Growing a tree can seem daunting and out of reach for a lot of gardeners, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. In fact, it’s actually possible to grow a small tree inside your home. Today, we’ll taking a look at growing lemon trees indoors. This can be an excellent way to add some citrus fruit to your diet! Keep in mind, that trees grow indoors will not grow quite as tall as their outdoor brethren.
To start, stop by a nursery and try to get a sapling of roughly 2-3 years in age. You can also purchase these online, here’s a decent one on amazon, if there are no nearby nursery or it is out of the outdoor growing season.
It’s generally suggested to start with a sapling like this as it is easier to grow and will bear fruit sooner. While you can grow from a seed, this is more difficult and will take significantly longer to bear fruit.
Choosing a Container
When choosing a container make sure to get one large enough to account for future growth. Generally, you’re going to be looking for one in the 10-15 gallon range. Having too small of a pot will limit root growth, ultimately leading to a smaller and less fruit bearing tree. Also, make sure your chosen pot has good drainage. A couple of large holes at the bottom will help promote natural water draining and prevent accidental overwatering.
Fill the bottom inch or so of the pot with a mix of small pebbles and rocks, then fill the rest with a high quality potting soil. Most soils from a local gardening store will do the trick perfectly. Place your tree into the pot and gently spread the roots out to help promote proper growth.
Watering and Lighting
Like most fruits, lemon trees require a decent amount of bright light to grow properly. Generally, look to get the tree 6+ hours of direct sunlight, or supplemental light a day. While a lemon tree can survive with less, it will bear less fruit and end up looking more like a standard houseplant.
When watering the plant, check the top inch or two of the soil for moisture. If this is dry then give your plant some water; watering until you begin to see drainage from the bottom of your pot.
Lemon trees also like a bit of humidity, and lightly misting the plant daily can help to replicate this. Take a small spray bottle of water, and lightly mist the plant once per day. This will help mimic the natural humidity the plant would grow in while outdoors.
One thing unique to indoor growing is manual pollination. While outdoors, bees and insects will normally take care of this, but indoors it is up to us! Gently shake or use a cotton swab to distribute the pollen from flower to flower. While this isn’t a requirement, it will greatly increase the chances of yielding fruit.
When successfull, the fruit will generally take a few weeks to ripen.
Hopefully, with these tips you’ll be growing lemon trees indoors in no time! Growing fresh fruit can be a bit challenging at times, but is very rewarding when done right!