How to Grow Lemon Trees in Pots and Containers

Potted Lemon Trees for Sale at Logee's

Lush and fragrant, a potted lemon tree can grace your home with zestful beauty and an aromatic presence. Ideal for limited spaces or cold climates, these miniature citrus wonders thrive indoors with adequate care, offering garden enthusiasts a delightful alternative to their ground-planted counterparts. With their glossy, dark green leaves and vibrant, sunny fruit, lemon trees in pots or containers are not only visually pleasing but also incredibly functional, providing a steady supply of fresh, tangy lemons for culinary delights. Properly nurtured, they embody the perfect fusion of ornamental charm and practical benefits, becoming a focal point in your living space. 

Featured Potted Lemon Trees

Meyer Lemon Tree (Citrus limon)

An heirloom dwarf lemon with delicious golden-yellow fruit, Meyer Lemon makes a fine potted plant and it’s the hardiest lemon for cool temperatures. The fruit is more flavorful than store-bought lemons and is prized by chefs. It bears heavily at a young age, flowering and fruiting year-round. Brought into the U.S. at the turn of the century from China, it is thought to be a hybrid between a lemon and an orange.

Ponderosa Lemon Tree (Citrus limon)

Here is the promise of charm and practicality in a single package. Ponderosa Lemon, also known as the American Wonder Lemon, will astonish all who receive it with both its beauty and unusual habit. The fun begins when the heavy surge of fragrant white flowers emerge each spring. Then tiny lemons appear. Ponderosa Lemon has the reputation for not knowing when “enough is enough.” They continue to grow to enormous proportions, often up to 5 lbs, even though the plant remains an easily manageable size.

Eureka Lemon Tree (Citrus limon ‘Allen-Newman’)

Eureka Lemon is one of the most popular lemon varieties grown today. This citrus tree is a vigorous grower and tends to bear while still young with fruit arriving late winter through early summer. The prolific yellow lemons are small-to-medium size, with tender, juicy fruit and few to no seeds. The rind has prominent ridges and is full of fragrant oil that gives it an intense citrus scent. It originated in Los Angeles, California from a group of seedlings of Italian origin. Eureka is a true lemon, not a hybrid like Meyer lemon, and its juice and zest are often made into baked goods like lemon meringue pie or lemon bread. It also makes delicious lemonade and other drinks. This is a grafted plant that blooms and fruits sooner.

Variegated Pink Eureka Lemon Tree (Citrus x limon)

Sometimes called the “Pink Lemonade Lemon,” Variegated Pink Eureka Lemon is a showpiece that’s well worth growing. The variegated leaves are green and white adding to its ornamental appeal and the lemon rind on the fruit is striped green and cream before it turns pink and yellow when fully mature. This variety fruits easily and the inner flesh is light pink with very few seeds. The taste is comparable to a regular lemon. The primary fruiting season is late winter, spring and early summer. Enjoy these delicious lemons from your own tree. We recommend pruning when the plant is young to promote a full, bushy habit.

Lemon Tree Care / How to Grow Lemon Trees in Pots

Growing lemon trees in pots

Potted lemon trees bring a burst of sunshine and freshness into almost any indoor or outdoor space. With the proper attention to watering, sunlight, and pruning, a container lemon tree can yield bountiful, sunshine-infused fruits while serving as an irresistible, living decor piece.

Selecting the Right Pot for Your Lemon Tree

Opt for a pot that is at least 12-15 inches deep with ample drainage holes. Avoid pots that are excessively large, as this could lead to over-watering issues. Materials like terra-cotta are excellent as they provide breathability for the roots.

Lemon Tree Soil Requirements

Citrus-specific or well-draining potting mix is crucial. Incorporate sand or perlite to improve drainage, ensuring the soil is slightly acidic with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.

Watering Your Lemon Tree

Lemon trees prefer consistent moisture without waterlogging. Water deeply but infrequently, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce water in the winter months.

Sunlight Needs

Choose a sunny spot that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. South-facing windows are ideal for indoor plants. Supplement with grow lights if natural light is insufficient.

Fertilizing Your Lemon Tree

Use a slow-release, balanced, or citrus-specific fertilizer. Apply according to the package instructions, usually once a month during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilization, which can damage the plant.

Pruning and Shaping a Lemon Tree

Regularly prune to maintain shape, remove dead or diseased wood, and encourage bushier growth. This encourages better fruiting and airflow, reducing the risk of diseases.

Harvesting Your Lemons

Lemons are ready for harvest when they have attained full color (typically a bright yellow) and are slightly soft to the touch. Don't tug harshly; instead, clip them off with pruners.

Lemon Tree Pest and Disease Control

Monitor for pests like aphids, spider mites, and scale. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil as a preventative measure. If fungal diseases like citrus canker appear, prune affected areas and improve air circulation.

Temperature and Humidity

Lemon trees thrive at temperatures between 70 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate lower temperatures but must be protected from frost. Maintain high humidity levels, especially during winter. You can use frost cloths or move potted trees indoors during colder weather.

Acclimatizing to Outdoor Conditions

If you wish to move your tree outdoors in the summer, be sure to do so gradually. You'll want it to acclimatize slowly to direct sunlight in order to prevent leaf scorch.

Growing Potted Lemon Trees Indoors or Outdoors

Growing lemon trees in pots is a delightful and straightforward endeavor. Potted lemon trees are low-maintenance, requiring minimal water and occasional fertilizing for optimal health and productivity. These delightful citrus trees thrive indoors, offering year-round foliage and aromatic blossoms. With minimal care - regular watering, sunlight, and occasional fertilizing - you can easily harvest your own homegrown lemons, bringing a sense of accomplishment and a burst of fresh, tangy flavor right to your fingertips!