Lemon Trees 101: Types and How to Care for Them
Nothing embodies the warm, carefree vibe of spring and summer quite like citrus fruit. And Lemon Trees are arguably one of the best to choose for your own at-home orchard. Why? Well, for starters, they're super easy to grow and generally fruit quickly, even in less-than-stellar climates.
Plus, having a Lemon Tree is like having a little slice of the tropics right in your backyard. There's nothing like the fresh flavor and versatility of Lemon Trees.
Choosing Your Tree
Though it's a symbol of exotic, island-inspired growth, there are many places where you can grow a Lemon Tree. Even if you live in an area where it gets cold outside, you can plant your Lemon Trees in a pot and bring them indoors during the winter. But if you're not sure what to choose, we've highlighted a few of our favorites below to get you started on your citrus journey!
1. Meyer Lemon
The famous favorite. The Meyer Lemon Tree is probably what comes to mind when you think of versatile indoor or outdoor growth and amazing, easy-to-grow flavor. It's especially known for offering both sweet and savory flavors from each squeeze, making it even better than store-bought.
In fact, Meyer Lemons are not available in grocery stores because the thin skin of the Meyer is subject to easy bruising. However, this delicious skin also allows the citrus juices to develop fully, making it the perfect raw fruit for juices, desserts and flavoring.
While some lemon trees can grow as tall as 20 feet, a Meyer Lemon tree can naturally reach between 10 and 15 feet tall.
2. Eureka Lemon
The top choice for growing juicy lemons on your patio is the Eureka Lemon Tree Dwarf-sized for easy harvests, the Eureka Lemon offers effortless home-grown fruit and the benefit of drought tolerance.
It's no wonder why the Eureka Lemon Tree is the most popular selection amongst homeowners who grow their own citrus fruit. You'll easily grow bushels of lemons that are great for lemonade or for adding a sweet flavor to your meals.
The Eureka is also adaptable to most soils and conditions, and you don't need to spray harsh chemicals because it isn't prone to pests or diseases.
The Limequat Citrus Tree is technically not a Lemon Tree, but as a member of the citrus family, it's a must-have.
The Limequat is exactly how it sounds: a natural cross between a Key Lime Tree and a Kumquat Tree. This tree offers small, yellow-green oblong fruit about the size of kumquats, which are perfect for snacking without peeling.
Limequats have the sweet flavor of limes and oranges with a tart aftertaste.Their unique flavor is perfect for cooking with, as well as adding to drinks, to give your favorite recipes some extra zest.
How and Where to Plant a Lemon Tree
Planting a Lemon Tree Indoors
Lemon Trees are a great low-maintenance plant and can grow perfectly even within your house!
As a citrus variety, Lemon Trees require full to partial sun, which means about 4 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. For indoor growth, simply place them in front of a South-facing or sunny window.
Once you've scouted your chosen area and selected your favorite Lemon Tree, it's easy to plant. Select a container that's about one and a half or two times the width of your tree's shipped container. For improved drainage, you can also fill the bottom of your pot with a 2-inch layer of crushed stone.
Planting a Lemon Tree Outdoors
To plant outdoors, place your lemon tree in a South-facing area that gets just a bit of shade and maybe some shielding from harsh afternoon sun. Other than that, Lemon Trees just need a regular watering schedule and a plan for fertilizing.
The best time to plant your lemon tree is during the spring, to avoid any harsh winter or summer temperatures. This also depends on what growing zone you are located in.
Dig your hole just as deep and approximately twice as wide as the tree's root ball.
After you've got everything ready, place your tree and loosen its roots just a bit. Then, backfill your hole with soil with 2 inches of compost and water well.
When the planting process is complete, you can also spread a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch over the tree's root area to preserve moisture. Just ensure you keep the mulch away from the tree's bark.
Lemon Tree Care
So, how should you care for your lemon? Caring for your lemon tree can be broken down into these five steps; watering, fertilizing, pruning, pest & disease solutions and harvesting.
Generally, a lemon tree should be watered once weekly or bi-weekly, depending on rainfall in your area or your humidity indoors. A watering schedule is important to keeping your Lemon Trees healthy and happy. But if you're not sure when to water your Lemon Trees, just check the top 2 inches of soil. When this area is dry, it's time to water.
FGT Tip: Citrus leaves love humidity. Indoor Lemon Trees will do best if misted daily, especially when you are running your heat during cooler months. You can also use a humidifier or fill your pot's saucer with rocks and add water; place your plant on the rocks, ensuring the bottom of the pot is above the water line, for best results.
We recommend fertilizing your Lemon Trees (especially Meyers) every four to six weeks, from February to August, to ensure a healthy cycle. Citrus trees benefit from fertilizers that are generally balanced with a slightly nitrogen-rich blend.
3. Pruning Your Lemon Tree
Prune as needed to maintain your Lemon Trees' shape. Clip any branches that are too long, and remove branches growing toward the trunk of the tree instead of away from it. This process maintains airflow between the branches and allows light to penetrate the center of the tree.
FGT Tip: Sterilize your pruning tools with rubbing alcohol. This ensures a clean cut to keep your Lemon Trees healthy.
4. Pest and Disease Solutions
Citrus canker, root rot and mites are the most common pests and diseases affecting Lemon Trees, but luckily, they're easy to treat, especially with organic, natural solutions. And if you keep your Lemon Trees indoors, you simply need to monitor and clean the leaves.
If you're treating, ensure that you always use an approved fungicide, or just remove any dead or diseased areas. Fully remove infected material from the tree. Don’t use any of this material for compost.
Now it's time for the best part: harvesting! Lemons are ready to pick when they're yellow or yellow-green on the outside. And most of our Lemon Trees are primed for harvest after only a couple of years, or sooner.
How long does it take for a Lemon Tree to bear fruit?
Lemons ripen anywhere between 4 and 12 months after flowering, with blooms appearing in spring to signal a later transition to fresh fruit in the summer. And there's nothing like a delicious summer harvest.
So, no matter the variety you choose, ease and home-grown flavor await - select your favorite from our Lemon Trees today, and get growing Lemon Trees today!