It is usually warm climates that play host to lemon trees, but if you live in a chillier place and wish to have your own homegrown lemons, you can find out how to cultivate them in pots, and it is much simpler than you might suppose.
By planting lemon trees in pots, you have the ability to cultivate them in any type of atmosphere. When the temperature starts to dip, you can choose to bring them indoors to create a nice-smelling, aesthetically pleasing houseplant. Alternately, if the climate is suitable, you can cultivate them outdoors throughout the year.
- Start in a 5-gallon container and gradually increase your pot size as your lemon tree grows.
- Lemon trees need 6-8 hours of sunlight. If you’re growing a lemon tree inside, you might need to add a grow light.
- Keep the soil moist but never soggy.
- Lemon trees are heavy feeders and need to be supplied with ample nutrients throughout the growing season.
- You can harvest fresh lemons from the trees from November to April.
Learn How To Grow Lemon Trees In Pots
Lemon trees are an excellent choice for beginners. It is not hard to cultivate them, and these plants do not require very exacting circumstances.
Select small varieties of lemons appropriate for cultivating in pots.
When cultivating a lemon tree in a container, it is not going to reach the same size as those planted in the ground.
A good choice for growing indoors is a dwarf lemon tree, as the conditions of the house will cause the plant to stay small and not reach its full size potential.
In recent years, the cultivation of lemon trees in containers has become increasingly fashionable, and gardeners have pinpointed a few types which excel when grown in pots.
- Meyer Improved Dwarf
- Ponderosa Dwarf
The most desirable situation is to begin with trees that are between two and three years old. This is the stage at which the plants are old enough to start producing fruit, though it may take one or two years for the fruit to start appearing. The trees may start out small, but they will get bigger over time, even the dwarf varieties.
- Start With A 12-Inch Diameter Container With Proper Drainage
It is very important to consider the drainage capabilities when choosing a pot for lemon trees. They require adequate drainage, so choose a pot that has several holes for water to drain through.
- You might see pictures of citrus trees in large pots, but with these trees, it’s better to start with a small pot and gradually increase your container’s size.
- Start with a 12-inch container, which is typically called a 5-gallon pot, for small trees. It’s an ideal size for beginners.
- Mature plants will need containers that are 24 inches in diameter and 24 inches deep – so 10-gallon pots. That size gives your roots plenty of space to grow and expand.
- You can use any material that you want, but terra-cotta is an excellent option because it allows for air movement. At the same time, they’re quite heavy, especially when filled with soil, so consider keeping it on top of a wheeled plant dolly, which lets you move it with ease.
- It would be best if you used light-colored pots because they won’t absorb as much sunlight. Believe it or not, even though lemon trees like heat, their roots prefer to be cool.
It is crucial to repot your tree approximately every few years or right when springtime arrives. In climates with higher temperatures, winter is the optimal time to replant your trees.
Do not select a pot for your tree that is either too small or too large. The pot you get should be one size larger than the one you had before.
- Place The Pot In A Warm, Sunny Location
When the temperature is warm and there is no frost, you can keep your citrus trees outdoors. Potted lemon trees should be positioned in an area that is exposed to direct sunlight for 6-8 hours a day.
- When the temperature dips down, and the forecast of frost gets close, it’s time to bring your lemon tree inside.
- When inside, keep your lemon trees near southern or southwest-facing windows.
- The natural light shifts with the seasons, so you cannot keep your tree in the same spot all year round. You do need to adjust to the season, moving to locations that get more sunlight.
- If there comes a time when you’re short on sunlight, you can use grow lights to make up the difference.
- Fill Container With Well-Draining Potting Mix
You need to ensure the soil is appropriate when first planting your lemon tree. Garden nurseries offer specially-prepared potting mixes for cacti, palms, and citrus trees that have been designed to keep moisture in without allowing it to seep away.
- Never use garden soil or topsoil for container gardening. You must use a potting mix blend. Not only will it not contain the nutrients needed for proper growth, but it won’t have the proper pH balance for your trees.
- The pH level should be between 5.5 and 7; these trees before a slightly acidic to neutral soil. You can use a soil testing kit to check the pH balance.
- Always mix in additional organic matter, such as earthworm casting, compost, or aged manure.
- You want a lightweight potting mix that contains ingredients such as perlite, vermiculite, coconut coir, or peat moss to increase drainage.
- Planting Lemon Trees In Containers
You should get it right the first time you plant your trees in the pot since you can’t do it more than once. It is essential to comprehend how deep to plant citrus trees since they demand ample airflow.
Examine the tree and identify where it begins to spread out at the bottom; there should be a slight amount of this showing.
- Fill your pot, leaving extra room to put your tree.
- Loosen the roots in the root ball and place the tree into the pot. Holding the stem with one hand, cover the soil with the rest of the soil, and pat it down firmly. Make sure to leave some of the base flare visible.
- Water deeply until water comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
- Spread mulch over the top of the oil to help reduce evaporation.
Watering And Fertilizing
Unlike roots that absorb water and nutrients in an unconfined way through the garden, roots that are in containers rely on you to provide them with moisture and food. Containerized citrus trees are very particular regarding how much water they receive, which is also necessary in order to facilitate the growth of the fruit. Make sure that the soil stays moist regularly and slightly on the drier side. However, don’t allow roots to dry out completely. Moist soil for an extended period of time can be detrimental for citrus plants since they are prone to suffering from root rot.
What is the top query asked in gardening? – How much should I water? “It depends” is the most accurate, although frustrating, answer. The amount of water needed is determined by lots of linked elements, for instance soil composition, the size of the plant, the pot it is planted in, the length of the growing period, the weather (including sun, wind, and rain), and whether it is situated indoors or outdoors. Be wary of blindly following watering guidelines that may not apply to your particular circumstances. Your best bet is to monitor soil moisture regularly. Water your plants on a regular basis, but don’t do so too often; let the water soak into the ground below the roots and run out of the holes in the bottom of the pot each time. Ensure the pot is placed higher than any surface that is saturated in salty liquid, which would not be desirable as it could harm the plant’s roots.
Test the soil moisture levels in the root zone. Try using a budget-friendly moisture meter, or make a less advanced one with a wooden chopstick. Insert the object into the ground, remove it, check if it is wet or dry by touching it, or if wet dirt is clinging to it. Write down in a basic diary how much water is being used at different points during the year to assist you in honing and comprehending what your citrus tree needs. It won’t take much longer until you can instinctively tell when it’s time to water.
Give your citrus plants a diet of a full NPK fertilizer, which will include other macro- and micronutrients, including iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Feed them this regularly. Citrus plants can be easily maintained by using fertilizers that supply them with extra nitrogen and micronutrients that are essential for their growth. Using a multi-purpose fertilizer in combination with a nitrogen-rich solution containing micronutrients should be enough to meet the needs of your plants.
Follow package instructions for amounts and frequencies. As a rule of thumb, fertilize your plants when fresh growth begins at the end of winter or in the beginning of spring, and then consistently administer it throughout summer until early or late fall. Citrus trees don’t take a full break, so you can keep providing them with nutrition after transferring them inside. You can opt to reduce the amount of fertilizer you use by half though. Gardeners who keep citrus pots outside throughout the whole year typically stop providing nutrients in late summer or early fall since the delicate new growth can be hurt due to frost.
Moving Citrus Indoors And Out
Within the span of two to three weeks, gradually introduce your citrus trees to the variations in climate conditions between being inside and outside to make them more resistant to environmental factors. This decreases the amount of trauma, which can be seen by the leaves and fruit becoming yellow or falling off, which is quite a common occurrence for citrus fruits. In the springtime, bring the tree outside to a protected area, like a place in the shade away from harsh winds, for a week or so before letting it be in indirect light, and then gradually giving it more direct sun exposure.
In the fall, reverse the process. Check for bugs before moving the plant indoors and rinse off any dusty leaves. Raise the humidity indoors by bringing in a humidifier, or by placing the pot on top of some pebbles in a tray with water, making sure the pot is elevated sufficiently so that none of the water seeps into the soil. Watch the weather prediction carefully for the possibility of an early or late frost during the changeover of seasons.
Citrus Varieties, Pollination, And Harvest
Bees are necessary for cultivating citrus outdoors and can be a great source of honey if you are a beekeeper. Most citrus trees are able to self-pollinate, referred to as self-fruitful or self-fertile. A few types, for instance, the Minneola and Orlando tangelos, need a different adjacent tree to fertilize and bring forth fruits.
Many citrus trees, depending on their type, bear flowers and develop fruit in the spring season. Fruit grows in size during the summer months and is ripe for picking during autumn and winter. Some types of plants can be expected to produce blossoms and fruit sporadically throughout the year, such as lemons, limes, and kumquats, which can be a amusing and rewarding addition to any container garden. If you have room to plant many trees, you can have a longer period of producing yield by planting varieties that ripen in distinct months.
It usually takes around two to five or six years for a tree to start growing a big and regular harvest. It is suggested by some growers that in the initial period after a transplant, any small fruits that appear should be pinched off. This permits the tree to utilize its resources on root and branch expansion, resulting in a more powerful and healthier tree that will yield more fruit in the future.
Try the fruit to find out if it is sweet because the color of the skin does not show if it is ripe. Fruit from citrus plants can be picked for a long period, so it is advised that the best way to store them is to not pick them until you are prepared to use them.
Common Pests & Diseases That Bother Lemon Trees
Citrus trees can be affected by various types of pests and illnesses, however, when they are grown indoors, you are diminishing the risks of such issues. Below are some of the typical pests and ailments that affect lemon trees.
Citrus canker is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes circular spots, lumps, or scabs to appear on citrus tree leaves, twigs, and fruit.
If your plant is suffering from a serious disease, it can lead to leaves falling off, fruits bearing marks, or the entire tree dying back. Citrus canker can rapidly disperse via air, bugs, fowl, and people, thus becoming a real issue quickly.
You can apply a range of sprays to prevent your tree from getting sick, for instance a liquid copper fungicide, but it is only a form of preventive care.
This bacterial disease is especially troublesome, since it can quickly spread from tree to tree, causing a great amount of damage before it’s stopped.
This is a fungal problem that affects young citrus fruits. This fungus does not just affect grapefruits; lemons can also be susceptible to it. Melanose is worse in trees that have been around for over ten years, as it is attracted to decaying wood.
By pruning regularly, you can help to prevent melanose. Using a liquid copper-based fungicide as a form of prevention could be another choice.
Here is another fungal illness that affects citrus fruit trees. You can tell that you have an oily region if you have pale tan blister spots on the foliage, mainly the underside of the foliage. As the illness advances, the marks take on an oily appearance.
When your plants have a slimy area, it can lead to massive foliage shedding, particularly during the coldest season, and it also harms the fruits of the vegetation.
In order to control this illness, it is necessary to gather and discard all of the decaying leaves; this lowers the amount of new spores that could infect your plant.
In the spring months, apply a liquid fungicide to your plant; you may need to utilize the product a second time in the late summer or early fall.
A fungus called sooty mold grows on trees and plants when certain pests leave honeydew secretions there.
Aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs are common insects that feed on the sap of your plants, leaving behind a sticky secretion known as honeydew.
Sooty mold typically does not lead to the death of your plants, however, the bugs responsible for it may result in harm or ruin to your plants.
Once you have eliminated your infestation, you can clean the blackened mold on the plants with soap and water. You can also treat your lemon trees with a liquid copper fungicide or Neem oil.