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What Are the Best Tips for Growing Lemon Trees?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

Growing lemon trees allows home gardeners to have the bright, zesty flavor of lemons at their fingertips for several months of the year. In order to thrive, however, lemon trees require close attention. The best tips for successfully growing lemon trees include allowing them plenty of sunlight, keeping them warm, watering regularly, laying mulch, and pruning when necessary.

One of the most important tips for growing lemon trees is that they must be allowed a significant amount of sun exposure to thrive. Gardening experts recommend that a lemon tree should receive around six hours of sunlight each day. Those whose garden lacks a space that provides sunlight for a sustained period might consider planting a lemon tree in a container. The container can then be moved throughout the day to keep the tree in the sun.

A lemon.
A lemon.

Another important point to keep in mind when growing lemon trees is that these plants are generally quite sensitive to frost and cold weather. Growers who live in a climate that does not remain fairly warm throughout the year may find it best to pot their lemon tree rather than planting it outdoors. The tree can then be left outdoors during the warm months, and placed in a sunny indoor space during cold periods. Alternatively, the grower can select a variety of lemon tree which has been specially developed to withstand cooler temperatures.

Laying down mulch can be helpful when growing lemon trees.
Laying down mulch can be helpful when growing lemon trees.

Lemon trees tend to be somewhat particular about their watering preference. While they need to be kept moist, too much standing water near their roots and bark can lead to rot. Many gardeners find that lemon trees flourish when they are given a fairly deep weekly watering rather than a shallow daily watering. To prevent rot, some recommend directing water at a spot 1 to 2 feet (approximately 30 to 60 cm) from the tree’s base.

Laying mulch can also help one’s chances of successfully growing lemon trees. Mulch performs a few important functions. It keeps roots insulated, helps to promote a good moisture balance, and discourages weed growth. Many gardening experts recommend using organic mulch, which can contribute vital minerals and nutrients to the soil. In order to avoid rot, the mulch should be laid around the base but should not touch the tree’s bark.

Finally, while it may seem counterintuitive, pruning, or trimming away branches, can be quite useful when growing lemon trees. Cutting upper branches can encourage growth and can also keep trees from becoming too tall, making their fruit difficult to reach. It is important to note, however, that gardeners should not prune lower branches heavily, as these usually bear a high number of lemons.

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    • A lemon.
      By: .AGA.
      A lemon.
    • Laying down mulch can be helpful when growing lemon trees.
      By: Wendy Kaveney
      Laying down mulch can be helpful when growing lemon trees.