All the tips you need on how to grow a lemon tree indoors

Lemons bring a refreshing and invigorating feel to you. Their beautiful yellow shade and cooling fragrance take your mind off all the stress and pressure. No wonder that lemon is an integral part of aromatherapy! And… cooking!

Apart from those, lemons also have various health benefits. Did you know that they can protect you from a whole lot of issues and improve your heart and digestive health? Oh! They also help in weight control! So the question is, why not have a lemon tree as part of your houseplants? It’s really easy! See how to grow your own

Bunches of fresh yellow ripe lemons on lemon tree branches in Italian garden

What Are The Benefits Of Having Your Own Lemon Tree?

Still not sure about this gardening project? Then, take a look at the numerous advantages lemons have and think again!

  1. Lemon is a small to medium-sized tree. You can easily grow it even in small gardens. 
  2. The flowers of the lemon tree are beautiful and fragrant and keep your house and patio smelling good
  3. The lemon tree normally produces fruit for a long time. Thus, having your own lets you enjoy its fruit whenever you want. No need to visit the grocery store! 
  4. The leaves of the tree also have a beautiful fragrance and can be used for cooking
  5. This citrus fruit is rich in Vitamin C which plays a very important role in fighting winter diseases like the cold and the flu. 
  6. The lemon tree makes a good companion plant for herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme and cilantro. 
  7. Most of the insects do not harm the lemon trees. 

What Varieties Should You Consider Planting?

Lemon trees come in different varieties and need different conditions depending on those. Though most of the lemon trees grow outdoors, there are also indoor varieties that are smaller in size. The growing season for most of them is summer. So, If you are living in a cold region, you can plant during spring or early summer for better results. 

Outdoor lemon trees

  1. Meyer lemon tree: The Meyer lemon tree comes with shiny dark leaves and white blossoms. The fruit is sweeter than most lemon varieties and its peels taste good and are used in cooking. Once planted, the tree will bear fruits in about four years. It has compact and bushy growth, which is good for limited-space areas.
  2. Eureka lemon tree: This type of lemon grows all over the world. The peculiarity of it is the small peak-part at the end of the fruit. It doesn’t have any thorns and it does bear fruit all year round.
  3. Lisbon lemon tree: The Lisbon lemon tree has thorns and grows its main crop in winter. Like Eureka lemon, the Lisbon lemon also has this peak-part but does not have any seeds inside
Ripe lemons on a lemon tree

Indoor lemon trees

They are smaller lemon trees that still bear fruits and they do it fast. Most of the indoor lemon trees are cross-breed with other fruit trees, but there are a few originals. The popular indoor lemon trees are:

  1. Dwarf improved Meyer: This tree is a cross-breed between mandarin orange and lemon. Its fruit is sweet and tangy.
  2. Dwarf Ponderosa: This is a cross-breed between citron and lemon and it produces large and lemony fruits.
  3. Dwarf variegated pink lemonade: This is a true lemon tree that bears green and yellow variegated fruit. The lemon has pink flesh but produces the “traditional” clear lemon juice
Indoor lemon tree in yellow flowerpot in bright white colors with picture frame

Step-by-Step Guide To Grow Your Lemon Tree Indoors

If you’re ready to plant your own lemon tree indoors and enjoy all its benefits and tasty fruit, then you need to do it right. Here is the tutorial you need.

  1. Choose the pot

An indoor lemon tree requires a lot of sunlight for its proper growth. Thus, you should select larger pots that can be easily moved. Plastic pots that are lightweight and have some type of casters are the best choice. You should ensure that the pot has plenty of depth to balance the tree as it grows and bears fruit.  

The depth of the pot determines how big the tree can grow. Finding the right pot for your plants is always important. It is always recommended to go for a 50-55 litres pot for a healthy tree. Lemon trees also require well-drained potting soil, so you have to ensure that the pot has drainage holes to take excess water away. 

  1. Fill the pot with soil mix

Next, you should fill the pot halfway with a well-draining potting mix and evenly smoothen it. Peat moss mix is also well suited for growing lemon trees as it is slightly acidic and well-draining. 

  1. Place the lemon tree on the pot

To repot, first, you should remove the lemon tree from the nursery pot and spread its root using your fingers. Doing so will help the roots to grow faster and get more nutrients and water from the soil. You should pull the roots gently to avoid causing any damage.

Once the roots are spread, you can place the tree on the pot. Place it upright and fill the rest of the pot with soil. You should then press the soil and ensure that the roots are deep inside. Make sure that you bury the tree to the same level it was while in the nursery pot. 

young cuttings of lemon tree growing in pot on windowsill

4. Water the plant

You should always water plants the right way. Once planted, you should water it to help it adapt to the new environment. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it

What about lemon seeds?

You can grow lemon trees either from lemon seeds or sapling. If you are growing the tree from seed, first you should bury it about 1-2cm from the top of the soil. In this stage, the soil needs to have a little moisture. Then, cover the pot with plastic wrap and secure it on the sides using rubber bands. Next, poke a few holes on the plastic wrap so that there is proper air circulation. You should spray it with water occasionally and also place the pot in sunlight to help in germinating. The new growth appears within one to two weeks of planting the seed. 

Things You Need To Know About Growing Your Lemon Tree

Lemon trees might be an outdoor plant, but unlike other citrus plants, you can grow them indoors as well. That is if you provide the right conditions.

  1. Sunlight

Like all citrus trees, lemon also requires sun, preferably eight hours of sunlight, for its healthy growth. It is best to place the pot in an area that gets full sun. Windowsill and balcony areas could be a great option for your lemon plant. If getting direct sunlight is difficult, you can go for artificial grow lights. A great idea is to place the pot in a trolley! This way you can easily move it to a sunny location when needed. 

  1. Water

It is very important to keep the soil moist all the time. But make sure that there is no waterlogging. In fact, overwatering can damage your plant. If there’s not enough water in the soil, the salt accumulates in there and harms the plants. The plant starts shedding leaves and may not produce enough fruits. On the other hand, if there is enough water, the salt dissolves in it there no harm no foul. 

While watering the plant you should allow the soil to dry but not completely. If it starts cracking, then you need to move fast. You can use your fingers or a moisture meter to check the soil. 

  1. Fertiliser

If you do not fertilize the plant properly, you will notice yellow spots on its leaves that show nutrient deficiency. Stunted growth is another indication that the plant is not properly fertilised. While fertilising the plant make sure that you do not disturb the shallow roots. 

  1. Air 

Being an outdoor plant, lemon requires a lot of air circulation. Since the indoor air quality is low and stagnant, it is best to move the plant outdoors once in a while. But always check the weather before moving it. If the weather is too harsh, avoid taking it out. If the conditions are good then you can take it outdoors for a few hours and then move it back indoors. You should not stress the plant under any circumstance. 

  1. Humidity

Another factor that affects the healthy growth of a lemon plant is humidity. If you feel that the indoor humidity is low, you can use a humidifier. But a humidifier has the disadvantage that it can promote the growth of mould and mildew inside the house. To overcome this, you can use a humidity tray. A humidity tray is normally placed under a plant. Fill the tray with water and when it evaporates it provides enough moisture to the lemon tree. 

  1. Pruning

Most varieties of indoor lemon trees do not require it. But if your tree has thorns or you want to maintain its shape, then you should prune it. Pruning off large branches and unnecessary roots also ensures proper air circulation. Make sure that you wear long gloves before pruning to avoid being hurt. 

Branch of indoor Meyer lemon tree with ripe lemons

Having a lemon tree inside the house provides a year-long parade of fragrant flowers, beautiful foliage and fresh and juicy lemons. Indoor lemon trees are dwarf varieties that do not grow beyond a certain level. All you need to provide is good sunlight, water and nutrients. It’s easy! Go give it a try!

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