Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees – In Containers, Pots

Introduction to Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees at Home

Dwarf Lemon trees utilize limited space and are grown for ornamental purposes. Dwarf fruit trees are valued for decoration and fruit production in small gardens. Dwarf fruit trees artificially kept to a smaller size than is normal for average members of the species. This is accomplished by limiting its root space and food and by careful pruning or by grafting it on the rootstock of a smaller species. Normally, container Lemon trees will not get as large as Lemon trees grown in the ground. Though, growing dwarf Lemon trees gives you full-size Lemons in a small space and has fragrant white flowers, glossy dark green leaves, thorns, and a rounded shape. In this article we also discuss the below topics about growing dwarf Lemon trees;

  • How do you take care of a dwarf Lemon tree
  • Can you grow dwarf Lemon trees indoors
  • The best fertilizer for dwarf Lemon trees
  • Growing Lemon trees in pots
  • Dwarf Lemon tree care
  • Dwarf Lemon tree indoors
  • How to grow Lemon tree faster
  • Dwarf Lemon tree maintenance
  • How big do dwarf Lemon trees grow
  • What is the best dwarf Lemon tree to grow at home
  • Do dwarf Lemon trees need full sun

A Step By Step Guide to Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees at Home

Lemon trees can be grown easily indoors in pots or containers. Dwarf Lemon trees are attractive in any garden landscape, patio, balcony, or terrace. Their small size means it is easy to harvest the fruit. Also, their evergreen plant leaves provide color all year long as well as a dash of yellow, orange, or lime when the fruits ripen.

Dwarf Lemon trees are smaller than regular fruit trees that are grafted onto smaller plant rootstock. A dwarf Lemon tree grows on a “Flying Dragon” or “Alemow” rootstock to keep the size under 12 feet and closer to about 8 to 10 feet. Temperatures below 10°C halt growth and temperatures below -2°C can cause permanent damage to a dwarf Lemon tree. Lemon trees need full sun and should be spaced 8 feet apart and away from structures. A well-cared-for Lemon tree can live up to about 150 years. Benefits of Dwarf Lemon trees;

  • Remains a manageable size for growing in small spaces such as a small yard or a container
  • Allows for plant care, maintenance, and harvest all from the safety of the ground
  • Dwarf fruit trees reach fruit-bearing maturity sooner than other fruit trees
  • Dwarf fruit trees with adequate care and maintenance, will grow and produce fruit even in a container environment.
  • Dwarf Lemon varieties are also quite suitable for container plantings.
  • Dwarf Lemon trees will bear fruit year-round.
  • Each Lemon tree does not take up much space; they generally reach a maximum height of 8 feet.
  • Lastly, maintaining healthy dwarf Lemon trees is fairly simple.

Difference between Dwarf and Standard Lemon Trees

  • Generally, tree size is the most obvious effect of grafting on the rootstock. Lemon tree sizes are mainly classified as standard or dwarf. Standard Lemon trees reach a height of about 20 to 30 feet and they are grown on some different rootstocks. Dwarf Lemon trees from this understock range in height from 8 to 10 feet.
  • Dwarf or semi-dwarf Lemon trees are most suited to the home garden or orchard where space is limited. Lemon trees are not pruned to remove lower limbs but grow with branches to the ground, which affects landscape design. Then, the spread of a Lemon tree can be equal to its height and resulting in standard-size trees attaining a spread of about 30 feet. Dwarf trees spread as little as 5 feet and trees of smaller stature can be planted in the ground. Growing Lemon trees in pots is another main option for the dwarf Lemon tree.
  • A full-grown Lemon tree of a standard size, 6 times larger than the smallest dwarf Lemon tree, uses 6 times more water than the dwarf tree. Dwarf trees can be harvested without a ladder.
  • Standards live longer and bear more fruit than dwarf tree varieties. The tree should begin bearing fruit in 5 to 8 years. Dwarf trees are small trees for small spaces. They are very easy to prune and harvest because they don’t grow as tall. The fruit is the same size as a standard but the crop yield can be less due to the smaller size. Most dwarf varieties also begin bearing fruit in 3-5 years.

Best Dwarf Indoor Lemon Tree Varieties

The best dwarf indoor Lemon tree varieties are;

Dwarf Improved Meyer
  • Dwarf Meyer is the cross between Lemon and mandarin orange offers sweet and tangy Lemons. Growing Meyer Lemon trees is popular with home gardeners and for good reason. Properly caring for a grafted Meyer Lemon tree facilitates fruit production in as little as 2 years. Seed grown trees fruit in 4 to 7 years.
  • Meyer’s Lemons are one of the popular types of Lemon trees for growing indoors. This Lemon tree hybrid grows to around 6 to 10 feet outdoors. Though, with the proper pruning, you can restrict the height or shape of the tree to suit your small garden landscape or patio.
  • One of the main reasons for growing Meyer’s dwarf Lemon trees is that they produce fruit throughout the year. The potted Lemon tree has glossy green foliage and produces sweet, tangy Lemons. Thought to be a cross between a Lemon and orange, the Meyer dwarf tree is a more compact, bushier tree that produces smaller, sweeter tasting fruit. It is more suited to cooler climates than the other Lemon varieties.
Dwarf Ponderosa
  • It is another popular indoor choice, this Lemon and citron cross bears large Lemony fruit. The fruit of the dwarf Ponderosa Lemon tree looks much like that of citron. It bears large, grapefruit-sized, pale green fruit with a thick and furrowed rind. It’s blooming and fruiting occurs year-round.
  • The Ponderosa Lemon tree is small, round at the top with medium-sized branches upon which hang large, elliptical leaves.
Dwarf Variegated Pink Lemonade
  • The Pink Variegated Lemon Tree provides Lemons in just one year and it is one of the most popular fruit trees for home-grown trees. Also, because it’s dwarf-sized, it’s easy to grow almost anywhere effortlessly. Even better is the fact that it is drought-tolerant and easily adaptable to many soils and conditions.
Dwarf Eureka Lemon Tree
  • The dwarf Eureka Lemon tree will grow to a height of about 8 to 10 feet in a pot and can reach a height of about fourteen feet in the ground.
  • These Trees will spread to a width of about 15 feet wide, but they can be pruned to maintain a smaller size.
  • The ‘Dwarf Lisbon’ Lemon tree grows about 8 to 12 feet tall and starts producing juicy fruit in three years.
  • A ‘Lisbon’ Lemon tree requires a good supply of nutrients to grow healthy and produce plenty of Lemon.

Most dwarf Lemon trees sold by nurseries are 2 to 3 years old. Most indoor dwarf Meyer Lemon trees grow to about 3 to 4 feet tall.

Pots for Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees Indoors

Pots for Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees
Pots for Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees Indoors (Pic Credit: Pixabay)
  • The essential tips for growing Lemon trees in a container are to have adequate drainage. There must be several holes on the base to allow excess water to drain. Then, put a layer of pebbles on the bottom to increase drainage and air circulation.
  • Also the minimum size of pot for growing Lemon trees indoors, so make sure you choose a large enough container to accommodate your dwarf Lemon tree.

General Guidelines for Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees Successfully Year-Round

To grow dwarf Lemon successfully year-round, follow these general guidelines;

Soil Requirement for Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees

Lemon trees grow well in loamy or sandy loam soils. Lemon trees also prefer soil pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5. Soil maintenance and drainage for Lemon trees can be easier when planted in pots. To get the best type of soil for your potted Lemon tree, use a loamy soil mix with peat moss or leaf mold.

You can get healthy organic soil for growing Lemon trees by mixing one-third potting soil, one-third organic matter, and one-third peat. Soil mix for the indoor Lemon tree must be a mix of good potting soil and organic matter like compost and humus. One can add hydroton pebbles to improve water holding capacity, which is important when growing plants during the summer heat. Before planting the Lemon tree, check if the tree is growing on its plant roots or if it is grafted. Dwarf varieties are grafted on dwarfing rootstock, with graft union some 2 to 8 inches above the soil top – depending on the desired plant size.

Light Requirement for Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees

  • Normally, dwarf varieties of Lemon trees growing in pots need a lot of sunshine. Plant them or put the potted trees in a sunny spot in your garden. Ideally, Lemon trees need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunshine daily.
  • If you are growing a Lemon tree as a houseplant, place the pot near a south- or west-facing window.
  • Getting adequate amounts of sunlight is the best way to ensure a large crop of juicy fruits from your Lemon tree.
  • Place your Lemon tree where it will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight or preferably more means 8-12 hours each day. During the winter season, a position near a South-facing window will provide the strongest light. Supplemental indoor lighting by using a fluorescent or LED grow light will be necessary if ambient light is insufficient.

Germination of Seeds for Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees

Step 1) Initially, you can buy dwarf Lemon trees in nurseries or garden stores. Or you can also germinate the seeds in a dwarf Lemon fruit and save yourself some money.

Step 2) Then, pick a ripe, yellow Lemon fruit off of a dwarf Lemon tree. While it may seem easier to pick up fallen fruit from under the Lemon tree, such fruit may be infected with bacteria, fungal disease, or other organisms that may prove harmful during germination.

Step 3) Cut open the Lemon fruit with a knife and then remove the seeds inside.

Step 4) Rinse the seeds under running tap water to remove remnants of the Lemon fruit’s flesh or juice, and then layer the seeds between 2 damp paper towels.

Step 5) Rinse the planting pot in a solution of about 1 cup of household bleach mixed with 9 cups of water. This prevents the transfer of organisms or plant diseases that could pose problems to the seed or future seedling.

Step 6) Rinse the pot in freshwater to remove all hints of bleach and fill the pot with a sterile potting mix.

Step 7) Then, plant the Lemon seeds in the pot, burying them 1/2 inch below the surface.

Step 8) Place the pot in a sunny location and then water it once a day to maintain even soil moisture levels. The Lemon seed will germinate within 14 days.

Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees at Home

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Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees at Home (Pic Source: Pixabay)
  • Because of their compact size, dwarf Lemon trees are well-suited for container gardening. They can be grown as houseplants throughout the year or be kept outside during the summer and moved indoors during the winter.
  • Dwarf Lemons planted in pots usually reach a maximum height of 3 to 8 feet. Most plant varieties require a container at least 12 inches in diameter, placed where the plant can absorb 8 full hours of sunlight each day.
  • Normally, water the dwarf Lemon tree at least once per week or enough to keep the soil moist. The Lemon tree needs consistent levels of moisture to grow, produce fruit, and maintain health.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and broadcast the fertilizer under the entire canopy of the Lemon tree, starting about 2 or 3 inches away from the trunk.
  • Also, remove any crossed, damaged, or diseased branches and any suckers that grow from the base of the Lemon tree with pruning shears at the base of the branches. Prune dwarf Lemon trees in the spring season, after any chance of frost has passed, or in early summer.
  • Check the Lemon tree for signs of insects, such as egg masses or chewed leaves. Dwarf Lemon trees can have problems with aphids, scale insects, thrips, and spider mites. Then, treat the Lemon tree with insecticidal soap according to the package directions and your local regulations.
  • Look for signs of diseases, including discolored or dropped leaves that can indicate the tree has one of the types of rot. Treat some diseases with a fungicide as needed using the manufacturer’s dosage amounts.

Feeding Requirements for Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees at Home

  • Even when using organic soil, your little Lemon tree still needs care when it comes to feeding. The essential nutrients for dwarf Lemon trees are nitrogen and potassium.
  • Your local garden center has organic, slow-release citrus fertilizers. These specially-formulated fertilizers have micronutrients such as magnesium, zinc, iron, and manganese to feed Lemon plants.
  • During the growing season, use a liquid fertilizer every 2 to 3 weeks to help your small Lemon tree thrive. In the fall and winter seasons, you can hold back with the feeding. Though, you still need to feed it so feed half as often during this time.

Pruning Requirement for Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees

Prune the dwarf Lemon tree to maintain a desired height and form. Pruning can be done from the time you bring your plant indoors in the fall up until new growth develops in the spring. Keep in mind that the timing of the pruning tree will affect flowering and fruiting. Broken or dead branches in the tree can be pruned out at any time.

Prune out tree branches that are damaged, crossing, or growing straight upwards. Pruning the central leader branches will encourage the development of side branches in the tree.

Common Problems in Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees

  • Lemon trees growing outdoors are more susceptible to pests and diseases than indoor tree varieties.
  • Pests that can affect dwarf Lemon trees include snails, aphids, thrips, spider mites, and ants. Because your Lemon trees are small, treating them with insecticidal soap is relatively easy.
  • Proper plant care, such as appropriate watering and feeding is the best way to prevent diseases.
  • Keep on the lookout for brown blister spots or yellowing leaves on Lemon trees. These blemishes can be the first signs of some fungal or bacterial diseases.
  • Proper lighting, watering, and feeding will increase your tree defences against these pests. Also, you can apply a spray of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap labelled for use on houseplants for controlling some Lemon tree pests.

When and How to Harvest Lemons

  • Generally, Lemons are ready to pick they are the yellow or yellow-green color in appearance. The fruit will be 2 to 3 inches in size and it’s better to wait until they are the right size and not worry so much about color than to wait for those to be completely yellow.
  • Lemon fruit picking is better too early than too late. If Lemons are greenish-yellow in color, they will more than likely ripen off of the tree.
  • Picking Lemons from a tree isn’t difficult as long as you you’re careful not to damage the Lemon tree. Take the entire fruit in your hand and then twist it gently until it breaks free from the tree. Also, you can use clean and sharp hand nippers if it is easier.

In case if you are interested in this: Growing Organic Lettuce.

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Dwarf Lemon Trees

How much time does it take for growing a dwarf Lemon tree to bear fruit?

Despite their small proportions, dwarf Lemon trees produce full-size fruit. Usually, it will take up to 3 years for a tree to reach mature fruit production.

Should I prune my dwarf Lemon tree?

Dwarf Lemon trees make the best choice for growing in containers because their height is limited to about 8 to 10 feet. While potted Lemons don’t need pruning to control height, regular pruning still is essential to encourage outward growth for better fruit production.

Why is my dwarf Lemon tree not growing?

Poor drainage, lack of sunlight, improper irrigation, and lack of care can slow the growth of Dwarf Lemon tree, and causing poor production of Lemon fruit.

How tall will a dwarf Lemon tree grow?

Dwarf Lemon trees grow to be a maximum of 8 to 10 feet tall.


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