Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Grow Iranian Lemon Trees

lemons and lemon tree image by jc from <a href=''></a>

The Iranian or Persian sweet lemon is a sweeter variety of lemon, similar to the Meyer lemon cultivar. It is used in many Middle Eastern recipies and is a favorite condiment for tea, according to the website My Persian Kitchen. Known as limoo shirin in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, the Iranian lemon is seedy with a thin skin, making it difficult to ship and store commercially. The best way to ensure you have a supply of this fruit is to grow a tree in your garden or in a container on your deck or patio.

Plant your Iranian lemon tree outdoors if you live in a frost-free climate or if you plan to build a plastic frost frame over it for the winter. Place it an area that receives full sun at least six hours each day and where the soil drains quickly. If your winters are cold or if you do not want to build a frost frame, plant your tree in a large container, which you can bring indoors before your first fall frost.

Dig a planting hole twice the size of the tree’s rootball, using a shovel. Move the soil into a wheelbarrow and then add about ¼ the volume with organic compost, which will give the soil nutrients and also improve its texture and porosity, making it drain faster. If you’re planting your tree in a pot, use one that is at least 12 inches in diameter. Fill it about ½ full with a standard potting soil and then set your tree into it and fill to within ½ inch of the rim with additional potting soil.

Fill your planting hole about half full with the soil and compost mixture. Remove your Iranian lemon tree from its nursery pot and gently loosen the roots. Set it into your planting hole and then fill with the rest of the soil-compost. Water your new tree thoroughly, flooding it by running your hose at a slow drip at the base for about 30 minutes. From then on, water your tree in the same way about once each week, checking the soil moisture with your finger before giving it water. Always allow the soil to dry out slightly before you water your tree.

Fertilize your Iranian lemon tree three to four times each year during its active growing season, beginning in early spring (March) and repeating at about six-week intervals until midsummer. Use a fertilizer designed for citrus trees; dilute and apply it according to label instructions. Do not fertilize your tree during winter, but water it year-round if rains are insufficient.

Apply natural insect-control products to prevent this thin-skinned fruit from absorbing any toxic chemicals that will end up in your body. Use iron phosphate granules if snails and slugs are a problem in your yard; spray with insecticidal soap to control aphids and other soft-bodied sucking insects. Spray with a natural fungicide such as organic sulfur if you notice any fuzzy white to gray coating on the leaves, which can indicate that your Iranian lemon tree has contracted powdery mildew.


Soil that stays wet or soggy for long periods after a rain or irrigation can cause your Iranian lemon tree to develop root rot, which can kill it.

Garden Guides