Last Updated on May 27, 2022 by Gary Stephen
Who would have thought you can grow your own citrus tree right inside your home, taking care for an indoor lemon tree, for instance?
Just imagine having a mini tree sitting in your room with its luscious greens and yellows instantly brightening the space. Also, it gives you this citrusy aroma that blissfully lingers in the surrounding air. Its visual appeal and fragrance, indeed, is like a refreshing treat to your senses.
Wait, do not forget, lemons are edible too! This fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants. One whole raw lemon, including its peel, is more than enough to achieve the daily recommended dosage.
Now, isn’t that quite exciting?
Lemon trees, the dwarf variety, in particular, are one of those fruit-bearing plants that can possibly thrive in an indoor setting. This holds very true especially during the winter seasons or when grown in areas with colder climates. It would gladly love to seek shelter inside your warm abode than battle the cold weather outdoors.
Although it is feasible, do know that this doesn’t just happen easy peasy. Lemons are tropical plants. Thus, growing them outside of its natural sunny environment can pose obvious challenges. Needless to say, it would require a bit more extra effort to keep it happy and lively inside any room.
In this article, we will teach you tips and tricks on how to effectively grow a lemon tree indoors. Moreover, we would share with you our top picks on the best products you can use to care for this plant.
How to Care for an Indoor Lemon Tree
Being a tropical plant as they are, the lemon tree requires at least eight hours of light or best up to 12 hours. This length of exposure is long enough to allow them to thrive and favorably produce fruits.
When growing indoors, it is ideal to place the tree in a south-facing window. The southern area is where bright natural sunlight shines the most. Thus, giving your plants plenty of energy despite being confined indoors.
However, if your space is not blessed with abundant natural light, you can opt for artificial lighting instead. The grow lights<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> are pretty much a good alternative in case it is not possible to bring Mr. Sun indoors.
This device comes in different color temperatures and intensities. So, you have to find the correct features to best support your plant’s needs. A full-spectrum lamp with a sunlike appeal is a good starting point.
Here are some of our top picks for indoor grow lights:
Gardening is always a game of trial and error. So, before potting your lemon tree, it might be a good idea to let it get acquainted with the area first.
Find your preferred spot and let the plant stay for at least two weeks. Then, assess the condition if it’s thriving or not. If it doesn’t seem happy there, move it to another potential spot with much brighter lighting.
Watering for Indoor Lemon Tree Care
As with any other plants, the lemon tree also requires a good balance of moisture. Not too much that it makes them soggy and even cause root rotting. Nor too little too, that it leaves them bone dry and increase the accumulation of salts.
Lemon trees prefer to be watered infrequently but deeply. That means it doesn’t have to be done very often. A good and thorough watering every once in a while is enough to keep them well-hydrated.
The frequency also varies depending on the maturity of the plant. A newly planted lemon tree may need to be watered more often to establish growth. Gradually increasing from every other day to once or twice a week during its first two months. As the plant becomes an adult, watering once every 7 to 14 days should suffice its hydration.
But, if you are really anxious about over or under watering your lemon tree, you can use moisture meter instead. This simple device allows you to get accurate measurements of the soil’s moisture levels. Thus, keeping you more at peace and confident with your watering schedules.
Our top picks for moisture meters:
If you do not have a moisture meter, all you need is to dip your fingers into the soil and trust your senses. Only water your plants when the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil already feels dry to touch.
If bits of soil tends to stick to your fingers, that means it still holds a good amount of moisture. Skip watering then and check again after a day or two.
In relation to moisture, the lemon tree also loves to be surrounded by humidity. In particular, it tends to thrive best in a growing environment with an average of 50% humidity. Unfortunately, most indoor spaces are only about 10% humid.
So, if humidity is the problem, why not bring in humidifiers?
It is easy to think of it that way. Yes, you can use a humidifier if you have a dedicated grow room<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>. But, if you are growing your lemon tree inside your living room, that’s a totally different thing. Humidifying the space at more or less 50% can be quite a problem.
You see, humidity has its pros and cons. The pro is that it benefits your plants. The con, though, is that it can increase the likelihood of developing mold and mildew. That added moisture in the atmosphere can even cause your wall paintings to peel off. Are you really willing to risk that in the end?
Okay, if a humidifier isn’t the most viable option, what then?
There are a few simple ways to improve humidity without compromising the entire indoor environment. The first technique is misting. You can from time to time spray your lemon tree with plain water. For this task, it is ideal to use a fine-mist garden sprayer to help moisten the plant without overly drenching it.
Another great technique is to place your pot on top of a tray of pebbles. With it, you can add plain water into the tray so as it evaporates it increases the humidity surrounding the plant too. The pebbles here are essential in keeping the plant from submerging in the water. Thus, preventing it from getting soaked and developing root rot.
Our top picks for fine-mist garden sprayers:
It is always a good idea to invest in some hygrometer. This simple device will help you monitor the levels of humidity within your room. That way, you can easily determine whether your lemon tree is getting enough moisture or not. Remember, too little is bad for your plants. While too much is bad for you and your home too.
Temperature in Indoor Lemon Tree Care
As mentioned, lemon trees are tropical plants. Thus, needless to say, they tend to be most comfortable with warmer temperatures. In general, a range between 70°F to 100°F should be conducive enough for your lemon tree.
You should try to maintain your indoor temperature well within this range. Otherwise, it might cause untoward issues to your plant’s condition. A temp beyond 105°F can deter its development causing stunting of the tree.
On the other end, dropping temps below 50°F can also lead it to a dormant state. Exposing it to further coldness, like below 30°F, can cause its leaves to fall off and eventually kill the plant.
So, it would be wise to invest yourself with a good room thermometer. This device conveniently helps you to monitor the temperature within your space. Thus, allowing you to provide the most suitable warmth for your lemon tree at all times.
Our top picks for room thermometers:
Thermometers may come in a single or multi-functional feature. It is more efficient to choose one that already includes both the temperature and humidity functionalities. That way you no longer have to buy separate devices for each reading.
Lemon trees are not finicky when it comes to the type of soil. It can get by just fine with a regular potting soil as long as it has good drainage.
But if you are to ask, the lemon tree grows best in a loamy or sandy loamy soil. This type tends to give off good amounts of nutrients and moisture at the same time.
Less fussy as it may be, what you should make sure of is to provide the right pH level in the soil. In general, a range between 5.5 to 7 is most suitable for a lemon tree.
A soil with too much alkalinity, or a pH more than 7, can deprive your plant with essential minerals. Thus, impairing its growth and development. If this happens, you can add compost or humus to acidify your existing soil. Worse comes to worst, you can then use soil fertilizers that mainly contain sulfur.
Too much acidity won’t do your plant any good too. Having a soil pH of less than 5 can halt the growth of new leaves, flowers, and fruits. So, you have to correct it by alkalizing the soil with a few tablespoons of limestone. This should work just fine and increase the pH level back up in no time.
Our top picks for soil acidifiers and alkalizers:
For convenience, you can use a soil pH meter to get accurate readings of your lemon tree’s pH levels. This device is really inexpensive and often combined with the moisture meter functionality. Thus, you are likely to get two features in one simple device.
Considered Fertilizer for Indoor Lemon Tree Care
To ensure optimum nutrition, you need to feed your lemon tree once in a while. You can use the organic compost or manure that you might already have for soil acidification. It is a general-purpose fertilizer than you can apply every 6 weeks starting from spring up to autumn.
You can alternately use a commercial citrus fertilizer too. This is a perfect option if you feel a bit squeamish using actual manure inside your home. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s direction of use. This will ensure that your plant will be given just the right amount of nutrition it needs. Remember, improper dilution or frequency can increase the risk of burning your plants.
Our top picks for citrus fertilizers:
It is best to opt for a water-soluble type of plant food. This is much easier for the plants to absorb. Thus, rendering it more effective than non-water-soluble fertilizers.
Lemon trees are gorgeous as it is. But every now and then it deserves to get a little bit of trimming. Pruning is one simple way to thin out certain portions of the tree. This is also a good chance for you to cut off those damaged and unhealthy parts. That way you can keep it looking tidy and well-shaped.
You don’t really need special tools for this task. All you need to have is a sharp and sterilized pruning shear. It is important to always disinfect your garden scissors before and after each use. This prevents cross-contamination of diseases from one plant to another.
Our top picks for pruning shears:
The best time to prune your lemon tree is right after you harvest in winter. The pruning time can last up to early spring or just before new buds spurt.
Wrapping Up about How to Care for An Indoor Lemon Tree
A lemon tree is a perfect addition to any indoor space. It gives the room a pop of color and a refreshing aroma too. Not only that, it can even give you a burst of vitamin C when consumed. Thus, growing a lemon tree is indeed a true feast for your senses. Although, you should be wary as well that this tropical plant may need extra care and attention when grown indoors. But, as long as you follow our tips and tricks, you are sure to get along just fine with your little lemon tree.