How To Grow Lemon Trees From Seed

Growing a lemon tree from seed may be the perfect pastime for you. Something about the scent of a blossoming lemon tree appeals. Lush, dark green, oval leaves sparkle in the sun. Their fragrant white blossoms, sweet-smelling fragrance, great homegrown fruit, and appealing characteristics make one wish to acquire their own tree.

Can You Grow Lemons Indoors in Canada and in Colder Climates?

Even if you don’t live in a tropical area, you can keep your lemon tree alive and well indoors all year, even in the coldest climates. These indoor plants may not yield as much fruit as those grown outside in tropical climes, but they provide greenery, color, are attractive and have fragrant blossoms.

Quick Growing Guide

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Botanical Name: Citrus limon and others

En français: Citronnier



Hardiness Zones:

Learn More with: Tips On Growing Citrus Indoors Zone 7 or Lower

Although lemon trees are often grown from root cuttings, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try growing one from seed. Although your tree may take up to six years to develop and begin bearing fruit, the trip is more than half the enjoyment. Lemon trees have lovely dark green, glossy foliage. They mature into petite, gorgeous, fragrant white blooms.

Choose the Right Type of Citrus Tree

The secret to growing a lemon tree and other citrus fruits inside is choosing a smart first choice. Citrus trees meant for commercial production are naturally too large to grow in the home. Fortunately, there are several kinds that thrive as houseplants.

  • Ponderosa lemons and Meyers Lemon tree are nice, small, attractive choices that can thrive as houseplants.
  • Calamondin orange trees (Citrofortunella mitis) are little, elegant indoor orange trees. The tree’s fruits are fairly tiny and cannot be eaten raw since they are quite sour. They may be used to produce marmalade and as a garnish for beverages and a range of summer foods.
  • Otaheite Orange (Citrus limonia or Citrus taitensis) is a hybrid cross between tangerines and lemons. This plant is a dwarf, so it is a good choice for growing indoors.
  • Tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is another good candidate for growing indoors. The Satsuma orange variety does well.
  • A couple of other sorts of oddball citrus fruits that do well indoors are the Citron (citrus medica) and the Fortunella species of kumquat.

All of these citrus fruits can be grown from seed following the guidelines given here. This makes it simple to create your own mini-citrus orchard indoors with minimal work and ingenuity.

Simple Method For Growing A Lemon Tree From Seed

Purchase An Organic Lemon

Purchase an organic lemon from your local health food shop. If you’re growing your tree in a container or indoors, look for Ponderosa or Meyer lemons. It is critical that your “parent” lemon be organic. Those from large, commercial, non-organic farmers frequently lack viable seeds.

Use Good Quality Soil

Purchase high-quality potting soil that is high in organic compost, vermiculite, perlite, and peat. This creates a lovely, light, well-drained soil combination that will encourage root development in your young tree.

Choose A Container

Select a suitable container. Begin your seeds in small peat pots or clay pots, no more than eight inches in diameter. This compact size allows you to have more control over soil moisture. When your tree outgrows its starting pot, you can transplant it to a bigger container. It will take a couple of years for your tree to be ready for a ten or twelve inch pot.

If you select a plastic or resin container, make sure it has lots of drainage holes and avoid overwatering. Containers constructed of natural materials, such as terra cotta or wood, provide for improved air circulation for the roots, which is critical in preventing root rot. If, on the other hand, you want to move your tree in and out of the house, you’ll want a lightweight container. In this scenario, a synthetic material or a handcrafted hypertufa container would be preferable.

Choose a Growing Location

Citrus trees require a lot of light, so place them in a bright window. You could also wish to install some artificial lighting. Your lemon seed will need between ten and fourteen hours of sun exposure every day to grow properly. A southern window with direct sunlight is great. If you are unable to offer this, a 40-watt fluorescent grow light bulb would suffice.

Prepare Soil For Your Seeds

Pre-moisten the soil in a dish or bucket with room temperature tap water that has been air-dried for 24 hours before sowing your seeds. Soak the dirt fully and mix it thoroughly. Fill half of your beginning container with this wet dirt. Then, add extra soil to maintain your root ball slightly below the rim of the container. This helps your tree to acquire the necessary nutrients while also draining appropriately. Allow at least an inch between the soil’s top and the container’s top.

Select Lemon Seeds or Other Citrus Seeds

To avoid cutting the seeds, slice the lemon (or citrus) lengthwise. Choose the juiciest seeds. Wipe the seeds clean with a paper towel or put them in your mouth to suck out all the lemon pulp and juice. When they no longer taste lemony, they are clean. Do not allow the seeds to dry out because they require moisture to germinate effectively.

You might want to give this a try: some people peel the seed and cover it in a moist paper towel before storing it in a dark spot for a couple of weeks before planting. This can accelerate germination.

Planting The Seed

Make a half-inch-deep hole in the soil. Plant the seed and cover it with earth. Though the pointed end of the seed should face up, you don’t need to bother about the seed’s orientation. Whatever happens, the plant will grow toward the top.

Planting several seeds enhances the likelihood of success and decreases the likelihood of disappointment. If all of your seeds germinate, give a plant to a friend!

Keep Soil Moist

Keep your container in a warm, calm place for germination. Covering the soil in the container with permeable plastic will keep it wet. Alternatively, you can just place the container in a protected spot with strong, indirect light and keep a close check on it to ensure it does not dry up.

When Seedlings Emerge

Within a few weeks, you should notice a little sprout rising from the soil’s surface. You can remove the cover and set the seedling in direct sunshine at this time, but keep a watch on it. You don’t want it to dry out or burn up.

Keep Temperatures Warm and Soil Moist

Maintain a warm temperature and evenly wet soil that is never damp. If you are growing your seedlings indoors, you will need to counteract the dry air produced by central heating and air conditioning. Every day, softly sprinkle the soil (and subsequently the plant) with a spray bottle. You may also want to place a pebble tray beneath the developing plant to increase humidity.

Propagate from Cuttings

If you have access to a mature citrus tree, consider propagating it from a cutting. Check that the citrus tree is healthy and free of illness, stress, or injury. Select a young shoot that is firm enough to root but not overly immature and mushy. The best time to take a cutting is in the spring or summer when the plant is actively developing. Take a cut about 6 to 8 inches from the end of the stem. Use a sterile, sharp, and non-serrated knife. Remove all but the top 4 leaves. Root it in new, sterile potting soil that has been kept wet. Repot as needed as the plant grows.

How To Take Care Of Your Growing Lemon Plant

You’re starting a long-term connection with your small tree. You will be able to enjoy watching it develop for decades if you take proper care of it. Here are some pointers to maintaining your small lemon tree robust, healthy, and productive.

Lemon Tree Fertilization:

Use good organic fertilizer.

When the seedling leaves first appear, top dress with vermicompost or other organic compost. Sprinkle organic compost around the plant and massage softly into the soil. Water during this process. Plan on doing this twice a year, once in the early spring and again mid-summer. You may also add a commercial water-soluble fertilizer designed for plants that love acidic soil. Use a half-strength solution, being cautious not to over-fertilize your tree.

Watering Lemon Plants:

Citrus trees dislike having their feet wet, but they also dislike being dry. Plan on watering your lemon tree once or twice a week, but this is dependent on your environmental factors. As a rule, when the top inch of soil dries up, it’s definitely time to water your tree. Expect to use about a quarter gallon of water. Allow the tree to dry before watering again.

Use room temperature tap water that has been left out to air for at least 24 hours to eliminate chemicals in the water.

Light and Warmth For Your Lemon Tree:

Maintain a regular level of light and temperature. Citrus plants require 10-14 hours of direct sunshine during germination and 10-14 hours of indirect sunlight once established. Every day, mature plants require at least 8 hours of strong natural or artificial light. The temperature should be at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the day (high teens in Celsius), with a five to ten degree dip overnight (about 2 to 5 degrees Celsius).

What Kind of Potting Soil For Lemon Tree?

Soil should be light and contain a lot of organic matter, such as compost, peat moss, coco coir or leaf mold. Citrus plants like slightly acidic soil, so peat moss is a good addition because it will lower the soil pH levels. If you want to make your own potting mix, a combination of equal parts sterile potting soil, vermiculite or perlite, peat moss or coco coir is a good recipe.

Handling Pests

Spider mite, whitefly, and scale infestations can affect citrus trees. Once a week, wipe the leaves clean with a gently moist towel. Wipe the leaves’ tops and bottoms clean. Using a soft, clean towel, gently dry them.

Bug infestations on your plants are best handled with natural products.


If your plant’s leaves droop and then recover after watering, you’re not watering it enough.

You may be overwatering if you observe your plant’s leaves becoming yellow and not recovering after watering.

How To Stimulate Fruit Production

Fruit trees require pollination. When indoors, citrus plants won’t have any natural pollinators (insects) to pollinate them. In this scenario, lightly shake the blooms to imitate pollination, and you will have a better chance of receiving fruit from your little trees.

Growing Lemon Trees in Canada and Cold Climates

In Canada and other northern climates, citrus houseplants may enjoy spending time outdoors in the summer.

Before letting them outside for lengthy periods of time, be sure they have been adequately acclimatised. Here’s a good article on hardening off plants. Sun exposure should be monitored to avoid burning sensitive indoor leaves. Acclimate your indoor citrus by starting them out under a shade tree or on the north side of your house outside of direct sunlight. Keep them in this location for several days to give them a chance to adjust, then move them slowly to a brighter setting.

When the days begin to chill, reverse the procedure and bring them inside before the first frost. Growing lemon trees and other citrus plants is simple, whether you live in a tropical or frigid region. Getting fruit inside can be difficult because of the attention it can require, but it can be very fruitful, pun intended!.

Video – Growing Lemon Trees from Seed

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