When to Plant Lemon Trees – Planting Guide 2024

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Having the ability to pick a fresh lemon off a tree is a real novelty. The lovely scent, not to mention the taste, can seem like a luxury. Find out when to plant lemon trees and how long it will take before you can enjoy this exquisite fruit.

When to plant lemon trees: Lemon trees take three to five years before they grow fruit so while you can start with seeds, it’s better to start with young trees. Plant in the spring so that the roots can take hold and not have the shock of a cold fall or winter. If you love lemon trees but don’t have warm enough summers, they are fairly easy to grow in containers inside. Look for dwarf varieties that won’t take up too much space but still produce lemons. For outdoor planting, water if there is not enough rain. No matter if you plant your lemon tree inside or outside, you will need to continuously fertilize it every six weeks.

Planting Lemon Trees in Different Climates

Tropical Climate

Lemon trees crave heat, sunshine, and humidity. A tropical climate is a perfect choice and you can have an abundance of lemon trees.

Dry Climate

A dry climate may be suitable for lemon trees. While they do prefer a humid atmosphere, as long as your location is warm enough, they will grow.

Temperate Climate

Growing lemons in a temperate climate can be done but you will need to study the weather carefully. It’s best to grow your lemon tree in a container so that you can take it indoors during the winter.

Continental Climate

Even though a continental climate will have nice, warm summers, the winters are far too cold. It’s best to grow your lemon trees indoors in this area.

Polar Climate

Without enough sunlight or warmth, a polar climate is not conducive to growing lemon trees.

Choosing Lemon Trees Seeds

Meyer Lemons

Perhaps the most famous type of lemon, Meyer lemons is an all-around delight. They are versatile, easy to grow, and have wonderful results.

Even though Meyer lemons are a fan favorite because they have a sweet taste to them, it is hard to find them at your local store. This is because the variety has thin skin.

Eureka Lemons

If you want a variety of lemons that will give you plenty of juice, then this is a good consideration. As a bonus, they are a dwarf variety so you can easily grow this tree on your patio.

Dwarf Lisbon Lemons

If you really want a lemon tree inside your home, then be sure to consider this variety. It is a dwarf variety and will grow to be about eight feet tall.

Dwarf Lisbon lemons are a bit normal than average. Furthermore, they will actually produce fruit all year long and the yield is pretty generous.

How to Plant Lemon Trees Seeds

Trees vs seeds

Inside each lemon are a few seeds that will indeed grow into a tree if you plant them. However, this can take quite a bit of time.

Lemon trees won’t bear fruit until they are three to five years old so if you start with seeds, you will be in for a bit of a frustrating wait. Furthermore, they will only start with a few lemons in the first few years, so you will have to wait even longer for a full crop.

As a result, many growers decide to purchase infant lemon trees. By planting a tree that is two or three years old, you don’t really have to wait to enjoy the bright taste of lemons.

Spring planting

It’s best to plant your lemon trees in the spring. This will allow them plenty of time to settle in and establish themselves before the cold temperatures of fall and winter set in.

If you miss out on spring, you can risk summer or fall planting. Just make sure the area you live in is not too cold during the winter.

Indoor planting

Surprisingly, there are many dwarf varieties of lemon trees that allow you to plant them indoors. Indeed, if you live in a colder climate, especially during the winter, then you will have to plant your lemon tree inside.

Many lemon trees come in suitable pots and you can simply bring them inside after purchasing. However, you will need to transplant them as the tree grows larger, so make sure you have enough room plus a larger pot to hold the growing plant.

If you order a lemon tree online, it will need to be moved to a larger pot. Select a container that is two times the width of the original container so that there is plenty of room for the roots to grow.


As you may have guessed, lemon trees love sunshine. If you are growing your tree indoors, you want to place it in an area near a window, preferably a south-facing one.

As for the outdoors, partial to full sun is needed. The trees should also be in an area that is protected from the wind, which is important as your growing lemon tree can be a bit fragile.

Soil conditions

Lemon trees need soil that is well-draining but beyond that, they do not have any special needs. When digging, add some organic matter like compost to help break up the soil.

For indoor containers, you can add a layer of crushed stone to the bottom. This will help with drainage.

After you plant your lemon tree outside, you should then add a layer of mulch around the area. Just leave a few inches between the mulch and the tree trunk to prevent too much moisture from building up.

How to Water Lemon Trees

After you plant your lemon tree, you should give it a good watering. This will help loosen the roots and allow them to settle into the surrounding soil.

After this, you will want to water your lemon tree about once a week. If there is a lot of rainfall, you can forgo the watering.

Likewise, if you live in a hot climate or have a very hot summer, then you will want to add extra watering. Water your tree for a long period of time to allow the water to soak deep into the soil.

As for indoor lemon trees, you can increase the humidity by spraying the leaves with water on a daily basis. The closer to a hothouse you can get to your living area, the happier your lemon tree will be.

How to Grow Lemon Trees

Fertilize regularly

When you plant your lemon tree, you should plan a fertilizing schedule. It takes a lot of nutrients to grow lemons so you don’t want to forget about feeding your tree.

Aim to fertilize your lemon tree every four to six weeks. This can be a water-based fertilizer that can be easily absorbed by the tree’s root system.

Purchase a special fertilizer that is designed for citrus trees. This will give it a bit more nitrogen, which your tree needs.


As your lemon tree continues to grow, you will want to prune it. However, this only has to be done once per year.

Depending on your climate, winter is usually the best time to prune your lemon tree. It should be done growing fruit and if possible, should be in a dormant phase.

Remove any dead branches or any that are becoming too long. Adequate airflow between the branches of your tree will minimize the risk of disease.

Check for pests and disease

Among pests, mites are the most common. Periodically take a look at the leaves of your lemon tree to see if they have been eaten.

As for disease, root rot and citrus canker are common. To avoid them, make sure the soil does not get too wet.


Lemons are ready when they are a yellow color. They can also be a mixture of yellow and green, depending on the variety.

When harvesting your lemons, be sure to gently pull and twist. Some varieties have thin skins and you don’t want to bruise them.

After your pick your lemons, they will continue to ripen if left at room temperature. This is a good option if you need to pick your lemons early but don’t want to waste them.

How long do lemon Trees take to grow?

Lemon trees take about three to five years before they will grow their fruit. While you might only get a few lemons the first year it is mature, these will multiply as the tree continues to grow.

You should see blossoms on your lemon tree in the spring. Then, four to eight months later you will have lemons.

Expect a summer or fall harvest with your lemons. The timing will depend on your climate as well as the variety of trees you have.


Lemon trees are actually quite versatile. If you have warm summers you can plant them outside and if not, there are many dwarf varieties that allow you to grow them indoors.

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