How To Grow A Lemon Tree In Pot

Growing a lemon tree in a pot is a great way to be able to enjoy the sweet-tangy fruit indoors. It can be a fun project and is definitely achievable. Here’s how to do it.

The first step is to find a healthy lemon tree. You’ll want one that’s about two or three feet tall and in good health. You can typically find one at your local nursery or home improvement store. Make sure to check for any signs of disease or pest problems.

Next, you’ll want to find a pot that’s the right size. Lemon trees like to be in a pot that’s at least 12 inches deep and has plenty of drainage holes. Choose one that’s made of a material that won’t degrade too quickly, such as ceramic or plastic.

Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix. While traditional soil won’t work, something like an all-purpose potting mix or a succulent/cactus blend will work perfectly. Add some slow-release fertilizer to ensure the tree has the nutrients it needs.

Now you’re ready to plant your tree. Carefully remove it from the container and make sure to keep the roots moist. Place the tree in the center of the pot and fill in the rest of the space with soil. Pat it down gently and water it generously.

You’ll want to water your lemon tree every few days, but don’t let it sit in water or it will suffer from root rot. Place your pot in a bright, indirect light and maintain an even temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If it gets too cold, the tree will drop its leaves, but you can protect it with a heat mat or grow light.

Finally, keep an eye out for spider mites and other pests, as they can quickly damage your tree. Prune the branches occasionally to encourage new growth and fertilize your tree every few months. With the right care, you should have a juicy crop of lemons in no time.

Fertilizer and Pruning

Fertilizing your lemon tree appropriately is key to its success. A balanced fertilizer with 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 NPK is usually about right. You can apply it to the soil at the base of the pot, but take care not to over-fertilize, which can cause problems. You may need to adjust your regimen depending on the age and size of your tree, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

Pruning is also important for keeping your lemon tree healthy. Prune for shape in the early stages of growth, and then maintain it so that it doesn’t become too top-heavy or dense. Remove dead or damaged branches, as well as any suckers that come out from the base of the tree.

You can also prune young lemons off of the tree. It won’t harm the tree and will actually help it to grow a larger crop of lemons next time. Prune at the base of the stem and not the stem itself, as this can damage the tree.

You may also need to prune away any leaves that are getting too large or growing too close to each other. This will ensure that your lemon tree doesn’t get overcrowded and that its fruits get enough sunlight to ripen properly.

Finally, don’t forget to monitor the pH of your potting soil. Lemons like soil that’s slightly acidic, so you can use a soil testing kit to make sure that your potting mix has the right pH level.

Harvest and Storage

Your lemon tree should start bearing fruit after about two years. Each year, your tree may produce more or fewer fruits, so don’t be surprised if your yield is inconsistent. You’ll know when your lemons are ripe – they should have a bright yellow skin with a glossy finish.

When it’s time to harvest, twist the fruit off of the tree gently. Don’t pull it too hard, as you don’t want to damage the tree. Lemons can be stored unrefrigerated in a cool, dark place for a few days, as long as they’re not exposed to too much light or heat.

If you’re planning to store your lemons for a longer period of time, you should refrigerate them. Place them in a plastic bag or container to keep them from drying out. You can also freeze them for later use, although the texture may not be as good once thawed.

Fresh lemons should last for up to a week when stored at room temperature, while frozen ones can last for up to six months. Once your lemons are all used up, you can then start the process over again, pruning, fertilizing and harvesting until the next batch is ready!

Planting and Maintenance

In order to get your lemon tree off to a good start, make sure you plant it correctly. Select a pot with plenty of holes for drainage, and fill it with potting soil specially formulated for citrus trees or a succulent/cactus blend. You can also add compost to the soil for an extra nutrient boost, but don’t overdo it.

You’ll need to water your lemon tree regularly, but don’t let it sit in water or it could develop root rot. Water once or twice a week, making sure to keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. It’s also important to maintain an even temperature, ideally between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If it gets too cold, the leaves may drop but you can protect it with a heat mat or grow light.

You should also be sure to check your lemon tree for signs of disease or pests, such as spider mites or aphids. If you spot any unusual activity, you may need to take action to prevent further damage. Use natural pest repellents or insecticides, but never use chemicals.

Finally, it’s important to give your tree the right amount of light. Place it in a sunny spot, or provide it with artificial lighting if necessary. This will ensure that your lemon tree gets the sunshine it needs to grow and produce fruit.

Humidity and Drafts

Since lemon trees prefer high humidity, it’s important to make sure your lemon tree is getting the right amount of moisture in the air. You can create your own miniature greenhouse by placing the pot inside a see-through plastic bag. This will help the humidity to stay high and protect the tree from dry air.

Be sure to avoid any drafts, as these can damage your lemon tree. Move the pot away from windows or air vents if necessary, and make sure it’s not too close to other plants, as this can cause evaporation issues.

In addition, your lemon tree will benefit from misting with a water spray bottle. This should be done often, and it helps to keep dust and dirt off the leaves and provide extra moisture if needed. This can also help to keep your lemon tree looking great.

You may also want to use a humidifier or a pebble tray to add extra moisture to the air. Fill a tray with water and stones, and place it on a heat mat so that it’s nice and warm. The evaporation of the water will help to keep the humidity level high and your lemon tree happy.


Growing a lemon tree from a cutting is a great way to get a new tree that’s already acclimatized to its environment. To do this, take a cutting from a healthy branch of an existing tree and make sure there are at least two leaves at the top. Dip the cut end into some rooting hormone and then place it in a pot.

Fill the pot with soil and water it generously. Place it in a warm spot with indirect sunlight and keep the soil moist. Once the cutting has taken root and the leaves start to grow, it should be ready to transfer to a larger pot.

You can also propagate a lemon tree using air layering. This is a process whereby a branch is bent over and covered in soil, to encourage roots to form where it touches the earth. After a few weeks, the new branch can be cut away and planted in a pot. Although this can take a little longer than a cutting, it’s a great way to get a new tree.

Propagating your own lemon trees is a great way to save money, but it takes some time and effort. Once you’ve started the process, the care is the same as for regular lemon trees – water, fertilize, prune and make sure the temperature stays even.

Growing a lemon tree in a pot may seem intimidating, but it can be a rewarding and fun project. Taking the right steps in terms of soil, light, and care will result in a healthy, productive tree that will reward you with zesty lemons year after year.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

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