Keep lemon tree - all about care, fertilizing & common diseases

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Lemon tree blossomed

Tip: By filling the coaster with expanded clay balls and water, increase the humidity locally. The negative influence of dry heating air on a lemon tree is also reduced by humidifiers, a room well or an aquarium in the room.


The perfect substrate primarily gives your lemon tree a reliable stability. No less relevant is a balanced supply of nutrients, coupled with stable water storage and sufficient aeration of the roots. Potting soil from discounters does not meet these requirements. The following substrate qualities leave nothing to be desired:
  • Premium quality container potting soil enriched with lava granules, perlite and fine chippings or sand
  • Alternatively, a mixture of 1 part each of mature compost, unit soil, seramis and coarse pine bark substrate
  • Ideally, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5
  • For larger citrus trees, add a few handfuls of clay to improve the stability
The optimal substrate is rounded off with volcanic rock flour, which counteracts compaction due to slurry. Those who do not like to mix themselves, choose among the offers of the specialized trade a special citrus soil, which contains all important components.

Pour in the summer

Skilfully regulating the water balance requires a bit of horticultural experience. The substrate should neither dry out nor be dripping wet. A daily finger test in the morning clarifies whether there is currently a need for casting. Press your thumb 1 to 2 cm deep into the ground. If you feel no moisture here, the lemon tree is watered. Place room-warm, stale water directly on the root disk until the coaster fills. On hot summer days, it is not uncommon for the thirst to be quenched daily in the early morning and after sunset.

Pour in the winter

If your lemon tree stays in winter quarters, the need for water is drastically reduced. The cooler and darker the location, the less often it is cast. Put only enough water on the root disc that the bale does not dry out. If the tree throws its leaves, the watering can comes only every 2 to 3 weeks or less often used.
A bright winter at room temperatures, however, requires more frequent watering, as over the foliage dress moisture is still evaporated. Under the influence of dry heating air, the water supply is supplemented with regular spraying of the leaves with lime-free water. Rolling leaves are always an unerring signal for urgent casting needs.


A magnificently flowering lemon tree with shiny, evergreen leaves and numerous, yellow fruits is always the result of a balanced nutrient supply. It is obvious that a simultaneous costume made of flowers, leaves and fruits demands a lot of energy from the wood. How to fertilize correctly:
  • From March / April to September / October, add a liquid citrus fertilizer to the water every week
  • Do not administer mineral or mineral-organic fertilizer on dry substrate
  • Before and after pour with clear water

lemon Tree

The advantage of special fertilizers for citrus plants is, among other things, that they contain traces of iron in water-soluble form. In this way, leaf chlorosis is already counteracted in advance, one of the most common diseases on the lemon tree, as will be explained in detail in a later section of this manual.

To cut

Restraint is the motto if you want to cut your lemon tree professionally. In contrast to our native fruit trees, southern citrus groves do not undergo extensive pruning, taking into account complicated cutting rules to increase fruit yield. Rather, the following moderate cutting measures are aimed at maintaining a harmonious, light-flooded crown and prevent slips. This is how it works:
  • The best time is in early spring, just before the new budding
  • Use a sharp citrus scissors, thoroughly disinfected with alcohol
  • In the first step, cut out dead branches on Astring
  • Also proceed with weak, damaged branches
  • Then shorten too long shoots to the desired growth length
  • Do not cut flowering, fruit-bearing branches
If you have become acquainted with growth behavior after some time, you can estimate the end of the main flower well. Slightly cut back the shoots again, start another growth spurt with numerous new buds.

Remove water shot all year round

If you buy a lemon tree in the garden center, it is usually a refinement. In order for the plant to flower and bear fruit next year, a precious part and a game pad will be put together by the master gardener.This has the consequence that wild shoots sprout from the substrate during the entire vegetation period. These water lifters strive to overgrow the crown and at the same time cost the tree a lot of strength. We therefore recommend cutting off any wild drive as soon as you discover it.

lemon Tree

A water schosser can be identified by the fact that it is usually steeply upwards. In addition, its leaves show clearly visible differences to the glossy, rich green leaves within the crown.


The special requirements for healthy wintering have already been adequately explained in the previous sections of this care manual. For a better overview, the individual measures are summarized below:
  • Give the lemon tree in autumn, in time for the first frost
  • The ideal winter quarters are bright and cool with temperatures between 3 and 10 degrees Celsius
  • Pour reduced and spray with lime-free water
  • Do not administer fertilizer from September to March
  • In the late winter or early spring, round out the crown and cut moderately into shape
Excellent lounges for the winter time are an unheated conservatory, a bright, cool staircase, a frost-free garage with windows or a greenhouse with a frost guard installed. Experience has shown that wintering in cuddly warm living rooms does not survive a lemon tree.


At intervals of 2 to 3 years, a lemon tree has completely rooted its bucket and should be repotted. It is high time for the change to a larger pot when the first roots already grow out of the bottom opening or thick root strands push through the substrate upwards. The new planter should be so large that there is a distance of about 3 cm between the edge of the pot and the root ball. Since repotting is a high stress burden for any plant, please make an appointment in late winter or early spring for this care, as the lemon tree is still largely in juice at this time. How to do it right:
  • In the new pot create a water-bearing layer of potsherds or expanded clay
  • Lay a breathable fleece over it, so that the drainage does not get muddy
  • Fill in a third of the fresh citrus soil
  • Water the edges of the old soil a bit to make it easier to pot the lemon tree
  • Shake off the old substrate from the root ball
Plant the lemon in the middle so that the previous planting depth is largely maintained. Distribute the substrate successively around the root ball and press it repeatedly so that no cavities form. At the end pour soft water until the coaster fills up. After 10 to 20 minutes, pour out the coaster to prevent waterlogging. For the first time, a lemon tree is fertilized after repotting at the earliest after 6 weeks, as citrus soil is pre-fertilized.
Tip: A new terracotta pot extracts moisture from the root ball. Therefore, it is placed in water for 24 hours before use to wet the porous material.

Common diseases

On our balcony, the terrace or in the conservatory is a lemon tree far away from its southern homeland. The plant reacts accordingly sensitively when it comes to neglect in the care. A weakened lemon is prone to the following, common diseases.


The first symptoms of infestation with this fungal infection are yellow spots on the leaves, which later turn brownish black and expand. In the advanced stage gray-brown to reddish mushroom turfs form on the whole lemon tree including the fruits. The pathogen Botrytis cinerea gains access through wounds in the tissue. A damp, misty-cool climate, continuous rain or excessive watering offer the mushroom ideal living conditions. Direct-acting control agents for the private user are missing so far. Yet you are not completely lost to the disease. How to act correctly:
  • Remove all affected branches, flowers, leaves and fruits
  • Disinfect the cutting tool with spirit after each cut
  • The cuts are dusted with rock flour or charcoal ash
Now subject the conditions at the site to a thorough inspection and protect the lemon tree from pattering rain. Keep the cool, damp summer weather clear and allow the plant to temporarily set in a sunny, warm window seat. By now regularly adding liverwort extract to the irrigating water, you strengthen the body's defenses.

Mal Secco

Plants imported from Italy often carry the causative agent of drought, Phoma tracheiphila. Withering, deciduous leaves and twigs drying from the tip indicate this infection. In addition, the bark turns silvery-gray to black-brown. In general, reddish-brown colors appear on the tree in many places. Unfortunately, the copper fungicides used in plantations are not allowed in the home garden.Without any options to fight the disease, you are still not there:
  • Radically cut back the affected lemon tree into healthy, not dried wood
  • In the open air, provide the plant with protection against wind, hail and dripping water
Examine the plant meticulously for the smallest wounds that could be abused by the pathogens as a portal of entry. These seal with rock flour or charcoal ash. So you do not have to deal with this plant disease at least, you should thoroughly examine a lemon tree before the acquisition for symptoms of Mal Secco.

leaf chlorosis

Pale yellow leaves with prominent green veins are usually interpreted as a symptom of disease. In fact, this leaf chlorosis is a deficiency that often overtakes the lemon tree and other plants that rely on an acidic, low-liming soil. Although abundant iron is present in every good soil, the important micronutrient no longer gets into the pathways when the lime content skyrockets. The problem is triggered by the use of hard, lime-rich tap water. If the defect is not resolved, all leaves die permanently. How to balance the iron deficit:
  • In early infestation stage remove the yellowed leaves
  • Immediately use stale tap water or filtered rainwater for pouring
  • Check the pH in the substrate to repot, if necessary, into acidic citrus soil

lemon Tree

If the leaf chlorosis is already well advanced on the lemon tree, the conversion of the water supply does not act quickly enough. By specifically administering an iron chelate fertilizer as foliar fertilizer, you feed the nutrient to the plant where it is needed. Products such as Neudorff's Ferramin iron fertilizer are dissolved in water and applied using a spray bottle. Please note that such preparations contain toxic ferrous sulfate and take appropriate safety precautions in the context of the application.
After reading this guide, you now have the horticultural equipment to successfully hold a lemon tree. The supreme premise for vital growth, fragrant flowers and bright lemons is the prudent choice of location, adapted to the season. In summer, the Mediterranean jewel should enjoy the full sun under the open sky. On the other hand, it is bright in winter quarters, but cool with temperatures between 3 and 10 degrees Celsius. If the framework conditions at the location are correct, all other care measures are easy to handle. Watering with soft water, fertilizing from March to September and moderate cutting in the spring make your Citrus limon come to full beauty. Perfectly maintained, common diseases such as Botrytis, Mal Secco or leaf chlorosis have no chance.

Video Board: 5 Tips How to Grow a Ton of Lemons on One Tree.

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