How to Grow Lemon & Lime Trees


Lemons and limes have the highest concentrations of Vitamin C of all the citrus fruits, and an added bonus of these plants is that they are easy to grow in home gardens, even in large containers. In fact, growing these pretty citrus trees in containers is the smart way to overcome cold temperatures, which can cause damage to the fruit and the health of the tree itself. If you live in an area that receives only occasional frost, you can grow these citrus trees outdoor, but be sure to protect them from the cold.

Growing Lemon or Lime Trees

Step 1

Prepare your large container by filling it about half full with acidic potting soil. Then take your young tree out of its nursery pot and gently loosen the rootball slightly. Place your unpotted lemon or lime tree into the hole in your large pot, making sure that when you refill the pot the root system of the tree is covered but that the trunk is not buried.

Step 2

Plant your lemon or lime tree in a sunny, well-drained location in the garden if you wish. Dig a hole about twice as large as the nursery pot and then dig in a generous amount of compost. Set your young tree in the planting hole and then refill with the soil and compost mixture you dug out.

Step 3

Water your newly planted tree well and then water it once each week when the soil begins to dry out.

Step 4

Use a balanced fertilizer intended for use with citrus trees four times a year during the spring and summer. This type of fertilizer typically has an N-P-K ratio of 8-8-8. Lemons and limes do not need any fertilizer during the winter.

Step 5

Spray your tree with insecticidal soap if you notice any insects chewing the leaves. If you see a sooty residue on the leaves, this could indicate powdery mildew: spray with a sulfur spray or other fungicide as soon as possible.

Tips and Warnings

  • Citrus trees require good drainage and do not thrive when their roots remain wet. If you plant your citrus in the ground, make certain that the soil in which it is planted will drain well and that it doesn't collect standing water.

Things You'll Need

  • Young lemon or lime tree
  • Large pot (five-gallon or larger) with drainage hole
  • Slightly acidic potting soil
  • Water
  • Citrus fertilizer
  • Snail bait or diatomaceous earth (optional)
  • Insecticidal soap (optional)
  • Pruning shears
  • Sulfur spray (if needed)


  • Growing lemons in pots
  • Ohio State University
  • Gardening Know How
Keywords: citrus trees, lemon lime, gardening fruit

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.