Outside, the frozen ground may be covered in snow and the trees long barren of leaves. But imagine, for a second, that inside there’s a co-existent tropical environment, where a small lemon tree produces the sweetest smelling flowers and lush golden fruit.
Yes, it is possible to grow citrus inside. But there are a few tricks to it.
Lemon Tree Varieties
Citrus x limon trees can grow up to 40 feet, so obviously it’s important to consider this in choosing the type you’ll grow indoors. Dwarf varieties are recommended; they will typically grow to no more than four feet, making them ideal for containers. Citrus x Meyeri, or Meyer Lemon Tree, in dwarf form is very popular because of the fruit’s preference among chefs. A cross between a lemon and mandarin orange, the Meyer is sweet with a thinner skin that makes it easy to peel.
Other lemon tree varieties suitable for indoors include dwarf Ponderosa, Lisbon and Eureka lemon trees.
Grown indoors, lemon trees will bear fruit unpredicatably. They produced beautiful, fragrant flowers and then the fruit develops, taking sometimes several months to mature. You won’t get an abundance of fruit from each tree, but it will be steady throughout the year. Most lemon trees begin bearing fruit after two or three years.
Lemon Tree Care
A lemon tree thrives naturally in humid, tropical weather, which is important to keep in mind if you’re growing one indoors. They do very well in a south window and need at least five hours of direct sunlight per day in order to bloom. The tree should be planted in a large, sturdy container, a half to a third larger than the root ball. Soil should be light, and slightly acidic. Fertilize and water regularly; soil should be kept slightly moist, but not soggy.
Lemon trees can be brought outdoors in the warm summer months and set on a deck or patio, and then brought back in in the fall. As long as the plant is healthy and properly cared for, pests such as aphids will be kept to a minimum.