Have you ever woken up in the morning and wished for a fresh glass of lemonade? Well, this can actually be your life by growing lemons right inside your very own home!
Indoor lemon trees can produce wonderful smelling flowers while they producing fruit. One of my all-time favorite lemon trees to grow inside is the Dwarf Lemon Meyer and is a great fruit tree to start with for newbies.
That being said, producing lemons inside won’t necessarily happen on its own and needs some specific care along the way. Today, I will teach you how to care for your lemon tree so that you can start growing lemons indoors! Even a novice plant owner can grow lemons indoors!
Beginners Guide: Everything You Need to Know About How to Grow Lemons Indoors
Select Your Lemon Tree and Container
To start you must own a lemon tree. Buying your lemon tree from a nursery is the recommended option to start with. You can get a healthy 2–3-year-old tree that will produce fruit fairly quickly. The indoor varieties of lemon trees are usually called dwarf trees and typically grow up to 3-4ft tall. The outdoor varieties can grow up to 20ft tall. I bought mine on Etsy; this is where I got my lemon tree.
You can also start from a seed or leaf cutting if you wish. These methods are harder to get to fruition and will take years before producing any fruit. If you are playing the long game, it can be very satisfying to go from seed to fruit.
Choosing the proper pot for your new lemon tree isn’t difficult, as most any style will work just fine. Just remember it’s usually better to start with a smaller container, and as the tree grows, you can move to bigger pots.
The most important thing when choosing a container is to make sure it has large unobstructed drainage holes. Lemon trees need excellent drainage for a happy life.
Placing a saucer under the container to protect your floors when watering is always a good move to make your life easier. Placing your pot on a wheeled plant dolly is super helpful if you plan on moving the plant around. They can get pretty heavy over time.
Planting and Placing Your Lemon Tree
Once you bring home your new lemon tree from the nursery, you will likely want to repot it into a bigger container. You always want to gradually upgrade the container size with any plant to help keep the roots healthy and growing.
Your indoor lemon tree wants its soil to stay evenly moist, so using a potting mix designed for citrus trees will produce the best results. This type of soil drains well while retaining the moisture needed.
- When choosing the location in your home for your lemon tree, lighting will be the most important factor. Lots of sunlight is critical for growth, and especially for producing fruit. 8-12 hours of sunlight is what you should be shooting for, with 8 hours being the very minimum. Generally, a south-facing window will give you the best sunlight in the house. You may need to supplement with artificial light. I like the Haus Bright LED bulbs.
- Indoor lemon trees also really like humidity, which can be hard to get in the house. Using a humidity tray underneath the plant container is a great solution to add some humidity around the lemon tree. Fill a container tray with pebbles or small rocks and pour some water into it. Place this underneath the lemon tree pot, and as the water evaporates upwards, your tree’s roots get some additional moisture.
- During the warmer parts of the year, you can even bring your indoor lemon tree outside for the fresh air and sunlight. Make sure the nighttime temperature is above 65 degrees if left outside overnight. Even one cold night outside can be a shock to your plant.
Introduce your plant to the outside slowly, as placing outside in full sunlight can also shock the plant. Slow and steady!
Indoor Lemon Tree Care
Watering: Lemon trees like plenty of water. You want to keep the roots moist but never waterlogged. A good rule of thumb for watering is when the top couple of inches of soil are dry; it’s time to water again. A well-draining pot really helps to achieve this balance. Try never to let the roots dry out completely.
During the warmer months is when your plant will be growing the most and when it needs more watering and fertilization to be happy.
Fertilizing: Fertilizing your indoor lemon tree regularly will be important for producing fruit and strong foliage. Your tree only has access to the nutrients contained in the soil, and as it grows, it uses up what’s stored there. Using an 18-18-18 fertilizer will be good for most citrus plants happiness and success. Here’s a good article on fertilizing houseplants if you need some pointers.
Tips For Growing Lemons Indoors:
- Humidity is a friend of citrus plants.
- Lemon trees like airflow (consistent with the air temp).
- Plenty of water, especially in the warmer months. Keep your plant moist but not waterlogged. Water when the surface is dry, but while still some moisture at the roots.
- Fertilize regularly (as often as your fertilizer product label recommends)
- Your lemon tree needs powerful sunlight to be induced to bloom and have the strength to produce fruit. 8-12 hours is ideal. If you do not have proper natural lighting, I highly recommend investing in plant lights or swapping out my current light bulbs with plant bulbs. I like the Haus Bright LED bulbs.
- Be patient and enjoy the lemonade at the end!