So, you’re wondering how to grow lemon trees from seed, but you’re worried the climate you live in may be slightly too cold to sustain them? Fear not, we’ve got some hints and tips that will ensure that you can cultivate healthy, fruiting trees despite the winter weather! Citrus fruits like lemon can also be grown inside and flourish with the right care and maintenance. Here’s how!
Step One: Choosing a Variety of Lemon.
Firstly, we’d recommend choosing an organic lemon as these are less likely to contain ‘dud’ seeds which won’t germinate.
Step Two: Removing the Seeds.
Half the lemon with a sharp knife, keeping all of the seeds that the knife hasn’t made contact with or damaged. By keeping all of them, you increase the chances of sprouting successful seeds.
Step Three: Peeling the Seeds.
We’d recommend drying the seeds first with a paper towel to make this process easier, as they can be quite slimy. Once this is complete, simply place the seeds on a wet paper towel in a warm, dark environment. Bingo! After a week or so, you should see that some of them have begun to sprout. They are now ready to be planted.
Step Four: Preparing to plant.
At this stage, most people choose to plant the seeds temporarily in a clear plastic bottle with the top cut off. This enables you to see the plant developing its root system, letting you know when it is time to transplant into a pot. Remember to poke a few holes in the bottom of the bottle to allow excess water to drain out and use fertile potting soil.
Step Five: Planting
Once a healthy root system has developed, you can then gently manoeuvre your plant into its permanent home. Gentle dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots and transplant into this new home, leaving the seed resting on the surface so that you can monitor its progress.
Now that we’ve run through the initial stages of growing lemon trees from seed, here is some additional information which will guarantee success. Below, we will run through what types of lemon trees produce the best fruit, what pots to use, and how to care for your trees.
Three Varieties of Lemon Trees We Recommend Growing:
1: The Lisbon Lemon Tree
This tree produces fruit similar to what you’ll see in the average fruit and veg section in a supermarket and so is a popular choice. Most notable about it is its floral bouquet, which is similar in nature to that of the orange blossom, and the fruit, which possesses a great tangy taste.
It grows to about 8 feet in height (unless pruned/restricted by pot size) and will bear fruit staggeringly quickly – within 1-2 years of planting! It produces quite a lot of fruit and is sturdy in nature. Adding to its appeal, it is relatively heat and disease resistant and self-pollinates – a dream for any already overworked gardener!
2: The Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree
Possessing fruit that is much smaller and sweeter than the Lisbon variety, the Dwarf Meyer is also known for its beautifully smelling flowers. In addition, it is also one of the hardiest varieties of lemon tree out there and another self-pollinator. It can manage cold, heat, and insect infestations much better than most, and as an added bonus – if you’re limited for space, this tree will only grow to 4-6 feet in height in a pot!
3: The Dwarf Ponderosa Lemon Tree
Of all the varieties listed, this one may actually produce the tastiest fruit – which are absolutely massive! Some fruits can even weigh up to two pounds! However, while the fruit may be the sweetest, it also requires the most input and maintenance of the three varieties. It does not have the same resistant to heat as the others do and is thus better kept indoors away from the full effects of the sun.
However, there are also some extra benefits to choosing this variety. It grows incredibly quickly, is self-pollinating and won’t get any larger than 8 feet. You can of course prune it smaller if you need to.
Choosing the Right Pot for Your Tree:
When making the decision on what pot to use, you need to consider a few vital elements, such as:
Drainage: You’ll need a pot which allows excess water to leave the roots. Too much soakage can cause the roots to rot, killing the tree.
Sizing: 5 gallons, as a minimum is recommended. Generally, 10 is optimal. Anything larger is going to be VERY heavy.
With that, here are some pot types that we recommend which ensure good growth and drainage:
1: Cobalt Ceramic Garden Planter
Made from clay, which is then glazed, making it non-porous, this is a highly durable and long-lasting pot which could last a lifetime. However, this material doesn’t deal well with freezing temperatures, with pots being known to crack after too much exposure to the cold. They are better suited to warmer climates, or to indoor or patio use.
Note: these pots are also the heaviest and most expensive on this list. While they look excellent, perhaps consider another if you intend to move the tree regularly.
2: The humble Plastic Pot
Sometimes the best thing to do is to keep it simple, right? These are the cheapest pots out there, and really there is nothing wrong with using one for this purpose. If you’re concerned about the aesthetic, there are also examples out there that are made to look exactly like their ceramic counterparts – neat!
In terms of weight, these are also the lightest pots out there, but as a result, they are not as durable as the others listed.
3: The Bloem Terra Planter
In terms of aesthetics, nothing really looks better than a wooden pot, does it? They fit right in in any garden and are perfect for outdoor use year-round. Because the wood retains water, they’re also less likely to crack or dry out. If you’re looking for one that will truly survive the ages, go for one made of Cedar or Redwood, but do take note: you will need to drill hole in them for drainage if there aren’t any already in situ. The last thing you want is rot!
An important factor to note when using any of these indoors is to also make use of a saucer to collect any excess water from drainage. Streams of mucky water in your patio are definitely something to be avoided.
So that’s it for our tips on how to grow lemon trees in pots. Make sure to water them frequently, if you notice the leaves turning yellow, or the soil drying out. Make sure that your tree gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, ideally giving them sun for half the day and shade for the other half. Most importantly, ground frost and freezing temperatures are incredibly harmful for your tree. If you’re anticipating this kind of weather, it’s best to bring them inside to avoid disaster. Thanks for reading, and good luck!