Growing a Lemon Tree Indoors
The weather here in Atlanta is starting to cool way down. We’re seeing temperatures in the 40’s at night and early in the morning, and that means the back porch is no place for a lemon tree right now. I knew from the start that growing citrus in this climate would mean moving my plant around, so I pot the pot on a small tray with wheels to make it easy to move in and out as the weather changed.
Now that it’s chilly, the lemon tree is living by the back door to the deck. I chose that spot because it gets decent sun, and so far the tree seems happy there! The lemon that was slightly yellow a few weeks ago is now bright yellow and ready to pick, and two other lemons are really coming into their own.
There are a few things to keep in mind when growing a lemon tree indoors (or any other citrus plants).
- Watering. You don’t want to over- or under-water, and a potted tree doesn’t take a ton of water once it’s established. It’s a good idea to put a towel under your pot when you water, so that any overflow doesn’t damage the floors.
- Sunlight. Your lemon tree needs lots of sun, so put it by a window that gets plenty of direct light during the day, and make sure you keep the blinds up.
- Pollinating. If your plant flowers while it’s inside, there are no bees to do the work for you! The website where I bought my lemon tree recommends that you use a cotton swab or small paint brush to gather the visible fluffy, yellow pollen grains on the ends of the flowers, then dab the pollen into the stigma (the sticky center of the flower) to pollinate. Do this on all of the flowers.
- Pruning. Trim off dead and frail branches, and also keep an eye out for “sucker” branches, which will sprout up near the base of the plant.
That’s really it! My lemons took what felt like ages to turn yellow, and you don’t want to pick them the moment they’re yellow – wait for them to get to a nice, deep shade before you pick them. I’m going to pick mine sometime next week, I think!