How to Prune Potted Lemon Trees


Lemon trees grown in pots make a great option for people who love the appearance and sweet fragrance of a citrus tree but lack the space or warm-weather growing conditions to successfully grow citrus outdoors. As long as they have plenty of bright sunlight, potted lemon trees are fairly low maintenance. But they do need an occasional pruning to keep them looking their best.

Step 1

Prune new growth on the tips of the branches to keep the lemon tree rounded and compact, and as needed to keep the tree from growing too tall. Light pruning in this manner won't affect the tree's ability to grow fruit.

Step 2

Cut away any long, out of control branches and any erratic growth that affects the shape of the lemon tree. Don't be afraid to remove entire branches if necessary, because doing so will encourage the tree to grow new branches.

Step 3

Remove any dead, weak or spindly branches, or branches that are growing across into the middle of the tree instead of out. Prune any branches that are growing beneath the graft union, which can be identified by a light swelling, or scarred appearance on the trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • Container-Grown Citrus Plants
  • Citrus update
  • Growing Citrus in Containers
Keywords: lemon tree, pruning, citrus

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a longtime writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the "East-Oregonian Newspaper" and "See Jane Run" magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.