How to Grow a Lemon tree in a Pot

Welcome to our tips on how to grow a lemon tree in a pot. These original photos are copyrighted to us and if you see these images stolen and used anywhere else on the web or in videos, please let us know. We appreciate it! 

How To Grow Lemon Tree in Pot | photo copyright to @whiteonrice

After a visit to Sorrento Italy in April of 2000, we were immediately smitten with all the wonderful lemon trees adorning the Italian coastline. All throughout Amalfi and Sorrento we saw gorgeous scenes of Sorrento lemon trees in terra cotta pots adorning house fronts, store fronts and cobblestone alley ways.

We knew right there and then we wanted something equally picturesque in our backyard. So, we planted a lemon tree in a container and want to show you how to grow lemon tree in pot.

How To Grow Lemon Tree in Pot | photo copyright to @whiteonrice

We really wanted to bring back a Sorrento lemon tree to the USA, but because we didn’t feel like smuggling anything into the country, we opted for the next best option possible – a Eureka lemon tree. This Eureka is studded with fruit and it’s extremely happy with its home in the urn shaped container. In winter, when the cool weather beckons the fruit to ripen, the lemon tree is an absolutely gorgeous scene to the garden.

This little lemon tree is our reminder of our trip to Italy and we’re happy to have it on our garden family.

Drying Out in the Pot: Growing this lemon tree has a few challenges because the heat of the Summer season can quickly dry out the pot. If the tree is older and root bound, they’ll definitely dry out quicker, especially in the rustic looking terra cotta pots.   They frequently will sweat out water which a glazed pot will retain. We’ve since transplanted it into the glazed pot seen in these photos and it is much happier. It takes consistent watering during hot weeks to make sure that the tree stays hydrated and happy. Unfortunately there were a few occasions when we forgot to water our little lemon and the fruits became soft and dehydrated. The glazed pot helps but it can’t amend for neglect.

Watering: To keep it consistently watered, we added a drip irrigation line to the pot. Now the lemon tree is in full fruiting cycle again because it’s getting the consistent water it needs to stay healthy. Another added step we’ve found to help keep in the hydration is to mulch the top of the pot.  We use about 2″ of leaves which were left over from trimming our hedges. If you don’t have a way to put an automatic drip on the pot, then you have to be consistent in hand watering. What ever you do, make sure the lemon gets consistent water.

A word of warning on pot selection: if you ever think you may transplant out of the pot you are choosing, do not get a pot which tapers in at the rim like the one our Eureka lemon tree is in. It will be very difficult to take the plant out without damaging its roots. Luckily this pot is large enough to be our Eureka’s permanent home.

Feeding: Make sure to feed your lemon tree with a good organic fertilizer. Think of all the baby lemons the tree need to nurture, so make sure to give your tree great food and nutrients. Citrus need nutrients and  since there is nowhere for the roots to go outside the pot, it is even more important in citrus planted in pots.

One key feeding tidbit we’ve found, citrus can’t absorb zinc and phosphate at the same time. We were getting yellowing in between the veins of the leaves, usually a sign of nutrient deficiency (commonly either zinc or manganese in our area). Most fertilizers didn’t seem to help until we found this knowledge from a university’s research. After checking labels and finding a fertilizer which didn’t have phosphate but did have zinc and manganese, the tree almost immediately starting looking better. They still do need some phosphorus (phosphorus is the element – phosphate is a salt containing phosphorus – you’ll see them both used in labeling), but we’ll make sure to vary the feedings at least 6 weeks apart.

Full Sun or Part-Full Sun?:  We found that placing the lemon in full Southern California sun all day long, especially in Summer, is too much. Our citrus we have planted in the ground can handle the full day sun, but it was too much for this potted lemon tree. The heat is intense and stresses it out. So we moved it to a section of the garden that gets sun for about 2/3 of the day, then remains in shade. This combination worked best because the tree still was able to get great morning and afternoon sun until 2pm, but was able to avoid the intense late afternoon sun.

!! Check with Your Local Nursery. Can you even grow citrus in your area?: The best advice we can give you is to consult with your local nursery. Every growing region is different and growing zones can change rapidly even within 10 miles of each other. So head to your local nursery and check to see what variety of lemon tree grows well and ask for their advice on how you can best grow it for your area.

This post was originally published in 2010 and republished in 2016 with updated information and tips. 

Visit our latest citrus joy: Kishu Mandarin Tree!

Have Fun when your grow lemon tree in pot!


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{ 127 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Kellie

    I have had no luck in Florida with potted citrus, they do well , then when the summer rains come even tho I move them under cover to not get root rot it has happened twice.

  2. Todd & Diane

    Hi Ann, thanks so much for letting us know!

  3. Annissa Slusher

    Thanks for these amazingly helpful tips and advice! Keep sharing!

    1. Todd & Diane

      Thank you Annissa!

  4. ann

    Someone is using your Eureka lemon in a pot picture for their Utube ‘how to grow citrus in a pot.

  5. HB

    I’m having trouble finding a fertilizer which doesn’t have phosphate but does have zinc and manganese — can you share where you found it and/or the name of the product? Thanks so much!

  6. Wendoline

    Your lemon tree is gorgeous! We too went to Italy last year and absolutely fell in love with all the lemon everything in Positano. Between that trip and this post, we’ve been inspired to try and grow a Meyer lemon tree up here in Los Angeles. We’re completely new to growing citrus and container gardening though, so fingers crossed!

    I did have one question, do you know roughly what size (in gallons or cubic feet) the pot you’re using here is (or what size you’d recommend for a permanent home)? I have no idea what size pot I should try and plant my new citrus tree in and haven’t been able to find that answer anywhere so far. Thank you!

  7. Sabrina B.

    great inspiration, I’ve wanted to grow one too, and even grow one of the Amalfi species for their unique sweetness, thank you for all of this information, very helpful!

  8. Sharon Wallace

    I have a lemon tree starting to grow. i live in Ohio how can I take care of it this winter indoors.till spring

  9. samira

    hi everybody
    i have a little lemon in a pot. I have it when it was a seed(4 months ago), but now some of its leaves dried, I dont know why? watering it 3 or 4 times every week. please help me to rescue my little lemon, thanks

  10. rachelmjkim

    Wow your lemon tree is some serious goals! I’m just starting out with this gardening thing and came across your blog 🙂

  11. Jules @ Quirky Wanderlust

    So cool!

  12. Alexandra Fitchener

    Just stumbled on this post but since I’ve just purchased a Meyer Lemon tree and am debating whether or not to keep it in a pot or plant it in the ground, feeling very grateful for the info! Particular on feeding and watering – I will be sure not to neglect the other fruit trees we have planted in terra cotta pots!

  13. sweetteasweetie (@SweetTSweetie)

    We just got back from Sorrento and I am obsessed with lemon everything now. I’d love to have lemon tree but nothing seems to live on our little balcony. I don’t think it gets enough sunshine. I’ll check with our local nursery though.

  14. rOBERT

    I live in south Georgia and have a Meyer lemon tree in my back yard that I purchased from Walmart. When it was new it was about four feet tall and full of blossoms. It had about 14 lemons that year. Every year since the plant gets pruned and now it is about two feet tall, the leaves are yellow and it bears no fruit. I put Jobe’s fertilizer spikes in the ground but it looks terrible. What?

  15. Mike L.

    Recently I’ve read that if you are growing lemon trees from seed DO NOT use the seeds from regular lemons from your local grocery store because they won’t produce fruit. Using “organic” lemons is the only way to get the proper seeds. I have started a few trees (49 actually, its become a hobby haha), they are about 2 months old, and I used seeds from non-organic lemons. Was wondering if I am wasting my time growing these???

    1. Todd & Diane

      Good luck Mike. In regards to the seeds, that isn’t our area of expertise, but maybe someone else can chime in. What a great hobby!

  16. showeredwithdesign

    We grew our lemon tree from a pot as well, we’ve had it for about 2.5 years now, I need to add some fertilizer on the top layer to help keep it moist. I was curious where you grew yours, but we are in OC as well so now I know ours will be ok in this crazy heat!

  17. David

    Thanks so much for this info!


    I have 2 baby lemon trees and I am wondering when to start pruning them. One is 2 feet tall and has a main stem and a few off-shoots at the woody base that are 2 feet high as well- I’m not sure if these are fully grown suckers or just branches. Thanks for your help!

  19. Annie

    I love this!! – Where did you get the pot from? I am wanting something very similar ! 🙂

    1. Todd & Diane

      It was from a local nursery/garden store which went out of business a couple months ago. Locally we’ve seen similar pots from Rogers Gardens in Newport Beach, CA.

  20. Janet Fazio

    I just hate buying lemons in the store, but I’ve never had luck with a lemon tree in the ground. Maybe a large pot is the way to go.

  21. Krisztina Szucs

    Can you actually grow lemon tree from a seed. If you do where and how?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Sure. We usually buy young plants already started, but it is easy enough to grow them from a seed or a cutting. It just takes a bit longer.
      Here’s a link for growing a lemon tree from seed.
      And another for growing a lemon tree from a cutting.
      Have fun.
      T & D

  22. Celeste

    My Mom started a lemon tree over 30 years ago from a seed. As it grew she transplanted it into bigger and bigger pots and trimmed it regularly. Eventually it got so big my Dad had to build a sort of wagon to wheel it in and out of the garage for the winters. (They live in South Dakota and winter is not a pleasant time for man nor citrus tree!) It now bears fruit regularly. Actually the year my mom passed away it had over 70 lemons on the branches. It’s beautiful and a real traffic stopper when it’s got fruit on it. People will stop and ask if it’s real. I’ve never known anyone else to have a lemon tree in S. Dakota. But would love to hear if there is.

    1. Jodi List

      We live in Yankton and just purchased a lemon tree (his name is Cletus) this summer. It has plenty of fruit – hoping it continues to grow. When do they start changing from green to yellow? Thx!

  23. Debbie

    Don’t forget about Mexican Lime trees! For the beer drinkers these small trees are a hit.

  24. Elizabeth Rall

    I live in a climate where it gets below freezing about 15 days a winter. I bring it in under an overhang and I put a string of Christmas tree lights over the soil/mulch and that warms the soil just enough to keep it from freezing.

  25. Melissa

    Back in 2012 Rebecca mentioned the problem of lemons barely growing and then turning black and falling off. I am having the same problem with a lemon tree that was gifted to me when a friend left town. It’s been on my sunny deck for about a year now, and it’s still in the original, very large container. It had fruit which matured and we harvested it back in October. I live in San Francisco and we had an inordinately sunny winter. This spring it is flowering profusely, but the fruit starts are black. It’s still creating new flowers too. I’d like for this mystery lemon tree to flourish, but it has me worried. Has anyone encountered the problem of black fruit starts? They’re about the size of a navy bean, if that helps. Thanks so much in advance.

    1. Kevin

      I know this is an old post and wonder if you’ll see my reply, but is your tree being pollinated? If not naturally, try using a small, paintbrush to pollinate it with.

    2. Theresa

      Melissa, don’t be overly concerned about the tiny lemon starts that blacken and fail. As long as your tree looks healthy and is producing abundant blossoms, rest assured that all is well. The tree is simply allowing a die-off of lemons it cannot support into maturity. It is a natural selection process that prevents it from over-producing to its detriment. Should all of those lemons survive, their weight as they ripen may over-burden the limbs and damage the tree. You are obviously providing a great growing environment or it wouldn’t be producing at its current rate. Might consider backing off a bit on your fertilizer though. Enjoy your lemon tree!

  26. Jane C

    When mulching, do you mulch all the way to the stem of the tree?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We usually leave a couple inches of breathing space around the trunk.

  27. Carol

    Make sure that the seeds you use, if growing from seeds, are from organic lemons! The ‘regular’ ones are almost always treated with something that disables it from bearing fruit although it might grow and be a beautiful tree. Also, those seeds can be GMO or hybrids which won’t produce fruit.
    Nancy, I too, wish that those from colder states would weigh in. I live in Oregon. Our winters are usually frequented by several low (think 16*-19*) cold periods that can last up to two weeks, and summers that usually get upward into the 100’s. …. Quite a range! It would be nice to have some help regarding these climates when reading such a post, but it is quite hard to cater to everyone in every climate possible. As the writers have stated many times: check with your LOCAL nursery for the best guidelines.

    1. Chetty

      Hi Carol,
      I live in Bend, and brought home a lemon tree from Tucson. I kept it inside over the winter, and have it in my yard during the summer. It has lemons on it now, and its also getting more blooms. I’m hoping that this winter the lemons will be ready to pick.

  28. DJ

    I grew one from lemon seeds. Just soak for a few days and plant (several – since you can’t be sure which ones will take root). BOOYA!! The End.

  29. Gaile

    How long from when the flowers first come on till the lemons are ready to pick. I have had fruit on my lemon tree since September & it is only just turning yellow but not ready to pick yet. It is in a pot in the front garden, I am near Bundaberg Queensland. I have had mulch around the top of the pot & when is the best time to re-pot?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Usually it seems like it take 6-8 to go from flower to ripe fruit. Not sure if there is necessarily a best time to replant. Probably at least not when the weather is particularly hot. Here’s some info on transplanting. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  30. kim wargo

    my lemon tree’s lemons are green and have been for months. is this normal or did the nursery screw up and give me a lime tree by mistake. we got it at the end of summer and it bloomed, fruited and has not changed since. it is now march. when do I pick these fruits. im new to this as you can tell

    1. White on Rice Couple

      It takes at least a few months for the fruit to go from green to yellow. If the fruit size and shape is correct, you should be fine. If you scratch the rind it and smell it, it should give you an indication of which fruit it is too.

  31. Nancy

    Not to be disparaging, but I grew up in San Diego county. How hard could it be to grow ANY citrus there? We had everything growing in our yard; it wasn’t rocket science. Now that I live in Iowa, I’d like to know any suggestions from people who don’t live in the perfect citrus-growing climate of California or Florida. Anyone from the Dakotas having great success? You are the ones we need to hear from.

  32. Jennylecour

    I need help.i have 11 years old calamansi tree from philippines ,it s a family of lime,lemon tree ,but I never get any fruits yet.i live in Illinois .i put in the winter I’m growing them in the pots they 2 tree at
    Lease 7 foot tall .pls. Help me I love gardening .thanks I’m advance

  33. Tim

    I’m about to grow a Eureka in a container – a 17 gallon washtub, which I figure should be big enough, but will it be too shallow? Proper containers that size cost a fortune! I plan on covering the bottom (which I’ll drill holes in) with gravel and using a good quality potting mix. It will be on my balcony which has about a 12′ ceiling. How big can I expect it to get? I have to be able to move it when I move (I’m a renter).

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Sorry, we don’t know quite enough to give you a proper answer. Our guess is you’d be fine. We started a semi-dwarf in a pot when we were renting and it only got to about 4′ in the 3 years we were there. Easy to move when we bought our first place. The shallowness, we don’t have an answer. Best to ask an expert, maybe someone at a local nursery or on a good gardening forum. Good luck.

  34. Sharon

    My lemon tree leaves have little white bugs on them and the leaves turn black. I’ve sprayed it with Sevin Spray hoping that will get rid of the insects. Any advice??

    1. White on Rice Couple

      I’d take a leaf or two into your local nursery and have them look at it. The white bugs sound like white flies. Start by giving your tree a good strong hose down.

  35. Heather @ French Press

    this is gorgeous, we’re the only house on the street, without a lemon tree in the yard, and I would love to do one on the deck! thanks for the inspiration

  36. Clare Rannigan

    My husband pulled two sprouted lemon seeds out of our compost pile last year and planted them. They have flourished, are about 12 inches tall and one has a bud at the top of the plant. As the seeds were from lemons bought at the grocery I’m guessing they are from commercial, standard trees. I live in zone 7 so will have to bring them inside when the temperatures drop. Do you know if they can be pruned and when this should be done in case the plant gets too large?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Since you’ll probably be keeping them in a pot, that will restrict their size some, but you’ll probably still want to prune to keep them to a manageable size. We’ve read that citrus don’t like a hard pruning (doing a lot at once), and you can prune just about anytime. Here is a good discussion on pruning citrus – click on link for discussion.

  37. Diane

    I have a question that I hope you can answer. I have a Meyer Lemon tree on my patio. The lemons always seem to want to grow heavily on one side and the tree wants to topple over. I’ve tried staking it but the stake just isn’t strong enough in the container and it also leans that way. Any ideas?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      You might have to prune the heavy side of the tree back to help even it out, just don’t do too much at once, particularly this time of year or else you may shock the tree. Sometimes we’ll support a heavy branch with a thick stake directly under the branch so it can rest on top of the stake. That’s the best I can think of at the moment. Hope it helps.

  38. Tricia

    About four years ago my daughter (3 yrs at the time) wanted to plant lemon seeds from a store bought lemon. I did it to humor myself, please her and just see what would happen. We ended up with four small trees. Lost one this past winter, but today I moved the larger of the remaining three to a larger pot and kept the other two in the other pot. We live in Iowa, so the trees go outside in the summer and inside in the winter. We’ve never had blooms or fruit. Will we ever? I love the scent of the leaves when I rub the leaf between my fingers. It gives off a wonderful lemon scent!

    FYI…I ran across your site from a Pinterest post. 🙂

    1. Carol

      You might have bought a lemon from the ‘regular’ store, and it is basically a neutered plant: incapable of bearing fruit even though it grows well. Try using an organic seed: these will usually bear fruit as they are not hybrids or GMO seeds and will fruit. Good luck

    2. White on Rice Couple

      It is hard to say for certain if it will fruit or not. Usually they should be blooming by now, but it might need another year or so. Make sure to fertilize. We’ve had great luck with liquid kelp/seaweed extract. The trees all seem to love it. Good luck.

  39. Ruth Ragno

    Is it normal for the Eureka and Myer new fruits to fall off? FEW of mine does…and if it isn’t, then, what did I do wrong. I start a Calamodin from a seed and they are all growing in the pots. How long would it start flowering and bear fruits. Thank you!!


    1. White on Rice Couple

      Usually our citrus will drop fruit if not getting enough water or if in a pot and the soil is getting depleted of nutrients. Make sure to water and mulch well. As far as the calamodin, we don’t have an answer. We’ve bought ours in a 5 gallon size at the nursery and it was already fruiting. I think a lot will depend on your growing conditions and care.

  40. Hannah

    Hi, I was wondering were you got your seeds. Did you just get them out of a lemon at the grocery store? Or did you buy them?

    Also, do you leave it out through the whole winter, or do you bring it in? And if you leave it out, what zone do you live in?

    It would be really helpful! Awesome idea!

    1. Ruth Ragno

      Hannah, I saved the calamondin seeds from the fruit itself. I put it in a plastic cup with 1/4 cup of water to root…then plant it in small pot. I just transplanted into a bigger pot later. I live in Florida and I just cover them during hard feeze. My citrus in a pot are in my covered Lanai. Goodluck if you decide to grow it from a seed. I enjoyed seeing it grow…I dont know how long I have to wait to see it bear some fruits.

    2. White on Rice Couple

      We didn’t grow ours from seed, but bought it at a nursery in the gallon size. We are in Southern California, so there is no need for us to bring it in. Those who bring it in do so to protect it from freezing. Bring it in before the first frost and take it back out after things warm up again. I know some people will give it some “fresh air” during the winter on days it warms up and then bring it back in again at night, but it depends on how convenient that is for you.

  41. Bre Warren

    I was wondering where is the best place to purchase a lemon tree? I really want to grow one!


    1. Lea Markum

      When I lived in California I became familiar with citrus trees from Four Winds growers. Their trees were in all the local nurseries. Since I moved to Tennessee the nurseries don’t carry citrus, so I sent for a kaffir lime from them and it arrived perfectly, grew very quickly, and I got fruit the 2nd season (even though it was the leaves I wanted). I have had a potted Meyer lemon for years here, and just bring it in the house during the winter. I place it in a sunny location and prune it back to make it more manageable in the house. Last year I had about 50 lemons. It is flowering right now for the next crop of fruit and makes the house smell nice. I just use the dry citrus/avocado food and it works fine.

    2. White on Rice Couple

      If you can find a good local nursery, that is where we recommend. We have a few down here in So Cal we love.

      1. Kelly L.

        Is there any chance you would consider sharing your favorite nurseries? I’m also in So Cal (east Ventura County), and would love to check ’em out!! Thanks for your thorough, informative, encouraging blog!

  42. Deborah

    I tried growing lemon trees last year some produce one lemon an it looked like a bell pepper are they suppose to look like that.


  43. ZEE

    Would these trees bloom in a 10b zone? I live in Miami and would love one of these, but I noticed that you said the cold weather makes it bloom. Maybe it would have the opposite effect in our heat?

  44. sandra mcneill

    would this work with an orange tree as well

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We are pretty sure it would with a dwarf variety, but you might want to double check with a local nursery before buying your tree.

  45. Margie Fuller

    I would like to have more than enough lemons, strawberries, blueberries and apples, for my family (and for me to use when baking items to sell, but not so many that I can’t keep up with them. Would you have a suggestion for how many I should plant? I am a family of 3.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We would love to help, but that is almost impossible for us to easily reply. It all depends on your growing conditions, how you prune, how adept of a gardener you are, the variety you grown, etc… Too many variables. The best would be to chat with your local nurseries, keeping in mind how much you envision quantity wise of being able to use. Personally we can never grow enough of any of those.

      1. June

        I live in zone 9 Northern calif. Got a dwarf myer lemon. Took it several yrs to bloom but now
        I have great lemons around oct nov. The less you mess with it the better. I use the dry citrus
        fertilizer on it. I just tried planting some of the seeds like they showed on pintrest . It took a couple weeks but they came up. I have 9 little trees now.

  46. Missy

    Thanks for sharing. I have a lemon and a lime in containers and they don’t do too well. I appreciate the tips and look forward to healthier trees.

  47. spadge

    On the subject of removing the tree from the pot without damaging the roots if you ever had to… smash the pot and then lift it out as best you can from the pieces, if you love your little lemon tree as much as I do, the tree is precious, the pot is just another mass produced pot, not worth damaging the tree for!

  48. Cherstin Holtzman

    I love your site! I came across the lemon container on Pinterest and wanted to ask a question. I live in southwest Florida–probably the most suitable climate for growing citrus–but I have a Meyer lemon tree I am keeping in a container as well. I can remember as a small child one of my (most dreaded) household chores being to go outside and pick up the fruit that had fallen off the citrus trees we had in our yard, and I hated it! 😉 I had always heard the container would dwarf the tree a bit, and it is much easier to prune and keep at a tidy height. Anyway, my question is this: does one need to have two or more citrus trees in order for the trees to pollinate one another, or is having one sufficient? My lemon tree is probably going on three years and we have yet to notice any fruit. I’m beginning to wonder if we should add a second in order for pollination to occur?

    Thanks for any insight, and thanks for a wonderful website! You’ve provided so much information, and I love that people commenting are enthused about trying citrus as well! 🙂

    1. White on Rice Couple

      As far as we know, most of the varieties we’ve seen have been self-pollinating so you wouldn’t need a second tree. However in our books, you can never have too much citrus! 😉
      T & D

  49. Renee

    Great info, thank you. I have two Meyer Lemon trees in pots that we’ll bring inside in the winter (we live in south-eastern WI). We also added three Fig trees and one Olive tree.

  50. Viviane

    Thanks! I found a pot that I like but it’s 14’H, 18’W and 18’D, do you think that would do or it’s too small for growing my lemon tree? Thank you!

  51. Viviane

    Your Eureka tree is absolutely beautiful! I’m moving to a new apartment and have been researching about it, and came across your post. I can’t wait to have my Eureka lemon tree on the balcony. Where did you get the terra cotta pot? I’m looking for something similar. Thanks!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Thanks! Good luck on getting your tree. It has been a while, but I believe we either got the pot from one of two local places: The Plant Stand or Roger’s Gardens.

  52. Rebecca

    I have a myerson lemon tree and my lemons barely start growing than they turn black and fall off can’t figure out wht we are doing wrong, too much water or not enough?

  53. Lisa McCormack

    For the past five years I’ve raised the two tiny lemon trees (12-inches high with a tiny root ball) I bought from a vendor at the Miami Airport into 4-foot trees that have never bloomed and, hence, never borne fruit. What’s wrong? In plastic pots appropriate for their size, they appear happy, with lots of yearly growth and tons of dark green leaves and sharp thorns. I leave them outside from spring until the first frost. I live in Washington, DC. Will they ever bear fruit?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      There could be several things causing this. This garden forum has very knowledgeable people explaining several of the potential causes. It is possible to raise and get fruit out of lemon trees by moving them indoors during chances of freezing temperatures, especially if the trees appear healthy under your current care. We only have experience growing the citrus here in So Cal, so don’t have any definitive answers for you from our knowledge. Good luck!

      T & D

  54. Donna Geary

    I loved your photos! I have had a patio Lemon tree for about 6 years. It only grows about 6 or so lemons a year and they never fully ripen. The leaves are beautiful and it looks healthy.

  55. Michele Smith

    Hi I came across your blog from pinterest. Your tree is gorgeous and I thank you for all of your tips. I’m looking to buy my husband a lemon tree as a gift when he comes home from deployment in april. Is there any place that you would reccomend buying from online? I’ve only found Meyer lemon trees.
    Thank you!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Michele,

      Thank you so much. We haven’t ordered any trees online yet, but have heard good things about Four Winds. On a garden forums we’ve seen a few others mentioned as well. If you have a local nursery, even Home Depot or Lowes nearby, they may be able to special order you one as well. Good luck.

  56. helen seaman

    Hi there, I’m from Adelaide South Australia and have a eurika lemon tree in half a wine barrel. I was wo.dering how big should our drainage holes be. We put about 6 in and they are about 2cms in diameter. Is this big enough. We layered gravel first then a mix of sand and gravel then a layer of potting soil mixed with mulch.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Helen,
      That is about the same as what we drill into our bigger pots. Occasionally after several years you may have the roots plug the holes, but with the wine barrels it is easy to drill an extra hole a few cm from the bottom on the side if that happens. Good luck with your tree! We had to add an extra Eureka lemon to the garden last year because we love them so much. The oil content in the rind is so much fresher than anything we can buy, even from the best markets.
      PS. We’ve found with the trees in our wine barrels that we need to water them a bit more than a ceramic pot. The water will evaporate from the soil faster.
      T & D

  57. lauri

    I love your tree! I’ve had one in a pot for about 4 years now, and every year we get about 3 or 4 wonderful lemons. How do you get soooo many lemons on your tree. I would kill for that many! The few we do get are the best tasting lemons I’ve ever had, but just not enough of them. We live in Kansas and it gets very hot in the summer and we bring it inside in the winter in a sunny location. We fertilize and water regularly, and yet skimpy lemon production. Any tips?

  58. Steve

    The container you chose is wonderful! Any the lemon tree looks awesome. Do you remove any old soil to make room for new mulch?

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Thanks so much. To answer your question, no we didn’t take out any old soil. Everytime we mulch, we just add it on top. Since it is mostly leaves from our trimmings, they tend to not add too much volume to the soil as they break down. 🙂

  59. Rinia Cruz

    beautiful trees.I bought a meyer lemon tree a few months ago ,it had six lemons ,it still has the has flowered several times,but no more lemons.It gets plenty of sun i fertilize it once a month and plenty of water inspite of the drought. what am i doing wrong? thank you for sharing

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Rinia,
      I wouldn’t worry about your tree yet. As long as the leaves seem healthy, is should be fine. Sometimes they just take a little time to settle in. We usually don’t expect much out of our new trees for the first year or so. We tend to look at our trees’ progress in terms of years instead of months. Just keep watering, fertilizing, and making sure it gets a lot of sun. We’ve had great luck with using B vitamin to get the root structure settled and happy. Good luck!

  60. Nfeldman

    Love the post! Great tree! Thanks for sharing. I live in west central FL and two pink lemon trees (4 year) just arrived and I plan to container grow them. They came in 24 gal container and I’m planting them in a much larger pot (not sure of the size but they drop right in – they will stay outside all year (no problem in FL). I appreciate your notes about hydration and mulch. I thought had some great prune/feed/grow tips. I’ll keep you posted. I never knew there was such a thing as pink lemons!

    I’m waiting on two Nagami Kumquat’s (3 year), which I’m not sure if I’m going to put in pots or the ground yet. I can’t wait to see what the pink lemon’s look like in Dec/Jan. Thanks for your site.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We’ve kept our kumquat (Nagami as well) in a pot and it has always done ok. Fruits well, is happy with the sun and drip irrigation, but has been slow growing. It might do better in the ground with good soil, but our clay-scape doesn’t help. If it isn’t in a large planter, we are often better off keeping them in pots.

  61. Container Vegetable Gardening

    beautiful lemons you got there. Thanks for sharing your container gardening tips on growing lemon trees.

  62. Rachelle

    What a gorgeous tree! It absolutely reminds me of our trips to Italy. <3 We are also in SoCal and have a dwarf Eureka, as well. How large of a pot is it that you're using? I love the urn shape and would be happy to have ours permanently potted near our patio. Also, how did you set your drip line? Does it run through the bottom and up to the surface? We hope to have our tree looking as happy as yours!

    1. White On Rice Couple

      Hi Rachelle,
      Thanks! We love our lemon tree. We think it is about 26″ diameter. The urn shape is pretty, but will make is almost impossible to transplant if we ever wanted to. That is always something to consider when planting in urn shapes. Drip line is coming up through to bottom, plus we’ve drilled extra large holes in the base to keep the roots from clogging up the holes (which will inevitably happen with the the stock drainage holes.) Hope that helps.

      1. DVG

        I have a lemon is a similar-shaped pot. Mine was supposedly a dwarf Eureka lemon, but it is 8 feet tall now. Anyway, I wanted to point out the obvious, which is that you can always transplant the tree by breaking the pot. That’s my plan should that ever become necessary. I am in SoCal, too, FWIW.

        1. White on Rice Couple

          Very true. Although we have a had time bringing the hammer to a $200 pot. But the tree;s health does come before the pot.

          1. Divine D.

            Todd and Diane – right after reading this blog a couple days ago I ran out to Home Depot to get my long desired dwarf Eureka lemon. I went to a couple nurseries to find my perfect blue glazed huge pot. I did come across one exactly as yours – its true, its beautiful and over 2 feet high, like a water carrying jar of olden days – who would bring down the hammer to a $225 pot?!!

  63. Tina

    The tree looks beautiful! We just bought one about a month ago and are keeping our fingers crossed it will survive! I was wondering about the watering. We don’t have the ability for a drip system, would it make sense watering twice a day? We are in the Santa Clarita area and temps are generally in the 80s to 90s right now and very dry. Also, what about fertilizing?

    Thank you!

    1. White On Rice Couple

      Hi Tina,
      We have our drips set to every other day in the summer. Since yours are so young, once a day should be more than enough to help get them established. Most all citrus, especially if in pots, love being fed. We mostly use the liquid organic fertilizers ’cause any solid organic fertilizers will have the pups’ snouts digging them up. We fertilize about once every 2 months and that works well with our established plants. They probably would have benefited from more frequent feedings when they were younger, though.

  64. Roxana

    I’m looking at planting some fruit trees in container this fall. How old was the lemon tree when you bought it? And how long before it bore fruit? I also noticed on your website that you have peach trees. Did those bear fruit in the first year or does it take some time before they develop? I’d love any insight you have on this. I love your website! Keep the great blogs and photos coming!

    1. White On Rice Couple

      We’ve purchased several lemon trees over the years (2 Eureka, 1 Meyer). All were in 5 gal. containers and they were all producing fruit from the beginning. The peach trees fruit, but only our white peach has put out any tasty fruit over the last couple years. We are still trying to figure out one of the garden’s original trees (a peach) which developed nice fruit the first year we move in, then nothing very tasty in all of the following years. So Cal isn’t the best area for peach trees but you can still get some nice fruit each year.

      Good luck gardening and thanks for the compliments!

      T & D

  65. Stephanie

    I love the smell of the lemon trees. Check out…Lots of great info.

  66. Barbara@BabyBloggingBoomer

    My dad used to grow lemon and orange trees in wine keg (halves). I miss the sight and smell. I live in an apartment and don’t have any outside area but I want to share this post with my friends on my blog. Houston, where I live, is a great place for container gardening. I might just try growing one in front of my window. Who knows. I really haven’t lost much if it doesn’t grow. Thanks for the reminder about container gardening and bring back sweet thoughts of my dad.

    1. White On Rice Couple

      We love using the halved wine barrels for pots. Our sideyard “nursery” is filled with them giving our seedlings their beginnings. Thanks for sharing the memories.

      T & D

  67. Thanh

    I had my lemon tree in the pot forever and it won’t grow! It’s not dead, it’s just doesn’t do anything. More water?

    1. White On Rice Couple

      There are a lot of factors which could cause it. Not enough water, it’s gotten root bound in the pot (pot size has limited it’s growth to what you have now), the soil in the pot doesn’t agree with your tree, not enough sun… I’d start by watering it consistently for a time and add about 2″ of mulch on top of the roots. See if the tree starts to get revitalized. If not maybe move it to a different spot where the sun exposure improves or maybe repotting.

  68. Sportsgirl

    The tree is so lovely! What size pot are you using? (approx height)

    1. White On Rice Couple

      It is probably a little over 2′ heigh.

  69. Kate

    What a beatiful tree! It looks great in that spot in your yard. My mom has a dwarf Meyer lemon that she planted in a pot and keeps inside year round. She lives in Colorado and enjoys lemons in the winter when it’s snowy and cold outside.

  70. bogdan mardari

    But do you do something special during the winter? How come the plant oesn’t die during the winter?

    1. Joani

      I live in a climate where the temperature drops into the single digits during the winter, so I move my potted lemon tree into the garage during the colder months. I use a couple of plant lights, turning them on at night when the temperature drops and off during the day. I water as needed. I have the tree on furnature dolly so I can move it outside on warm days. It isn’t perfect, but it keeps the tree alive, and I get tons of lemons.

    2. White On Rice Couple

      Bogdan- we live in Southern California and our winters are very mild. Citrus trees do very very well in our area. We’re very fortunate!

      1. Ciresemik

        Would something like this work in a colder climate if it were taken inside in the winter? I have always wanted a lemon and/or orange tree but live in Indiana.

        1. Gabriele Klier

          I leave in Boston. My lemon trees were started from lemons i bought at my grocery store. Out took about 5 years but i have my first lemons growing. In the summer they are outside in the writer i bring them inside.

        2. Kim

          We live in an area where it gets in the teens a few times a year (southwest Georgia). I put my glazed pot of dwarf Myers Lemon on top of casters and push it under the overhang of my patio when it is expected to freeze. I’ve got probably 15 lemons on it now; haven’t had any since I bought it. Been feeding it once a month with dilute 20-20-20, 1 teaspoon/gallon water. Every other month I add 1tsp of Epsom salts. I have finally figured out what makes it happy!

          1. Renee

            I recently read that lemon trees like Epsom salt but it didn’t specify how much to give it and when. I’ll have to try this. Do you dissolve the Epsom salt in the watering can?

            1. Renee

              Kim and Diane,
              Diane, please describe your drip irrigation system. I’m trying to figure out how much water is too much without killing my trees. Thank you!!

              BTW, Diane, my fiancee have been talking about starting a foodie blog for a while now and your blog inspired me to get it going–thank you!

          2. Shiloh

            1 tsp of what in your 20/20/20 recipe. I keep getting lemon buds, but they fall off before they mature.

            1. Kim

              Sorry, I didn’t realize these comments were for me. I use Peters Professional All Purpose Plant Food (which is 20-20-20) per gallon of water to feed my Myers Lemon. Every other month I add one teaspoonful of Epsom salts to this same gallon of 20-20-20 mixture.

        3. White on Rice Couple

          We’ve known quite a few people who will winter their citrus indoors. It is a fairly common practice in Italy. You can even keep them outside if you take the proper protective measures. Here’s a link talking about that. There will be some varieties which will do better than others, so make sure you research to find the ones which will do the best for you. Good luck!
          T & D

  71. viggie

    Beautiful tree. Mine is just a baby fresh from the nursery, but sure enough it flowered first month and has one sad little lemon clinging on, and is busy flowering again.

  72. Angela

    I agree that the choice of pot is great, the very structured urn shaped pot against the informal branching of the lemon tree. Did you use dwarf stock or just a regular size tree?

    Also, thanks for the great tip to add a layer of mulch to containers. My little potted kumquat tree will be forever grateful to you!

    1. White On Rice Couple

      This was one of our original trees we bought when we had a tiny back patio, so it is only dwarf stock. We love the lemons off of it so much that we’ve added a second Eureka (this one’s a standard) and created a planter for it.
      After we started mulching all of our citrus in planters or pots with cuttings from our hedges, we’ve noticed they all have been much happier. Since so much of their root structure stays shallow, they really benefit from the added protection and moisture. Hopefully your kumquat will be exploding with fruit this year!

  73. Fern @ Life on the Balcony

    Great choice of pot! The combination of the rustic pot and the beautiful tree is really stunning. It’s amazing that a relatively small tree can produce so much fruit!

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