Are you interested in knowing how to plant and grow a lemon tree in your garden but are unsure how to get started? Get the knowledge necessary to cultivate lemon plants in USDA Zones 8 to 11. The flavor, color, and aroma of citrus lemon are all known to be stimulating.
While the leaf is young, it has a reddish hue, but as it matures, it turns a greenish yellow on the top and a lighter green underneath. Be careful since the branches of the tree often have thorns that are very dangerous. Reddish buds give rise to flowers that have a delicate scent.
These flowers can grow singly or in small groups of 2 or more. Either way, they are beautiful. One flower can have anywhere from four to five petals, all of which are white on the outside and have a tinge of purple on the inside.
The fruit ranges in color from pale to warm yellow and is oval in shape. It is covered in oil glands.
Although Asia is where the lemon tree first appeared, nobody really knows where it came from. It is possible that it originated in India, traveled to Italy, and then spread over the Mediterranean region during the 2nd century.
|Common Name||Lemon tree|
|Botanical Name||Citrus limon|
|Plant Type||Broadleaf evergreen|
|Mature Size||20 ft. tall and 15 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Well-drained fertile soil|
|Soil pH||Slightly acidic and low in soluble salts|
|Hardiness Zones||8-11 (USDA)|
|Toxicity||Toxic to dogs and cats|
Lemon seeds were eventually transported over the ocean, but the commercialization of the fruit did not begin until the 1950s when Florida’s citrus groves began to thrive.
When to Plant a Lemon Tree?
In the majority of places, planting lemon trees should take place in the early spring. Because of this, any temperature fluctuations between warm and cold are balanced out, and the roots are given the opportunity to develop and establish themselves before the summertime temperatures rise.
Before planting anything new after winter, you should hold off until the earth has warmed up. The precise time will vary according on the USDA zone you are in. The roots of lemon trees are especially susceptible to the cold and will have a difficult time establishing themselves in soil that is chilly or ice.
What’s the Best Spot for a Lemon Tree?
Lemon trees are tropical plants that thrive in warm climates and do not fare well in colder environments. When cultivated in USDA Zones 9 and higher, they produce the best results when grown outside.
They have a chance of surviving in zones slightly lower, although in the winter they will require extra protection.
Planting Instructions for Lemon Trees
Lemon trees can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet and widths of 10 to 15 feet. Adjust your spacing as needed. Make sure the hole is twice as deep and broad as the root system when you dig it. If the base is bound, make a few cuts across the ball in order to free it.
This will stimulate the roots to look for resources in soil that is well-drained and rich.
The ideal conditions for growing lemons are found in tropical and semi-tropical regions. The trees thrive best in mild winters and temperate to hot, dry summer temperatures. This is why they are effectively grown in the subtropical “citrus belt” of such United States, which stretches from California to Florida and runs down the Gulf Coast.
Planting a cold-resistant type in Zone 8 such as the Meyer variety, which yields practically seedless fruits and a bountiful harvest on even the smallest of plants, is a good idea. In Zones 9 through 11, you might want to check out Lisbon and Eureka.
Caring for Lemon Trees
- Light: Lemon trees require full light and a location that is sheltered from the wind in order to thrive. If there is a chance of freezing temperatures in your region, it is best to preserve plants by positioning them towards the southwest wall of the house.
- Soil: All citrus trees require soil that is slightly acidic, has a moderate texture, and medium depth in order to grow. Rot of root is a problem that can occur in situations that are too wet, therefore having one that drains well is an imperative must. Mulching must be avoided if you want to prevent water from accumulating.
- Water: To ensure a fruitful harvest from your lemon tree, it is essential to properly hydrate the tree in accordance with its needs. During the period in which the plant is being established, it will be necessary to water it more frequently—even as often as one or two times a week. Once mature, citrus trees develop increased drought tolerance. It is important to remember to keep the soil moist throughout the summer months, particularly when growing young trees. Take precautions to avoid causing waterlogging since conditions that are swampy might be challenging.
- Humidity and Temperature: Growing conditions ideal for lemon trees include heat and humidity. These are the citrus fruits that are the most susceptible to damage from cold weather, and they do best when grown in temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 ℉. Also, they favor having humidity levels that are as near to 50% as is humanly possible. Young trees are very vulnerable to the cold, so if there is an unanticipated drop in temperature, they should be taken indoors.
- Fertilizer: Lemon trees, much like their counterparts in the citrus family, require a lot of energy. Use a fertilizer that has all three elements phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium (NPK) to stimulate robust growth and fruit output.
Varieties of Lemon Trees
There are three primary varieties of lemon trees that can be found in climates that are warmer.
- Eureka: This variety of lemon, alongside the Lisbon lemon, is the one that is most commonly seen in grocery stores all over the world and is a well-liked option for home gardening.
- Lisbon: This type develops a fruit that is luscious and fleshy, with very few or no seeds. They are more resistant to the cold than that of other lemon kinds, and their growth pattern is more upright than that of the spreading Eureka variety.
- Meyers: In reality, they are a hybrid that was created by crossing a mandarin orange with a lemon, and as a result, they are either sweeter than the other varieties mentioned above or at certainly less sour. When compared to authentic lemon cultivars, they possess a more solid form that doesn’t call for excessive pruning and are slightly more resistant of cold temperatures.
Harvesting Lemon Trees
It is quite normal for the blooms to develop into fruit, but this process can still take up to a year before the fruit turns yellow and is ready to be harvested. Let the lemons mature on the tree where they were grown. They will not develop off the tree in the same way that other citrus fruits do.
Each fruit contains a significant amount of citric acid and vitamin C. If you leave lemons in the garden, you’ll have a steady supply of healthful and happy fruits for the rest of your life. They are an excellent choice for including in meal preparation recipes and even as a more eco-friendly alternative for cleaning.
The various lemon tree kinds each exhibit a unique growth pattern, which in turn might have an effect on the required level of trimming. Depending of the variety, you should give priority to pruning lengthy lateral branches in order to promote fruit growth or primary leaders in order to improve aesthetics.
To encourage the most amount of fruit production, you should aim for a large canopy.
Pinching the foliage will help you regulate the form of the plant and will encourage it to blossom. Young trees should have light pruning done to encourage healthy branch structure.
Because of its erect growth pattern, the Lisbon lemon tree requires more frequent trimming in order to keep its canopy robust and to ensure that it continues to produce an adequate amount of fruit.
Propagating Lemon Trees
Lemon trees are among the citrus fruit species that have the lowest barrier to entry when it comes to propagating new trees from cuttings.
Late spring and early summer are the best times to take cuttings from semi-hardwood trees. Keep an eye out for new development that has not yet produced any blooms or fruit.
The cutting needs to be pots in a medium that has good drainage and maintains a consistent level of moisture. They can only succeed if the temperature and humidity are just right.