If you are fond of the unique citrus smell, do not hesitate because the lemon tree is easy to grow. It is also fun to breathe the essence of tropical air every day. The lemon (Citrus limon) is an evergreen plant belonging to the family Rutaceae. It is native to South Asia. Lemon fruit is frequently used for culinary and non-culinary purposes around the globe.
How to grow a lemon tree?
Growing a lemon tree is not that difficult. All you need to do is provide the best growing conditions. But growing them outdoors and indoors can be slightly different and lemon tree care is also different.
Growing a lemon tree outdoor
Out of all the citrus genre plants, lemon is most sensitive to cold. They prefer full sunlight as an optimum growth condition. But place your tree in the south-facing area that helps in both optimum sun lighting and shading.
A lemon tree can tolerate a range of soils from, infertile to fertile. But the well-drained and slightly acidic soil gives you the best harvest. A shallow hole not deeper than the length of the root ball is more suitable. Once a week watering and moisture-retaining mulch facilitate healthy growth. The occasional pruning maintains their shape and height.
Growing a lemon tree indoor
The lemon plant can comfortably grow in a container. Enough space for drainage is the key to the indoor-grown lemon tree. The indoor-grown lemon trees require fluorescence light to compensate for the sunlight.
The optimum temperature is a vital factor for lemon trees. The approximate preferred temperature is 70 F 0 (21 C 0) throughout the day. The night temperature can be around and 55 F0 (13 C 0). Once the temperature drops below 13 C, the plant will enter into dormancy.
The warm outdoors helps the plant in fruiting by pollination. Bees and other insects play a huge role here. If you are growing the tree inside, it’s better to place it outdoors during summer. So you can avoid going through hand pollination.
Lemon tree leaves
No part of the lemon tree can be underestimated. The eccentric aroma is hard to resist and enhances your appetite. The vibrant green leaves have a glossy green topside. The underside of the leaves is a matte lighter green. The leaves appear alternately in branches. They are available throughout the year. Unlike the lemon fruits, the leaves are not edible. But there are several uses in lemon leaves.
- Fresh use for their aroma
- Wrap around seafood and meat to be roasting, grilling, sautéing
- Used to flavor kabobs, used in curries, and blanched and used to infuse tea
- To garnish for desserts and lemon cakes
- To pair with seafood, meat, mint, parsley, basil, and chopped pistachios.
- Can be dried for extended use
- South Italy is famous for cooking using lemon leaves. Polpette is a popular dish on Sicily Island.
- In wreaths and garland decorations
Despite the culinary and cultural importance, the lemon leaves are good indicators of environmental, pest, and disease problems.
Citrus trees don’t prefer cold temperatures. If the temperature drops below 28 F 0, it can result in a leaf drop.
Overwatering causes leaf drops in lemon plants and leads to root rotting. Well-drained soil, mulching, and keeping grass away can help with root rotting and other pest problems.
Among necessary macro and micronutrients, nitrogen, magnesium, iron, zinc, and manganese deficiencies result in leaf drop. The use of a suitable fertilizer will minimize this problem.
Lemon leaf diseases
Alternaria leaf spot
Blackened leaf veins and yellowish leaves are the most prominent character and ultimately lead to fruit drops. Disease-resistant varieties and the proper space management and copper fungicides help to avoid the disease.
Greasy spot fungus
The yellow color spots gradually turn into blisters. The lemon tree becomes the target of other pests and diseases and reduces the fruit set. The use of copper fungicide and the covering of leaves are suitable remedies.
The soil-borne pathogen is the reason for root rot, leaf drop, fruit drop, and the whole plant death. Optimum drainage facilities and avoid this problem.
Of course, the sooty molds, leaf miners, and predatory wasps continue to bother your golden lemon plant.
Did you ever worry, why your fully grown and healthy lemon tree does not give fruits? Then, the lack of nutrients can be the reason. The lemon trees are having a heavy hunger and consume more fertilizer than you think.
Lemon tree fertilizer
What is the most important nutrient for the lemon tree?
The tree prefers high nitrogen contents along with P, K, and other micronutrients. You can apply 1 pound of 6-6-6 fertilizer with split applications. Three times split applications of each year until the tree is eight years old will do it. But be careful not to apply more than 20 pounds of fertilizer on a mature lemon tree. There are different chemical and organic formulas; spikes, sprays, and granules that enhance the growth.
What is the right time?
The proper time of fertilizer is crucial in any crop. You can practice this frequently during summer and spring. It is the active growth period of the lemon tree. It is better to fertilize the lemon tree not more than four times per year. You must also be careful to avoid fertilization during the cold season.
How to apply lemon tree fertilizer?
Fertilizer should apply in a circle around the tree. The radius should be about the same as the height of the tree. You should avoid adding fertilizer to the base of the tree, which can lead to fertilizer shock. At the same time, the fertilizer won’t be able to reach the root system.
Bring out your garden tools and get ready to plant a lemon tree. The coming summer or the spring can be the perfect timing. Once your tree starts to set fruits, you will be thrilled by the citrus scent that blooms numerous fresh feelings.