon Tree Diseases will help you sort them out quickly.

Winter Lemon Tree Care

Oil Heaters are Used to Battle Frost in California's Citrus Groves
Oil Heaters are Used to Battle Frost in California's Citrus Groves
Buy at AllPosters.com

Here in central Florida, I see people going to a lot of trouble protecting lemon trees in winter. Some people wrap the tree in plastic and place a light bulb underneath it.

Some people enshroud their trees in blankets and quilts.

Some wrap Christmas lights up the trunks.

Professional citrus growers run the sprinklers all night when a hard freeze is expected.

I'm in the quilt group. I wrap trees on frosty nights when they are young and small. Once a lemon tree has been in the ground for at least three years, I no longer try to protect it.

Winter lemon tree care is most critical when the plants are young. The older the tree gets, the tougher it will become--within reason. You will never be able to grow a lemon tree outdoors in zone six.

Also, the larger the tree is, the more frost damage it can withstand. The new growth is most vulnerable. That's why you shouldn't prune too late in the season. You want the tree to go into winter somewhat overgrown.

Protecting the graft union.

Image illustrating the graft union on the trunk of a potted tree.

Protecting the graft union is the most important part of lemon tree care. If this is damaged, you will lose the tree.

There is normally a scar or bump on the trunk that will tell you where the graft union is. On an unseasonably cold night, it is worth the trouble to wrap this part of the trunk with a blanket or with lights.

The whole top of the tree can freeze. But if the graft union survives (and just a little wood above it) the tree will grow back.

On the other hand, if the graft union freezes, the tree may grow back. But it won't be the same tree you had before. It will be the rootstock variety which may not produce desirable fruit.

The best solution to protecting lemon trees in winter is to plant a variety of known to be hardy in your area. If you are at the edge of a tree's hardiness zone, plant it in the warmest spot in your yard.

  • A southern exposure.
  • Under taller trees in high shade.
  • Beside a pond or lake.
  • Up against a building.

If you live above zone 9, the best solution is growing lemon trees in pots and moving them indoors before the first frost.Lemon tree care is simple as long as you plant a hardy enough variety in a warm enough location. Meyer lemon trees, being an orange/lemon hybrid, have greater resistance to cold than most true lemons.

Growing Lemons as Houseplants

Buy a Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree

Buy a Variegated Pink Lemon Tree

Lemon trees make superb flowering house plants if you have sufficient space and light to grow them indoors.

Bringing the tree indoors during cold weather is the best winter lemon tree care you could possibly provide. The tree will repay your kindness by flowering and fruiting (if you hand pollinate it) at the same time just to keep the winter blues at bay.

Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees as Houseplants will tell you everything you need to know to enjoy the sweet fragrance of lemon blossoms in your living room this winter.

Other Fruits You Might Like to Grow:

How the Grapefruit Tree Got--and Kept--its Name

The Pineapple Plant is Easy Enough for the Brownest Thumb to Grow

Go from Lemon Tree Care to Growing Mango Trees from Seed

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Delicious Fruits You Can Grow at Home

Lemon - Meyer
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.
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from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.
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from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.
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All natural citrus, fruit and nut spray.
Misty Blueberry
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.


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