Grow a container lemon tree indoors and enjoy your own homegrown lemons, regardless of the climate you live in! Growing indoor lemons isn’t hard as long as you choose the right tree and meet its special needs. Read on to learn how you can soon be enjoying sweet-smelling flowers, glossy foliage and tart, tasty fruit.
Choosing the Best Lemon Tree for Your Garden
What variety of lemon tree you get will depend on a couple of factors: the first is climate, and the second is space. A subtropical plant, lemon trees are very sensitive to frost and do best in warmer climates like those in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. One of the hardier cultivars (like the Meyer Lemon Tree) can be grown in Zones 7 and 8 if special precautions are taken, and many other varieties (particularly dwarf varieties) can be grown in pots and kept indoors part or even all of the time.
How tall are lemon trees?
Even if you do live in a climate that’s congenial to growing lemon trees, you definitely need to factor in how much space you have. A good rule of thumb is, the bigger the fruit, the more distance between trees you’ll need. Standard-size lemon trees planted in the ground need 12-25 feet apart, while dwarf lemon trees can be planted 6-10 feet apart. When grown outdoors in warm climates, standard-size lemon trees grow 20 feet tall.
For smaller or indoor gardens, you’ll want a tree that stays small. This is why many would-be citrus growers choose to buy dwarf lemon trees. If planted in the ground, dwarf lemon tree height is anywhere from 8-10 feet tall; if they’re planted in the ground, a dwarf lemon tree size is much smaller at around 3-4 feet tall.
When kept indoors, lemon trees fill your home with fragrance and fruit! Some popular dwarf lemon tree varieties for growing indoors are:
- Dwarf Improved Meyer Lemon Tree – The easiest indoor lemon tree, this cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange offers sweet, tangy lemons. Meyer Lemon Trees are very hardy and have few thorns. (If you’re wondering where to buy a Meyer Lemon Tree, check out Citrus.com!)
- Dwarf Eureka Lemon Tree – Another popular indoor choice, this “true” lemon tree bears fruit and flowers throughout the year. Eureka Lemon Trees are also virtually thornless and have a clean, fresh scent.
- Dwarf Variegated Pink Lemonade – This lemon tree produces very unusual fruit with green-and-yellow variegated peels and pink flesh. It also produces fruit at a younger age than most citrus trees (which don’t generally start producing until they are 2-3 years old).
Caring for Indoor Lemon Trees
To keep your lemon tree healthy, you should plant it in a container with a well-draining soil specially formulated for citrus trees. You should allow the soil to dry out about 3 inches deep before watering, then water thoroughly until it runs through the container’s drainage holes. Keep the soil moist (not soggy), and never let it dry out completely.
To grow tasty fruit and beautiful foliage, your indoor lemon tree needs proper food. The best fertilizer for lemon trees in pots (like the one found in Citrus.com’s Citrus Care Kits) provides indoor lemon trees with an ideal blend of primary nutrients and micronutrients and keeps the tree nourished for months at a time.
Follow these basics on how to grow and care for indoor lemon trees and you’ll soon be enjoying your own fresh, homemade lemonade and having access to lemons for recipes, cleaning and more!