Growing a Healthy Dwarf Lemon Tree

Spring fever is already setting in for gardeners around the US. Seed catalogues with enticing photos of vegetables and fruits are the eye-candy of the season! This may be the year you consider something new, something vibrant and fun like a dwarf lemon tree for your homestead. The trouble is, other than ordering it from the catalogue, you have idea what to do next.

No worries! We have your gardening back with these 10 great tips for growing a healthy dwarf lemon tree:

Choose the right variety

The beautiful photo in your seed catalogue has your attention, but its best to pause before impulse ordering. Dwarf lemon trees come in several varieties. You’ll need to choose one that is suitable for your climate and the amount of sunlight your growing area receives.

Popular varieties include Meyer, Lisbon, and Eureka. Meyer Lemon Trees require full sunlight and thrive best in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. Libson are the most sensitive to cold. You’ll need a greenhouse or space in your home that receives ample sunlight to bring the plant in, if you live in a cold climate area. Eureka Lemon Trees require sheltered areas with full sun, and areas where temperatures do not fall below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Provide enough sunlight

Dwarf lemon trees need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Make sure you place the tree in a spot that receives adequate sunlight.

This includes areas within your home if you plan to bring the plant in during the winter months.

Water properly

Well draining soil is essential. Water the tree regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.

You can test the soil moisture by inserting your finger into the soil; if it feels dry up to your first knuckle, it’s time to water.

Consider potting

If you plan on growing your dwarf lemon tree indoors or in a small outdoor space, consider planting it in a pot that is at least 18 inches in diameter. This will allow you to control the soil quality and make it easier to move the tree if needed.

Fertilize regularly

Feed your tree with a citrus-specific fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen. You can fertilize your tree every three to four weeks during the growing season.

Prune regularly

Prune your dwarf lemon tree to keep its shape and promote new growth. Remove any dead or damaged branches, and cut back any branches that are growing too tall or too wide.

Growing a Healthy Dwarf Lemon Tree

Don’t disturb the flowers

When your dwarf lemon tree blooms flowers, it’s an exciting time as this means that you may have a chance of getting some fruit! Once the flowers bloom, avoid disturbing them as much as possible. The flowers are where the fruit will form, so you don’t want to accidentally knock them off or damage them.

The tree will need plenty of water during this time to help the fruit develop. Again, make sure the soil stays moist, but not waterlogged.

Control pests and diseases

Keep an eye out for pests and diseases that can affect your tree, such as scale insects, aphids, or fungal infections. Treat any issues promptly to keep your tree healthy.

Tend to the fruit

As the fruit starts to develop, you may need to thin it out to prevent the tree from becoming overloaded. Leave only one or two fruits per cluster and space them out so that they have enough room to grow.

Once the fruit has fully ripened, you can harvest it by gently twisting it until it comes off the tree. Enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor!

By following these tips, you can successfully grow a healthy and fruitful dwarf lemon tree.

Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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