Complete guide to lemon tree care
When life gives you a lemon tree, keep it alive and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
A lemon tree is a great way to bring some colour to your patio or balcony. 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. Here's how to keep the lemons coming:
- Give your lemon tree plenty of bright light, it loves soaking up the sun
- Water when the top two inches of soil feel dry, and check regularly in summer
- Feed your lemon tree once a month in spring and summer for more fruit
- Bring your lemon tree inside over winter
About lemon trees
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. Our potted lemon tree, Vivi, doesn't require a lot of care, but the most important thing to remember is to give yours plenty of sunlight.
What's the best location for my lemon tree?
When placing your lemon tree, choose a spot that gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight a day, indoors or outside. They need plenty of sunshine to flower and produce fruit.
How often should I water my lemon tree?
Lemon trees need to be watered regularly, especially during hot, dry periods. Water your tree deeply, at least once a week or when the top two inches of soil feel dry, and more often during periods of high temperatures. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.
What's the best temperature for my lemon tree?
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. When moving your lemon tree inside or outdoors, introduce it slowly. For example, take your tree outside during the day for a week or so before moving it permanently outside for summer. In winter, bring your tree inside at night for the first week. This will help your tree acclimatise to its new environment.
Should I fertilise my lemon tree?
Lemon trees need to be fertilised every month in spring and summer with a fertiliser specifically formulated for citrus trees. It's hard work growing all that fruit, so they'll need the nutrients.
Do I need to prune my lemon tree?
Pruning is important for maintaining healthy lemon trees. Prune away any dead or damaged branches, and thin out overcrowded branches to promote new growth.
Common lemon tree pests
Keep an eye on your lemon tree for signs of pests, like aphids or mealybugs. If you see any, use an insecticide or natural remedy to get rid of them.
How do I harvest fruit from my lemon tree?
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 Lemons are ripe when they turn yellow and start to feel soft. To harvest, use a pair of scissors or pruners to cut the stem. Harvest fruit regularly once it's ripe so your lemon tree can put its energy into new fruit.
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