Varieties of lemon trees include Ponderosa, Lisbon, Eureka and Meyer, which is also available in a dwarf variety for year-round container growing. Lemon and other citrus trees thrive in warm climates, with the lemon being the most cold-hardy. Lemons grow best outdoors in tropical and subtropical climates,which includes zones 9b through 11, but you can cultivate dwarf lemon trees indoors throughout the year.
Select a planting site that receives full sun on the southern side of your property. Plant lemon trees as close to the house as the mature tree size will allow to protect tender trees from wind damage and to maximize warmth. Most varieties of lemon will adapt to your soil type, but good drainage is important. High levels of acidity in the soil should be tempered by adding lime to achieve a pH level of between 5.5 and 6.5.
Dig a hole that is as deep as the growing container and twice as wide as the lemon tree's root ball.
Remove the lemon tree from the growing container. Lemons are grown in a soil-less medium, so be careful with the roots as you remove the plant. Rinse the root ball with a gentle stream of water using a water hose. This will remove most of the planting medium and allow the roots to have immediate contact with the soil.
Place the root ball in the center of the hole. Backfill the hole with soil until it is halfway full. Water the soil around the root ball to remove air pockets and help the soil settle around the lower roots. Continue to fill the hole around the root ball. The top of the soil around the tree trunk should be ground level or a bit higher; make sure that the bud union stays above the soil line.
Form a 2-foot diameter watering ring around the lemon plant. Bring soil from other areas of your property or use potting soil to make the watering ring ridge. The ridge of the watering ring should be 3 to 6 inches high and 4 to 5 inches thick.
Remove all grass, leaves and other debris inside the watering ring. The lemon tree does not compete well with other plants. Fill the watering ring with water immediately after planting the lemon.
Fill the watering ring every two to three days for the first two of weeks after planting the lemon tree. Gradually increase the watering interval to every seven to 10 days during the first two months. The lemon tree is considered established when the watering ring disappears into the soil.
Cover the lemon trunk from the ground to the scaffold branches with heavy duty aluminum foil. This will help prevent herbicide damage to the trunk.
Fertilize the soil around the lemon tree after it begins to grow with 1 cup of ammonium sulfate during the first year, 2 cups during the second year and 3 cups during the third year. Water the fertilizer into the soil.