You can easily grow a lemon tree in your garden. Lemon trees have long lifespans and need minimal care. They react well to the most demanding of weather conditions. Although grown mostly for their fruit, lemon trees can also prove to be useful landscaping additions, with their perennial, expansive foliage. Follow these instructions to grow a lemon tree from seeds.
Step 1 - Prepare Lemon Seeds
It is vital that you use fresh seeds. Unlike common garden seeds, lemon seeds don’t germinate properly if dried or stored for long periods. Cut open the lemon and de-seed it. Wash the seeds repeatedly with water to remove the fruit residue (pulp). The natural sugars inside the lemon juice encourage fungal growth and delay seed germination.
Step 2 - Prepare the Potting Soil
You can plant the seeds directly into the garden soil. However, garden pests could prey upon them. Therefore, you should seed indoors. Dig up some garden soil and mix it with a few handfuls of organic compost. Lemon trees need basic nutrition, and compost ensures that the potting soil supports quick germination.
To secure against soil-based infections, you can sterilize the potting soil mix by heating it for 25 to 30 minutes in an oven. Add some perlite to the potting soil. The perlite increases the water-draining ability of the soil. Water the soil mix minimally to make it maneuverable; it should be moist, not wet.
Step 3 - Plant the Lemon Seeds
You can use small pots for planting the seeds. Plastic pots are slightly better at conserving the moisture of the soil. Fill at least 3/4 of each pot with the potting soil mix. Using your thumb, make an impression 1/2-inch deep in the moist soil. Place the seeds in the depression.
Cover up the seeds with the potting soil. Now wrap a plastic sheet around the pot. This step is critical because lemon seeds need a sustained, moisture-rich environment. The plastic wrapping protects loss of water due to evaporation.
Place the pot indoors, in a warm and shaded area. If you are planting during the dry season, place some moist towels around the pot. The moist towels maintain humidity around the pot.
Step 4 - Care for the Planted Lemon Seeds
Regularly examine the state of the potting soil. It should not be dry or too wet. You can water the pot, but ensure there is no waterlogging, as it can immediately kill the seeds.
After the first three days, the seeds need at least 10 to 12 hours of daily sunlight. In order to achieve these levels, rotate the pot from the indoor, shaded area to an outdoor location that is pleasantly sunlit.
The sprouting should begin in about 3 to 5 weeks. Let the new seedlings grow in the pot to develop stronger shoots. This usually takes about 3 months.
Step 5 - Transplant the Lemon Tree Seedlings
Once the seedlings are about 6 inches tall, you can transplant them. Prepare a spot in your garden that is partially shaded but has at least 4 hours of daily sunlight.
Using a spade, dig a hole that is slightly bigger than the pot. Extract the seedlings from the pots and place them in the prepared spots. You don’t need to fertilize the soil bed. Just ensure that the soil isn't dry.
The fruiting begins very late in lemon trees. Until then, maintain a weekly watering regimen and occasional pruning.