You can grow a lemon tree indoors just like any other plant but you have to remember that a lemon tree is no ordinary plant. It will need extra attention if you want to produce lemon fruits. A lemon tree can flourish indoors but you need to trim the roots and the branches, for the tree to be successful.
Most people like having lemons in their lives. It’s got the tang and the zest of all the citrus fruits that are out there. Lemon has got something that’s just that little bit special.
There are plenty of reasons why anyone would want to grow their own fruit. Some people have concerns about buying fruit. The lemons that we buy are often covered with a protective wax which will help to keep them fresh for longer.
Some people are bothered by the idea that chemicals are being used to preserve food, especially fruit. If you’re looking for an excuse to grow a lemon tree indoors then the idea of having fresh lemons that haven’t been treated with any chemicals or waxes of any kind, is an excuse that’s as good as any.
In addition, as others have pointed out, if you grow a lemon tree indoors you will have the added bonus of a lemon aroma in the house.
Before you attempt to grow a lemon tree indoors there are a few things that you need to understand. Having a lemon tree indoors is a matter of convenience. Lemon trees, like most citrus trees, are happier outdoors. So, you have to pay particular attention to the specific needs that a lemon tree has.
This is not a plant that just needs watering occasionally and then left to its own devices. Lemon trees, like most citrus fruit bearing trees, are more at home in a tropical or subtropical climate where there is high humidity. We have to be mindful of this when we attempt to grow a lemon tree indoors.
One advantage when we grow a lemon tree indoors is that the tree won’t be subjected to extremes of cold winter weather. If you are unable to maintain a warm, moist micro-climate indoors because you live in an area where the winter’s are very cold, you may not be able to grow a lemon tree indoors.
You can grow a lemon tree from a seed or pip from a lemon that you bought. The preferred choice of most people is to either grow a lemon tree from a sapling that can be bought at a nursery or acquire a cutting from an established lemon tree that’s known to be fruiting.
You need to know that it can take 3 to 5 years for a lemon tree to become mature enough to start producing fruit.
Choose a suitable variety of lemon tree for indoors?
Select a variant of a lemon tree. The recommendation that I’m hearing is to select the Meyer lemon tree variety.
The Meyer lemon tree produces much smaller lemon fruits but produces lots of them. This is a variety that originated in China in the early 20th century. It is believed to be a cross between the basic lemon and a Mandarin Orange.
The Meyer lemon tree appears to be much more tolerant and can cope with the fumblings that may occur when someone attempts to grow a lemon tree indoors for the first time.
There are other dwarf lemon trees which are worth considering. One of these is the Panderosa dwarf.
The success of your Lemon tree will depend on the size of the pot that you grow it in. This is where you can take full control over the size of your lemon tree. If you want to grow a lemon tree indoors you are not likely to want it to grow too big.
Containing the height of your lemon tree is all about controlling the extent of the root system as well as pruning the top. A lemon tree growing in a deep pot will develop a bigger root system and will therefore grow taller.
The routine for growing a lemon tree indoors involves growing one of these dwarf varieties in a pot that has good drainage. You need to prune the branches of a Lemon Tree. You also need to occasionally extract the tree from the pot and trim the roots. This will ensure that the Lemon Tree doesn’t get too big.
Lemon trees grown indoors require humidity
The soil in the pot, where a lemon tree is growing, must be kept moist at all times. If it’s allowed to dry out at all, you run the risk of the leaves falling off. It isn’t just the moisture of the soil that’s important. The atmosphere around the lemon tree has to be kept at a relatively high humidity level.
This may be difficult to achieve in the house where the air in a room tends to be dry but you can do a lot to assist with providing sufficient humidity around the lemon tree by providing a layer of gravel and pebbles underneath the pot that contains your lemon tree roots. The theory here is that the water that drains onto the pebbles will evaporate and send moisture into the air around the lemon tree.
Provide the right soil for your lemon tree
The recommendation for this is a peat moss-type of soil. The soil needs to be acidic rather than alkaline and the general view is that the type of soil that’s good for growing cacti Is the best type of soil for growing a lemon tree indoors or out.
If you choose to go to the nursery and buy a Sapling, this will probably be your best and fastest route to growing your lemon tree. Get the sapling when you have your growing-pot and soil all ready to go because you need to be able to plant the sapling as soon as you get it.
Planting out a Sapling is fairly straightforward. You just need to make a dip in the soil in the pot and lower the routes into it. The recommendation is that you do not place soil around the trunk because this can tempt fungal infections. Give the sapling a good watering because you do not want it to dry out at this stage.
Lemon trees prefer acidic conditions
rather than alkaline
Just like any other plant you need to keep it moist but it’s the same old story, it must not be saturated. The general view is that a good watering once a week should be enough. If you are using tap water in an area where the water is hard the suggestion is that you acidify the water by adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of vinegar to every gallon of water that you use.
Your lemon tree will need light
Plenty of sunlight is required for a lemon tree to reach its full potential. They require 8 hours of direct sunlight everyday but as we all know, nothing and no one gets everything they want. This is where you will probably have to intervene with a grow light setup. Grow lights will give you the control that you want and what the lemon tree needs.
There is a view that the type of light produced from a grow light setup Is better than using normal bulbs because conventional bulbs can cause burning of the plant. This is probably because the light source needs to be close to the plant to have any effect and conventional bulbs produce a lot of heat.
Do lemon trees need fertilizer?
It appears that the lemon tree grown indoors does need a regular input of fertilizer. This needs to be higher in nitrogen but supported with phosphorus and potassium. A typical compound mix that you need to look for would be an NPK ratio of 2:1:1. The rate of application should be about a quarter of a pound every three months or so.
What temperature do you need for a lemon tree?
The ideal temperature for a lemon tree indoors is around 70°F. this is for the daytime, it can be allowed to drop to 55°F during the night time. It’s important not to allow the lemon tree to become any colder than this at night because if it does it may become dormant and its functions will slow down.
To help with air humidity you could set up a humidifier or place the lemon tree near a window where it can get fresh air. You need to avoid cold air from outside taking the temperature down too low. Some people have success using a rotating fan near the plant to keep the air circulating and avoid cold spots.
It will take about 5 years for a lemon tree to reach maturity. This is when you can expect to see fruits appear. When you grow a lemon tree indoors you should see flowers that go on to produce fruit twice and possibly three times a year. This will depend on how good the conditions are.
A lemon tree grown indoors will need pollinating
When you grow a lemon tree indoors you are saving it from the variable climate in your area but no insects can get in to do a good enough job of pollinating the flowers.
The occasional bee may find its way in at the right time when a window is open but you can’t rely on that. So, this is something that you are going to have to intervene with and do it yourself. It’s not difficult to do. All you need is a small paint brush and a bit of patience.
When the flowers are fully developed place the paintbrush into the middle of the flower and gently move it around. This will move the pollen from the stamen to the carpel thus fertilising the flower. You need to do this everyday for 2 or 3 days.
It takes a long time for a lemon tree to produce fruit after pollination. Don’t expect to see any lemons for 6 to 9 months after pollination. It’s difficult to say how many lemons you will produce on a lemon tree that you grow indoors. Because of the way in which you will be managing your lemon tree, it’s growth will be stunted which will mean that lemon fruit production will be limited.
When the lemon tree starts to produce fruit you need to inspect each fruit very closely. If you see any fruit that are looking small and weak, these fruits need to be removed to allow other stronger looking fruits to become fully developed.
Growing a lemon tree indoors from a pip
The temptation may be there when you buy a particularly good-looking lemon at the store, to save some of the pips and attempt to grow a lemon tree. It is well possible to grow a good-looking lemon tree from a pip but it may not be worth doing if you are serious about producing fruits from it.
It takes a long time to establish just a sapling from a pip and a few more years after that for the lemon tree to reach maturity. There is also the issue of the variety of lemon tree that you will end up with. You will not know the history of the breeding of the original lemon tree that your lemon pip came from.
The consequence of this is that you may end up with a nice looking lemon tree but there may not be any lemons growing on it. This is why, in most cases, it’s better to go to a nursery and buy a sapling that has a known history and a good chance of producing lemons.
A modern way of growing plants indoors
You can take the growing of many fruits and vegetables indoors to a new level if you use one of the modern growing systems that’s available. These are known as indoor gardens or grow farms.They are designed to provide everything that a plant needs to grow efficiently and be productive.
A modern indoor garden provides sufficient artificial light that will generate fruit and vegetable production. There is no soil involved. The roots of each plant have access to a constant supply of water that has been enriched with nutrients.
It’s unlikely that you could grow a lemon tree using this method but there are lots of other productive plants that can be grown, for example salad vegetables and fruiting plants like tomatoes. Find out more about indoor Gardens and grow farms.