How to care for a lemon tree in winter

How to care for your lemon tree this winter

If you’re one of the many people who own a lemon tree, you know just how sturdy those trees can be. But despite its tenacity, harsh winters can still threaten your plant. While your lemon trees can survive a few chilly nights with the proper protection, too many freezing nights will decrease their likelihood of survival.


  • If you bring your tree indoors
  • If you keep your lemon tree outdoors

Depending on which zone you live in, you may be able to choose whether or not to keep your tree outdoors during the winter holidays. If your winters are colder and brisk at night, stay on the safe side and bring the tree indoors. If you live in a warmer climate, you can opt to keep your tree outside, but it would still be a good idea to take some extra precautions to protect it.

If you bring your tree indoors

If your lemon tree isn’t too tall or too wide, consider putting it in a container and bringing it indoors. Make sure to do this approximately six weeks before the first frost. You want your lemon tree to adjust to being indoors while the soil is still warm. When you bring your lemon tree in, place it in a location that gets full sunlight for half the day. Move it into the shade for the other half. During the last two weeks before the first frost, keep your plant in full shade. This will help your citrus plant adjust to the winter season without too much wear on the plant.

Before bringing your tree indoors, it’s important to wash it. Make sure to check the leaves and branches for critters like aphids. Aphids can be removed by hand or with a natural insecticide, essential oils, or neem oil. It’s important to remember to be patient. Even though aphids move slowly, they multiply quickly, and you might have to invest time into getting rid of them.

Locate the coolest — but not the coldest — location in your house that has the most sunlight. A good rule of thumb is to put it in an area with about eight hours of direct sunlight. South-facing windows work best. Park your tree there and prepare for the winter season.

Your lemon tree is going to need humidity because the air indoors tends to be a lot drier than outside air, especially if you live in a zone where it’s colder for a longer period. You’re even going to have to adjust how you water your lemon tree. While your tree remains inside, make sure you’re watering the root ball just enough. You don’t want to make it too moist. And don’t overwater or leave your tree in standing water.

If you keep your lemon tree outdoors

The first thing you’re going to want to do is harvest your ripe fruit before the frost hits. You’re going to continue to water throughout the winter by giving your tree about an inch of water from November to the early spring. Of course, this varies depending on where you live and if you see more rainfall during the winter, so make sure to do your research. When watering your tree outside, try to water the ground as opposed to the tree directly. By watering the soil, you’ll ensure that the water won’t freeze and the dirt underneath will stay warm.

You’re going to want to fertilize your tree, but only if the leaves aren’t a visible green. Most importantly, resist the urge to prune. I know it might be hard when your lemon tree is in a winter vegetation state, but pruning too early can cause more harm. If you happen to spy dead leaves, loose tree bark, or split branches, your tree might be experiencing frost damage. While you can treat and repair your tree once frost damage is confirmed, know you’ll have to treat the damage on the tree for up to two years!

If your leaves or branches are dead, make sure to dip your rounding shears in alcohol. You’re going to want to prune only what you need to prune. Try to prune no more than two inches away from the healthy part of your tree for optimal growth.

Using this guide, you’ll be able to keep your lemon tree healthy through the winter season, ensuring many more abundant harvests for years to come.

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How to Take Care of a Lemon Tree in the Winter | Home Guides

By Debra L Turner Updated December 14, 2018

Citrus trees are a tough, durable lot that can take a touch of cool weather. While frost is not likely to kill a healthy, mature lemon tree it can certainly inflict damage when temperatures drop below 29 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than 30 minutes. Winter hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11, citrus varieties vary in their tolerance to the cold. With the exception of the Meyer lemon (Citrus meyeri), lime and lemon trees are the most sensitive and least cold hardy citrus. With minimal effort, you can easily care for your lemon tree throughout the winter and protect it from seasonal damage.

Indoor Lemon Trees

  1. 1.

    Acclimate your outdoor container lemon tree to the environmental change before you move it inside for the winter. Do this about a month before the first predicted frost in your area. Leave the plant in direct sun during the mornings and move it to shade in the afternoons for two weeks. Then leave it completely shaded for two weeks.

  2. 2.

    Blast the lemon tree with the garden hose to remove any unseen pests before bringing it inside for the winter. Spray the foliage and trunk thoroughly. Allow the plant to drip dry. Treat the lemon tree with insecticidal soap to pick off any bugs you may have missed. Aphids and scale are common indoor citrus pests. The soap will kill most pests on contact. Follow the packaging instructions.

  3. 3.

    Move the lemon tree to the coolest room in your home. A temperature range between 55 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Provide as much bright natural sunlight as possible. Your lemon tree will perform best with at least eight hours of bright light daily. A partially heated sun room or bright south-facing window work well.

  4. 4.

    Put a shallow container of pebbles under the lemon tree’s pot to give the plant the extra humidity it needs indoors, where the air is much dryer. Cover the pebbles partially with water. Do not allow the bottom of the pot to sit in water.

  5. 5.

    Water your indoor lemon tree just enough to keep the root ball from completely drying out. Water thoroughly when the soil is dry 2 to 3 inches deep. Evenly moisten the surface soil, but do not allow it to become soggy or wet.

  6. 6.

    Feed the tree’s foliage with a balanced liquid fertilizer with micronutrients diluted to half-strength once monthly throughout the winter. Spray the foliage liberally to coat all surfaces well. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  7. 7.

    Wash the lemon tree’s leaf surfaces with a soft, damp cloth weekly. This will go a long way toward preventing pest infestations. Treat the plant periodically with insecticidal soap, if necessary, while it winters indoors. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for application frequency.

  8. 8.

    Use clean, sharp shears to prune out dead or damaged limbs immediately after the last expected frost for your area. Trim out any branches that rub or cross over each other to open the canopy up slightly and allow for air circulation. Snip some tips off to shape the lemon tree to your taste. Indoor and backyard citrus trees require minimal pruning.

Outdoor Lemon Trees

  1. 1.

    Pick ripe fruit from your outdoor in-ground lemon tree before frost hits. Temperatures below 30 degrees typically ruin most citrus fruits, with the exception of Lisbon and Eureka. These lemons have thicker protective rinds and can remain on the tree down to 28 degrees without sustaining damage.

  2. 2.

    Water outdoor lemon trees during the winter to protect the roots from damage. Moist soil freezes but will not harm the roots. A healthy tree is better prepared to deal with cold conditions than a dry, water-stressed plant. Give young trees about 1 inch of water weekly November through February in the absence of rainfall. Supply more mature trees 1 to 2 inches weekly September through February if there is no precipitation.

  3. 3.

    Feed the mature lemon tree a balanced citrus fertilizer with micronutrients if older foliage begins to lighten in color. Follow the packaging instructions. Do not fertilize the tree as long as leaves remain bright medium-green. Do not feed outdoor lemon trees under 2 years old during the winter months. Young plants are more susceptible to cold damage from foliage flushes than older specimens are.

  4. 4.

    Wrap the lemon tree’s trunk in several layers of cardboard to insulate it against frost. Cover the trunk from just below the main limbs to the ground. Secure the cardboard with duct tape. Leave it in place until the last frost in your region.

  5. 5.

    String small outdoor holiday lights throughout the lemon tree’s branches to help warm them before frost hits.

  6. 6.

    Watch for aphids and scale, which may attack your lemon tree’s foliage during the winter. Knock them off with a strong spray from the garden hose. Treat the tree with insecticidal soap as needed. Follow the packaging instructions for repeat applications.

  7. 7.

    Put off severe pruning until after the last predicted frost for your area. Do not be tempted to clip winter-damaged vegetation during the winter. Plan to prune in early spring, just after new growth emerges. You will be able assess frost damage and what needs to be pruned off more accurately following spring flush.

    Things You Will Need
    • Garden hose

    • Insecticidal soap

    • Shallow container

    • Pebbles

    • Balanced liquid fertilizer with micronutrients

    • Soft cloth

    • Clean, sharp shears

    • Balanced citrus fertilizer with micronutrients

    • Cardboard

    • Duct tape

    • Outdoor holiday lights


    If you have a sudden abundance of lemons on hand, squeeze and freeze the juice. Freeze some of it in ice trays to create tiny individual servings of the delicious juice for later use.

    Acclimate your lemon tree to the spring outdoor move gradually over a four-week period. Bring it in at night throughout the transition. Move it to a shady spot during the day for two weeks. Let it spend the following two weeks in full sun during the morning and in the shade during the hot hours. Locate the tree to its sunny summer spot thereafter.


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide -- Pruning

Writer Bio

A full-time writer since 2007, Axl J. Amistaadt is a DMS 2013 Outstanding Contributor Award recipient. He publishes online articles with major focus on pets, wildlife, gardening and fitness. He also covers parenting, juvenile science experiments, cooking and alternative/home remedies. Amistaadt has written book reviews for Work At Home Truth.

Care of a lemon tree in a pot at home

Care of a lemon tree at home is simple, but it is important to know some features of keeping citrus fruits in pots. Only then will it grow into a strong, beautiful and fruitful tree. The lemon tree in a pot is a spectacular, unpretentious and useful citrus crop in everyday life. It is represented by many varieties, but all of them do not create difficulties in maintenance. But there are a few nuances that should be considered when growing a lemon:


0.1.Lemon tree care summary

1.How to water a lemon?

2. Rules for feeding lemons

3. Rules for pruning lemons

4. Rules for transplanting lemons

5. Diseases and pests

  • Lemon is sensitive to the amount of moisture. He loves water and hardly tolerates even short-term droughts. Make it a rule to constantly water the tree, preventing the soil from drying out. Regular spraying will also be useful.
  • The plant needs an excess of sunlight. That is why it is difficult to grow it in apartments where there is a lack of daylight. These can be ground floors or rooms with north windows. Under such conditions, the lemon begins to shed its leaves and wither.
  • Lemon needs regular feeding. The fact is that he needs a lot of strength for flowering and fruiting, and the land with pots quickly loses nutrients. Every year the plant needs to be fertilized and only then the plant will be lush and begin to bear fruit.
  • Nutritious earth mix. Acidified or neutral soil with a loose structure is suitable for growing lemons. This can be ready-made soil for citrus plants or a homemade mixture. To do this, sand, peat, humus and hardwood are mixed in equal proportions, after which a large amount of soddy land is added.
  • Temperature conditions. In the summer season, the optimum temperature is 26 °C. With her, the tree feels comfortable, actively grows and develops correctly. In spring and autumn, it is better to lower the temperature in the room to 14 - 16 ° C. With the onset of winter, it is better to provide the lemon with a temperature regime of 7 to 12 ° C. But remember that the transition from heat to coolness should be smooth, the tree does not like sudden changes. In the summer season, lemon should be sprayed. It is best to do this in the evenings or on cloudy days. The main rule is that the sun's rays should not fall on the leaves during spraying, because. it may cause burns.

Lemon Tree Care Summary


How to water limon?

Lemon is a moisture-loving tree, which is important to water frequently in spring and summer. For this, warm water is used, which will not damage sensitive roots. Excessive watering is also harmful - the earth in the pot becomes waterlogged, and the tree itself rots. Do not forget about the need to lay drainage at the bottom of the pot.

Rules for feeding lemons

Due to active growth and fruiting, lemon actively consumes nutrients from the soil. To compensate for the scarcity of the soil, the plant must be fed with complex mineral fertilizers. Fertilizing frequency:

  • from March to October, during the period of active growth and development of the tree, fertilizers are applied to the soil in small doses every 2 weeks;
  • in the winter, top dressing is carried out no more than 1 time per month.

In the spring season, when caring for a lemon tree at home, it is necessary to introduce nitrogen compounds into the soil, while in summer it is important to fertilize it with phosphorus and potassium. If desired, top dressing with organic matter is possible - bird droppings diluted in water, or humus.

Lemon pruning rules

With proper care, the lemon actively grows and develops. To give its crown a decorative shape, it can be trimmed. This will positively affect not only the beauty of the plant, but also its fruiting.

Basic rules for pruning lemon:

  • Young trees are not pruned. It is important to gradually turn the pot so that all the shoots develop evenly and the crown is evenly dense.
  • When the lemon reaches a height of about 25-30 cm, you can start cutting it with a secateurs. Leave about 20 cm before branching to get a standard plant on a small main trunk.
  • Regular pruning promotes vigorous side shoot growth. The following year, you need to cut them too in order to start the active growth of additional branches.

Potted lemons can grow poorly in shoots that form ovaries. They usually dry out completely. That is why it is important after each fruiting to cut them off by about 2-3 leaves.

Rules for transplanting lemon

With proper care, the plant quickly grows the root system. That is why it is important to replant a lemon every year - otherwise it will become cramped in a pot and growth may stop.

For transplanting, it is better to wait until spring, before the flowering period, or postpone it until autumn, when fruiting has already ended. In this case, the new pot should be only a couple of centimeters larger than the old one, because. an overly spacious container will cause moisture to stagnate, which means that the roots of the lemon can rot.

The tree is transplanted using the transshipment method. It is important to keep the earthen ball on the roots. Mature trees are transplanted once every couple of years. But in this case, it is important to change the top layer of the earth every year.

Diseases and pests

Indoor lemon is resistant to diseases and pests. But, despite this, some ailments can make the plant suffer. One of the most common problems is the formation of soot fungus or scab. The signal that they have appeared are dark spots on the leaves. The sooty fungus provokes the drying of leaves and shoots, while when damaged by scab, the leaves begin to rot and become soft.

Fungicides are used to treat the plant. Trees can be treated with Bordeaux mixture or blue vitriol. Remember that a healthy plant is important for the prevention of disease. As a rule, lemons get sick from care errors - excessive or insufficient watering, stagnant water in the soil, etc.

If the leaves on the plant began to turn yellow and fall, but we can safely talk about a lack of lighting or incorrect temperature conditions. Avoid placing tubs of lemon in a draft and in dark rooms without access to natural light.

Season Temperature range
Summer 26 ° C
Spring, autumn to 14 - 16 ° C
from 7 to 12 ° C

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Winter care for lemons

Winter is just around the corner. And winter is a special time in the life of plants. During this period, they go into rest mode to endure adverse conditions. Indoor plants also need to be prepared for the onset of cold weather, in winter they need special care, even though they are in a warm apartment. About how to do it right care for indoor lemon in winter , we will tell you in this article.

Table of Contents


In winter, watering will be different from summer. The number of waterings in winter should be reduced to once a week, it is best to water the lemon in the evening. Frequent watering is fraught with acidification of the earth in a pot, and, consequently, further diseases of the lemon tree. Water slowly, gradually, allowing the water to soak well into the soil. Water for irrigation must be at room temperature, you can even heat it up a little, up to about 30-35 degrees.

In winter, it is imperative to monitor soil moisture, warm batteries can dry out an earthen ball very quickly. But the plant should not be flooded either.

Also, winter is an ideal time for watering lemons with melt water, since such water is considered the best for this purpose. Melt the required amount of snow, let the resulting water warm to room temperature and water your lemon tree with it. Melt water is much softer than tap water, it will not saline the soil, which means it will have a beneficial effect on the condition of your lemon.

Air humidity

In winter, due to the beginning of the heating season, the air in the apartment becomes dry, its humidity decreases. This can adversely affect the health of your lemon tree. Lemon care in winter implies that dry air should be humidified, for this you can use containers with water. Place them indoors, preferably next to radiators, so that the water evaporates faster. You can also use special devices for humidifying the air.

Be sure to spray the crown

Every week you should spray your tree with water from a spray bottle or wipe the leaves with a damp cloth. The water must be warm for this.
Several times a month, arrange "water procedures" for him: wash the plant with a shower in the bathroom. Such a procedure will saturate the plant with moisture, wash dust from the leaves and help get rid of possible insects.

Humidifiers can be used to create comfortable air humidity

There are several other ways moisten the lemon tree in winter . One of these ways to maintain optimal plant moisture is to purchase a special stand with pebbles. You need to place a lemon in this stand, pour water into it so that the bottom of the pot does not sink into the water.

Light regime

The lemon tree is quite sensitive to the amount of sunlight, especially in winter. At this time, you need to be very careful to ensure that your plant receives a sufficient amount of light. It should be remembered that the higher the temperature in the room where the lemon is kept, the more sunlight it needs.

Do not place the lemon in the sun for a long time, the tree may get sunburn. It is also best not to place the tree next to the window, because it can blow cold air from it, and lemons do not like drafts. The location of the pot next to the heating radiators is also not the best idea, the plant will dry out quickly from the increased temperature and dryness of the air.

Lemon on the window looks very nice, but such an arrangement is fraught with sunburn and hypothermia

If there is not enough lighting in your apartment, you need to additionally highlight the lemon. Lemon care in winter implies that citrus fruits need 12 hours of daylight for normal health, but in winter it is much shorter. With a lack of light, the plant begins to shed its leaves, its condition is generally depressed, in the worst case, the tree may die. This is where supplementary lighting comes to the rescue - extending daylight hours with the help of lamps.

Now in stores you can find a wide variety of lamps: fluorescent, sodium, metal halide and LED. In almost each of these groups, you can find phytolamps, the spectrum of which is most optimal for plants.
Be sure to pay attention to the power of the lamp, it is measured in watts. The more watts a given lamp has, the greater the flux of light, and therefore the greater the efficiency of the lamp. For illumination, one or three lamps with a power of 40 watts will suffice.

The use of phytolamps will help the plant survive the lack of sunlight without consequences

At what height should the lamp be placed? For more effective illumination, the lamp should be located as close as possible to the lemon. But it is very important not to place it too close to the plant, because the plant will be too warm. You can find out the optimal height for a phytolamp by placing your hand under it. If the hand feels too much heat, you should raise the lamp higher. In general, the recommended lamp height is 15-20 cm.

Pruning and top dressing

In general, lemon pruning in winter is not much needed, especially if your plant winters in cool conditions. Trim only dead branches and leaves. This procedure will generally improve the condition of the lemon tree.
Lemon may not need to be fed in winter.

Overwintering of lemons

There is another option for overwintering your lemon - you can introduce it into a natural winter dormancy state for all plants. This method is also called "cold wintering". This method is especially suitable for novice citrus growers, as a dormant lemon requires minimal attention.

Some preparations need to be made before wintering. About a couple of months before the onset of cold weather, move the tree to the room in which you are going to leave the lemon for the winter. Before doing this, do not forget to rub the lemon leaves well to get rid of dust and possible insects.

Where to place a lemon during cold weather? Glazed loggia or veranda is perfect for this. The most optimal conditions for the room where you are going to place the plant for the winter are soft diffused light and a constant temperature of about 7-10C. With a combination of such conditions, the lemon will be able to maintain normal life, but will not evaporate excess moisture. But it is worth lowering the temperature gradually, by several degrees over 10-14 days. If you abruptly move a lemon from a warm room to a cold one, the leaves from the plant may fall off.

And lemons can winter in complete darkness , but on condition that the temperature in this place will be maintained at +3-5 degrees. During cold wintering, the temperature should not be allowed to fall below 0 degrees, this temperature is detrimental to lemons and can cause massive leaf fall. You also need to avoid raising the temperature in the daytime to 15 degrees, such overheating can also cause massive leaf fall.

A well-wintered lemon will definitely shoot new shoots in spring

Although your lemon tree is dormant, it still needs occasional watering. The plant needs to be watered only when the soil in its pot becomes dry (when trying to compress the earth into a lump, it should crumble).
In the spring, with the onset of heat, you can bring the lemon out of dormancy, but this should be done gradually.

Do not bring lemon from cold to warm without first heating the soil in the pot. It is necessary to increase the temperature and the amount of light gradually, over several days, in order to avoid leaf fall due to temperature differences.

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