Home generalLemon tree - care instructions and mistakes should be avoided

Lemon tree - care instructions and mistakes should be avoided

  • Care Instructions
    • Location in the summer
    • substratum
    • to water
    • Fertilize
    • overwinter
    • To cut
    • repotting
  • Diseases and pests
    • avoid errors
  • Conclusion

In view of his demands for a professional cultivation, the lemon tree surprises with flexibility and ment. In fact, the Mediterranean ornamental wood is in no way as capricious, as the opulent appearance suggests. This care guide shows in detail how to do it right and avoid mistakes.

Lemon tree - care instructions and mistakes should be avoided

Does the lemon tree synchronously its white flowers and yellow fruits on evergreen foliage, hobby gardener behind the paradisiacal Habitus imagine an elaborate cultivation. After all, the dainty tree comes from tropical climes and is mostly found in orangeries and winter gardens. In truth, the Mediterranean citrus is pleasingly undemanding, as long as basic criteria are heeded. Which these are, explains the following care instructions compact and practical. Here you can get the equipment to cherish the opulent ornamental shrubs by all the rules of gardening and to avoid mistakes.


  • Plant genus: Citrus plants (Citrus)
  • Type: Lemon tree (Citrus x limon)
  • It is native to the tropics, subtropics and the Mediterranean
  • Habitus: small, bushy tree
  • Growth height in culture: 100 to 500 cm
  • Evergreen and spined
  • Minimum temperature: 0-5 degrees Celsius
  • Year-round white flower with the same time fruit hanging
  • Yellow-skinned, edible fruit with varying acidity

The lemon tree is not just a feast for the eyes in botanical gardens, orangeries or conservatories. Predominantly, the orchard serves as a source of coveted fruit, rich in vitamins and low in calories. Last but not least, the lemon is the product of the cure for scurvy, a century-long scourge of humanity. The global harvest of lemons and limes in 2013 was more than 15 million tons.

Care Instructions

So that the lemon tree in the private ornamental garden gives its best, the following care instructions describe all important criteria for the proper cultivation in the tub. The focus is on maintaining and promoting opulent appearance, rather than achieving a rich harvest, although both factors are not mutually exclusive.

Location in the summer

The lemon tree is a typical outdoor plant in its homeland. As long as it does not freeze in our regions, it feels in good hands outdoors. Thanks to its optimal light yield, the ornamental wood keeps its harmonious shape, which falls permanently behind the glass to the twisting branches, which reach out to the sun. This is how the location should be:

  • From mid-May to October / November in a sunny south facing position
  • Ideally in the security of a wall or hedge
  • Temperatures from 20 to 25 degrees, maximum 35 to 40 degrees
  • Protected from permanent wind and pattering rain

Where a stay in the open air is not possible, a light-filled conservatory or a window on the south side of the house are a sensible alternative.

Tip: To achieve 50% and higher humidity, place the lemon tree on a pebble-filled and water-filled coaster. The evaporating moisture constantly sweeps the flowers, leaves and fruits.


An exemplary substrate provides the lemon tree with sufficient stability, stores water and nutrients for a long time, and leaves enough air to the roots. With commercially available potting soil or pure humus from the garden you do not meet these requirements. Instead, offer the root system an adequate mix.

  • High quality potted soil with 30 percent lava granules, expanded clay, coarse sand or fine chippings
  • Optionally a mix of one part compost, one unit soil and sand with half a piece of orchid substrate or seramis
  • The addition of some clay promotes the stability of larger lemon trees

To complete this earth composition, add some rock powder or dolomite. This supplement produces the desired pH of 6.0 to 6.5 without the need for peat. Peaty plant soil tends to compact and inhibits the oxygenation of the roots.

to water

Irrigation is one of the mainstays of exemplary care. In this respect, a lemon tree requires a bit of tact, because you can not go there on a tightly cemented schedule. How to handle the water supply with expertise:

  • Water abundantly in the sunny location during the summer
  • If necessary, water daily after the thumb test in the early morning or late evening
  • The substrate is moistened to the bottom of the tub so that water runs out of the bottom opening
  • A change between collected rainwater and tap water is recommended

Do not rely on a summer rain shower to quench the thirst of your lemon tree. The dense foliage of the crown shields the tree disc mostly so far that only a few drops penetrate. In the meantime, citrus experts are moving away from exclusively using lime-free irrigation water. The calcium contained in the lime is urgently needed for healthy growth.


An adequate nutrient supply is as important for the lemon tree as the water supply. In order to avoid any deficiency symptoms, it is advisable to choose a special fertilizer in an NPK composition of 10 + 2 + 7 or 20 + 4 + 14. If you favor organic fertilization, it may be possible to use supplements to increase the nutrient supply to the required level.

  • From March to October, fertilize the lemon tree once a week
  • If necessary, fertilize beyond this period as long as growth continues
  • Never apply fertilizer to dry substrate

A mulch layer of compost or well-seasoned horse manure, free of antibiotic residues, keeps the substrate moist and at the same time releases valuable nutrients. Decorative looks like pine bark, which also protects the earth, but does not give off nutrients.


The lemon tree spent the summer in the open air, he moves in October to winter quarters, or if the temperatures permanently fall below 10 degrees Celsius. So the citrus plant comes through the cold season:

  • Bright location, at temperatures between 5 and 12 degrees Celsius
  • Water less, adjusted to the reduced degree of evaporation
  • Do not fertilize from October / November to March

The light requirement increases in proportion to the temperatures. Darkness and warmth do not match, as well as brightness and cold. Since the individual conditions vary at the location, you can not avoid one or the other experiment with this question. If the lemon tree throws off the leaves indignantly, that is no drama. In the early spring of the new boom compensates for the shortcoming again.

To cut

An annual pruning promotes the further branching, a steadily increasing abundance of flowers and keeps the size growth under control. An appropriate time for this measure is the early spring, when the winter calm is coming to an end and the fresh sprouts are imminent.

  • Thoroughly blot the entire crown
  • Cut off dead and puny branches on Astring
  • Shorten too long shoots to the desired extent
  • Make each cut just above an outward-facing bud
  • Tear off wild shoots from the pad with a jerk

During the year branches can also be shortened, which grow out of the crown shape. For a cut in the old wood one day in March should be chosen.

Tip: Cuts on a lemon tree are sealed with charcoal powder to prevent infection by fungus or viruses. Wounds the size of a 1 Euro coin and beyond require treatment with tree wax along the wound edges.


Careful care results in vital root growth. So it is not uncommon that every year the change to a larger planter comes on the agenda. Ideally, you will recode the pruning in the spring to create the best conditions for the lemon tree to start the new season. In addition, this measure is advised after the purchase of a new plant, since the commercial substrate usually leaves something to be desired. How to proceed step by step:

  • Water the lemon tree on the edges for easier popping
  • In the new bucket over the bottom opening of pottery shards or gravel create a drainage
  • Fill in a first layer of the recommended substrate
  • Now pot the plant and clean it from the discarded substrate
  • Put in the middle of the new pot and plant as deep as before
  • Press the earth with your hands, release a pouring lip and pour on it

It is important to note that the fresh earth is distributed between the roots and there are no cavities. To do this, use a small wooden stick to spread the substrate between the roots by repeated shaking. Sludging should be considered only for very large specimens, otherwise waterlogging occurs.

Tip: Buckets and lemon tree remain mobile even with increasing weight, if at times a practical plant roller is used.

Diseases and pests

A citrus tree treated according to this care manual develops its own defenses against diseases and pests. In any case, fungal or viral infections on citrus plants are rare. In some cases the aphids, which are ubiquitous in the garden, infest the tree in summer, while in winter it can be besieged by lice and mealybugs. The handle to the chemical fungicide is required only at high infestation pressure. In the early stage, the following formula has proven itself as a home remedy for these pests:

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of soft soap and spirit in 1 liter of water
  • Spray on the tops and bottoms of the leaves every 2 to 3 days

To prevent spider mites from spreading on the lemon tree in winter quarters, repeated spraying with lime-free water effectively prevents it.

avoid errors

The most common mistakes around the care are listed below with tips to avoid them:

Black tub

In the black planter, the root ball heats up under summer sunlight so that the transport of water is limited. As a result, it causes wilting, although the substrate is moist. For a lemon tree, use a white or pastel-colored tub.

Moldy substrate

In potted plant substrate, especially in self-mixtures with garden soil, lurking fungal spores and viruses. Therefore, subject the potting soil to disinfection before using it. To do this, place the moistened substrate in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.

root rot

Regardless of the high water requirement, the lemon tree still does not tolerate waterlogging. If there is excess water in the saucer for a long time, the roots rot away. Always pour so slowly that the root ball can soak in water. The spilled water will spill out after 10-15 minutes.

nutrient deficiency

Organic fertilization is still on the rise in the hobby garden. There are no objections for ornamental and useful plants that are only active in summer. The lemon tree, on the other hand, is still vital in times when it is too cold for soil organisms. In early spring or in winter quarters it comes to leaf whitening, since no nutrients are transported. At least during this phase supplemental administration of mineral-organic fertilizer is advised as long as the plant is growing.

Too warm wintering

Among the most common mistakes around the care of a lemon tree is the too warm hibernation. If the temperature curve moves upwards while the supply of light is reduced, it will inevitably lead to sheet shedding. While temperatures of 13-15 degrees Celsius ensure best conditions during the winter in the bright conservatory, a maximum of 5-8 degrees at the darker location prevent unwanted leaf shedding.

No pruning

If the form and maintenance cut is neglected for several years, the lemon tree develops a sparse habit. The flower continues to diminish, while at the same time the branches are flared from the inside. Therefore do not be afraid to prune the citrus plant courageously and regularly.


The joy of a lavishly flowering lemon tree has long been reserved not only for experienced plant experts. As these care instructions show, the professional cultivation for hobby gardeners no significant hurdles and mistakes are easy to avoid. To meet the demands of the tropical citrus plant, it depends on a sunny, protected location and a high-quality, well-drained substrate. An abundant supply of water and nutrients as well as the annual form and maintenance cut have long been familiar to you from native plants. Only the conditions for a proper wintering need special attention.

Tips for quick readers:

  • From April to October a place under the open sky
  • Sunny, warm and sheltered location
  • High-quality, structurally stable substrate based on compost
  • Water abundantly and regularly in the summer
  • Alternately use rain and tap water
  • Fertilize weekly from April to September
  • In autumn, move to winter quarters
  • Bright, cool winter at 5-12 degrees Celsius
  • Water less and do not fertilize
  • Main cutting in early spring
  • Easy correction cuts possible at any time
  • Repot after the winter break

To avoid these errors:

  • Black tub
  • Infected substrate
  • waterlogging
  • nutrient deficiency
  • Too warm wintering
  • No pruning
Salt indicator on dishwasher always lights - problem solved!
Tomatoes and frost - What temperatures tolerate tomato plants?