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Indoor Lemon Trees

Updated on December 9, 2016

How To Grow A Dwarf Lemon Tree Indoors

Indoor Lemon Trees, especially the Meyer Lemon Tree, are easy to grow and very satisfying. They are perfectly sized to grow in a container inside during the colder months then love to be outside in the warmer months on a patio or deck.

The juicy, full-sized lemons are delicious in drinks and all of your favorite recipes. The fruit is a light orange-yellow color, with juice sweeter than that of most lemons. For its size the Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree is one of the hardiest and one of the most productive of all dwarf citrus trees. Fun to grow and rewarding - never buy lemons from the store again!

Of all the indoor fruit trees available, we recommend an indoor lemon tree the most! They're a particularly good choice if you've never tried to grow citrus indoors before ... the trees are beautiful, very prolific, and quite hardy!

Read on for more info, pictures, and how to buy a dwarf lemon tree for your home ...

Indoor Lemon Tree Growing Tips - Follow These 5 Points For Happy Trees

1. Pot in a container using a well-drained, light potting mix ...

2. Place near your sunniest window indoors. South or southwest window exposure is best ...

3. Do not over water. They dislike wet roots. Over watering is the #1 killer of lemon trees.

4. Mist every day since the trees like humidity ...

5. Prune by cutting spindly branches from top. Leave most bottom branches since they produce the most fruit!

Meyer Lemons
Meyer Lemons

Where to Buy A Meyer Lemon Tree

Local Nursery or Online Garden Center?

Meyer Lemon Trees are the most popular indoor citrus tree. We have successfully grown them for ten years now and are very happy with the results: a large crop of tasty lemons and a delightful, tropical aroma from the blossoms. Meyer Lemon Trees are prolific and easy to maintain as houseplants.

Every once in a while, you can find an indoor lemon tree (also called a dwarf lemon tree or dwarf Meyer lemon tree) at a local nursery. Typically, the tree will be about two years old, possibly a bit younger. The only issue is the cost will be much higher ... we saw an indoor fruit tree for sale at a local garden center for over $100!

While we love supporting local businesses, that's a bit too much. You can buy several different varieties of indoor citrus trees, including indoor lemon / dwarf lemon trees for under $20 delivered. Here's a link:

Dwarf Lemon Trees Delivered To Your Home - Click Here!

How To Pot A Meyer Lemon Tree

Get Your Lemon Tree Off To A Great Start!

When you purchase your tree, it will arrive in a suitable container - usually a plastic one. At some point, it's likely you will need to change containers. Mostly this is due to root crowding. If you notice yellowing leaves, for example, your tree might be pot bound and telling you it is time to replant into a larger pot.

To do so, first fill the new pot halfway up with potting soil. It doesn't matter what kind - any bagged potting soil should suffice. Place the tree in the new pot at the same depth of the old pot, meaning the roots should extend as far down in the soil as the height of the old pot.

Then, make sure the roots are spread out to facilitate growth. Fill the container with soil to three or so inches below the top. Firm the soil around the tree with your hands, and water generously. Be sure you do NOT fertilize until you've noticed some new growth, as fertilizing right after replanting will shock the root system and may burn the tree.

Top off the pot with a little bark or mulch to help retain moisture.

Meyer Lemon Cookies
Meyer Lemon Cookies

Meyer Lemon Cookies

A Tasty Family Favorite!

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ tbs freshly grated Meyer Lemon rind - about 3 lemons

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

Confectioner's sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Using an electric mixer bowl, cream together well the butter and the sugar. Add the vanilla, the rind and the lemon juice, beating until smooth. Add the flour, the baking powder, soda and salt and blend well. On a piece of wax paper, form the dough into a log 1 ½ inches in diameter, using the paper as a guide. Chill the log, wrapped in the wax paper for 2 hours. Cut the log into 1/8 inch slices with a clean sharp knife and bake about 2 inches apart on un-greased cookie sheet in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are just golden. Transfer the cookies with a metal spatula to racks to cool. Then sift the confectioner's sugar lightly over them.

Yield: 30-50 cookies

Indoor to Outdoor Lemon Trees

Winter inside and Summer outside!

Your Meyer Lemon Tree can be kept on a protected area outside such as a patio or deck in warm weather. Move inside in the fall so your dwarf lemon tree can winter inside so it doesn't freeze.

Place the tree in partial shade for a couple of weeks to transition from full sun - before bringing indoors. Repeat this process after danger of frost is past and adjust watering as needed. Check for insects on the leaves before taking your tree indoors for the cold months.

If you're wondering when to bring your indoor lemon tree inside for the winter ... it's best to bring them indoors when evening and nighttime temperatures get down to 45 degrees. Your tree can tolerate even lower temperatures, but it's best not to risk it.

We live in the Midwest and our rule of thumb is to keep our indoor citrus trees out on the patio from after Mother's Day to the end of September. Of course, your weather conditions may vary!

Indoor citrus trees, no matter the variety, seem to flourish a bit better when they spend some time outdoors. It's certainly not mandatory, but that's been our experience over the years ...

Watering & Care Tip

A wilted tree means too little water. A tree with yellow leaves or folded leaves can indicate too much water.

Indoor Fruit Trees: Other Varieties

There Are Lots of Indoor Fruit Trees!

In addition to indoor lemon trees, there are about a dozen different varieties of these handsome little trees. You'd be amazed what type of fruit you can grow indoors!

Further, new varieties are being introduced all the time - right now there are about a dozen indoor fruit trees and we're quite sure there are more on the way ...

Pruning Your Meyer Lemon Tree

They Don't Require Much Pruning - Follow These Guidelines

You may need to prune your tree every once in a while, especially if it's a prolific grower. There are two ways to tell if pruning is necessary.

First, if you're getting a growth of spidery, twiggy branches, prune a few of these off and not just for aesthetic reasons. This will direct energy to the more solid branches of the tree, thereby helping ensure you'll get a bountiful fruit crop and strong branches to withstand the weight of the lemons.

Second, sometimes a Meyer lemon tree will get a little top heavy. Watch for excessive growth at the top of tree and not much outward growth. If this is the case, you will typically notice higher than normal leaf shedding and possibly some branches dying off.

If so, prune the tree back. Cut off the dead branches and any branches that are shedding an excessive amount of leaves.

But bottom line, don't worry too much about pruning. It is highly unusual to have to prune an indoor fruit tree more than once a year. That's the beauty of these dwarf little powerhouses. They are easy to maintain and very rewarding!

Meyer Lemon Ice Recipe

So Refreshing on a Warm Day!

1 ¾ cups sugar

1 Tablespoon grated lemon rind

¾ cup lemon juice.

Bring 3 cups of water to boil and stir in the sugar until it is dissolved. Cool and then add the lemon rind and juice. Freeze in a hand cranked ice-cream freezer.

A wonderful light dessert after a heavy meal!

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Lemon Tree Care Tips

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Delicious and Light on Salads and Grilled Vegetables

1 Meyer lemon

1 large shallot, minced

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1/4 cup grapeseed oil

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Grate zest from lemon to equal 1 tablespoon; squeeze juice to equal 2 teaspoons. Combine lemon juice, zest, shallot, salt, and vinegar. Let stand 15 minutes. Slowly whisk in remaining ingredients. Makes 1 cup.

My Favorite Things To Do With Meyer Lemons

* Squeeze Into Your Favorite Drink

* Make Refreshing Lemon Ice

* Bake Lemon Bars For Friends

* Mix Up A Batch of Lemon Cookies

* Serve With Fresh Fish and Veggies

* Freeze Juice Into Ice Cubes: Great with Iced Tea, Gin & Tonic, or good 'ol Water

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

Martha Stewart's Delicious Recipe



1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 teaspoon coarse salt

6 ounces ( 3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter


5 Meyer lemons, cut into paper-thin slices, ends discarded

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from 4 to 5 lemons)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream


1 cup confectioners' sugar

3 to 4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

Directions -

1.Make the streusel: Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter into the flour mixture until small to medium clumps form. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 3 days).

2.Make the cake: Cook lemon slices in a medium saucepan of simmering water for 1 minute. Drain, and repeat. Arrange lemon slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

3.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch angel food cake pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest with a mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add eggs, 1 at a time, then the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream.

4.Spoon 1/2 of the batter evenly into cake pan. Arrange 1/2 of the lemon slices in a single layer over the batter. Spread remaining batter evenly over the top. Cover with the remaining lemon slices in a single layer. Sprinkle the chilled streusel evenly over the batter.

5.Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a baking sheet, and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and remove outer ring. Let cool on rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the center tube. Slide 2 wide spatulas between the bottom of the cake and the pan, and lift cake to remove from the center tube. Let it cool completely on a rack.

6.Make the glaze: Just before serving, stir together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake, letting excess drip down the sides. Let glaze set before slicing, about 5 minutes. (Cake can be stored for up to 3 days. The lemon flavor will intensify with time.)

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade is the Best!

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade is the Best!
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade is the Best!

Thanks for stopping by!

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    • profile image

      Diane mccrostie 

      2 months ago

      After reading all the articles I am going something wrong with my lemon tree. I get a lot of flowers but they fall off and for the second year I get one lemon. Now all my leaves are dropping off.i don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Can you help

    • DanieleRobbers profile image

      Daniele M Robbers 

      11 months ago from Clearlake

      Wow thank you I have some seeds for these I look forward to planting them soon. One day they will be traveling the country with me in my rv. I have to say thank you for all the recipes those were quite the surprise!

    • alexarain379 profile image

      Alexa Rain 

      12 months ago from egypt

      Beautiful look,

      and very delicious plates.

      great Hub!

    • profile image


      13 months ago

      Hi there! I got an indoor Meyer lemon tree in the Spring. It was doing really well all summer and now that fall is here, it's been moved back in. However, the leaves are falling off! They are green, healthy looking leaves but they're falling off! I thought maybe not enough water so I watered more but the leaves are also now folding in a bit which I know indicates too much water! So how do I prevent the leaves from falling off??

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Thanks for the very informative article. I just bought a small lemon tree and am not show how to look after it. New at this

    • profile image


      2 years ago


    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I was given a lemon tree and gave it a new pot, soil, mist it and it was really starting to grow. It has about 16 buds on it which seem to be doing well and growing but some of the new little leaves that were coming out have dropped off. what am I doing wrong?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I have had a lemon tree for five years, but I got it from someone else so it was older. The first year I had it we harvested 40 lemons at Christmas time. Since then I have had trouble with citrus scale. I spray it with neem oil but they never seem to go away completely. Do you have any problem with scale?

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I am very interested in getting a meyer lemon tree for my home.. Just two questions, how often do they produce fruit and how often do ou have to repot them into a bigger pot? Thanks so much and can't wait to get myself a tree :)

    • JimHofman profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @shellmc: Hi Shellmc, Sorry to hear your Meyer Lemon Tree is being tempermental! Try this: water deeply, but infrequently. The soil should dry out slightly between waterings. Leaf drop can be caused by soggy soil and water that stagnates in the tray. So make sure to dump it out after a good, long soak. Youâll know it is time to water when the soil is dry a couple of inches down into the pot. Use your finger to check.

      Since citrus trees are heavy nitrogen feeders, try to use a fertilizer with a 2-1-2 or a 3-1-2. In some stores, you'll be able to find specialized citrus/avocado fertilizers.

      There are a few more things you can do to help the tree retain fruit and increase blooms. From bloom to mid June, do not let the tree get too dry. This is a balancing act--too dry the tree will drop fruit, too wet the tree can develop root rot. Citrus trees will only keep the fruit it can support--if it gets too dry in the early stage of fruit growth --it will drop the fruit. Excessively low humidity can also cause the buds to drop before they open. Drafty conditions could also cause buds to fall prematurely. Good luck!

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 

      4 years ago from Minnesota

      I started 8 lemon trees from seed from a lemon I got from the grocery store. They seem to be doing okay.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I have had a meyer lemon tree for 4 years now. The first year, it produced about 12 lemons for me and I was so excited. Since then my tree will produce many flowers and small "lemon buds" but they always fall off. I fertilize it in the spring with a tomato fertilizer that was recommended by the garden centre but still no luck. Do you have any more advice for me??

    • vegetablegardenh profile image


      4 years ago

      I love Meyer Lemon trees and have an indoor lemon tree as well. It's so great to get a fresh lemon right from your own tree. Lovely lens, really enjoyed reading it.

    • JimHofman profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @meli3773: Hi Meli3773, I agree with your nursery to cut off the remaining lemons so the tree can focus on leaf production. Quite often leaf loss happens during moving your tree from outside to inside. The Meyer is quite sensitive to light changes; dramatic changes in light often cause the tree to drop most or all of its leaves to replace them with new leaves better suited to the new light. Be careful not to overwater during the winter months. The good news is these trees are quite resilient and the leaves will grow back. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      My tree lost all of its leaves and the nursery told me that was normal for winter and to cut off the 3 lemons I had. Is that normal? I just got the tree in the summer.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      mmmm indoors sounds awesome..

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I would really like to have a lemon tree and enjoyed learning more about them

    • LynetteBell profile image


      5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Nice to know you can grow them indoors. I had a Meyer lemon tree and the frost got it the first year!

    • jc stone profile image


      5 years ago

      I have a a Meyer Lemon tree that is about 10 years old and started producing flowers last year. Though i did not get any fruit. I hope to this year. Nice lens! Squid like and pined it!

    • Fran Tollett profile image

      Fran Tollett 

      5 years ago

      I would LOVE a lemon tree! Love your lens. You have some great tips for growing a lemon tree indoors.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image


      5 years ago from Canada

      My dad grew a lemon tree years ago inside. I don't think he took it outside in the Summer, but it never looked as healthy as these.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      How long does it take for a lemon tree started from a seed to produce lemons? I planed several seeds about 3-4 years ago. I have four that have grown. The largest is 34 inches tall. Next is 16 inches tall. The third is 14 inches tall and the smallest, which isn't doing as well is about 5 inches tall. They are all in the same pot and last summer I moved them from a smaller pot to a bigger one and it grew tall and rather quickly. When we rub the leaves we get a beautiful fresh scent of lemons. We live in Iowa so the trees are out in the sun all summer, but brought in before it gets cold. It sits near a sunny window on the north side of our home and sometimes I have it in the kitchen window on the table in the south side of the house.

    • JimHofman profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @anonymous: Sounds like you are taking good care of your lemon tree MomDecor! Unfortunately when growing them from seed it usually takes a few years until they bear fruit. Continue to meet the light and water requirements plus fertilize monthly. It takes time and patience when starting from seeds, but eventually you should see lemons.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 

      5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Those cookies made me hungry. This is well done. Thanks for posting. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 

      5 years ago

      I'd like to try growing lemons indoors. Thanks

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm planning to get a lemon tree for my terrace this summer. Great tips on this page!

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 

      5 years ago

      Your tips about growing indoor lemon trees are really great! Thanks!

    • bwet profile image


      6 years ago

      great tutorial you have here! love the tips and instructions you have here

    • Carashops profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a lovely lens.

    • ComfortsOfHome profile image


      6 years ago

      Ooh, nice lemon recipes!

    • justDawn1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens! :)

    • KReneeC profile image


      6 years ago

      I love lemons and would absolutely LOVE if I could have one indoors. I'm not sure how it would be if living in Colorado and it being so dry here...... But sure am going to try! Thanks for the great lenses!

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 

      6 years ago from Florida

      This is just what I was looking for. Lemons are so good for you but so expensive. Do you know what the hardiest regular Dwarf Lemon Tree. How long can it go without watering.

    • profile image

      jseven lm 

      7 years ago

      I so would love to have an indoor lemon tree. The recipes and pics look great, blessed!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nice Squidoo. A lot of time in this one. Loved it greatly, good bits to know for the first time. I love this Squidoo.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely lens, I love lemon trees too and now I know I can grow them in my apartment :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Really nice lens! blessed by a Squidoo Angel on 12/26/2010. Have a great day!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice lens. I love lemon trees. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens! My mom bought me a lemon tree (but it is outside in a planer on my porch) and it produced lemons like crazy the first two years and now all of a sudden this year it has stopped. Do you have any suggestions or ideas?

    • GramaBarb profile image


      8 years ago from Vancouver

      It is a good thing I live in a small apt. because after reading your lens I would have a small indoor orchard :)

    • JimHofman profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @PNWtravels: Enjoy your Meyer Lemon Tree Vicki! That's our favorite type of indoor citrus tree. You won't be disappointed. They are fun to grow and very prolific.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      8 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I just bought a Meyer Lemon tree on sale, so your tips and recipes will come in handy!


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