Growing an indoor lemon tree is a great way to add some fresh citrus to your indoor space. Whether you have an office, home, or classroom that needs a little more zest in the air, indoor lemon trees will do the trick! Learn how easy it can be to grow one with this article and start adding more life to any indoor space.
The History of Indoor Lemon Trees
The history of indoor lemon trees has roots in China where they were grown on balconies as decoration. They became popular when people began bringing them indoors during winter for their pleasant aroma and sunny disposition. Nowadays, this plant’s care is about more than just aesthetics. It’s also about providing relief from the cold and gloom of wintertime days.
The Best Types of Lemon Trees for Indoors
Most varieties of lemon trees are tolerant to lower light levels and dry air, which makes them a good indoor choice. While most types of lemon trees will work as an indoor plants, here are the best lemon tree varieties to grow indoors.
Dwarf Variegated Pink Lemonade Lemon Tree
The dwarf variegated pink lemonade indoor lemon tree is one of the most popular varieties. This indoor plant has low water requirements, can tolerate lower light levels and dry air, and offers fruit that’s perfect for juicing or cooking. The fruit is striped green and yellow, and the flesh of the lemons from this tree is actually pink, but the juice is clear.
The only downside of this indoor variety is it may not be as hardy as other lemons, so make sure you keep an eye out for pests, like spider mites, which can damage these delicate trees when left unchecked.
Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree
The Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree is the perfect indoor lemon tree. The Meyer lemon is a popular option because it’s more cold-sensitive than other lemons and does well indoors in most cases. It has a low water requirement, tolerates lower light levels and dry air, and offers large yellow-orange fruit that can be used in cooking or juicing.
These are excellent for in the home because they’re smaller and don’t need much space. These trees make great house plants and will brighten up any living area.
Dwarf Ponderosa Lemon Tree
The Ponderosa lemon tree, native to South America, is a popular indoor plant because it’s harder than other varieties and will produce large fruit. The downside of this indoor lemon tree is that they’re not the best for use in cooking because their skin tends to be rough and bumpy. If you want an indoor lemon tree that can also be used as ornamental décor, then the Ponderosa may be your best choice.
How To Plant Your Indoor Lemon Tree
Planting an indoor lemon tree sounds much more complicated than it actually is. All you need to do is find a pot that’s the right size for your indoor lemon tree and fill it with well-draining soil. The best indoor citrus pots will have drainage holes in their bottoms so you can always make sure they stay moist, but never too wet.
Whether you’re using a pot or container, one of the most important aspects of indoor lemon tree care is proper planting. The best time of year for indoor lemon tree planting is wintertime when they have enough energy and water reserves from summer growth.
Before getting started with your indoor citrus planter, you’ll want to gather all tools and supplies needed beforehand like potting soil, pots/containers, plants or seedlings, gloves, gardening shears, and labels. You’ll also need to know indoor your lemon tree’s ultimate height, the required soil pH level, and whether you need to add any nutrients before planting. You can find this information in the plant’s care instructions or on a tag attached to the stem of your indoor citrus planter.
Additionally, take note of where your lemon tree will be planted because light levels can vary greatly, depending on their location in the house.
Watering Your Indoor Lemon Tree
One key aspect of indoor lemon tree care is watering! If they’re not watered enough, indoor lemon trees will start looking droopy and sad. However, if they get too much water their leaves may develop brown spots. They may even begin dying from the excess moisture. These trees prefer moist but not soggy soil. So, make sure you don’t overwater or let water accumulate in the bottom of your indoor lemon tree’s pot.
The best way to ensure you’re not overwatering is by sticking your finger into the soil and feeling for moisture. Then, check every few days or so. Then, only water when the first inch or so of soil is dry. This will ensure that your indoor lemon tree stays healthy with a well-balanced watering schedule.
Indoor Lemon Trees Require Sunlight
Indoor lemon trees don’t require as much sunlight as outdoor ones. However, it’s important to provide them with at least six hours per day. This is especially true during wintertime when indoor citrus go dormant, because they’re not water-dependent like outdoor varieties. And make sure there’s plenty of natural light streaming through windows so those indoor lemons can get enough warmth!
Another important aspect of indoor lemon tree care is to fertilize the plant about once every two weeks. Something that indoor citrus plants can often lack is nutrients like iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Instead of using chemical fertilizers, it’s best to use organic compost or other natural sources for indoor citrus tree fertilizer. The best time for indoor lemon tree fertilizer application is in the morning, just before watering your indoor citrus tree.
If you’re using a liquid form of fertilizer, mix it with water to avoid residue on the leaves and stems. Residue could potentially burn the leaves if exposed to direct sunlight. And, again, you can also use organic compost as an alternative if you have easy access to it.
Indoor lemon trees need pruning every year for them to grow fuller and produce more fruit. It’s best to do this during wintertime when the trees naturally go dormant. This is because they don’t require as much water and nutrients then as other times of the year.
In addition to cutting off dead branches and leaves, indoor lemon tree pruning should include thinning out the branches. This will help make room for new growth. This also helps ensure that your indoor lemon plant gets enough sunlight and air circulation. It needs this throughout its foliage so it can stay healthy.
How to Pollinate an Indoor Lemon Tree
Unlike most fruiting plants that need pollination from others of their species, these varieties of lemon trees are self-pollinating. They don’t need bees or other insects to bring pollen to them from an outside source.
In fact, your indoor lemon trees should bear fruit without any intervention at all. However, to achieve the most and best quality fruit, you can help. When your tree is blooming, simply shake the branches as you walk by a couple of times a day. This will spread the pollen from the blossoms and provide sufficient pollination for some big, juicy lemons!
How To Propagate
You can propagate an indoor lemon tree using cuttings or air layering. Take a cutting from these plants in early summer and overwinter it under mist to produce roots. Then, plant the rooted cutting in high-quality, organic potting soil.
Air layer an indoor lemon tree using firm contact with the underside of the branch being layered. Place it in rooting hormone powder on the top side of another container medium. The process takes about one year before you remove leaves from both layers. You’ll do this where they come into contact at the point of union. This will help generate new growth and root formation for indoor lemon trees that you’ve air layered successfully.
During propagation, do not use any chemical pesticides as these kinds of plants are sensitive to them.
FAQs About How to Grow an Indoor Lemon Tree
Yes, you can prune your indoor lemon tree to control its size. Remove lower branches and long stems if they touch the floor because these will hinder air circulation around the plant. You may also need to trim back some of the new shoots that grow out from your tree’s base every year to prevent overcrowding. Make sure you disinfect your pruning shears after cutting into your lemon tree – even if it’s only a small wound – so that bacteria doesn’t spread to other parts of your plant.
Aphids, mealybugs, mites, and scale insects can feed on the leaves and stems of your indoor lemon tree. Aphids often congregate at leaf joints or nodes; if they aren’t taken care of in time, their population will explode. Mealybugs look like small cottony sacs while mites and scale insects appear as tiny dots all over your plant’s foliage. You can control these pests by spraying soapy water around your citrus tree’s foliage. Check for signs of pest activity before each spraying session. Spinosad is also effective against most indoor pests.
The best containers for an indoor lemon tree are those with lots of drainage holes, such as clay pots (preferably glazed ones), ceramic dishes, and concrete bowls. Also, look for containers that are large enough for your plant. Make sure there are at least four inches between the top of the soil and the rim of the container. When growing a citrus tree in a container, you will have to be careful about watering it because too much moisture around its roots may cause root rot – even if your container has drainage holes. You will also want to fertilize your tree more often than outside trees because it isn’t able to soak up nutrients as well as a plant that’s planted in the ground.
Transplanting a large lemon tree from indoors to outdoors is easier said than done because you need to accustom the plant to its new environment. Make sure your outdoor lemon tree gets plenty of direct sunlight in a warm, sheltered area with rich, fertile soil before transplanting time (at least four hours per day in the summer). It may take up to two weeks for your indoor lemon tree to adjust completely. You may also need to water your lemon tree more often than usual during the first year after transplanting to help it acclimate.
The leaves on your indoor lemon tree will tell you how healthy your plant is. A yellowing or faded leaf means the plant isn’t getting enough light. You can use a grow lamp with high-pressure sodium bulbs to give your plants more light (in addition to natural sunlight). Also, check for pests that like to attack indoor citrus trees such as aphids, mealybugs, mites, and scale insects.