Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically – For Beginners

Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically/ How to Grow Lemon Trees in Hydroponics


Hello gardeners, today we are here with a new topic of “Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically“. The Lemon tree is a small evergreen tree that belongs to the Rutaceae family and grown for its edible fruit. The Lemon tree enjoys large, oblong, light green color leaves and produces purple-white flowers in clusters. This is around, slightly elongated fruit; it has strong skin with an intense bright yellow color. The pulp is a pale yellow color, juicy and acid, divided in gores.

Growing Lemons hydroponically are planted in a mineral nutrient solution and it requires some care. This process protects plants from soil-borne diseases. Though Lemon trees grow smaller and dwarf varieties are favored, hydroponic fruits grow just as large as their soil-grown counterparts. Like all citrus, Lemon trees need significant exposure to the sun and warmth. Also, using an LED growing lamp indoors is the next best option. Now, let us get into the details of growing lemon trees hydroponically.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically

Guide to Growing Hydroponic Lemons
Guide to Growing Hydroponic Lemons (Image credit: pixabay)

Different Lemon Varieties for Hydroponics

Choosing the right plant species from the beginning is the most crucial thing the grower must do. Every plant species has its unique characteristics. Some species can tolerate extreme weather conditions; some can have smaller sizes and others can fill up an entire room within a few years.

For growing hydroponic Lemons, suitable varieties of citrus include Meyer and Yen Ben Lemons, Tahiti, Key, and Mexican limes. Thai and other Asian dishes as well as small green fruit which provide aromatic zest and juice. The benefit of Makrut lime fruit is not only that the fresh leaves, but the plant is only grown for its valuable foliage and doesn’t need to flower and set fruit.

Lisbon Lemon – The Lisbon Lemon tree is one of the most widely available varieties of Lemon found in shops around the world. The Lemons are bright yellow color when mature.The Lisbon Lemon tree can withstand extremely high and low-temperature levels. After it gives the first harvest, it will produce Lemon fruits non-stop. If you grew it successfully, that your kitchen will never be out of Lemons all year round.

Meyer Lemon – Meyer Lemon fruits are a small, sweet hybrid Lemon and it is a cross between sour Lemons and sweet oranges. Then, that means you get both sweet and savory flavors from this delicious fruit.It is the smallest Lemon tree among all other tree species. The Meyer Lemon tree is portable and needs so little space which makes it easy to fit inside your house. Also, due to its small size, it will not use much water which means less frequent top-ups.

Growth Stages of a Lemon Tree

When you’re trying to grow Lemons trees, it can be helpful for you to understand the different growth stages of the Lemon tree.

Plant flowering can occur over a long period (December to March, after bud formation during the previous November), depending on cultivar and climate conditions. Although the Lemon tree growth stages appear to overlap together because of a tree’s extended flowering period.

Lemon Tree Youth – Lemon trees are known to mature quickly, with most trees beginning to mature in their second year. Lemon tree saplings need to be kept in warm temperatures to thrive. As the trees reach maturity, this becomes stouter in appearance with thicker foliage, and they can withstand colder temperatures, although extreme cold will affect the fruit. Lemon trees mature more quickly than other citrus varieties and can begin bearing fruit after 1 to 3 years of growth. If you want the Lemon tree to start producing fruit more quickly, purchase a larger (and therefore more established and mature) tree.

Flowering in Lemon Trees – At the beginning of the colder months, the Lemon tree may begin the process of producing flower buds. The more buds the Lemon tree produces the more potential it has to bear greater quantities of fruit. As the weather warms in the spring season, if the Lemon tree has produced buds over winter they will start to bloom. These blooms, which are self-fertile and will eventually, become the fruits of your tree. During these months, it is very important to provide adequate water to your Lemon tree to encourage fruit growth.

Lemon Tree Fruit Set – After the buds bloom, the Lemon tree will continue to grow. While watering remains important, it is essential to prevent root rot. If a Lemon tree growing indoors, you will want to make sure it is in a pot with drainage holes.

Ripening Your Lemons – Ensuring that you give Lemons enough time to ripen is essential to their taste and quality after picking. Lemons stop ripening as soon as they are picked from the tree, so they must be left until they look ready to eat rich in color and of adequate size. Though, if you live in a climate that is always warm, your tree will then begin again with bud formation.

Advantages of Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically

Hydroponics has several benefits compared to soil gardening. In hydroponics, the growth rate is 30-50% faster than in a soil plant. The yield of the plant is also greater in hydroponics. There are several reasons for differences between growing hydroponic plants and soil plants. Though, the extra oxygen in the growing mediums helps to stimulate root development. Hydroponic plants with ample oxygen in the root system absorb nutrients faster. The plant then uses this saved energy to produce faster and produce more fruit. Generally, hydroponically grown plants are healthier and happier plants.

Your grow room has an ample supply of carbon dioxide; your plants will grow faster. The best method to get carbon dioxide to your plants is to make sure the room has a constant flow of air. If needed, invest in a fan or air circulation equipment to improve the airflow.

Higher Yields – Plants grown in well-managed hydroponics are living the good life. Growth rates change based on the type of system and quality of care, but hydro plants can mature up to 25% more quickly than the same plants grown in soil, with increased crop yield, to boot. This is one of the best advantages of growing lemon trees hydroponically.

Fewer Resources – Actually, hydroponic systems use less water than traditional soil-based systems. Up to 90% more efficient use of water. Because this is closed systems aren’t subject to the same rates of evaporation. Then, the water used in hydroponics can be filtered, re-populated with nutrients, and fed back to plants again. The crops growing in hydroponics are protected from many pests and diseases.

Saves Water -The plants grown in a Hydroponic system barely use around 10% of the water compared to the conventionally grown plants. In this system, the water usage is drastically less because unlike conventional farming water is re-circulated.

Optimal Use of Nutrients – In Hydroponics, you have absolute control over the nutrients as required by the plants. Even before proceeding with the farming, you can check what kind of nutrients plants require and then mix particular amounts of those nutrients with water at different stages.

pH control – Every mineral is directly in touch with water, you can always adjust the level of pH when required. Then, this will ensure that the plants receive optimal nutrient intake. This another best benefit of growing lemon trees hydroponically.

Faster Growth Rate – The benefit of the Hydroponic system is that it ensures a faster growth rate. Then, you can control the environment required for plant growth. That means you have control over every parameter such as the temperature, the surrounding light, moisture, and most importantly, the nutrients. Then, this way, plants won’t waste their valuable energy for diluted nutrients submerged deep within the soil; rather, they can entirely be focused on boosting the production of the fruit. Hydroponic plant production increases about 3 to 10 times in the same amount of space.

Conditions Required for Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically

Hydroponic growing plants have minimal restrictions in terms of space and location due to their controlled growing conditions and compact size. There are a few hydroponic growing conditions that are very important to produce more yields. Plant nutrients do not have to be dissolved out of the earth by pouring. Also, this saves the plant energy because it simply gets to the nutrients. Such a controllable hydroponic system provides optimal plant growth, less labor-intensive, and significantly more productive than soil cultivation.

Light – at least 8 – 10 hours a day – In hydroponic gardening light is essential for plant growth. It is ideal when sunlight is available. Also, energy-saving but powerful LED (light-emitting diode) lamps can help. Some special plant LEDs with optimum wavelength ranges available for this purpose.

Oxygen (O2) – The hydroponic plants need oxygen for fruit growth and development. And, the high content of dissolved oxygen in the water improves the absorption of plant fertilizers. If there is a sufficient oxygen level, the nutrient content can be reduced, but the plants still grow quickly.

Electrical Conductivity – Water is an important element for plant growth in a hydroponics system. Also, it carries nutrients and contains dissolved oxygen. Important properties of water are its hardness, salt content, pH level, and alkalinity. The proportion of dissolved minerals is checked by measuring EC (electrical conductivity), expressed in µS/cm, sometimes it is also in mS/cm (1000 µS/cm = 1 mS/cm). Also, avoid under or over-fertilization, the nutrient content is checked by measuring the electrical conductivity (EC). The higher the salt content, the higher the EC electrical conductivity.

For new hydroponic planting, obtaining young plants from a reputable nursery is a good place to start as these can then be regularly pruned to maintain a compact and attractive shape before flower buds start to form. Once plants are in place and well established, citrus must be pruned to remove the growing points of any dominant stems and promote the production of several side branches that allow the plant to carry more fruit.

System Used for Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically

First, you have to select the hydroponic system that best suits your Lemon tree. There is no better system than the deep water culture system (DWC) in hydroponics. It will be the perfect one for all of the roots that the Lemon tree will produce to grow.

Plants have easier access to oxygen and nutrients in DWC hydroponics, which means they spend less energy searching for nutrients. As a result, Lemon plants will reward you with fast vegetative growth and excellent yields. In this floating method, the board on the nutrient solution creates a near friction-less conveyor belt of floating rafts.

The advantage of Deepwater culture is the accelerated growth resulting from superior uptake of nutrients and oxygen. There is no need for much fertilizer because the plants are suspended in the DWC nutrients. These are simple in their design and require little maintenance.

Temperature and Humidity for Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically

Temperature can only be influenced to a certain extent and knowing the influence of temperature on growth processes is important. With your hydroponic lighting, you must have less work to do in maintaining heat. To be sure the Lemon tree is warm enough, keep a thermometer in the growing area and routinely check the water temperature. Temperature optimums are also similar to many other hydroponic fruiting crops, although they change depending on the type of citrus being grown. For optimal year-round growth, most citrus grows well within a temperature range of 23-30°C, however, will survive much cooler conditions down to 1°C for short periods.

Trees do well with an ambient humidity level; some plants have specific requirements or just plain do better at a certain level. For example, the Meyer Lemon dwarf tree can handle most ambient humidity, but it thrives about 40 to 50%.

Nutrient Requirements for Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically

The nutrient solution used in hydroponics is the sole source of plant nutrients. Make sure the nutrient combo is right for the tree you’re growing, and always remember to start at lower nutrient levels and work up. Lemon trees tend to have a sensitive root system. The high level of nutrient solution tends to decrease the oxygen amount available to plant roots.

Growing medium – Instead of soil, plants grow in a soilless medium. The growing medium used in hydroponics provides for plant growth. Using Rockwool in hydroponics, which is inert/non-reactive and helps support the plant throughout its growth.

The nutrient solution level of the DWC system must be maintained low enough to prevent root rot from reaching the plant.  The nutrient solution should have a standard pH level of 6. Also, if you are living in an area with cold temperatures, you will need to invest in a heater. Citrus trees need a nutrient solution with a temperature of 23-30°C.

A simple aquarium heater can do the trick, so there is no need to worry about exceeding budget. Since most Lemon trees are a long-term crop and will continue to be productive for many years, growing containers of at least four gallons are recommended. Some substrates such as coconut fiber or perlite are ideal, however, citrus has been grown on a wide range of soilless mediums including gravel, grow rocks, peat, bark, stone wool, rice hull, and even in aeroponics.

In the future, you’ll have to move your Lemon tree into a bigger container. Factoring in the weight of materials and ease of access in the system early on means an easier time when you have to transplant.

Tips for Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically

Tips for Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically
Tips for Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically (pic source: pixabay)
  • Lemon trees require a moderately high level of light to keep plants compact, prevent elongated growth, and produce sufficient sugars to get high-quality fruit. If light levels are low, Lemon trees will continue to grow foliage but fail to flower or any sparse flowers that do open may not carry fruitlets through to maturity.
  • Your hydroponic system ventilation doesn’t need to be a super-advanced system, but make sure you’ve got adequate air movement. This helps your Lemon tree get CO2 to convert, and it gives the helpful bonus of preventing harmful mold and fungi.
  • Drip irrigation systems are most utilized for nutrient delivery with standard vegetative and fruiting formulation applied during the different stages of Lemon tree growth. A nutrient formation high in potassium with additional magnesium is necessary during the fruit formation phase, as Lemon fruit quality is related to potassium nutrition as well as environmental growing conditions.

Procedure to Growing Lemon Trees Hydroponically

Building the System

Step 1) For building this system, use a drill with a quarter-inch bit to make a notch in the top of about a 5-gallon bucket. Then, make the notch large enough to fit the cord for the water pump. Then, place an 8-inch net pot lid on the bucket and drill a hole in the top of the lid next to the net pot.

Step 2) Place a submersible water pump in the bottom center of the bucket. Then, feed the power cord through the notch at the top of the bucket.

Step 3) Replace the 8-inch net pot lid and then feed the quarter-inch tubing through the quarter-inch hole you drilled in the lid. Attach a drip emitter to the end of the tubing near the net pot.

Step 4) Fill the bucket about halfway with water and add the nutrient solution; there is no set recommendation for which nutrient solution to use with Lemons. Fill the net pot with Lemon-preferred growing media like rice husk, perlite, or vermiculite. Plug in the pump and test the drip irrigation system to be sure it is a steady drip and not flowing freely.

Step 5) Plant the Lemon seedling in the growing media.

After Care

Test the water regularly to be sure the pH level remains 6. Level the system and replace the nutrient solution every 2 weeks.

Pollinate Lemon tree using a cotton swab when flowers bloom. Lemons are not self-pollinating and not produce fruit without this step. Brush a cotton swab over both the stamen and then the pistol of each flower to spread the pollen.

Support the Lemon tree if necessary. The weight of the fruit as it grows makes it necessary to add a trellis or stake to help it stay upright.

When and How Harvest Hydroponic Lemons

In case if you miss this: How To Grow Capsicum In Greenhouse.

Harvest Hydroponic Lemons
Harvest Hydroponic Lemons (pic credit: pixabay)

Lemons are ready to pick as they are yellow color or yellow-green in appearance. Generally, the Lemon fruit will be 2 to 3 inches in size.

Harvesting Lemon fruit is simple it’s best to cut from the tree rather than pull them off as this often snaps branches or causes fruit damage. Once mature, Lemons can be left on the tree for a considerable length of time, often months, before harvest and this is used as a way to store excess fruit until it’s required. Though retaining a high fruit load can delay flowering and the next crop of young fruit, so prompt removal is often a better option.

That’s all folks about growing lemon trees hydroponically, hope this information may help you in growing hydroponics lemons.


  1. I start with a Meyer lemon, later on you talk about the seed. Infusing. My hydroponic lemon is alive, but no new growth. WTer temp 82. Ph around 6, two stones in bottom of pot. Should actual net pot be partway submerged or a bit. Also using clay pebbles for stabilizing. Any hints as to why no new growth in almost 3 months tree about 2 ft above roots. Thanks


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