lemon tree life cycle

Lemon Tree Life Cycle; lemon tree lifespan from start to finishLemon Tree Life Cycle; lemon tree lifespan from start to finish

The life cycle of an average lemon tree is runs for about 50 years. However, like with all life forms, proper care and pampering can increase an organism’s actual lifespan. A well taken care of lemon tree can even live up to 100 years.

Like all citrus trees, the lemon tree life cycle begins at the seed stage. However, the majority of commercial lemon tree life cycle are shortened because farmers grow them from cuttings or grafted. 

A lemon tree’s general growth trend is to grow from the seed to seedling, to a young tree, to mature fruiting tree, and all like other living things, to death.

Lemon tree life cycle

Life cycle of a lemon tree

As mentioned above, lemon tree life cycle can go for on up to a century. However, disease and pest attacks, adverse climate, and lack of nutrition can shorten the lifespan.

2 to 5 years after planting, the lemon tree will bloom with fragrant purple flowers capable of fertilization and lemon fruit production.

Controlling pests and disease attacks and keeping environmental conditions within the optimum range is a best-practice for lemon farmers. Also, a farmer can extend the tree’s life by practicing other best farming practices. The best practice a gardener can carry out is listed below.

1. Choosing the perfect location for growing the lemon tree

A lemon gardener can guarantee the health of lemon trees by planting them in the perfect location in the first place. Lemons are picky and sensitive and, as such, grow best in specific environmental conditions.

The perfect location for growing a lemon tree has the following characteristics;

Receives full sun

Lemon trees and loving trees require a place, and she says plenty of morning sun. It is essential to plant a lemon tree in the sunniest part of your garden or the sunniest part of your balcony if you’re growing on your balcony.

A place that has good soil drainage

Lemon trees do not like standing water; a farmer’s place to grow them must drain standing water. If the soil you’re going to grow the lemons in is clayey and has poor drainage, you can improve the drainage by mixing the soil with perlite and vermiculite.

If you’re growing the lemon trees in a garden, you must make a mound and grow the lemon in the mound so that the lemon is at a raised altitude than the surrounding area. That way, water does not stand around the roots but flows to low-lying areas. 

Choose a site that has loose and fertilized soils.

Fertilized soil mixture

Lemon trees are heavy feeders and require to grow in an area saturated with all the nutrients that lemon trees require for healthy growth. 

A site with loose soils is more accessible for lemon roots to colonize and grow through in search of nutrients and water. Suppose the sois in your garden are not fertile. In that case, you can increase the fertility by adding compost and fertilizing at least thrice a year with a nitrogen-rich, slow-release fertilizer.

2. Watering

Water is life, and without proper watering, your lemon tree will die. Bus over and underwatering can be detrimental to a lemon tree, so the farmer must strike a balance by watering adequately and at the right time.

It is difficult to gauge precisely how much and when to water the lemon tree. An inexperienced lemon farmer is better off investing in a moisture meter. A moisture meter can accurately show the soil’s moisture levels that you will know when to water.

3. Fertilizing

It doesn’t matter how much soil you plant your lemon tree. The lemon will deplete the soil’s nutrients in no time because lemon trees are massive feeder plants. For the farmer to keep the plant healthy, the farmer needs to apply fertilizer three times a year. 

The best times to fertilize or once in spring in summer and then early fall. If you live in a winter prone area, do not fertilize in late fall or winter. The fertilizer will encourage new growth, which will be frost damaged and cause more harm and the future.

There are several commercial fertilizers on the market. The most popular ones are; 

  • Miracle-Gro
  • Dr. Earth
  • Citrus foods

You can also use compost and other natural organic manures on your lemon garden.

Lemon tree growth stages in the lemon tree life cycle

The Metamorphosis of a lemon tree begins at the seed stage. However, many other modern trees are grown from cuttings or by grafting. Cloning lemon trees reduce the Lemon Tree’s maturation period because clone lemon trees have the genetic material of the parent plant. 

As such, the growth stages of seed-grown lemon trees and trees grow by grafting from cuttings, or any other cloning mechanism will differ. 

The 5 lemon tree growth stages of the the lemon tree life cycle

Lemon tree life cycle

Stage 1: Germinating (14 to 21 days)

The life of a lemon tree grown from the seed begins with germinating the seed. Most farmers germinate a seed by either using the wet paper towel method or germinating a seedbed. 

The conditions for germination of all lemon seeds are moisture, warmth, and oxygen. The farmer has to make sure that the germinating chamber has constant moist conditions but not soggy.

The temperatures need to be maintained not below 18 degrees C, and there needs to be a constant supply of oxygen.

Stage 2: Seedling development maturation (21 to 60 days)

After germination, a lemon tree develops the first real leaves. At the same time, the ready god develops into a taproot. Over the next 21 to 60 days, the sibling will develop more leaves, and the root system will also further develop.

Stage 3: Young tree stage 60 days to 18 months)  

By this stage, the lemon tree has developed and looks like a dwarf tree. The bark of the main tree trunk begins to harden, but the rest of the stems and branches are still very soft and twig-like. 

A tree of this at this stage of development should be encouraged to produce fruit. In case it flowers, a gardener should prune off the flowers because the tree is not yet strong enough to handle fruit formation. 

Suppose you insist and let the tree at this stage. In that case, it will be dry and not juicy. The lemon’s root system is not fully developed to conduct sufficient nutrition for healthy and good quality fruit formation.

Stage 4: Maturation stage (18 months and above)

The next stage of lemon tree growth is tree maturation. In this stage, 

  • The tree grows enough foliage to form a canopy above the main trunk.
  • The secondary branches off the main trunk begin to harden and become woody.
  • Flowers begin to develop.

Stage 5: Flowering and fruiting 

The next and final stage of lemon tree growth is flowering, followed by fruiting. The tree can bear the weight of growing fruit at the maturation stage. The lemon’s root system has developed to conduct sufficient water and nutrients for good quality lemon fruit development. 

Flower development begins with bud induction. Buds often form during the chilly months. Water stress during this period has causes the production of more flowers. 

Note: For cloned lemon trees and lemon trees grown by grafting, the lemon tree’s growth stages should start from either stage 3 or stage 4, depending on the age of a parent plant from which the lemon tree was grown. 

If the parent plant had reached maturity, it should take about 6-months for the grafted lemon tree to flower and fruit. A cloned lemon tree will start its growth and development from the development stage that the parent plant had reached.

The lemon tree life cycle of lemon fruit

Lemon fruits develop from Lemon flowers. Therefore it goes without saying that the life cycle of lemon fruits begins with flower formation. 

Stage 1: Flower bud induction

As mentioned above, flower formation begins with bud induction during the early part of the growing season, especially in cold months. Flowers develop from flower buds. Most often than not, lemon flower buds appear as whitish-purple buds that open and develop into lilac to white flowers.

Stage 2: Flowering

After flower formation, during the blooming season, which is usually doing warm months during the blooming season, lemon trees need more water. 

Stage 3: Pollination and fruit formation

Flower formation precedes pollination. Pollinated flowers will later develop into the fruit; any flowers that we’re not pulling its head will fall off as soon as fruit development starts. 

Stage 4: Fruit development through cell expansion.


During this stage, the fruit begins to grow. However, the farmer needs to water more because to form juicy lemon trees requires more water. 

Stage 5: Ripening

During this stage, the developer lemons change color from Green to reach yellow, indicating that the Lemons are ready to pick.

How long do lemon trees produce fruit in the lemon tree life cycle?

If grown from the seed, lemon trees, on average, take about four years to produce fruit. However, lemons grown by grafting can produce foods even as early as a year after planting. 


What temperature will kill a lemon tree?

Temperatures below 29 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than 30 minutes can cause frost damage to the tree. 

While frost damage may not kill a mature tree, it exposes the tree to pest and disease attacks through tree wounds. It is the disease and pest infestations that eventually kill the tree.

How many times a year do lemon trees produce fruit?

The number of times a lemon produces fruit depends on the variety. The general rule of thumb is that the smaller the fruit size, the more often the tree variety will bloom. 

Some varieties of small lemons can produce fruit about 4 times a year. 

How many lemons does a lemon tree produce in a year?

A lemon tree can produce up to 600lbs of lemons every year. That is equivalent to 24000 average-sized lemons per tree. 


The lemon tree life cycle is a complicated process that is controlled by different factors. However, the length of time a lemon tree lives depends on how well we you take care of the tree.

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