How to fertilize a lemon tree

When & How To Use It (DETAILS]

Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, lemon trees and citrus trees are excellent sources of Vitamin C, magnesium, iron, and other valuable nutrients. 

If treated well, lemon trees will produce fruit all year round and have a United States hardiness zone 9 – 12.


They require slightly acidic soil to thrive, so you may need to add fertilizer to balance the soil’s pH.  

Since lemon trees are fruit-bearing, they require much more sunlight, water, and nutrients to grow properly.

Best Fertilizer for Lemon Trees

All citrus trees are heavy feeders and need plenty of energy. 

They are likely to benefit from nitrogen-rich or other NPK fertilizers, which contain essential macronutrients and have additional micronutrients such as iron, manganese, zinc, boron, and copper to make up for nutrient deficiencies in the soil. 

There are fertilizers designed specially to be used for citrus trees known as general citrus fertilizers.  

These are suitable for all citrus fruits such as grapefruits, lime trees, etc.

The best fertilizer for lemon trees is 6-6-6. 

You may use a stronger mix if needed, but it shouldn’t exceed 8-8-8.

The Down to Earth Citrus Mix Fertilizer is a good lemon tree fertilizer option.

Citrus fertilizer will not be suitable for other trees such as apple trees or pear trees.

Some species, such as meyer lemons may be grown as potted lemon tree houseplants and pruned to keep the desired look.

Apart from using a pot with drainage holes, apply slow-release citrus fertilizer in the soil to ensure the soil isn’t deficient, and the tree will grow properly.

Miracle-Gro 1048291 Citrus, Mango, Avocado Shake ‘n Feed Plant Food is considered one of the best fertilizers for lemon trees. 

It contains an 8-2-10 NPK ratio and micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, and iron. 

It is a continuous release fertilizer and continues releasing nutrients for up to 3 months after application.

Jobe’s Organics fruit and fertilizing spikes are also an excellent source of nutrition for lemon trees. 

They have an NPK ratio of 3-5-5 and are especially good for potted lemon trees.

Kelp (seaweed) is a good fertilizer for lemon trees since it stimulates root system growth and adds nutrients to the soil. 

It is alkaline, so it will need to be paired with another fertilizer to keep the soil slightly acidic in pH.

When to Fertilize Lemon Trees

Use lemon tree fertilizer every 3 months and a liquid fertilizer weekly throughout the growing season.

The amount of fertilizer will depend on the size and age of your tree so follow package instructions carefully.

Nitrogen applications should be spread throughout the year- in February, May, and September. 

Avoid feeding the trees in the winter months.

If you cannot fertilize the tree throughout the year, use a slow-release fertilizer that only needs to be applied once a year and slowly releases nutrients into the soil.

If the leaves of your meyer lemon tree are yellowing, it is a sign the tree is not receiving enough nutrients and should be fertilized more in the growing months. 

Since they bloom in early spring, it is recommended to apply fertilizer before it to encourage healthy growth.

How to Fertilize Lemon Trees

If the packaging indicates that the fertilizer is water-soluble, dissolve it in water. 

Apply it to the leaves and soak the soil right above the root zone. 

If you are using granular fertilizer, scatter it over the soil starting at least 2″ inches away from the tree trunk since it may burn it. 

Start applying fertilizer 1′ – 2′ feet outside the drip line. 

Scratch the fertilizer into the soil and water it to allow it to penetrate to the roots.

The fertilizer should cover a distance as wide as the tree’s height to ensure the fertilizer reaches all the tree’s roots.

These fruit trees and citrus plants require more nitrogen fertilizer as they grow bigger.  

Apply one pound of 6-6-6 fertilizer around the dripline three times a year if it’s new growth. 

After, add 1 pound of fertilizer until the tree has matured- after 8 years of planting. 

A mature lemon should have received 20 pounds of fertilizer throughout its entire growing period.

How to Fertilize a Lemon Tree

As a first-time lemon tree grower with only modest experience growing a handful of other house plants and annual vegetables, the concept of fertilizing was initially a complete mystery to me. “Do I need to fertilize? When should I fertilize? How often should I fertilize? What type of fertilizer should I use?” Those were all questions running through my mind when I took my first lemon tree into my care, and was determined to see it thrive.

Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available and several guidelines to follow that can help your figure out if your lemon tree needs fertilization, and exactly how to do that.

I did comprehensive research while figuring out how to fertilize my own lemon tree, and have compiled the following information to help you take the best care of your lemon tree. Using fertilizer can help ensure that your lemon tree is happy, healthy, and producing an abundance of juicy, tart fruit for years to come. Read on to find out more.

Do I need to fertilize my lemon tree?

Yes! The answer is yes, you should fertilize your lemon tree if you are invested in having it thrive and produce healthy, bountiful, juicy, and flavorful fruit.

Fruit bearing trees consume much more energy than other types of plants, as growing fruit is a laborious and therefor high energy consuming activity. In order to produce fruit, plants need adequate amounts of sunlight, water, and nutrients. Plants intake these elements and through photosynthesis transform them into fuel to grow and produce.

While it is common knowledge that plants need water and sunlight for growth, nutrient uptake plays as big a role as water and sunlight do in fueling plant growth processes. By making sure your lemon tree has access to enough of all of the proper nutrients, you will help it thrive and produce an abundance of juicy lemons for you to enjoy.

During which season should I fertilize a lemon tree?

As a rule of thumb, you should always fertilize during active growth. For lemon trees (and most plants) this means spring and summer. Cease fertilization at the end of summer, or after your tree’s natural production begins to slow. Do not fertilize your lemon tree during the winter months.

How often should I fertilize a lemon tree?

Starting in early spring, fertilize your lemon tree as often as once every 4-6 weeks through summer. Fertilizing at periodic intervals of 4-6 weeks during active growth will ensure your lemon tree has access to enough nutrients to grow and produce fruit. When your lemon tree slows down production at the end of summer, stop fertilization until the following spring. Be sure to fertilize your lemon tree every year during the appropriate seasons.

If watering your lemon tree every 4-6 weeks during growing season sounds like a potentially problematic commitment, there are also slow release fertilizer methods available that reduce the frequency with which you need to fertilize. Usually a slow release fertilizer comes in the form of spikes which you insert into the soil of the lemon tree. If using a fertilizer with a slow release method, you will only need to fertilize your lemon tree once a year, in early spring.

What type of fertilizer should I use for a potted lemon tree?

If your tree shows no signs of deficiency or ailment, choose a general citrus fertilizer high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and including a smorgasbord of micronutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and sulfur. This general citrus fertilizer is full of a balanced mix of all of the nutrients a lemon tree needs, and is a great option for giving your lemon tree a boost to encourage healthy growth and fruit production.

Another option is to choose a slow release fertilizer formulated for citrus trees. The main benefit of using a slow release fertilizer is that you would only need to fertilize your lemon tree once a year, as a singular application will slowly release nutrients to the plant over the course of the growing season. Because of this, slow release fertilizers can be a great option for those with a busy lifestyle or for those who want to “set it and forget it.” Usually slow release fertilizers come in the form of spikes which you insert into the soil of your plant. This one is specially formulated for citrus trees, has great reviews on Amazon, and is the perfect-sized spike for a potted lemon tree.

If your tree has yellowing leaves you suspect to be a result of a nutrient deficiency, consider testing the soil to figure out exactly which nutrients your lemon tree is lacking. At-home soil tests that are sent away to a lab can be incredibly helpful in giving insight into the nutrient breakdown of the soil. This soil test kit even sends you a report detailing the exact kind of fertilizer you should use to bring your lemon tree’s soil back to optimal nutrient composition.

It’s a good idea to test your lemon tree’s soil before applying a fertilizer not only to determine what type of fertilizer to purchase, but also because yellowing leaves can also be a symptom of other ailments. If your soil test comes back reporting ample levels of all important nutrients, look to other causes such as too much or too little water, or a pest infestation.

Applying the fertilizer

Different fertilizers have different concentrations and therefore different application guidelines when it comes to amount of fertilizer that needs to be applies. Follow the instructions included with the specific fertilizer you choose on how much fertilizer to apply to the soil of your lemon tree. Keep in mind that liquid fertilizers are usually concentrated and will need to be diluted with water. Also keep in mind that if your lemon tree is potted, it will need less fertilizer than an in-ground specimen, as the soil and its nutrient content are contained within the small confines of a pot.

Use the height of the lemon tree to determine how far from the trunk you should disperse the fertilizer. If the tree is 2 ft tall, apply the fertilizer in a 2 ft diameter surrounding the trunk of the tree. If the tree is 12 ft tall, apply the fertilizer in a 12 ft diameter surrounding the trunk of the tree. Using these guidelines will ensure all of the tree’s roots have access to nutrients and will promote even and healthy nutrient uptake.

If using a dry fertilizer, water the fertilizer into the soil after topical application.

If using slow-release spikes, insert the number of spikes recommended in the product instructions into the soil near the lemon tree.

Take care to not over-fertilize the plant as this can cause root burn. Similarly, avoid applying fertilizer directly to the trunk as this can also burn the trunk.

Related questions:
  • Are Epsom salts good for lemon trees?
  • How often should I water my potted lemon tree?

How and what to fertilize lemon at home

Author: Yuki | Comments: 1

Lemon is one of the most common indoor citrus fruits. Growing a fruit-bearing lemon tree is the dream of many gardeners. Buying a small seedling of this culture is not a problem, but growing a fully developed plant from it is already much more difficult. An important role in this is played by timely and proper feeding.


  • Battery deficiency symptoms
  • Basic types of fertilizers
  • Fertilization scheme for lemon

Signs of lack of nutrients

The development of indoor lemon occurs in a limited amount of soil mixture, so the size of its root system is approximately 30-40 times smaller than that of a specimen growing in open ground . It is a house plant that needs regular fertilization.

You can determine the lack of certain batteries by the following signs:

  1. Nitrogen. The main signs of nitrogen starvation are the pale color of the leaves, underdeveloped young shoots and severe stunting.
  2. Phosphorus. First of all, its deficiency affects flowering and fruiting. It may be single or absent altogether. Also, the plant may turn black and fall leaves, develop ugly fruits.
  3. Potassium. The lack of this element is expressed in weakened development, the leaves begin to lighten first from the edges, then chlorosis gradually spreads to the interveinal space. The fruits ripen for a very long time and become soft.
  4. Calcium. Its deficiency very often affects the development of the root system. Also, with calcium deficiency, the tips of young shoots die off.

In addition to the deficiency of the main nutrients, the lemon may also have a lack of trace elements. Most often he suffers from iron deficiency chlorosis. It is expressed in the manifestation of light areas in the interveinal space of the leaves. Then the damaged tissues die off, and the leaves themselves fall off.

Basic fertilizers

All fertilizers used to feed indoor lemon can be divided into two groups. The first is mineral fertilizers and complexes, the second is organic.

Mineral fertilizers

From mineral fertilizers, ammonium nitrate can be used to feed lemon. It effectively eliminates nitrogen starvation. It should be diluted to the state of a half-percent solution.

Very often it is supplemented with potassium salt. Of the phosphate fertilizers for top dressing, it is best to use superphosphate. It is quite difficult to dissolve it in water. It is a long lasting fertilizer. Therefore, you can simply take a small amount of granules and carefully seal them into the surface layer of the soil.

Also, during the period of intensive growth from March to August, complex mineral fertilizers can be used for top dressing. In this case, it is best to choose those that are intended for indoor citrus crops.

Organic fertilizers

Lemon is very responsive to organic fertilizers. However, in this case, it is also worth observing moderation. An excess is no less harmful than a deficiency. Of the organic fertilizers for feeding lemon, fermented mullein or diluted bird droppings are most often used.

To prepare a solution of mullein, fresh manure is poured with water and left for further fermentation for a week and a half. After that, the resulting infusion is diluted with water in a ratio of 1 part of mullein to 10 parts of water.

For greater effectiveness, a small amount of potassium salt and a few granules of superphosphate are added to the solution. You can also use chicken or pigeon droppings to fertilize lemon.

To prepare a working solution, 1 kg of raw manure is diluted with 10 liters of water. If the litter is dry, then the proportion changes somewhat, 0.5 kg of litter is added to 10 liters of water. The prepared solution should be used immediately. If this requirement is not met, most of the nitrogen will escape from it.

Fertilization scheme for lemon

Fertilization scheme for indoor lemon is quite simple. All top dressings are made during the period of intensive crop growth from March to September. It makes no sense to fertilize a lemon during dormancy.

The first time fertilizer is applied at the beginning of March, at this point nitrogen fertilizers are most often used. Then, once every two weeks, the lemon can be fed with a special liquid fertilizer for indoor citrus fruits. In most cases, it contains not only the main nutrients, but also the trace elements necessary for the plant.

Fertilizers are used with care during various diseases and injuries. At this point, feeding will do more harm than good. If there is no opportunity to purchase specialized fertilizers, you can use folk methods. For example, a sleeping tea leaves shows a very good result.

Properly fertilizing a lemon at home is not at all difficult. You just need to carefully monitor the condition of the tree and eliminate the lack of certain nutrients in time. And then your lemon will surely thank you with abundant flowering and give a lot of fragrant and healthy fruits.

Video on how to grow lemons on your own:

How to feed lemons at home: types of fertilizers, tips

Many have tried to grow citrus fruits from the stone at home. At first everything went well: after two weeks a sprout appeared, then leaves, then the lemon turned into a small tree.

The problems started when the purchased soil ran out of nutrients. It is difficult for a beginner to recognize a lack of nutrients in a southern plant, so the leaves crumbled and the lemon dried up.

If everything is as written, now it is worth trying to grow a lemon tree again, taking into account all the needs of the plant. Better yet, buy an already grafted specimen and feed it with complex fertilizers in order to grow fruits. After all, the most valuable thing in a lemon tree is the lemons themselves. And homemade ones are more fragrant and tasty.


What lemon prefers

Lemon shows the greatest need for nitrogen fertilizers. Nitrogen needs almost twice as much than potash-phosphorus fertilizers. Despite the fact that fruitful crops require potassium for the formation of ovaries and fruits, lemon still prefers nitrogen.

He also needs potassium and phosphorus. Fertilizers for feeding lemon should also contain trace elements:

  • Copper

Without it, the top leaves will wither, although the color will not change.

  • Bor

Leaves curl when there is a lack of boron. In places, watery spots begin to appear, which dry out over time.

  • If the veins on the leaves are clearly visible, this indicates a lack of iron or manganese

A solution of potassium permanganate should be watered at night, as light quickly decomposes the substance and it loses its strength. Every month water the lemon tree with ferrous sulfate solution 2 g/liter . If chlorosis is observed, then a concentration of 20 g/liter of water can be used once.

  • Leaf color changes - lack of sulfur .
  • Calcium deficiency is manifested by leaf blades bent down.

As for general home care, citrus fruits love a lot of light, moisture and heat. But not dry, as in an apartment in winter. Therefore, the tree must be sprayed so that it does not dry out.

How to understand what a plant lacks

The deficiency of the main nutrients in a lemon is expressed as follows:

  • With a lack of nitrogen, the leaves turn yellow and crumble. It is urgent to apply nitrogen fertilizer to the soil or foliar method. With prolonged deficiency, the fruits will form small in small quantities.

  • Lack of phosphorus can cause thick skins or irregularly shaped lemons.

  • Potassium is responsible for the number and size of fruits. Therefore, with a lack of potassium in lemons during fruiting, you will not have to wait for a large and large harvest.

It is better to feed a lemon during fruiting - organic matter or mineral mixtures - the owner decides. You can use one or the other in turn.

Types of citrus fertilizers

Indoor lemons can be fed with commercially available special citrus fertilizers. Their composition is balanced according to the needs of the plant. You can use folk remedies or organic solutions of manure or litter.


Ammonium nitrate is a traditional mineral fertilizer for lemon trees at home. You will need 15 g of substance per 10 liters of water. If the plant is small, then recalculate the dosage. Need solution 1.5% concentration .

The most common source of phosphorus is superphosphate. Its is dissolved in water 50 g of the substance per bucket and the soil is watered. Best of all, the plant reacts to phosphorus supplements along with manure.

Potassium salt or potassium sulfate can be used together with nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers.

Video: Good fertilizer for indoor lemon and tangerine


Some experts advise adding fresh manure to the container with homemade lemon. When it decomposes, it releases a large amount of nitrogen. Maybe this is good advice, but in order not to destroy the plant, it is better to first insist manure on the water.

This way you can be sure that the roots will not burn, and the plant will get its share of nitrogen. Manure also contains potassium, but no phosphorus, so fish or bone meal can be used as a source of organic phosphorus.

Someone advises to bury a fresh fish head in the ground. It remains to imagine what smell will be in the apartment after such an experiment.

Wood ash can make up for the lack of potassium and phosphorus in lemons during fruiting. 1 teaspoon to be diluted with a liter of water.

Folk methods

From time to time you can feed the lemon tree with coffee or tea leaves. They need to be dried first so that mold does not appear in the soil.

Sugar can be added to top dressings to make the plant kick out new shoots faster. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon on top of the soil and water. This food may not be given more than once a week.

Use the egg shell after grinding it and mixing it with starch. The mixture is spread over the surface of the soil. When watering, nutrients penetrate the soil.

Top dressing of lemon with potassium permanganate is necessary for the prevention of fungal diseases. Potassium permanganate accelerates the oxidation of organic substances, while oxygen is released, which the roots need. Fertilizing with potassium permanganate disinfects the soil from pathological flora.

Nutrition plan for citrus fruits

Follow the natural conditions of the lemon tree - in nutrition and care. For wintering, you can choose a cool mode with a temperature of 5 - 10 degrees and partial blackout. You can provide the plant with a warm room, where the temperature will be around 15 degrees .

It is important that the temperature of the earthen ball and the air coincide so that the plant does not shed its leaves. With a warm wintering, blackout should not be arranged, since the roots consume food, and photosynthesis is slowed down. On the contrary, during cold wintering, one should not give a lot of light, because the roots cannot provide food for the leaves, and they will crumble.

You need to start bringing food from the end of February . If the plant hibernated in the cold, then you can start watering it with warm water, then transfer it to a warm place and give a nitrogen or complex solution. Then feed a little every week.


Room lemon at home can be grown healthy and fruitful. The main thing - every 3 - 4 days inspect the plant in order to respond in time to changes in the leaf blade and apply fertilizer.

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Uncle Denis

Hello, dear readers! I am the creator of the Fertilizers.NET project. Glad to see each of you on its pages.

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