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How to Grow Lemon Trees

By Hollan Johnson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Lemon flowers

While lemon trees originated in Asia, they have been grown around the world for hundreds of years. Not only are lemon trees pretty to look at, their flowers are also deliciously fragrant and the lemons they produce are great for culinary use. While lemon trees were originally tropical plants, they grow well in many other climates. Lemons typically have hardiness in zones 8 through 10, so any area with a relatively warm winter should be suitable for growing lemons. However, you will need two types of lemon trees in order to get fruit.

Choose a variety of lemon trees to plant. Meyers are popular in home gardens since they are small and can be container grown. Their fruit is less acidic than other lemons. Eureka grows well in California and other mild climates, and produces large lemon crops. Lisbon is more resistant to both heat and cold, and produces large yields, but the trees have a lot of thorns.

Choose a spot for your lemon trees. Lemons like full sun, so make sure they are going to get plenty. If your climate is prone to cold spells, plant the tree on the south side of the house near the wall to hold in the heat.

Dig a hole for the lemon trees. Dig the hole slightly shallower than the root ball, only about 1-1/2 feet deep. Make sure the roots are showing slightly. Fill the rest of the hole with soil and water. Once all of the water is absorbed, water the trees again.

Water your lemon trees once a week, unless the weather is very hot and dry, in which case they should be watered more often. Water for about 10 minutes each watering, making sure the water seeps down into the roots.

Fertilize your lemon trees every summer with 1 cup of water soluble 10-10-10.

Prune your lemon trees in the summer. Remove any dead, damaged or over-reaching branches, and allow only one lead to grow. Space your lemon tree branches 6 to 8 inches apart from each other.

Harvest your lemons as they become ripe. Most lemons are ready in the winter or early spring when they are bright yellow and large. Twist them off the tree to pick them.



  • Remove any fruit your lemon trees produces in the first two years. Not allowing fruit to grow while it is young will produce better fruit later.


  • Greasy spot can cause yellowish brown spots to appear on lemon tree leaves. Apply fungicide to clear it up.



About the Author


Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer and contributing editor for many online publications. She has been writing professionally since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.