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The successful way to care for a Lemon Tree


Starting now, we will be delivering all the citrus beauties that you could only pre-order so far! Take a look at our assortment of more than 60 varieties – some of the most sought-after rarities will soon be sold out again. And to increase your desire for citrus fruits, our citrus professor Dominik Grosse Holtforth explains how simple and easy lemons can be grown in your home...

When it comes to caring for your lemon tree, it's all about giving it a sunny spot and getting it through the winter. In this article you will find numerous tips regarding the care of your citrus plant, and these will help you enjoy your lemon tree for a long time. It is about the right location, watering, fertilisation and, above all, the overwintering.

Interesting facts about the lemon tree
The lemon tree is the most popular citrus plant and a very easy-care representative of the Citrus genus. Even if it is not hardy, it can be grown well in this country. The prerequisite is a place for the plant to overwinter, which meets the requirements of caring for the lemon tree.

The botany of the lemon tree
The lemon, which is also called “lime” south of the German-speaking world, is a cultivated plant which has centuries of tradition. In addition to the orange tree, it is the most important species in commercial citrus cultivation. The botanical name is Citrus limon, originally comes from southern East Asia. However, the wild plants have disappeared over time and now there are only cultivated plants. If you buy a lemon tree here in the Lubera® garden shop, you will receive a grafted plant. For this, a scion was grafted onto a sturdy rootstock. The scion was cut from an old, already fertile rootstock. This ensures that even comparatively small plants can bear fruit. The rootstock is usually an almost winter hardy trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata) or a bitter orange (Citrus aurantium). If the rootstock is hardy this doesn’t mean that the scion is hardy and thus, the lemon tree must be protected in the winter.

The growth of the lemon tree
The lemon tree grows upright and usually well-branched. The crown is less compact than the orange or mandarin tree. However, the growth is faster and the lemon tree can reach significant sizes quickly. Lemon trees often have smaller thorns that should be avoided. The buds and young flowers are initially violet, only later do they turn the pure white colour that is so popular with citrus plants. The typical citrus aroma can also be enjoyed with the lemon blossoms. Due to the self-fertilisation, a fruit set develops from each flower. Since a lemon tree, even a small tree, bears many flowers due to the grafting, some must be discarded. The roots can only supply part of the flowers. The bigger a tree gets the more fruits it can grow. A special feature is the continuous flowering: lemon trees bloom almost throughout the entire year and produce fruits. Thus, you regularly have flowers and fruits on the tree at the same time.

Caring for the lemon tree – it depends on the location and the watering
The care of exotic or Mediterranean plants succeed best if you offer the plants similar conditions like their original locations. The location is decisive.

The location in the summer
The most essential thing when caring for lemon trees is a sunny location from April to October or November. The more sun a lemon tree gets the faster it grows, blooms and bears lemons. It can be on a balcony, terrace or on a roofed terrace. The location should be airy but not too windy, as lemon trees can fall over. Incidentally, it is favourable to place the lemon tree on pot feet. In this way, the water drainage is promoted and the terrace is protected.

The winter location
Lemon trees are not hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -1° to -2°C. They must therefore be placed in a protected site during the frosty period, i.e. in a frost-free room. Greenhouses, winter gardens or unheated, but frost-free adjoining rooms are also ideal winter quarters. Typical is the overwintering in staircases, garden sheds or in the garage, if there is a window or plant lighting.
Watering and fertilising
When caring for a lemon tree, the term “less is more” applies. This guiding principle is especially important when watering. If you only water the lemon tree as needed, you will enjoy it for a long time. “As needed” means that you only water when the top half of the soil is dry. This can be found out very well using the moisture metre available in the Lubera® shop.
Lubera also has a good solution for fertilisation – the fertiliser Frutilizer Instant Citrus is tailored precisely to the needs of lemon trees. This fertiliser contains important trace elements that are particularly valuable. Fertilisation takes place from May to August, when the lemon trees need a lot of nutrients.

Pots and soil
To avoid dangerous waterlogging, a permeable soil is important for lemon trees. Lubera has developed Fertile Soil No. 1, which has particularly good drainage and is suitable for the needs of lemon trees. They should be re-potted every two years, however older and larger trees need to be re-potted every three years. The pot must have a drainage hole. It also needs to be stable, so that it does not tip over in gusts of wind.

Overwintering lemon trees
At the latest, when frost threatens, lemon trees must be brought to their winter quarters. In mild regions, the overwintering time is from November to April. Wherever it is colder, the lemon tree should be overwintered from mid-October to early May. Caring for the lemon tree during the overwintering period is easy. The tree only needs some water about once a month, so that it does not get dry. With pest control, the earlier you discover an infestation of the typical scale insects or mealybugs the better you can fight them with conventional means.

Pruning lemon trees
Pruning plays a minor role in lemon trees. Significant pruning, such as those known from native fruit trees, is not required unless the tree is very ill and has many dead branches. At most, the pruning measures include cutting branches that become too long as well as cutting out any dead branches. This should take place together with the re-potting in early spring.


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