Lemon trees look fantastic growing in your gardens or inside your home. They brighten the room, adding height and color to the space with their evergreen foliage, scented blossoms, and vibrant fruits. Moreover, you can easily pluck a fresh, juicy lemon whenever you need one while enjoying the refreshing, citrusy fragrance of the plant.
The lemon tree is perfect as a container plant and requires little maintenance to thrive. Here are six care tips for your potted lemon tree.
1. Ideal Location and Temperature
Lemon trees grow best outdoors in the summer, in a sheltered spot out of draught and with full sun. You can leave the plant outside between mid-June and late September. However, once it starts getting cold and before the temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, bring your plant inside. Lemon trees are the most cold-sensitive citrus and stop growing with exposure to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Gradually acclimatize the plant to the indoor environment before making the final transition.
When growing indoors, the optimal room temperature for the plant is between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The variation of 10 degrees Fahrenheit day to night is great for the plant, as it promotes flowering. In the winter, this night time temperature is ideal for their health.
2. Repotting and Fertilizing
Repot your lemon tree every two years or so in the spring, using a lightly acidic and well-draining medium once it outgrows its container. This medium comprises equal parts potting soil, peat, and perlite. Ensure the pot is deep and heavy to keep the plant from toppling over from the weight.
To keep the plant thriving, feed it during the growing phase every two weeks when the blooming flowers and developing fruits benefit the most. Use a slow-release fertilizer with a 2-1-1 ratio. You can also look for a specialized citrus fertilizer with trace minerals like iron, zinc, and manganese.
Pro tip: If you do not want the plant to outgrow its space in your home, do not transfer it to a bigger container. Instead, gently remove it from its pot, trim away the root, and repot it in the same container with fresh soil.
3. Perfect Light Conditions
When growing your lemon tree indoors, provide it with a minimum of eight to 12 hours of direct sunlight daily. A south or southwest-facing window is your best shot at fulfilling the light requirement.
You can also supplement with a grow light. Anything below six hours of solid sunlight and your plant will not grace you with any flowers or fruits. You can also keep the potted fruit plant outdoors in bright light to promote vigorous growth.
4. Watering on Demand
Check the soil for dryness to determine whether your lemon tree is ready for some hydration. If the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil feels dry, water the soil thoroughly until it is moist and allow the excess to leak out from the drainage holes of the pot.
Ideally, check once or twice a week using your fingers or a moisture meter since the surrounding temperature, humidity, light, etc., affect how fast the soil dries out. Cut down on the watering in winter, as the plant slows down growth.
Since the plant is partial to high humidity, place the pot on a pebble tray. Keep the water level in the tray just below the pebble’s surface to prevent the pot from standing in the water. Alternatively, you can mist the leaves to keep the humidity above 50 percent for a healthy plant.
5. Pruning and Trimming
Whether you place your lemon tree inside or outdoors, it is an eye-catching plant often grown for its visual appeal as much as the fruits it bears. To maintain the look of the plant, prune away any branches that are jutting out unappealingly or getting leggy. Using clean shears, you can trim the plant any time of the year except during winter.
In addition to maintaining its visual appeal, cut away any damaged branches that might be wasting the plant’s resources. Regular pruning also ensures that the weight of the plant is well-distributed.
6. Probable Problems
If you notice yellow leaves on your pretty plant, it indicates a lack of nutrients. Remedy this by feeding your plant more frequently. This could also be due to a lack of water.
Keep an eye on possible pest infestation since lemon trees can get spider mites in a low-humid environment. Remove these pesky insects and increase the humidity around your plant by implementing the abovementioned steps.
Treat Yourself to a Showy Lemon Tree
The vibrant color of the fruits against the lush, green foliage has made the showy lemon tree a popular houseplant. The relatively easy-to-care-for plant requires more than eight hours of solid light, moderate temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and regular feeding.
The plant also does best in high humidity, excessing 50 percent and careful watering whenever the soil feels dry. An absence of fruits can indicate insufficient exposure to light, while yellowing leaves are a sign of nutritional deficit.
Have you ever owned a potted lemon tree? Share your experiences, thoughts, and questions below in the comments section.