a lemon trees from seed is surprisingly easy. Generally, lemon trees
flourish outdoors year-round in hot areas, but they can also grow
indoors as edible houseplants. They can be easily grown from seed and
are a nice looking plant. It requires very little equipment and a few
seeds from an organic lemon.
How To Grow A Lemon Tree From Seed
Slice the lemon in half and pick out the seeds.Rinse
the seeds with warm water. Rub off the as much flesh as possible off
the seeds to prevent rot. It is important that you plant the seeds right
after you take them from the lemon fruit. They will not tolerate
Plant the seeds approximately
one-half inch deep in the potting soil, moisten the soil slightly, cover
the top of the pot with plastic wrap to keep the soil and seed moist.
Check the moisture in the soil daily.
Put the plant in the sunlight. It
will take time for the plant to outgrow the cup. You should see a
sprout in a month to two months.
Move to a bigger pot as the lemon tree grows.
When life gives you lemons, grow trees!
If you’ve ever seen a flowering
lemon tree, you’ll understand why. For those of you who haven’t, allow
me explain. Their lush, dark green, oval leaves have a glossy texture
that shimmers in sunlight. Their delicate white flowers bloom with a
citrus fragrance and are soft to the touch. Their exotic nature provides
an alluring quality. And, finally, they bear the exciting possibility
Typically, lemon trees flourish
outdoors year-round in hot, sunny regions, but they can also thrive
indoors as edible houseplants in cold-season climates. At the organic
food store where I work we have a healthy lemon cutting producing massive fruit in a garage setting all year. It makes for an impressive sight during the dead of a Canadian winter!
And while rooting cuttings is a
sensible option for fast fruit, lemon tree cuttings are not readily
available in many parts of the world. But lemons are another story. And
although it may take anywhere from 3-6 years for your tree to be capable
of producing fruit, there is something extra rewarding about starting
from seed. I currently have six strong little seedlings on the go, all
of which were germinated in the middle of winter with very little
effort. Watching them grow has been an exciting and fascinating
experience and I know the best is yet to come.
Things you’ll need:
1. A lemon. Make sure you
purchase an organic lemon since some non-organic lemon seeds may be
“duds”, incapable of germinating. Any organic lemon will do, but if you
have climate or space restrictions, you may want to try looking for a
specific variety called a “Meyer” lemon. Meyer lemons are a smaller type
of lemon, often grown for ornamental purposes, and are thus better
suited for indoor containers. I chose Meyer seeds for these reasons, but
you can use any seed that makes sense for your situation.
2. Potting soil. I would guess
that any potting soil will do, but I suggest using one with a blend of
peat, perlite, vermiculite, and organic fertilizer. Every single one of
the seeds I planted in this type of certified organic potting mix have
sprouted beautifully, so I think it’s fair to say that it works.
3. Container/pot. A container
(with drainage holes) that is 5-6” deep and a few inches in diameter
will be sufficient for sprouting; however, the seedling will need to be
re-potted into a much larger container. Mature lemon trees prefer a
container that is wider rather than deeper, so I suggest planting your
seedling in a pot that is 10-16” deep and 12-18” in diameter. Your baby
tree will happily make itself at home in this larger container for the
next few years, at which time you may want to upgrade again.
4. A grow light or lots of sun.
Lemon trees need a lot of light, especially when they are sprouting and
require 10-14 hours of it each day. If you don’t have a consistently
sunny window (like me), get a grow light. They don’t cost much and will
prove their worth in healthy green foliage.
Method for sprouting the lemon seed:
1. Pre-moisten your potting soil. Put some soil into a bucket and mix in some water until the soil is damp all the way through.
2. Fill your container with the pre-moistened soil. Leave about an inch of space below the rim of your container.
3. Slice open your lemon and
choose a seed that looks completely full of life. Pop it into your mouth
and suck on it until all the flesh is removed and the lemon flavour is
gone. Do not allow the seed to dry out at any time. It needs to stay
moist in order to germinate. I suggest keeping it in your mouth until
you’re ready to plant.
4. Plant your seed! While it’s
moist, plant your seed about 1/2″ below the soil level. Cover it
completely with soil and water well with a squirt bottle or gentle
5. Cover your container with
breathable plastic to keep your seeds warm and moist. I used a piece of
clear garbage bag with holes poked into it and a rubber band to securely
hold it in place.
6. Place the container in a warm
location and observe for the next few days. Keep in mind: your seed
needs warmth and moisture in order to germinate. Don’t allow the potting
soil to dry out completely. Also take caution that you don’t cook your
seed in its little greenhouse. Too much heat and moisture could lead to a
rotten seed! You’re aiming to achieve a nice balance, so if you feel
like the soil is warm enough without the plastic then it’s probably
safest to remove it.
7. In about two weeks you may
notice a sprout emerging from the soil. Once it appears, remove the
plastic (if it’s still on) and place the little guy in a warm location
with plenty of direct sunlight. Supplement sun with your grow light if
8. Care for your new baby and watch it grow! Provide it with:
Ensure that the soil is damp at all times, especially when your lemon
tree is young. Do not allow it to sit in a puddle of stagnant water
though; those drainage holes are there for good reason.
Place it in a warm sunny window where it will receive eight hours of
direct sunlight each day, or supplement some sun for a grow light. Since
Toronto rarely seems to get any sun in the winter, my sprouts reside in
a well-lit window under the warm rays of a grow light for 12 hours each
In order to keep your lemon tree healthy and growing the soil will
eventually need to be replenished with nutrients. I suggest feeding it
an organic fertilizer, such as compost or , once it has developed a nice
little set of leaves. Dig a little trench around the base of your tree,
fill it with compost and water it well. Or, serve it up as compost tea.
Try feeding it twice a year or as needed, but do not overfeed! When it
comes to fertilizing, less it best; so if in doubt, put it off a bit
longer. (Another option is to start your seed in potting soil with
vermicompost or worm castings mixed into it).
Spend some time looking at your new citrus friend. Pay attention to its
growth. Feel it, talk to it, sing to it, but don’t try to dance with
it. Get into the habit of watching for browning leaves and checking the
underside of leaves for pests. Just like us, our plants can fall victim
to bugs and disease and may sometimes require some extra love and