How to Care for a Lemon Tree

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When life gives you a lemon tree, make lemonade.

Congratulations! You now have your own lemon tree!

This lemon tree will eventually produce lemons and then you of course will be making lemonade!!

Lemon trees are very simple and easy plants to care for. They seem to really enjoy living in a pot sitting in a sunny window.

Wondering how to care for your new plant?

Read on for all of the information you need to grow your lemon tree to be strong and healthy!


If planting in the ground, use this formula to prepare your freshly dug hole:

2 parts your soil + 2 parts peat moss + 2 parts potting soil + 1 part compost or manure + 1/2 part perlite. This formula will allow you to achieve a relatively sterile/neutral planting medium. The peat moss works as a water absorber and the perlite works to allow drainage.

Where to Plant

· If your plant is a shade plant, plant it in a shade location. Shade plants can typically withstand some morning or evening sun but is generally not recommended.

· If your plant is a sun/shade plant then the planting location should be at an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sun. Typically, this is along tree or yard borders that contain afternoon or morning sun obstructions.

· If the plant is a full sun plant, plant it in an area that has no sun obstructions. But be careful not to plant it out all by itself. Wind can be a very damaging agent.

Wind. Wind. Wind. 5 mph winds to a new seedling can be like some hurricanes to us. Maybe not as dramatic but close. Most hardware stores or garden centers carry tree tubes.


After planting the new tree, water it heavily, but only at first. The term heavily will also depend on size of the plant. Small seedlings, 4 inches and below, water very lightly. Bigger seedlings and 2 to 3-year olds, 1 to 2 feet, water heavily as their roots will need the life juice.

Trade secret: Make sure the soil has good drainage and you will not have to worry about over watering.

Water in the morning and late afternoon. If the plant seems stressed but the soil is still wet do not water. Allow the roots to find the water and establish themselves. Simply stick a finger in soil and check the moisture content. If it feels moist and cool below an inch then the soil is satisfied but if dry and crumbly, water slowly but immediately. Watering too fast can cause run off and leeching out of key nutrients.


The basic ratio of nutrients are the N-P-K ratios. Nitrogen - Phosphorus - Potassium.

I. Nitrogen helps with leaf development.

II. Phosphorus aids in strong healthy roots.

III. Potassium aids in flower and bud development.

We recommend a 10-10-10 ratio of any general fertilization. Newer plants tend to like more Nitrogen and Phosphorus as both help in healthy photosynthesis. When your plant comes into flowering season or fruit season, a fertilizer heavy is Phosphorus and Potassium such as blood and bone meal will help greatly.

Be careful and read all the instructions on the labels of any fertilizer. And always follow the recommend dosage. If the plant isn't looking happy do NOT throw more fertilizer on it, this will likely damage the plant instead of help it.


Every plant likes a haircut from time to time.

Winter is a wonderful time to trim the dead off the tree. Most dead branches will have dried up and look withered. A good test is to bend the branch slightly. If the branch arches and flexes it is most likely still alive. If the branch breaks, check for green tissue, if none, follow the branch back to a crotch and nip it off leaving about a 1/4 inch of branch. This allows the tree to continue to heal and seal off that whole section. The little tip left will fall away in a year or two.

Spring pulls at the heart of a gardener. Time to clean up the mess from winter but also a great chance to give your plants a haircut. We don't recommend spring trimming on flowering ornamentals as it will most likely stop the shrub or tree from fully flowering. Wait until their flowering season is done. Unless the flowers are of no consequence, then have at them.