How to Care for House Plants and Lemon Trees

Overview

Houseplants need sunlight, water and fertilizer to flourish. Some plants need full sun whereas others can do fine in the shade, so take into account the specific requirements of your houseplant. You can even grow lemon trees indoors to get tasty fruit all year long. Lemons are available in dwarf varieties, such as the Meyer lemon tree. They are usually hardier than other types of lemons and still have the pretty white flowers to brighten up your living space.

Houseplants

Step 1

Pick houseplants that have healthy foliage, free of spots, wilting or blotches. This can signify disease. Opt for the plants that are clean with bright foliage. The ones with new flowers and leaf buds are best.

Step 2

Check the light requirement of the plant. Make sure it gets the amount it needs. According to Texas A&M University, this is the most important factor affecting growth and prosperity. Houseplants that need sun should be put in front of a southern-facing window for the most intense sunlight. Windows facing the north only get 20 percent of the light.

Step 3

Add water when the bottom 2/3 of the houseplant pot is dry. Feel the soil to determine dampness. Water only if needed.

Step 4

Apply water until it drains out the holes on the bottom of the container. This is how you know that you gave it enough water for the roots to benefit. The water also washes out extra salts.

Step 5

Apply a balanced fertilizer with a 20-20-20 ratio. Unless the specific plant has different guidelines, give it food every two weeks between March and September. Do not fertilize in the winter because it's the plant's resting period.

Indoor Lemon Trees

Step 1

Plant indoor lemon trees in an all-purpose soil mix. Similar to other houseplants, the trees like the slightly acidic soil so choose a peat moss mix.

Step 2

Keep the temperature steady to help the lemon trees grow. They prefer 70 degrees F during day to 55 degrees F overnight. If it drops below 54 degrees F, the trees will go dormant.

Step 3

Put the lemon tree in a window that gets bright sunlight. The sun will promote good fruit growth and ample production. Southern exposure is the best. If you don't have good light, install a 40 watt fluorescent shop light above the tree because lemons need 12 hours of light per day.

Step 4

Water lemon trees with slow and deep waterings to keep the soil consistently moist. Spray the leaves with a mister on a regular basis, too, because the indoor air is dry. Once a week, wipe down the leaves gently with a sponge to bathe the tree.

Step 5

Pollinate the lemon tree. Wipe the flowers with pollen because there are no insects or bees to do the job for you. Use a cotton swab or paintbrush and rub the pollen on the inside of the flowers. They may grow fruit without manual pollination, but this method will boost the chances.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not let houseplants sit in water because their roots will rot. Do not keep houseplants near drafty spots or heaters. The heat or coolness can cause the plants to lose their flowers or prevent them from budding.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot
  • Plant
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Potting mix
  • Fluorescent shop light (40 watt)
  • Mister
  • Sponge
  • Cotton swab or paintbrush
  • Pollen

References

  • Texas A&M University: House Plants
  • Container Gardening Tips: Container Gardening Advantages
  • Texas A&M University: Home Fruit Production-Lemons
  • PlanTea: How to Grow a Lemon Tree Indoors
  • Meyer Lemon Tree: Growing Your Indoor Meyer Lemon Tree
Keywords: house plants, lemon trees, lemon tree care

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than 10 years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.