Growing lemon trees in containers

Growing Lemon Trees in Containers; The Absolute GuideGrowing Lemon Trees in Containers; The Absolute Guide

Growing lemon trees in containers is a modern-day practice that has enabled farmers to grow lemons in regions inhabitable by lemon trees. 

By growing lemon trees in containers which are easily transferable indoors in adverse unfavorable weather like winter, farmers can now grow lemons even outside the USDA hardy zone 8 through 11

The containers you use for growing the lemons trees depend on what materials you have locally available and your lemon tree’s size.

How to care for lemon trees in containers

How to care for lemon trees growing in containers

The lemons that you grow in a container aren’t very different from the traditional land-grown lemons in quality. They are incredibly popular because of their versatility.

Lemons grown in containers require the same primary care as other lemons. Some of the essential care tips for container-grown lemons vary from watering to fertilizing all the way to repotting and hand pollinating.

The primary care practices that elementary Farmer can practice include the following;

1. Water lemon trees growing in containers

Water is a critical factor of growth for lemons. It is essential to water adequately and on time if your lemons are to be healthy. The nutrients available for lemons that you grow in containers is limited. Unlike on land, where the lemon roots can pull nutrients from around, they all have what you provide in a container. 

All the water that your lemon tree has access to is the amount of water you add to the soil. If it’s inadequate, you may risk your lemon tree to water stress. This is unlikely to occur because, in a bid to compensate, farmers often overwater instead. 

The major watering problem that container-grown lemons face is overwatering. While underwatering can be a challenge for lemons, overwatering can be just as chaotic.

Watering lemon trees

Lemons did not adapt to growing in waterlogged areas. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal infections, which can lead to death when severe. 

So more important than just watering, a farmer needs to ensure that they water enough to avoid both over and under watering problems altogether. Because it is difficult to gauge when and how much to water, it would be great if a farmer bought a soil moisture meter.

2. Fertilize lemon trees growing in containers

Lemon trees are grown in gardening pots only have access to the nutrients that you give them. If there isn’t a nutrient in the growing pot, there’s nowhere the plant will get that nutrient. Unlike the garden setting, which made be self-sustaining, a grow pot is a closed ecosystem.

To keep the Lemon Tree nourished, it is expedient that the lemon farmer fertilizer thrice a year. The recommended fertilizing periods are once in spring, once in summer, and once in early fall. 

A winter dose is not recommended because fertilizer application encourages new growth, and winter frost will damage any new growth if you fertilize before or during winter.

3. Pruning

Suppose you are growing a lemon tree container. In that case, you might want to regulate the tree size to keep it manageable and make it easier to harvest. Pruning will enable you to achieve this. 

A farmer should use sharp disinfected pruning shears when pruning. Sharp shears create clean cuts while blunt ones create dull cuts. Clean cuts reduce the chances of the infection from entering through the cut. Blunt cuts damage the tree and are entry points for disease and pests.

4. Hand pollinating

Container grown lemons are often grown indoors. This is advantageous in presenting the lemon tree from harsh environmental conditions as well as insect pollinators. Indoor growing lemons have no access to pollinators like bees and wind. The Farmer needs to do the honors.

During the hand-pollinating princess process, the Farmer copies the bee action by rubbing pollen off the anthers and transferring it to another flower’s stigma. You can use a brush or cotton swab. 

Many farmers hand-pollinate daily until the blooming season is over. Pollinating daily increases implantation chances because you can never really tell when the flower is ready. 

5. Repotting

Repotting a Lemon Tree

Lemon tree roots outgrow the container in which they are growing. It is advisable to repot every two or three years until the tree reaches maturity. Lemons are heavy-feeding and will deplete nutrients in the soil in which they are growing.

When the roots’ volume fills out the growing pot, it doesn’t matter how much fertilizer or water you add. The lemon will always be malnourished because the roots take up all the space. 

A lemon farmer needs to repot to a larger pot once every 2-3 years. Repotting involves adding potting soil to a larger pot, transplanting the root ball, and backfilling with potting soil. It is always a good idea to water after repotting to reduce transplant shock.

The best fertilizer for lemon trees growing in containers

The best fertilizer for citrus trees in containers is a nitrogen-rich slow-release fertilizer. Most fertilizers on the market are certified and will work for the Farmer. If you have no fertilizer access, organic compost will work just as fine and is even preferred by many farmers.

The most commonly used fertilizers for citrus trees are;

  • Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed Plant Food (is available in food spikes too)
  • Dr. Earth
  • JR Peters Jacks Classic Citrus Food Fertilizer
  • Jobe’s Organics Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer Spikes
  • Espoma Citrus-tone Plant Food
  • Down To Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix

Maintenance for lemon trees growing in containers

Maintaining lemon trees in containers

Lemon trees can be maintained by pruning once a year in spring. To encourage fruiting, fertilize with 3:1:5 fertilizer at least quarterly. Epsom salt application every couple of months and water well is also a good practice for healthy lemon growth.


Can lemon trees grow in pots?

Yes, lemon trees can be grown in pots. You only need to ensure that you use fertilized, well-draining potting soil to grow the lemon in a large enough pot. 

Some varieties do better than others in growing pots. To ensure your container lemon’s success, grow pot-friendly varieties like the Eureka lemons and dwarfed varieties.

How long does it take for a lemon tree to bear fruit?

It takes, on average, 2-3 years for a lemon tree to bear fruit. If it is seed-grown, you may have to wait longer before you see any fruit. Seed-grown lemons take about 6-8 years, if they ever do, to bear fruit.

Do lemon trees need a lot of sun?

Lemons need full sun to grow and fruit. The required amount of sunshine exposure is about 8 hours of full sun. 

However, too much sunshine can scorch the lemons, so it is essential to regulate the sun intensity with screens and avoid the southern sun. 

How often should you water a potted lemon tree?

Potted lemon trees should be watered by the gardener once to twice every 7 days, depending on the weather you are growing in and the tree’s age. 

Final thoughts

Lemon trees are an easy sport to grow in containers and give the Farmer a juicy lemonade feast. If you have a pot, soil, and lemon plant, waste no time in potting the plant; you can thank me later. 

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