These sour, tangy, and tiny vegetables are a staple in every kitchen. Possibly the most used ingredient around the world in making different cuisines and drinks, lemons spark the right flavor twist to anything and everything they’re added to.
Apart from being used as an ingredient in food and drinks, they are also the main ingredient in the infamous lemonade. Since lemons are so popular and so widely used, it only makes sense to start growing your own – after all, there might come a time when life doesn’t give you lemons anymore.
Seeing that you’re reading this right now, you’re already halfway to getting the task done. Here, we discuss how to grow a lemon tree from seed!
Guide On How To Grow Lemon Tree From Seed
When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, but when life doesn’t give you lemons, you grow your own. And we will teach you how.
Below is a step-by-step guide on growing lemons – from seed to tree:
The first step in growing lemons is to get a fresh juicy lemon, which has a lot of pulp, and remove its seeds. Wash the seeds well, so you don’t have any lemon residue on them. If any sugars or lemon pulp remain on the seed, it will encourage decay and rotting, so the seed needs to be clean
You want to make sure the seeds don’t dry out in the process, as they will not germinate
Now choose a pot to grow the seeds in. Ideally, choose a small pot with lots of drainages. Terracotta pots are a good option as it prevents waterlogging by allowing water to leave the walls
Fill the pot to the top with citrus compost, and leave about half an inch from the top. Pour water over the mix to pre-moisten it before planting the lemon seeds
Place the seeds on the soil, and then cover it up. Pour some more water to moisten the soil, but do not get it soggy. After this, you should cover the pot with a plastic sheet to help retain moisture. This is important to increase the chances of germination
Place this pot in a room where the temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you don’t have any location where the temperature is 70 degrees, place the pot on top of a refrigerator. The refrigerator will provide the ideal temperature needed for the seeds to germinate
When you see leaves sprouting from the soil will vary between 1-3 weeks. So make sure that you keep an eye on your plant. Once you see leaves growing, you should remove the plastic
Place the pot in a well-lit area, where lots of sunlight will be accessible to the plant. After 4-5 weeks, once the plant has started growing, you will need to transplant it into a bigger pot
Use a pot that is around 5-6 inches deep. Fill the pot with sterile potting mix
Make sure to fertilize every two to four weeks. The fertilizer you should use should have high amounts of potassium. Using high nitrogen fertilizer will only make the plant leafy, but the fruit will not be affected. And use water-soluble fertilizer to ensure adequate growth and health of the plant
The temperature for your mature lemon plant should be around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit
As your tree grows larger, you will need to shift to a bigger pot. And make sure to prune the tree at the beginning of spring to encourage new growth
Make sure to stop fertilizing and reduce the watering frequency during winters
This was a step-by-step guide on planting and growing lemon trees. Let’s now look at how you can care for your trees.
Caring For Your Lemon Tree
Make sure your lemon tree gets around 8 hours of sunlight every day. Lemon trees need a warm climate and plenty of sunlight to thrive
Always use slightly acidic soil that this sandy and loamy to allow for proper drainage. The soil pH should ideally be between 5.5 – 6.5. Anything more acidic, and you’ll need to add compost to balance the acidity. And if it’s too alkaline, then add powdered limestone
Fertilize the tree every 2 months during spring and summer. And every 3 months during the fall season and also winter. The growing season is in spring and summer, so the frequency of fertilization is higher
Water the lemon tree every two weeks. When watering the tree, make sure you pour the water till you notice it coming out of the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Stop watering when this happens. If you overwater the plant, you will cause the roots to be deprived of oxygen, and eventually, the plant will die
If it rains and your pot is outdoors, make sure that you bring it indoors or move it from the location it’s in. You don’t want the pot standing in a puddle of water. Excessive water will ruin the plant
Prune your lemon tree after harvest to allow new growth before the new buds bloom. Pruning will ensure the healthy growth of the next batch of lemons
Harvesting Lemon Trees
So you’ve planted your lemon seeds, and they have now become a wonderful lemon tree. But the purpose of doing all this was to get lemons. So once your plant starts growing lemons, you need to harvest them. The first step is to check if the lemons are ready to be harvested; you can do this by squeezing them. A lemon that is firm to the touch and is about 3 inches is ready to be plucked.
Lemons may be green which means the taste will be a little sour, or yellow, which will be a little sweet. The color, however, doesn’t matter as long as they are firm and around 2-3 inches in size.
To harvest a lemon, you need to grab it and twist it along the attached stem. It will eventually break off. Don’t pull on the lemon, as this might damage the branch or the entire tree if you use too much force.
And there you have it, the journey of a lemon seed to a lemon tree. And now you can be a part of this journey as well. So enjoy your lemonade now, and hold onto the seeds for that tree you’ll be planting sooner than later!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much water should I give my lemon tree?
A. Water your lemon tree every two weeks by pouring water until it comes out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Make sure not to overwater, as this will damage the roots and eventually kill the plant.
Q. What type of fertilizer should I use for my lemon tree?
A. Use a citrus fertilizer every two months during the growing season, which is spring and summer. You can also use a general-purpose fertilizer every 3 months during fall and winter.
Q. What is the best way to harvest lemons from my lemon tree?
A. The best way to harvest lemons is to grab them and twist them off the stem. Be careful not to pull on the lemon, as this might damage the branch or the entire tree.
Q. I live in a cold climate. Can I still grow a lemon tree?
A. Yes, you can still grow a lemon tree in a cold climate as long as you provide it with enough sunlight and warmth. Make sure to keep it in a warm, sunny spot and water it regularly.
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