(If this question is not on topic can someone please direct me to the proper
Three years ago on a whim I put a few lemon seeds in a pot from a lemon I
bought at the grocery store (just a regular lemon, not organic or anything).
A tree did come up but after three years it's only about 6 inches high. I've
also struggled keeping it alive as it has almost died on a few occasions. I
live in Victoria BC Canada and I keep it inside for the winter and outside
for the summer. I have also never changed its soil. I water it twice a week
and feed it generic plant food sporadically.
I have never inquired how to care for this. Is it futile trying to grow
this tree. Since the seed came from a grocery store lemon, which I bet is
from a genetically modified super tree, will this tree bear any fruit at
all? Also I would like some tips about watering, soil, food etc. any help
Thank you very much
Potted lemon trees tend to remain stunted no matter what, but you ought to
be able to get it to four or six feet. If it had liked its conditions it
should have been a slender two feet tall by now, though even doing their
best seed-grown trees can take a decade to produce any lemons.
Periodically stressing it (as you've done if it has had its life saved a
couple times already) will may be all that stopped it from growing much.
But here is some second-hand advice & other possibilities:
Citrus trees require very long very hot summers to grow properly. Some
varieties are winter-tolerant down to zone 8 to be outside year-round, but
they'll be stunted without long summers. If you bring it indoors by
autumn, & put it in a warm spot in an east-facing window, with extra
full-spectrum or growlux lighting so that it thinks summer is still in
full sway, then it ought to put on some growth. They want sun morning AND
afternoon; indoors it won't get both without artificial lighting added, &
depending on position outdoors it might not be happening while outdoors
Lemons also like rather poor soil. Seedlings like to get started in a
normal potting soil which I assume you used, but at some point it will
prefer a medium with more gritty sand than organic content. You may be
stunting it with too much fertilizer. A year's dose of feeding should be
given in staggered small amounts three times a year, slow-release. There
are other fertilizing options/recommendations, but start with a
citrus-specific fertilizer & follow its instructions. One option is a
citrus fertilizer in stick or tablet form that releases fertilizer slowly
for up to a year. The main thing is not too much at one time & not too
Watering three times a week might be fine if it is getting lots of
sunlight & using lots of water or there are low-humidity conditions. It
could otherwise be too much. Soil must drain extremely well, & the top
one-inch of soil should dry out completely before the next watering.
There is also a tendency for seed-grown lemons to develop a long taproot.
When moving to a larger pot with sandier soil, the taproot should be
trimmed to encourage more sideways roots or it will never become a good
potted specimen capable of making full use of the soil it is in.
A friend's lemon tree has been grown "wrong" in normal indoor sunlight
north-facing window for years with only occasional patio experience in
summer. It has just about outgrown her living room & touches the ceiling.
It was a grafted hardy pot-trained specimen to start with, but she did
nothing special that they allegedy require to do so well. On the other
hand it doesn't flower or fruit, probably because it gets half the light
it would require, & it might have grown tall & a bit leggy because it was
struggling to find more light, though it looks good even so. Sometimes
it's all just dumb luck.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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