A lemon tree, botanically called Citrus limon is an evergreen used for culinary and non-culinary purposes. The juice is used to make lemonade, while the rind or zest is used for jams, jellies and baking. It is also used as an antibacterial and for aromatherapy. These tropical and subtropical trees require plenty of sunlight and are not winter hardy. With a little care, lemon trees can also be grown indoors to brighten up the place, emit a mild but zesty aroma and used for culinary purposes.
How to Grow Lemon Trees at Home
Purchase a young lemon plant of the cultivar that is suited to your climate and weather conditions, or a dwarf variety for a small space. These are easily available in nurseries or garden supply centers.
Select a site in your yard that gets plenty of direct sunlight and has well-drained soil. A lemon tree will not thrive if water collects around its roots.
Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball with a shovel. Remove the plant from its nursery container and lower it carefully in the center of the hole. Position it so it is level with the surrounding soil, and backfill.
Add 2 inches of mulch over the soil to help retain moisture, keep the roots cool and prevent weeds from growing around your lemon tree. Mulch also looks attractive and enhances the appearance of your tree bed.
Water the plant deeply, at least thrice a week for the first few months after planting. The leaves will turn yellow and dry up if you do not water your tree frequently. Water more in the hot months, and less in the cold months and rainy season.
Feed the lemon tree organic fertilizer every four to five months following label directions.
Prune the tree every year to encourage thick healthy growth, maintain the shape and keep all branches and stems within bounds. Use sharp pruning scissors to cut back growth to one-third.
Keep a lookout for harmful insects and pests such as the leaf miner, caterpillar, snails and fungal rust to prevent them from damaging your tree. Spray your tree with organic oil at least once a week to deter these bugs and encourage a healthy disease free tree.