Lemon trees are popular with home gardeners. Lemons are healthy and delicious, but the tree itself is an attractive addition to any home or garden with dark, glossy-green leaves and beautiful, fragrant spring flowers. In fact, many dwarf lemon trees, such as the dwarf Meyer lemon, are commonly grown indoors as houseplants. These trees lend themselves to container growing and also make excellent patio specimens. Indoors or out, lemon trees are a wonderful and useful choice for any home gardener.
Plant your tree in a container that has a drainage hole and water-catch tray. Use rich, loamy potting soil. Choose a container that is at least 2 inches in diameter larger than the root ball of the tree, and as deep as the root ball. Most trees are sold already in the containers, so you may be able to skip this step.
Place your lemon tree in a location where it will receive a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day. Bright but indirect light is best for the tree, according to the master gardeners at the Emmitsburg News-Journal. A south-facing window works well.
Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Fertilize your tree with a high-nitrogen fertilizer (20-10-10) once at the end of winter when it begins to grow, then again after flowering in June, and again in mid-August. Apply the fertilizer according to the directions on the label for the size and age of your tree.
Provide humidity for your lemon tree if the air inside your home is very dry. Place the pot on a tray of pebbles filled with water, or mist the tree each morning. Avoid placing the tree near any cold or hot drafts.
Choose a location that receives a full day's worth of sunlight. This will encourage the tree to produce the maximum amount of lemons, according to Texas A&M University.
Protect your tree from drying winds by placing it on the south side of the house. Almost any type of soil will be fine for your lemon tree, as long as it is well-draining. Heavy clay soil, however, will slow the growth rate of the tree.
Dig a hole as wide and large as the root ball. Gently rinse the soil away from the root ball, exposing an inch or so of the roots. This will allow them to come into contact with the soil. Plant the tree so that the bud union (where grafting occurred; signified by a protrusion or knob on the trunk) sits an inch or so above the surface of the soil. Back-fill the hole halfway, then water to allow the soil to settle.
Fill the rest of the hole and water again. Water every few days for the first week, then once a week. Note that it is not necessary to fertilize the tree or add any compost to the soil when planting, according to Texas A&M University.
Protect the tree from garden tools, herbicides and frost by crimping heavy-duty foil around the trunk, from the ground to the first branches. Mound soil around the trunk in the fall to keep the tree warm through the winter.
About this Author
April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.