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How To Grow A Lemon Tree Anywhere

Updated on May 28, 2016
MBurgess profile image

Gardening is my second passion. I love to watch seed turn to living plant and flower evolve into an edible thing. Spring enchants me.

On A Patio And Even Indoors

One of my craziest container garden projects has been this beloved lemon tree. I brought the little tree home a little over three years ago, and it finally produced fruit in the Spring of 2013.

I do not know what possessed me to buy it, but I am glad I did. It has been the focal point of my garden for some time and I am thrilled with its progress and happy to share what I have learned about this very hardy tree. I transplanted it to an 18" pot on a patio and moved it several times.

The scenes below chronicle its life and success.

Lemon Tree In Car
Lemon Tree In Car

A Lemon Comes Home

As A Tree, Not A Car

I was hoping that while car shopping I would not end up with a lemon, and I did not, I am happy to report.

I did, however, purchase a lemon tree a month later at the local nursery and promptly brought it home. This was in March of 2011. Plants tend to reach out and grab me sometimes. I often find myself at a garden section not knowing why I went there, but more times than not, I will walk out with a lovely specimen.

Wait a minute, I do know what prompted me to acquire it. The question of how to have a source of vitamin C in a survival situation had been on my mind for a while and the lemon tree seemed to be an answer I could work with.

Meyer Lemon Trees

4-5 Year Old Improved Meyer Lemon Tree in Grower's Pot, 3 Year Warranty
4-5 Year Old Improved Meyer Lemon Tree in Grower's Pot, 3 Year Warranty

This lemon tree is approximately the same age as the tree in this article. These trees will delight and inspire you as they grow in their pots and in your heart.

A lemon can truly develop on a pot bound tree as you can see in this article. I have thoroughly enjoyed raising my fruit tree and look forward to many years with it. Although it dropped it's fruit and flowers the week I brought it to my home, it has recovered nicely and continues to amaze me as time goes by. My favorite element of this plant is that delicious fragrance from the blossoms that dot the branches.

If you do not have a few moments to visit your local nursery, consider the advantage of ordering a lemon tree for your garden from one of the catalogs on line. This Meyer lemon will arrive direct to your door, ready to be placed where you think it may do best. The tree I raised has been in a shady patio area, facing north, and recently, has been placed in a west facing window in my home. If your tree looks like it is pouting where it is, try moving it to a place where it gets a bit more light. When it springs up and looks proud, you know you have it in the right spot.

 

Lemon Blossom 2013 - Fragrant Flowers For A Sour Fruit

Lemon Blossom 2013
Lemon Blossom 2013

Lemon tree very pretty...

We have all heard that song and if you have ever been close to a lemon tree, you know how sweet the fragrance of these flowers can be. The stark white blossoms emit a scent I wish I could capture. I also wish we had a scratch and sniff screen so you could smell this flower!

I love the way this tree looks and it has given me many, many beautiful flowers over the years.

The spring of 2011 and 2012 were both blustery and high winds knocked off most of the fruit that developed and stripped this poor tree of its flowers before they could set. It was heartbreaking. I was not sure how to fix this problem.

My solution? I drove a stake into the side of the tree trunk and tied it gently to the tree with cotton twine.

The results? I did not loose fruit or flowers for 2013. Take that, wind!

Lemon Buds And Blossoms And Baby Fruits - March 2013

The lemon blossom begins as a dark pink bud. It will eventually open into the creamy, white blossom you see above. The base of the flower contains a tiny representation of a lemon fruit with a stem on the top of it. Be careful you do not disturb the developing fruit when they show their face. This is the newborn image of my very first lemon.

Not all of the flowers a citrus tree grows will produce fruit. It is ok to take several of them off of the branches so that the ones left behind can develop in a healthy manner. Many times you will not have to do this, nature will take care of it for you.

lemons the size of dimes
lemons the size of dimes

Lemons At One Month

April 2013

The early stages of a lemon's life are critical. You must keep the tree watered for the fruit to stay on, and as I mentioned above, keep the trunk stable. If the tree goes too long without water, it will shed leaves and fruit. Check the soil every day to see if it has dried out. Leaving it wet will cause just as much harm as letting it dry out.

Make sure your planting pot is layered well. You can find a container layering graphic in my article about cherry tomatoes. The link is in my featured lens list at the bottom of this article.

A Lemon's Progress At 90 days - June's Photograph

Lemon - June 2013 I was ecstatic that this tree was giving me babies this year. The lemon here in this image is at around 90 days. It is fattening up well and holding tight to the branch.
Lemon - June 2013 I was ecstatic that this tree was giving me babies this year. The lemon here in this image is at around 90 days. It is fattening up well and holding tight to the branch.

Lemony Yellow Fruits

I moved to my new home in October of 2013.

When I moved my garden from my patio to the spacious backyard of my home, the craziest thing happened. My lemons began to ripen. They started to look like the lemony yellow fruits we all know. Being a novice to growing fruit on trees, I considered throwing a party to celebrate conquering this phase of my gardening.

The fruit I have waited for so long to see were ripening the first week in our new home.

Then, disaster strikes, almost!

Fire Pit To The Rescue

Frost set up on the surface of our city in November of 2013. Normally, we do not get below freezing temperatures in Las Vegas like many cities around us do. The lows are usually felt here at the end of January or early February. Like most of the country, our city experienced unusual climate changes. I was afraid I would lose my tree and other plants. At 3 am the next morning after this frost, I set a fire in my fire pit and sat with them until sunrise, diligently tending the fire so that my containers did not freeze overnight.

Endless Summer, WAD820SP, 34 in. Slate & Marble Firepit with Copper Accents
Endless Summer, WAD820SP, 34 in. Slate & Marble Firepit with Copper Accents

With a small stack of wood and a bit of kindle, warmth on your patio is a match strike away with this delightful fire pit.

 

A Solution For Wintering A Container Garden - Bring Them Indoors!

Wintering Container Trees

Because my garden is in pots, they are easily transferred to areas with more light or in the case of winter striking with cold, brutal temperatures, they can be brought into the home. I decided it was not practical to cover the tree and plants and sit tending a fire night after night until the weather warmed up, so I brought my garden into my kitchen.

Although the lighting is very weak in the house, the plants and I have both adapted quite well. They still get some sunshine through the kitchen window, and I get to enjoy the scent of lemon blossoms in my home. It is a lovely pay off. Here, I can closely attend my plant babies until the spring temperature return and they can once again enjoy the full benefit of outdoor living.

What I did not expect was the lemon tree to flourish. It started to produce massive amounts of flowers and those blossoms are turning into baby lemons as I write this. To date, I have dozens of these on the tree and I look forward to the next years harvest. I am tempted to leave the lemon inside where I can enjoy it.

The Graduation Of A Lemon Flower

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lemon blossoms, buds, and small lemon developing.Lemons at one month into their growing cycle.A lemon at 90 days is about the size of a golf ball.The lemons are almost ready to pick in October. They only have a few more weeks to go.Beloved lemon tree with its fruit ready to pick and the new flowers coming out near the shelter of my kitchen window.
Lemon blossoms, buds, and small lemon developing.
Lemon blossoms, buds, and small lemon developing.
Lemons at one month into their growing cycle.
Lemons at one month into their growing cycle.
A lemon at 90 days is about the size of a golf ball.
A lemon at 90 days is about the size of a golf ball.
The lemons are almost ready to pick in October. They only have a few more weeks to go.
The lemons are almost ready to pick in October. They only have a few more weeks to go.
Beloved lemon tree with its fruit ready to pick and the new flowers coming out near the shelter of my kitchen window.
Beloved lemon tree with its fruit ready to pick and the new flowers coming out near the shelter of my kitchen window.

A Summary For Growing Lemon Trees - And Basic Plant Care

I used a good soil and a layered technique to transplant my lemon tree. Your results may vary. In watering and tending to any plant, research what is truly the best care for the specific item you will be growing. Many gardens wither away from plain neglect. I am just as guilty of letting a plant die from lack of attention as anyone. It is my determination that helps them stay green and growing.

Below you will find the basic plant care routines I follow for most of the green things I grow.

  • Do Not Overwater! Over watering can literally drown your plant's roots. They need time to breathe. Let the top layer of soil dry in between waterings, but not too dry.
  • Use Quality Soil Use good soil and replace it occasionally. As time goes by, a container will lose some of its contents through the drain holes. Add more soil where necessary and when spring comes, dig down gently into the container, careful not to disturb delicate roots, and replace as much soil as possible. At this time, if you can add the payers of peat moss and vermiculite while you are tending the pot, do so. It will help the plant thrive.
  • Fertilize Occasionally While some fertilizer every six weeks or so is a good thing, over-fertilizing can burn those tender roots and leaves. Be cautious with the amount you use. I use a weakened solution of Miracle Grow when I feed my plants. I am a bit lazy when it comes to the fertilizing. I would probably have really fertile plants if I did schedule fertilizing more often, but I am afraid of overdoing it. Use with caution.
  • Talk To Your Plants. You read that right, I said, talk to your plants. It give you time to unwind, a source to confide your troubles or joys to, and there is no call waiting to interrupt your conversation. I believe my lemon tree is flourishing because I tell it how wonderful it is to have in my life.

Plant Friends

This is one of many growing friends I have in my collection of container grown, edible plants. The event of spring will reveal a few more of my finds, if they make it through the transfer I put them through. It is a joy to tend to these green creatures and I hope that somehow this article shares a ray of hope for you to garden successfully in your home, yard, and patio areas.

Thank you for stopping by today. Leave a hello below to let me know you were here. I will pass your message onto my blessed lemon tree! =)

Comments And Review - Feel free to post tips or advice you would lend to someone growing lemons

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    • profile image

      Michelle 5 months ago

      I am hoping to see some lemons and enjoy reading all the tips!

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @marsha32: Find a sunny window and enjoy. The blossom's scent is out of this world. Thanks for your visit and comment!

    • profile image

      marsha32 3 years ago

      I would love to have a lemon tree. In Kansas it would have to be inside....we have a lot more cold than warm it seems.

      I would love to look more in to this.

    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @lawrence01: I am looking forward to my tree providing lemons consistently. Thank you for visiting!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      My lemon tree is great. We use the lemons all the time