Lemon trees are a citrus variety that are sensitive to cold temperatures. The lemon is a good indoor tree for cold climates, or outdoor tree in a climate with mild and warm winters. There are several methods of planting a lemon tree including starting the tree from seed, planting a seedling or transplanting a small tree into an outdoor garden.
Start a lemon tree with seeds by planting them indoors any time during the year. Seeds are available for purchase at specialty gardening retailers, or you can save one from a fresh lemon. Plant a seed extracted from fresh fruit immediately to increase the success rate with seed propagation. A sprout appears two to three weeks after planting when placed in the appropriate conditions for seed germination. Lemon trees started from seed produce fruit five to 15 years after planting.
Plant lemon tree seedlings in a growing container and keep them indoors until the trunk establishes and the tree is over 12 inches tall. Lemon seedlings are available at fruit tree retailers, through mail-order companies or by growing one from seed. Seedlings fewer than 12 inches tall have thin bark and young root systems, making them susceptible to rodent and animal damage.
Lemon trees produce the majority of their fruit during the winter season. The tree goes through a short dormant season in early spring, and again in early fall. Transplant a small lemon tree outdoors during the dormant season in spring to give the tree time to establish before the winter fruit-producing season. It is possible to plant the tree in the fall dormant season, before the blossoms begin to appear on the tree for the winter fruit production.
Select the method of planting that meet your needs. Grow a lemon tree from seed if you want a fun project for the kids and are not concerned about how long it takes the tree to grow. Select a tree for transplanting outdoors if you want to have a fruit-producing tree in your home garden. Trees grown from a lemon seed extracted from fresh fruit may not be the same lemon variety as you expect. Most lemon trees have a graft of hardy rootstock to increase tree strength and performance.