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Grow Your Own Lemon Tree From Lemon Seeds

When life gives you lemons, grow a tree! We have easy step-by-step instructions to start your own fragrant fruit-bearing tree indoors.

How easy it to grow a lemon tree? Save some seeds and find out! During the winter months, these abundant fruit trees can grow indoors and will produce beautiful blooms that will make the house fragrant.

First, make sure the seeds you use are from organic lemons (non-organic lemons often contain non-sprouting seeds). Then, a little potting soil, some compost, a planting pot, a seedling pot, and a sunny indoor location are you need to complete the picture. Just follow these easy steps!

How To Grow A Lemon Tree From Seeds

Lemon - Olive Oil

Step 1. Moisten the soil so that it is damp all the way through, and then fill the planting pot to about an inch below the rim.

Step 2. Cut open your lemon and remove a seed. The best way to clean it? Simply suck on it, but do not let it dry — the seed must remain moist when it’s buried.

Step 3. Plant it about half an inch down in the middle of the pot, and then seal the soil directly above it with a light spray of water.

Step 4. Cover the pot with clear plastic wrap, seal the edges, and poke small holes in the top before placing it in direct sunlight. (Remember to keep hydrating. Never let the soil dry out, but don’t spray too heavily, either.)

About two weeks later, a seedling will emerge. Take the plastic covering off, but continue to keep the soil damp. Make sure the young plant gets eight full hours of light per day and interment doses of organic fertilizer as needed.

Lemon - Seed

When the plant outgrows its seedling pot, put it in a planting pot and make sure to repeat the watering steps above. Older plants need less water than their younger counterparts but do keep the soil moist and fertilized nonetheless.

After their third year, healthy lemon trees begin to produce fruit. One that happens, a tree can yield a harvest consistently every year under the right climate and soil conditions. After a tree starts blossoming, it takes 4-12 months before a harvest, which usually takes place between summer and winter.

Once you have lemons, make lemonade, or these lemon cupcakes!

Michelle Nati is a freelance writer who worked in the entertainment industry for several years before before becoming a purveyor of oddities for Oddee.com. She has written for ApartmentShowcase.com, Complex Media, Time Out, Ranker, Mstarz, and a host of other websites. Her article, How To Feel Good Year Round appears in the 2018 Farmers' Almanac.

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Conor

Lemon be honest, if I wait 3 years for the plant to blossom the plant better not turn out to be a lemon…wait…exception in this case I hope it does.

Tina

If this article was done in 2017, why are we seeing it now?!? This is my first time seeing it. Why now?

Laura

Lemons grown from seed very, very often don’t bear fruits, you can wait 20 years and forever, but you’ll see no fruit. Thank you for confirming you don’t know zit about gardening, lemon trees and who knows what else. Shame on Farmers Almanac por publishing this.

Jasmine

Okay, first off the author specified to get an organic lemon. This is because non-organic lemons are grafted, which is why they don’t produce fruit from a seed. Organic lemons should, in theory, produce lemons eventually. This took about 3 minutes to google, but I also have experience with 3 lemon trees grown from store bought organic lemons that have started producing fruit. Secondly, there is absolutely no reason you need to be commenting so horribly. There is a person behind this article. Shame on you for commenting.

Chris Morris

It doesn’t say how to mix the soil with the compost. I know too much compost can burn it. So what is the ratio of compost to topsoil, please.

Chris Reynolds

Depends on the compost. A 50/50 mix is recommended. Nutrients will be used up over time so replenish at least yearly.

Edward Kimble

My experience, like the lady here from Kentucky, zone 4 is just not enough sunshine in wither for lemon. Grapefruit and oranges are marginal, kept a grapefruit alive for 30 years, never flowered, but the lemons all get to looking really, really sad ant then….. Kept one going for about 5 years but always needed supplemental lighting, Used to be, any police department or nosy neighbor with a cheap IR camera would pick that up and knock on your door looking for the pot farm, ha. With LED’s grow lights though, you might be able to grow lemons economically, 80% less power and 80% more usable light and you won’t get swatted by a nosy neighbor . Just sayin’. . I’m waiting for someone to add the genes from lemon, oranges, and grapefruit to our only northern citrus, Zanthoxylem americanum, prickly ash. Should be tasty. “When life gives you lemons,” you know what to do with them. good luck with that. Make Zanthoxylem piperitum legal in America now!! 🙂

Barbara West

I started some lemon seeds….one of them lived and is now about 2 feet tall. I took it out side once lastt summer and it picked up scale. I,absolutely have not been able to get rid of the stuff. Painted on alcohol, doused with insecticide and it just keeps coming back! Am about ready to throw the whole thing out. I use a ton of lemons so was looking forward to having my own!

Tricia

Even if you don’t get lemons the leaves are useful. I make fish in foil packets.
Put lemon leaves on bottom, fish salt and pepper and more lemon leaves. Seal up foil and grill or bake. Wonderful citrusy flavor. Don’t eat the leaves.
A couple of leaves in the teapot along with the tea bags is also excellent.

MARGARET

NEXT TIME I GO GROCERY SHOPPING I AM GOING TO GET SOME LEMONS AND TRY GROWING A FEW. I DO HAVE A GREEN HOUSE. MAYBE THEY STAY IN THERE. SOUNDS LIKE FUN.

Lori

I have a grapefruit tree that my Mom started at least 20 years ago that has never bloomed. I bring it in every winter and I thought it may need to be cross pollinated by another tree. Is this true, and also true for lemons? But I guess it would have to bloom first…

Don Whitt

I got my lemon tree in the mail, a twig sent from a nursery house. That was 43 years ago. As it grew bigger, I kept putting it in bigger pots until at last it was in a 30 gal. garbage can. I had nowhere else to go but in the ground with it. I made a 9 ft. high dome greenhouse for it, with electric heat. It has withstood winters here in North Alabama down to 2 degrees F. This year it yielded 572 huge lemons. It has over 500 lemons every Dec.- Jan. picking season. I really enjoy picking lemons.

Susan Higgins

Hi Don Whitt, Wow, that’s incredible. Thank you for sharing the story with us! We’d love to see a picture sometime!

Sandi Smith

My mom grew several seedlings from a lemon. One she wound up planting outside her Soddy Daisy Tennessee home. Even though we get snow some years and winter is always cold, that tree grew over ten feet tall. It took a few years, but it finally yielded a clothes basket full of very large fruit. The really bad freeze of a couple years ago finally killed that old thorny tree, but it was good while it lasted.

Laura Allen

Most citrus trees are grafted though, right?
So if you do this, you’ll be growing the less hardy fruiting stock without the benefit of the base stock it was grafted into.

Jo Hughes

I have grown several trees from seed but none of them have produced fruit. They are at least 4-5 years old. What am I doing wrong. Some of the trees are 10 feet tall.

Tina

If I remember correctly, it takes most trees around 7 years to produce anything. Since your trees are only 4 or 5 years old you should give them more time. Then if they don’t produce anything, they may not! If they were from a hybrid fruit they will not grow! So, make sure to get seeds from an original organic fruit if you want to plant them. Good luck with your fruit trees!

Tina

Oh! Sorry, I just realized that you posted that in 2017!!!!

Nancy Skipper

A footnote: I live in Western NC, so my Key Limes didn’t get the warmth & sun they are accustomed to in the Keys!

Nancy Skipper

I haven’t grown lemons befor, but I did grow a couple Key Limes from fruit seeds I got in Key Largo, Florida. It took about 2-3 years before I ever got blooms, and the first year I got a ‘bumper crop’ of about 8 Key Limes. After that the fruit yield decreased substancially each year, The trees were thorny also, but after the 2nd or 3rd year I clipped the thorns with nail clippers. When the thorns are young & tender you can pinch them off with your fingernails! I may try to grow a lemon tree this year. Thanks for the article!

Sherri Nicol

I agree with Kay (above). I planted seeds and finally after many years I have two lovely 5 1/2 – 6 foot tall trees. They are really nice trees, and we keep them in large pots outdoors in the spring and summer, and bring them in the basement in the winter. The trees are probably 11+ years old, and JUST this past summer, one of them produced two teeny-tiny green baby lemons. The lemons never really grew much over the summer and warmer part of the fall, so this winter we brought the trees in again and the two lemons are turning yellowish a bit, but haven’t really grown much. And like Kay above, my trees are SUPER thorny. Very hard to move around without getting stuck. I don’t think I’ll ever stop buying lemons at the grocery store, at this rate.

Kay

I did this years ago and it actually took about 17 years before my grocery store lemon tree finally decided it was going to blossom and produce fruit. Last summer was the first time it ever bloomed but the fruit I got off the tree was so good! Probably the most flavorful lemons I have ever had. Be very aware that a home grown lemon tree is also very thorny!
Just be patient for your results. I live on thew Texas Gulf Coast near Galveston in Zone 9. Hope this info is helpful to someone.

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