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How to Grow Dwarf Lemon Trees

By Amy Hannaford ; Updated September 21, 2017

Fresh citrus fruit can be enjoyed year-round with dwarf lemon trees. These compact trees grow to heights of 2 to 6 feet and produce full-size fruit year-round. The dwarf lemon tree is an ornamental tree also with fragrant flowers that bloom twice a year, usually in the spring and again in the summer, and bright green leaves. With a little know-how, you will be enjoying fresh lemons in no time.

Plant your tree in a container that has drainage holes and is about 6 inches bigger in diameter than the container it came in. Usually a 12- to 16-inch container works well. Your lemon tree will need to be repotted every 2 to 3 years in a container one size up from the last one. If moving your plant from one area to another, set your container on a wheeled dolly to make it easier to move.

Use a sandy potting soil to grow your lemon tree in. Citrus trees need a well-draining soil in order to thrive. Fill the container half full with the soil, remove the lemon tree from the pot it came in, carefully spread out the roots of the tree and set in the new container. Fill in with more soil, lightly packing down around the roots.

Water well after planting. Keep your tree watered once or twice a week, and in hot weather water daily if the soil dries out. Never let the soil dry out completely in between waterings; keep the soil moist. For plants kept indoors, mist daily to keep the leaves from drying out. Once a week, wipe the leaves with a damp sponge to clean off any dust that collects.

Give your tree at least 6 hours of sun daily. The lemon tree can be brought outdoors on a warm day but give it some shade in the late afternoon. For inside-only trees, set in front of a picture window and during the winter place 40-watt fluorescent shop lights above the plant to ensure it gets enough light.

Feed your tree once a month with a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. It is best to fertilize during the dormant growing season in late winter through early spring.

Prune your lemon tree in winter before active growth begins. Prune only to shape the tree and cut off any dead branches or suckers that grow below the graft union line which is the brown ring seen in the middle of the trunk.


Things You Will Need

  • Sandy soil
  • Fertilizer
  • Sharp shears


  • Indoor citrus trees need daytime temperatures around 65 to 70 degrees F during the day and no cooler than 55 degrees F at night. When outdoors, the tree can tolerate warmer daytime temperatures into the 90s when given some afternoon shade; if nighttime temperatures drop below 55 degrees F bring your tree indoors.

About the Author


Amy Hannaford teaches childbirth education classes and a healthy pregnancy series in Southern Oregon. Hannaford holds an Associate of Arts degree, a certificate in medical assisting, and has been a childbirth educator and birth doula for 20 years. She has been writing articles for Demand Media since 2008.