Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Lemon Tree
Citrus limon

Family: Rutaceae (roo-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Citrus (SIT-rus) (Info)
Species: limon (LEE-mon) (Info)

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Edible Fruits and Nuts

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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By Ulrich
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There are a total of 11 photos.
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4 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive stephenp On Sep 12, 2012, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

A nice Citrus plant. I got one of these from a supermarket for a cheap price earlier in the year. The plant itself flowers profusely here, even in our cool climate. At first I found the developing fruits would fall off, before they had a chance to develop, but I think this was down to the shock of going from warm to cool conditions. Now the developing fruits don't fall prematurely. These fruits might take a long time to develop here (maybe a year or so), but the fruits are very long lasting indeed on the tree.

The climate doesn't really allow this to be grown outside in the ground here. Maybe a few winters it can stay outside in particularly mild winters, but as a whole, an indoor winter plant around here.

Positive MrMopkins On Nov 17, 2009, MrMopkins from Chicago, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have found growing citrus from seed to be an easy and rewarding endeavor. I plant seeds in the spring, and leave them to sprout and grow outside, on a back deck with a northwest exposure. In September they come inside and over-winter in a south-facing picture window. A lemon seed planted in spring 2008 has two main trunks, has many branches, and is 3ft tall, after having both main branches topped in their first year. My home is heated with radiators, not forced-air, so my humitidy remains high throughout the winter, and they get misted with a diluted Neem Oil solution daily. It is losing some leaves (1-3 a week) but is also putting out several new branches, and the dropped leaves are older. Overall, if you treat them right, and have a sunny window, they make easy houseplants.

Neutral 7Chris77 On Feb 9, 2009, 7Chris77 from Hawthorne, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have a lemon that was planted by seed about 15 years ago.It grew very large and have very large fuit ,but it took years before it had fruit it was worth the wait because we save money and it makes delicious lemonade.

Neutral wtliftr On Mar 16, 2007, wtliftr from Wilson's Mills, NC wrote:

I planted some lemon seeds last month; kept the pot on a seedling mat. Seedlings are about 2 inches tall now. I had an orange tree that dropped all of its leaves last year; the plant ended up not having enough water. I moved it into my classroom, the leaves grew back, and the tree bloomed (but dropped every single fruit). Looking forward to it blooming again this spring!

Positive kurisu_rs On Jul 12, 2006, kurisu_rs from Sheffield
United Kingdom wrote:

I've grown over a dozen from seed. I think I have one or two clones (polyembryony is quite common in lemons) so these should be strong and produce good fruit. After 6 months they are between 6 and 8 inches tall and just starting to branch now. Planting seeds is hit and miss as to what quality of tree & fruit you will end up with, but if you get any clones (more than one distinct seedling appearing from a single seed) hang on to them as these will perform as well as their parents! If you fancy planting a few go ahead - they tend to have a good rate of germination.

In reply to the previous post, evergreens do shed their leaves throughout the year, but if you're seeing them all dropping, without new to replace them, it sounds more like disease.

Positive mem On Mar 5, 2004, mem wrote:

I started four lemon trees from seed, three of them are dropping leaves.

Neutral Stonebec On Apr 20, 2003, Stonebec from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have a five year old plant that I have been growing from a seed. It is about 4 foot tall now. I tried it in a very large pot but the roots got too crowded. I understand it will take about 15 years to fruit. I don't care. Rubbing the leaves releases fragrance for an instant pick-me-up. Leaves and stem pieces do well to flavor hot tea. I cover it in cold weather (only about 10 days a year here in Fort Worth). Any trimmed limbs I lay on plant beds to keep cats and dogs out. The thorns are long and sharp. It has been an interesting experiment for me. I am now growing 4 Key Lime trees also from seed.

Neutral Ulrich On Jun 30, 2002, Ulrich from Manhattan Beach, CA (Zone 11) wrote:

Lemon tree very pretty,
Lemon flower very sweet,
but don't you know that the fruit
of the poor Lemon
is impossible to eat?


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Boulder Creek, California
Canoga Park, California
Chico, California
Concord, California
Elk Grove, California
Fresno, California
Hawthorne, California
La Jolla, California
Long Beach, California
Manhattan Beach, California
Mendocino, California
San Jose, California
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Salem, Illinois
Van Meter, Iowa
Brooklyn, New York
Carrboro, North Carolina
Henderson, North Carolina

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