by Matt Gibson
Ever tried to grow your own lemon tree from a lemon seed? The lemon tree is a citrus tree that is native to Asia. The fruit that it produces is a cross between a sour orange and a citron. Lemon trees produce fruit all year long. A full grown lemon tree can produce up to 600 pounds of fruit every year.
Lemons have many uses. The fruit is consumed and is an essential ingredient of many fabulous dishes and refreshing drinks.The leaves of the lemon tree are commonly used to make tea and the grated rind, known as lemon zest, is often used in cooking and baking, to add a zesty kick to any dish.
Rich in vitamin C, lemons have a long list of health benefits that make them a smart addition to any diet. Add some lemons to your water in the morning, make a nice glass of lemonade or squeeze out the juice from a slice to spruce up a glass of iced tea. Add a dash to any grilled or baked fish, or a splash to tacos or soup. The high acidity in lemon juice also makes it a wonderful natural cleaner with its own built-in fragrant air freshener.
The term lemon tree or lemontree can refer to the Australian native also known as the lemon myrtle tree, or the fruit producing tropical tree also known as citrus limon. This article is a how-to guide for growing the latter from seed.
Varieties of Lemon Trees
The most common types of lemons are the Meyer, Eureka, and Lisbon varieties. The Meyer is a hybrid of a mandarin, lemon, and orange tree. It’s soft, smooth, thin skin is yellowish-orange and similar to the orange in shape, the fruit is large and round with a small nipple. The meyer lemon doesn’t have the typical lemon aroma. It has a soft and juicy dark- yellow pulp. Each meyer lemon has approximately 10 large seeds inside of it.
The Eureka lemon is typically medium-sized, football shaped, and vibrantly-bright. Young fruit is bright yellow with green streaks and turns to a pale yellow when ripe. The Eureka is highly acidic, with a tender pink pulp and very few seeds.
The Lisbon lemon is an oblong medium-sized citrus fruit with a large nipple and a rounded stem. The medium-thick smooth textured skin is pale yellow when young and bright yellow when mature. The dark yellow pulp is highly acidic and similar in taste to the Eureka.
Other varieties of lemons include Genova, Villafranca, Verna, Primofiori, Fino, Femminello, Lapithkiotiki, and Interdonato.
Part 1: How To Plant A Lemon Tree – Preparation
When growing from seed, the first and maybe the most important step is to select a tasty, juicy lemon. You want your lemon tree to come from a good parent, because the fruit that it produces will be very comparable to the parent tree. Once you find the right lemon, remove all of the seeds from the pulp and wash them off thoroughly, taking care to remove any clinging bits of flesh, debris, or sugar, the latter of which can cause a fungal infection that can kill off your seeds.
The best way, believe it or not, to clean the seeds, is to suck on them for a little while. This way, you are sure to remove all the sugar and debris from the outer layer, but the seed isn’t completely dried out by the cleaning. Whether you choose to wash them in the sink, or suck on them a while, the seeds should be moist when they are planted.
Once you have them washed, select a location and go ahead and plant them immediately. The fresher the seeds are, the better chance you will have to succeed. If the seeds dry out completely, they will probably fail to germinate. The location you select for seed germination needs to stay at around 70 degrees fahrenheit and be out of direct sunlight.
Part 2: How To Plant A Lemon Tree – Germination
Fill a container with a pasteurized soil mix or use a blend of equal parts perlite (or sand) and peat moss and pasteurize it yourself in order to help remove harmful pathogens that can kill off your seedlings. To increase your odds of propagation, plant several lemon seeds about one half inch deep into the soil, moisten the soil lightly and cover the top of the container with saran wrap to help lock in the moisture. The soil should be moist but not soggy to help with germination. Seal the edges and poke a few holes into the top of the plastic wrap. Keep hydrating the soil as needed. During the germination period, the soil should remain consistently moist, but never soggy.
Once the seedlings begin to sprout up, usually after about two weeks time, move them into a location with brighter light and take the plastic wrap off of the top of the container. Stay vigilant in your attention to moisture levels, keeping the soil damp at all times. Provide water soluble fertilizer high in potassium every two to four weeks and insure that the seedlings receive 8 full hours of sunlight per day.
Part 3: How To Plant A Lemon Tree – Transplanting
Once the seedlings have several sets of leaves, transplant them into seperate 4 to 6 inch pots, and continue to keep the soil damp but not soggy. Four to eight hours of direct sunlight is required during this period, and temperatures should stay in the range of 60-70 degrees fahrenheit.
Once the trees start to get larger, re-pot them as needed to give the roots plenty of room to expand. Don’t wait until the roots are trapped. It’s better to repot too early than to repot too late, once the roots have grown accustomed to being trapped by their container.
Once the seedlings become large enough to move around, it’s time to move them to their permanent home. If you are using a container for the long haul, be prepared to re-pot several times until you have a container large enough to handle the tree at its full size, but start with one twice the size of the container that you used for the seedling. Each time you repot, increase the size significantly so that the roots don’t feel inhibited.
If you are planting your lemon trees outdoors, pick out a nice sunny location and cultivate the soil, cleaning the area of any debris, such as rocks and weeds, and chop up the soil so there is no large clumps that will inhibit drainage. Then, after the last frost date has passed, transplant them into the ground at the same depth as they were in the container. As the young trees get a bit more sizeable, during the spring months, get out your shears and prune them back a bit here and there in order to encourage healthy new growth and more fruit! .
Growing Conditions For Lemon Trees
Lemons need lots of sunlight, at least four hours of direct sun, but eight hours is preferrable. Hardy to USDA zones nine through twelve. Lemon trees enjoy an evenly moist, well-draining soil, preferably a good mix of peat, perlite, vermiculite, and organic fertilizer.
Care For Lemon Trees
During the spring, prune to encourage new growth and additional fruit production. During the winter months, move your lemon trees to a location that is protected from high-speed winds. Water at least twice per week, especially during dry periods. Lemon trees do have a few common issues with disease. Follow this link to learn more about lemon tree diseases and what you can do to prevent them.
Health Benefits Of Lemons
Lemons are chock full of vitamin C, which is really good for your immune system, improves skin health, aids in digestion, and encourages weight loss. Lemons have long been cultivated and consumed for their therapeutic properties.
Basically a cure-all superfood, lemons can help with a long list of medical issues, including constipation, dental health, rheumatism, internal bleeding, high blood pressure, hair, skin, and nail health, burns, obesity, throat infections, sore throats, cholera, fever, respiratory problems, immune disorders, digestive issues, kidney stones, strokes, blood purification, and stomach cleansing. Adding just a splash of lemon juice to your daily water intake can do a lot for your health.
Videos About Growing Lemon Trees?
Visual learner? Watch this tutorial on how to grow lemon trees that has over 2 million views:
Pruning isn’t something you just dive into, it’s a science, and you can get really good at it once you know what you’re doing. This in-depth video teaches you how to prune your lemon tree, and it covers many different varieties of lemon trees, plus a few other citrus fruits:
Check out this video to learn how to increase the fruit production on your lemon trees:
Want To Learn More About Growing Lemon Trees?
Farmers’ Almanac covers Grow Your Own Lemon Tree From Lemon Seeds
Gardening Know How covers Propagating Lemon Seeds
SFGate Homeguides covers How to Grow a Lemon Tree From Grocery Store Lemons
Natural Living Ideas covers Grow a Lemon Tree
Organic Facts covers 15 Evidence-Based Benefits of Lemon
That’s It covers 10 Interesting Facts About Lemons