Lemon tree, magnificent fruit trees
Lemon tree is a rather easy citrus to grow. It looks magnificent, too!
A summary of Lemon tree facts
Name – Citrus limon
Family – Rutaceae (Rue family)
Type – fruit tree
Height – 10 to 16 feet(3 to 5 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – well-drained
Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – January to December
Planting, caring and pruning it are steps that help enhance fruit-bearing and avoid diseases.
Planting a lemon tree
The planting of the lemon tree is an important step that influences its further development, lemon production, and lifespan.
Lemon trees are demanding trees that require well drained and rich soil to develop well.
Planting lemon tree in the ground
Planting lemon trees in the ground is possible only in mild-wintered areas. They are vulnerable to freezing and need temperatures that never drop below 41 to 44°F (5 to 7°C) in winter.
- Plant your lemon tree preferably in spring, after the last frost spells.
- Choose a sheltered spot well-endowed with sunlight to support its growth and produce nice lemons.
- Dig a hole about 3 times as deep and wide as the soil clump is.
- Place a drainage layer at the bottom of the hole with gravel or clay pebbles.
- Mix garden soil with planting soil mix.
- Fill the hole in with this mix and press it down.
- Water and press down again.
After that, it will be necessary to water regularly over the 2 first years, but not too much so that roots don’t get flooded.
Potted lemon tree
If it freezes in your area, try to grow them in pots with shelter for winter.
Lemon trees can’t survive indoors in winter, so they will need an outside unheated greenhouse, or horticultural fleece if the climate stays mild enough.
- Growing potted trees is best for all your citrus if ever it freezes in your area.
- You’ll have to bring them indoors from October to May.
- Re-pot upon purchasing and then every 2 or 3 years in spring.
- For larger pots, topdressing is easier.
- For more advice on growing potted lemon treesfollow this link.
Pruning a lemon tree
Pruning isn’t really needed, but if you don’t prune it, your lemon tree will quickly grow very large.
Yellow lemon trees are particularly vigorous, and require pruning, especially if grown in pots.
Season for lemon tree pruning
Pruning is best in spring, ideally during the months of March, April or May.
You should never prune before or during winter, this would make the plant vulnerable to freezing.
How to prune your lemon tree
Using a disinfected hand pruner, cut each new shoot back to more or less half its length, taking great care to cut just above a leaf.
- You must cut just above a bud facing outwards (the bud is located at the base of a leaf).
- This will result in your tree keeping a nice, tight shape.
- You might need to do this several times a year.
Remove dead wood regularly and clear the inside branches to let light penetrate to the center.
Watering lemon tree
If planted outdoors, normal rainfall should be enough to provide for the lemon tree’s needs, especially if the climate in your area is wet.
However, in case of high temperatures or prolonged dry spells, it is best to water from time to time.
- You know if your lemon trees need water when their leaves start drooping or bending over.
- Water sparingly because lemon trees are vulnerable to excess water.
- It is best to water with collected rain water, because they are vulnerable to calcium ions in water, and tap water often has many.
In pots, water as soon as the soil is dry, without flooding the pots.
Avoid all heat sources such as nearby radiators, because this could dry your tree out.
Caring for your lemon tree
Like most citrus, lemon trees are quite difficult to grow directly in the ground when winters are cold.
Regularly give them citrus-specific organic fertilizers to give them the best chances of developing well.
Growing them in pots is most adapted, because that makes it possible to bring the lemon trees to a spot where it doesn’t freeze in the winter.
Lemon trees aren’t indoor plants, and can’t bear staying in a heated environment all year round. They need relatively lower temperatures from October to May, especially during the night.
- If you’re looking for citrus plants that cope well with growing indoors, check out calamondin trees, or kumquat, one of the calamondin’s ancestors.
Diseases commonly found on lemon trees
Lemon tree diseases and parasites are the same that would attack most citrus plants.
Rotting fruit, aphids or scale insects don’t spare lemon trees and you’ll find proof of their presence on leaves.
- European brown rot – lemons rot while still on the tree
- Scale insects – whitish masses colonize leaves
- Aphids – leaves curl up and fall off
- Thrips – streaks of silver appear on fruits and white patches dotted with black dots on leaves.
Learn more about the lemon tree
A close relative to Citron, one of the three original citrus, lemon has long been grown in many civilizations. Lemon health benefits are renowned, and in culinary use it has thousands of applications.
In the garden, too, you can use lemon to repel ants and keep them from climbing up your fruit trees where they tend to aphids. Simply cut the fruit into slices and tie them around a tree trunk. Block all passways by overlapping the slices a little.
Smart tip about lemon tree
Pick the lemons as soon as they easily break off from their branch.
The lemon tree is a magnificent citrus that is easy to grow. Planting, growing, pruning and caring for lemon trees, best tips to grow your own lemons.
Citrus Seed Storage: Tips On Harvesting Seeds From Citrus Fruits
There is very little quite as satisfying as propagating your own fruit or veggies. Not everything can be started via seed, though. Is growing citrus by seed a possibility? Let’s find out.
Citrus Tree Seeds
There is something exciting about starting with just a tiny seed and watching the plant grow to fruition. In the case of citrus tree seeds, it must be noted that the seed you plant from say, a Valencia orange, will not have the same qualities as the original orange tree. This is because commercial fruit trees are composed of two distinct parts.
The root system and lower trunk are composed of rootstock, or stock. The scion is engendered by inserting the tissue of the desired citrus into the rootstock. This allows the commercial citrus grower to manipulate the characteristics of the fruit, selecting only those traits that are most desirable, hence marketable, in the fruit. Some of these may be pest and disease resistance, soil or drought tolerance, yield and size of fruit, and even an ability to withstand cold temperatures.
In fact, commercial citrus is usually composed of not only the above, but grafting and budding techniques as well.
What this means to home grower is that, yes, it is possible for citrus seed removal to result in a tree, but it may not be true to the original fruit. Certified, true to type, disease free propagation wood or seed is difficult to get, since it is usually sold in bulk quantities which are unsuitable for the home gardener. Experimenting with store bought citrus or that from a relative or neighbor is the best bet when growing citrus by seed.
Harvesting Seeds from Citrus
Harvesting seeds from citrus is fairly simple. Begin by obtaining a couple of the fruits you wish to propagate. This is to increase the chance of getting seedlings. Carefully remove the seeds from the citrus fruit, taking care not to damage the seeds and squeezing them out gently.
Rinse the seeds in water to separate them from the pulp and remove the sugar that clings to them; sugar encourages fungal growth and will jeopardize potential seedlings. Place them on a paper towel. Sort out the largest seeds; those which are more white than tan with a shriveled outer skin are the most viable. You may now plant the seeds or prepare them for citrus seed storage.
To store the citrus seeds, place them on a moist paper towel. Keep about three times the amount of seeds that you want to plant in case some of them are not viable. Wrap the seeds in the damp towel and place them inside a plastic ziploc type bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator. Citrus seed storage in the fridge will last for several days to several months. Unlike other seeds, citrus seeds need to stay moist. If they dry out, it is very likely they will not germinate.
Growing Citrus by Seed
Plant your citrus seeds ½-inch deep in nutrient rich soil or sprout them right on a moist paper towel. Start the seeds indoors in a warm, sunny area. Moisten the soil a bit and cover the top of the planting container with plastic wrap to aid in heat and moisture retention. Continue to keep the soil moist, not sodden. Be sure the container has drainage holes to let excess water drain away.
Good luck and be patient. Citrus started from seeds will take many years to reach a maturity for fruiting. For instance, lemon trees started from seed will take up to 15 years to produce lemons.
There is very little quite as satisfying as propagating your own fruit or veggies. Not everything can be started via seed though. Is growing citrus by seed a possibility? Read this article to learn more about citrus seed removal and growing.