Learn how to grow a lemon tree from a seed and how to care for your lemon plant with this nifty growing guide.
In this article:
- Grow Lemon Trees From Seeds Indoors and in Your Garden
- How to Germinate Lemon Seeds
- How to Grow a Lemon Tree Indoors
A Foolproof Guide on How to Grow a Lemon Tree
Grow Lemon Trees From Seeds Indoors and in Your Garden
Have you sliced a zesty lemon fruit, took out the seeds, and wondered if you can grow a lemon tree from a seed?
The truth is, you can throw some citrus seeds in a corner in your garden and they will germinate. That’s how easy to grow lemon trees are, as well as other citrus varieties.
However, there’s more to growing lemon trees than just sprouting the seeds. It’s a bit of work and some waiting… oh, the waiting. But hey, that’s what gardening is all about, and I tell you, it can be both fun and relaxing.
So, help yourself to this simple, foolproof, and practical guide to germinating lemon seeds, growing lemon trees, and caring for lemon plants.
How to Germinate Lemon Seeds
Propagating lemons from seeds is quite easy. You can even start the seeds of any lemon varieties from the grocery store.
Next time you cut up some lemons, save the seeds. You can grow more lemons from those, and here’s how:
What You’ll Need
- Fresh lemons
- Knife and chopping board
- Planter with a saucer or catch basin
- Potting mix
- Moistened peat moss
Step 1. Prepare Your Soil and Container
Prepare a deep planter or pot to start lemon seeds in so you can give the lemon’s root system room for growth. You can also start lemon seeds in small biodegradable planters and transfer them later to larger planters.
I did both for fun and practical reasons and I’ll tell you why later. Fill the bottom of your pot with perlite for drainage, then fill it up with potting soil.
For your biodegradable planters, just fill it with potting soil. Set your planters aside.
Step 2. Cut a Lemon Fruit and Take the Seeds
Cut a lemon fruit in half and take out the seeds. I suggest to cut it lengthwise instead of across, to get the most out of it — seeds and juices both.
Squeeze the juices out, then scoop the seeds out from the juice or pick some from the squeezed lemon halves.
Save the rind or peelings for use later around the household or in your garden.
Tips: I’ve seen suggestions to peel off the husk from the seeds to speed up the germination process. Taking off the husk of lemon seeds does possibly speed up germination by a week or two.
But, I’ve conducted an experiment where the unpeeled lemon seeds eventually caught up to my peeled lemon seed sprouts. So, save yourself the trouble of peeling and simply plant right away.
Step 3. Plant the Lemon Seeds, Water, and Wait
Poke two-inch holes in the soil of your biodegradable planters with a stick or your finger. Then, drop seeds in each hole and cover with soil.
Moisten the soil and set the planters in an area where it will receive a good amount of morning sunlight and afternoon shade.
Now for your pot, we are going to use that to germinate some lemon seeds indoors. Poke two-inch holes at least two inches apart on the soil.
Drop a seed in each hole then cover with soil. Moisten the soil with a sprayer and spread a layer of moistened peat moss on top, and you’re done.
Set the pot with a catch basin in a window sill facing north and water every day, (including the ones from the biodegradable planters). Watch the seeds sprout into tiny green things and enjoy the delight of some potted lemon sprouts on your window.
How to Grow a Lemon Tree Indoors
Like most citrus fruits, lemon grows in warmer climates. This poses a problem in hardiness Zones 7 and up, when I’m such a sucker for lemons – from fresh lemonade to lemon meringues and all the amazing household uses for lemons.
You can grow lemon trees even in your temperate climate not just for the fruits, but for the lovely-smelling flowers, too. Luckily, you can grow lemon trees in containers and they grow quite well indoors.
As your lemon seedlings start to grow, you will need to transfer them to a larger pot or the ground at some point. If you want to see them grow and bear fruit, follow this guide with tips and ideas for growing and caring for indoor lemon trees with success.
What You Will Need
- Potting mix
- Large containers with catch basins
- Gardening tools
- Moistened peat moss
Steps and Plant Care Tips
Step 1. Preparing Soil and Container
Lemons are plants with an extensive root system. You might want to choose larger and deeper planters with drainage holes to transfer lemon plants in.
To permanently transplant established two-year-old lemon trees, you will need five to seven-gallon planters at least 15 inches tall with a saucer which I will have to explain later.
Light and well-draining soil are the best for growing lemons in. Take out some peat moistened peat moss, potting soil, and perlite.
Mix a third of these materials together in a container to make the soil mix for growing lemons in. Avoid potting soil with added wetting agents because that will make your soil too moist.
Step 2. Transplanting Lemon Plants
Slide the lemon seedling from its container and examine the root ball carefully. Trim some parts that are maybe dry and fluff them up if they’re matted.
Add an inch or two of perlite to the bottom of the planter and gently place the root ball in the bottom of the planter. Hold the base of the seedling and keep adding your soil mix in the planter all around the root ball up to the base of the lemon tree.
Step 3. Caring for Transplanted Lemon Plants
Water the soil around your lemon tree to eliminate air pockets and settle the soil and roots. You can add compost tea or make homemade organic fertilizer for the much-needed nutrients for your citrus tree.
When it comes to pests, spider mites can be one of the most common problems. Keep your lemon tree free from dust by misting it every now to keep spider mites at bay.
Regular pruning will also help, not just to keep it from pests and decay, but to tame its foliage growth indoors.
Step 4. Humidifying Indoor Lemon Plant
Lemon trees like high humidity, which can be a problem indoors during winter. If your lemon trees will use the protection of your home indoors in winter, make sure you have a humidifier.
You can also use the catch basin I have pointed out earlier to resolve moisture around your lemon tree. Never let your lemon planter sit in water so put small rocks or pebbles in the bottom of the catch basin.
Fill it with water without drowning the rocks. Place your potted lemon tree on top of the rocks or you can also spray the foliage once in a while.
Step 5. Give Your Lemon Tree Enough Sunlight
Lemon plants love a good amount of sunlight. Put your tree in a sunny window where the plant can get as many hours of sunlight as it can.
Give the pot a quarter turn every week so all sides of the plant get exposed to enough hours of sunlight. As soon as the weather gets warmer, consider taking your lemon tree outdoors.
When moving the young trees outdoors from spring to summer, take time to acclimatize the plants. That means to let the plants adjust to the temperature outdoors or indoors.
Put the plant in the shade for a couple of weeks. But, the best time to make the switch is when the temperatures are the same both indoors and outdoors.
This video from Self Sufficient Me will show you tips to grow a ton of lemon fruits in one tree:
Growing lemon trees from seeds can be challenging but it's all worth your effort to have a lemon tree growing from seeds you would have otherwise thrown away. You just got yourself an ornamental houseplant in the potted lemon tree with vibrant foliage and aromatic flowers while you delightfully wait and anticipate the fruit.
How's your own lemon seed germination going? I'm excited to hear all about it in the comments section below!
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Wondering if you can grow seeds of store-bought fruits? Learn how to grow fruits here to grow more fruits from their seeds.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.