How to Grow Your Own Lemon Tree From Seed
Summer is a great time to enjoy the refreshing citrus flavor of lemon. Wouldn’t it be great to have your own tree that you can pick from whenever you like? Fortunately, lemon trees are among the easiest citrus fruits to grow in your yard. With a bit of planning and patience, you can be plucking your own lemons in a matter of months.
Ready to get your lemon tree started? You should start with a seed from an organic lemon because non-organic lemons generally have non-germinating seeds which mean your seed will never sprout. You will also need a seedling pot, planting pot, and fertile soil. Make sure that you have an indoor, but sunny space and a bit of plastic. Now you are all set to start planting!
Prepare Potting Soil in a Separate Bucket
Pour soil into a huge bucket and add a bit of water until it becomes damp. Mix the soil evenly using your hand or a trowel. Never allow the soil to get soggy or the seeds could get rotten. You need well-draining soil in order for the seeds to grow. While lemon trees love water, they do not want to sit in it.
Use pasteurized soil mix if possible. Pasteurization is a process in which bacteria that could kill the seeds are being taken off the soil. Moreover, choose the soil that is a mixture of vermiculite, perlite, peat and some organic fertilizer. This is to give your seedling enough drainage and proper nutrients.
Get a Pot with Drainage Holes
Next, look for a pot to grow your lemon. Ideally, it should be about four inches wide and about six inches deep. This size of pot can be used for growing one lemon plant. On the other hand, you can choose to plant several seeds in one huge pot at a time. Either way, make sure to choose pots that have drainage holes. Drill holes if you end up buying a pot that does not have any drainage holes. This is to ensure success when growing lemon tree in pot.
Prepare your Seeds
Use an organic lemon to gather your seeds because the seeds from non-organic lemons may not sprout. In addition, avoid taking those lemon tree seeds that are too tiny. These seeds will not sprout. Instead, gather those plump-looking seeds as they have better chance of sprouting.
Grow lemon seeds about 5 to 10 seeds at a time. This way, if some of the seeds will not sprout, there are still a few that would. Keep in mind that lemon trees grown from seeds may not be similar to the parent tree where they came from. Sometimes, the fruits that the new samplings will produce are of lesser quality. In some cases, they may not produce any fruits at all.
Next, wash the seeds you have gathered in order to remove the slimy coating. Alternately, you can suck the lemon seeds until such time that the slimy covering is gone. These gel-like substances have sugars that could make the seeds to rot. Thus, they need to be removed before growing lemon tree from seed.
Leave the lemon seeds soaked in a warm water overnight. This way, the seeds will be able to sprout faster.
Plant the Seeds
The next step in how to grow lemon tree is to plant the seeds. So fill your pot with soil, up to about an inch from the rim. Create a 1/2-inch deep hole with the use of your finger or a pencil. Then, slowly drop the lemon tree seeds into the hole and cover with soil. Ensure that the pointy tip of the seeds is pointing downward into the soil. On the other hand, the rounded part must be pointing into your direction. This is because the roots will grow out of that pointy part.
Afterwards, cover the pot with a breathable plastic in order to trap moisture and warmth. Simply place a plastic wrap above the pot then wrap with a rubber band to secure the cover. Poke some holes to the plastic wrap using a toothpick or a fork. These holes will allow for the plant to breath air.
Place the Pot in a Warm Location
It’s important that you place the pot in a warm location. When growing lemon tree indoors, look for a warm location, such as beside the window. However, sunlight is not vital at this time. In fact, sunlight could end up hurting the young and delicate seedlings.
You will see a sprout emerge after about a week or two. The ideal temperature for your lemon plant to thrive is between 68°F and 82.4°F.
Water the Soil When It’s Dry
The plastic cover will trap the moisture in the pot until condensation will rain down into the soil, which will make it to get damped. If you live in areas with very dry environments, this might not be the case. As such, you need to water the plant regularly. The moment you notice that the soil starts to dry, take off the plastic wrap and water the plant. Re-cover the pot with the plastic after watering.
Remove the plastic cover when the sprout starts to appear. Next, transfer the pot to a warm and sunny location. Make sure to keep the soil damp at all times. However, do not ever allow it to get soggy.
Caring for the Seedlings
Allow the soil to get dry when the seedlings have developed some leaves, before you start watering again. Do not let the soil to get dry completely. However, it must be kept moist.
When you grow lemon tree from seed, keep in mind that the trees will require about eight hours of sunlight in order to survive. On the other hand, the lemon tree seedlings will need about 14 hours. Consider placing a grow light beside your lemon tree to ensure that it will get enough sunlight that it needs. You can purchase these lights from nurseries and local garden centers.
Transplanting your Lemon Tree
Transplant the seedlings once the tails are already about 3.15 inches. If you don’t want to wait long, transplant them once the tails are already about 1/2 inch long. Create a shallow hole in a damp and well-drained soil and then tuck the lemon tree in pot into the hole. Pat the soil gently around the seedling.
Remember that your seedling will soon outgrow its pot. Once it reaches about a year old, transfer it into a pot that is about 6 inches wide. Eventually, you may have to move the pot to something wider, about 8 inches wide and 16 inches deep. You can also choose to transplant the seedlings directly into the soil.
A good rule of the thumb when it comes to transplanting when growing lemon tree from seed is to check the bottom of the pot. If you will see roots at the drainage holes, then take that as a sign that the plant will now need a much bigger pot.