A lemon tree is a great way to bring some colour to your patio or balcony. Lemon trees now grow all over the world, but it’s thought that it originated in India. It was introduced to Europe by those ever industrious ancient Romans and has been a popular indoor and outdoor plant for centuries.
There aren’t many citrus trees that will produce fruit in a typical British climate, but a lemon tree that’s well looked after will fruit until early autumn. Don't be alarmed if the fruit is green. It will ripen after some time in the sun. Not every fruit will reach full maturity, as the plant will put its energy into just a few at a time. When a lemon looks yellow, plump and ripe, cut it off, so you can enjoy it and your tree can get on with growing more.
It requires relatively little care. Keep its soil lightly moist, feed it once per month in spring and summer, and prune it lightly each year to keep a bushy shape. Remember this is a sun-loving plant, so it won’t enjoy being out in really cold winter temperatures (it's not keen on anything below about 10°C). Bring it inside for winter, until the weather gets nice and warm, probably in about May or June.
Depending on the time of year, your tree may arrive without fruit, but if you give it enough warmth and sun it should flower and fruit from spring. Your plant will arrive in a nursery pot (the plastic pot it’s been growing in). There’s no need to remove it from this. Just place the whole thing inside a decorative pot. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
Did you know?
19.4 million tonnes of lemons are produced around the world each year.