Lemon tree in pot - all the information to cultivate it

Lemon tree in pot - it's handy

The potted lemon tree is a great citrus idea to grow at home. The climate of most of our regions is not adapted to the cultivation of citrus limon in the ground but the cultivation of a lemon tree in pot is quite possible.

The lemon tree has its place in the Mediterranean gardens, but in the other regions it is planted in pot. Native to Asia it has been introduced on all continents with mild climates.

The cultivation of the lemon tree in the ground is sometimes compromised. Fortunately it is possible to grow it in pot

for example it is a Mediterranean garden

You can start growing lemon tree from seeds , cuttings or marcots, which you can produce yourself or buy in garden centers.

This shrub is up to 3 meters or more. In pots, it will stabilize around 2 meters high.

Production begins 4 or 5 years after planting and increases to the fifteenth year.

A tree gives 200 to 600 fruits a year and lives about 80 years.

A plant of the family Rutaceae, it is a citrus

lemons production

The lemon tree is often sold as a green plant while it is almost impossible to keep it in our homes that are too dry. The solution is to install it on a sunny balcony or in a greenhouse because it needs a certain freshness from October to May. On the other hand, it must be protected if the temperature drops below 0 ° C.


Planting periods: in spring, possible in summer.

The key is to choose a variety that suits your climate. If you wish to cultivate in pot you have to opt for a species with small development and cut it accordingly.

Lemon needs sun, humidity and heat in winter. Conserning the soil, it must be very well drained and slightly acidic.

To plant a lemon tree in a pot you first need to fill a large vat or terracotta pot pierced with potting soil, compost and medium-sized river sand. You can also put in the bottom of the pot a thick layer of gravel or clay balls to improve drainage. Then dig a hole adapted to the length of the roots.

Whether in a pot or in the ground, we can bring decomposed manure in the spring and fall

make the drainage in a pot

pot potting drainage

Prepare the roots of the tree by cutting them right at the ends. Then you have to bathe or coat the roots with praline, a clay mud that will protect them and stimulate recovery. Place the tree in the pot so that the graft point slightly exceeds the surface of the pot because it should never be buried. Tamp the soil and water well to eliminate any air bubbles. Finally add some mixture if necessary on the surface.


In pots, it is better to regularly check the growth of your lemon tree (2-3 times a year).

In order to maintain a compact shape of the lemon tree, prune about a month after the appearance of each new shoot and reduce its length by about half when cutting over a leaf. The shape of the foliage should be that of a big ball. Always remove old twigs that do not fructify anymore.

The lemon tree can reach from 5 to 7 meters high outdoors

to cut a lemon tree

Potted lemon tree

lemon tree in a clay pot


The lemon tree is often called shrub of the four seasons because sometimes it flowers and fruit at the same time. Its pretty little purple flowers and foliage give off a very pleasant scent.

This plant likes an ordinary land, light, fertile, well draining and especially non-calcareous. Growth is very slow.

As early as fall the lemon tree must be wintered in a bright location. The ideal temperature is between 8 and 12 ° C. The frequency of watering must be reduced.

After the harvest, it is good to prune the lemon tree. Cut off the dead branches at their base and remove the one that intersects inside the frame to let in as much light as possible.

The lemon tree requires regular fertilization most of the year and an annual supply of organic matter in autumn and a citrus fertilizer at the beginning of flowering and after fruiting.

For indoor cultivation, choose a suitable variety in size (Meyer)

lemon tree planted in a pot


The potted lemon tree dries up much faster than it is in the ground. It should be watered as soon as the soil is dry, without flooding the pot because the lemon tree does not support a constantly soggy soil. Normally it needs water every 2 days in summer.

Especially in summer you can sprinkle copiously the lemon tree

large lemon trees


The ideal period of potting is from the end of winter to mid-spring (March, April, May).

It is mandatory to repot the lemon tree, especially the first year after purchase. Cultivated in pot, the soil is quickly depleted and the roots colonize all the space.

After the first potting, the following are to be done every 2 to 3 years.

Planted in pots, the lemon tree matures faster and is less fragile

potting shrub

Varieties of lemon trees

The lemon tree of Menton has been cultivated on the French Riviera for more than 5 century and is appreciated for its remarkable flavor.

The lemon tree of Menton

chin lemons

The variety Eureka or 4 seasons is a hybrid, selected for its vigor and its particularity to produce fruit all year round.

The Meyer lemon tree is the most rustic because it can withstand temperatures of -10 ° C. This variety is actually a cross between a lemon tree and an orange tree, of Chinese origin.

The Meyer variety

for example it is the lemon meyer

The variegated species Albo-variegata is decorative with its beautiful foliage but produces only a few fruits.

The Malaga variety produces very large lemons with thick skin.

The lemon bergamot or limonette of Marrakech produces juicy fruits and acids.

The red citron or limon rosso produces red-tingling fruit as it matures. It is quite rare.

The lemon tree Malaga

lemon variety limon rosso

The caviar lemon has a white or yellow flesh composed of small juice bags. It is preferred by the great chefs because of the very particular citrus notes that it releases.

Caviar lemons

lemon caviar


The harvest period is generally from November to March but depending on the type of climate and the variety of crops it can be done all year round.

The maturity of the lemon is not always obvious. You can harvest when the color of the bark is shiny yellow and when the fruit comes off if you turn it a quarter of a turn.

Diseases and enemies

Be careful because mealybugs, aphids, caterpillars, whiteflies, spider mites, slugs and snails like this plant.

Mealybugs are among the enemies of lemon trees

mealybugs are among the enemies of lemon trees

The lemon tree must be protected from drying out, strong winds and heat because it is sensitive.

The most serious of the lemon tree diseases is Mal Secco. It enters the plant at the level of wounds. Chlorosis of leaves and shoots is first observed, followed by dieback of twigs and branches. The dried leaves then fall. Infested twigs and branches present gray lead to ash gray areas. On these areas appear small black dots. As soon as the first symptoms appear, the affected twigs must be pruned and burned.

Sick leaves

for example they are leaves of a sick lemon tree

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