Potted Lemons Not thriving

Potted Lemons Not Thriving; Causes and Control TipsPotted Lemons Not Thriving; Causes and Control Tips

There are many reasons why your potted lemons are not thriving. When your potted lemon plant begins to die, you may panic, and for a good reason. An unhealthy potted lemon tree heralds terrible news; it could be a death sentence.

There are many underlying reasons as to why your lemons are not thriving. You can attribute potted lemons’ unhealthy growth to watering inefficiencies, lack of nutrients, or adverse ambient conditions.

Is your potted lemon tree not thriving regardless of your efforts to care for the tree? Find in here below all the tips and tricks to revive your potted lemon that isn’t thriving.

Why potted lemons are not thriving

Why is a potted lemon tree not thriving?

Growing lemon trees in pots is a relatively new trend that has helped farmers grow lemons even in the coldest and most unfavorable climates. Potted lemons have the advantage of being portable, so you can easily carry them inside when the outside conditions become unfavorable.

Lemon trees need favorable conditions to thrive. Whether you are growing potted lemon trees or not, you need to ascertain that the conditions are optimal, regardless. 

Meeting the conditions required for healthy lemon growth is the only guarantee that a potted lemon tree will thrive. On the other side, if any condition is not being met, your lemon tree will not thrive.

Look below for the growing conditions of potted lemon trees.

Conditions for growing potted lemons

Conditions for growing potted lemon trees are the requirements that potted lemon trees need for healthy growth. 

Suppose you don’t provide one of the conditions that may be the reason for potted lemons not thriving.

Look below for the conditions that lemon trees require for healthy growth. Whether they are potted or not.

1. Sunshine

Lemon trees require full sunshine for healthy growth. That is at least 8 hours of full sunshine. 

Therefore, if you are growing potted lemon trees, you must ensure that you grow them in a spot that receives the most sunshine in your garden or balcony.

If you live in an area that receives very little sunshine, in that case, consider investing in a grow light to replace the sunshine.  

2. Water

Lemon trees require water for essential life processes. With an inadequate water supply, a lemon tree begins to decline and eventually die.

Therefore, a lemon tree farmer must water adequately and at the right time. It is very challenging to determine the right time to water.

Consequently, an inexperienced farmer will be better off using a moisture meter as a guide to know when to water than merely eyeballing it.

3. Fertilizer potted lemons that aren’t thriving

Fertilizer for potted lemon trees

Lemon trees are heavy feeding plants. As a result of this, a farmer needs to fertilize the soil to replenish the nutrients lost periodically.

The recommended fertilizing schedule is thrice a year. However, every tree is unique, and different soils require different augmentation. 

Therefore, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all fertilizing schedule. To be precise, a farmer can carry out soil tests to know what to add to the soil. 

Otherwise, the family news chooses from the plant that has yellowing leaves to know when and what fertilizer to add to the soil.

4. Growing zone

Lemon trees are native to the tropics. Therefore, they prefer warmer growing zones. According to the USDA, lemon trees are hardy to zones 9 to 11.

If you live outside the recommended zones, do not despair. You can still successfully grow lemons by protecting them from cold and harsh winters, as well as hot summers. 

During winter, you can insulate the stems of the potted lemon by covering them with insulating blankets. Alternatively, you can transfer the potted lemon into your house where it is warmer during winter.

In the summer, scientists advise farmers to spray the leaves with a whitewash to avoid sunburn.

Fertilizer for potted lemons not thriving

The leading cause of potted lemons not thriving is a lack of soil nutrients; therefore, a farmer must fertilize adequately and on time.

It is sufficient to fertilize a year thrice. That is once in spring, once in fall, and once again in summer. Farmers do not recommend winter dose because new growth in winter is susceptible to frostbite, damaging the plant. 

Also, many farmers prefer to use organic slow-release nitrogen-rich fertilizers. However, you can use any fertilizer that you have at your disposal.

The best fertilizers for potted lemons not thriving on the market

The best lemon fertilizers on the market
  • Miracle-Gro
  • Jobe’s Organics
  • Dr. Earth
  • Citrustone

You can also use good old compost. Most importantly, a farmer must follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the dot. Irrespective of whatever fertilizer you choose.

Potted lemons care for potted lemons that are not thriving

When potted lemons are not thriving, the antidote is to give it extra TLC. But how? How do you take care of a potted lemon tree which is not thriving? 

Look below for tips and tricks to revive a potted lemon tree that is not thriving.

1. Water the lemon adequately.

Lemon trees need water to stay alive. However, remember that too much water will kill the plant. It is therefore crucial to water just right to keep the lemon tree alive.

When your lemons are not thriving, the gardener needs to water sufficiently and at the right time. Find here an in-depth guide on how to water lemon trees.

2. Fertilize

Lemon trees are heavy feeding plants, and as such, you need to replenish the soil in which they are growing. As mentioned above, a lemon tree that is growing in nutrient-depleted soil will not thrive. 

Therefore, you must fertilize at least twice a year with nitrogen-rich fertilizer to replenish and keep the lemon tree thriving.

3. Prune off damaged parts

If there are damaged parts on the plant that aren’t thriving, it is wise for the farmer to prune them off to avoid infections.

Also, damaged parts of the plant will eventually fall off in the natural plant’s self-thinning processes. When damaged parts fall off by themselves, they may cause damage to the neighboring cambium tissue. So as a preventive measure, prune off damaged parts as soon as you see them.

4. Control pest and disease infestations

Control pests and disease by spraying

Some pest infestations, primarily attacks from sap-feeding pests, can result in stunted growth and low lemon tree growth. Suppose pests and diseases are why a lemon tree is not thriving to revive the lemon tree. In that case, the farmer must treat the infection.

To sum it up, the best way to revive lemon trees not thriving is to manage and resolve the underlying causes and reasons for the lemons not thriving.


How do you revive a dying lemon tree?

You can revive a dying lemon tree by carefully and attentively attending to the plant’s needs.

In the time that you’re trying to revive a dying lemon tree, consider the following practices to increase the chances of a lemon tree’s survival;

Watering adequately
Pruning off damaged parts
Controlling any pests and diseases

How do you fertilize a potted lemon tree?

The procedure of fertilizing a potted lemon tree is not different from fertilizing a land-grown tree.

The first step is to acquire the fertilizer that you are going to use. If it is not pre-measured, measure the amount per the manufacturer’s instructions to use on your tree.

After that, sprinkle or pour the fertilizer around the lemon tree, taking care not to get too close to the tree trunk.

Lastly, water the soil.

Why won’t my lemon tree produce lemons?

There are many reasons why a lemon tree won’t produce lemons. Find here an in-depth explanation of why a lemon tree may not produce fruit.

Generally, it could be that the lemon tree is still young. Or the environmental and soil conditions are not favorable. Or even some pest and disease attacks can hinder the plant’s ability to fruit.


I know it is frustrating to watch your lemons not thriving. You may even feel helpless and hopeless. However, the tips above will help you to revive your lemons which are not thriving. 

And in case you are still doubting, yes, you can revive your lemons, which are not thriving. As long as the tree still has life in its roots, it will bounce back. So, please don’t give up on your tree.

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