How to Propagate a Lemon Tree From a Cutting


A lemon tree is one the the garden's true rewards. When the tiny white flowers emerge, their scent is nothing less then intoxicating. When flowers give way to fruit, the rewards are beautiful and delicious. Lemon trees are hardier then other citrus fruits. If you live in USDA hardiness zones 8a to 11, you can grow a lemon tree in your back yard. For gardeners in cooler zones, plant your lemon in a large clay pot and bring it indoors for the winter months. Lemons are easily propagated from a green cutting, so the next time you pass a lovely lemon tree, ask the owner for a small cutting and start your own tree at home.

Step 1

Cut a young 8- to 10-inch branch from a mature producing lemon tree. Use clean sharp shears and make the cut straight across the bottom.

Step 2

Clip off all the lower leaves leaving two or three at the very tip.

Step 3

Make a 1/4 inch vertical cut at the bottom of the cutting, removing a sliver of bark.

Step 4

Roll the end of the cutting in hormone rooting powder.

Step 5

Fill a 6- to 8-inch planting pot with equal parts potting soil and peat moss.

Step 6

Make a 3-inch-deep hole in the center of the pot using your finger or a pencil.

Step 7

Place the cutting into the hole, being careful not to rub off the hormone rooting powder. Water the pot until it is evenly damp.

Step 8

Place a clear plastic bag upside down over the cutting and fasten the opening around the rim of the pot. Use a rubber band or a large twist tie to secure the plastic bag.

Step 9

Remove the plastic bag and check the cutting every three to four days. If the soil begins to feel dry, water the pot before you replace the plastic bag.

Step 10

Place the pot in an area that will remain between 70 and 80 degrees and gets indirect light throughout the day.

Step 11

Remove the bag and transplant the cutting into a larger pot or into the ground when new growth emerges at the tip of the cutting. This will take four to six weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Planting pot
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand
  • Hormone rooting powder
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band or twist tie


  • University of Florida: Citrus Propagation
  • University of Texas: Home Fruit Production Citrus

Who Can Help

  • National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: propagating citrus, USDA plant zones, cutting propagation

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.