Citrus plants are very popular on patios or in rooms. The luxuriantly growing plants fascinate with their dark green, glossy leaves and intensely fragrant, white flowers almost all year round. With good care, you can also enjoy ripe, juicy fruits. The citrus tree can also make you dream of the south in your own four walls. We have created a compact guide for you in which you will find a lot of useful information about the lemon tree as a houseplant. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you will feel and enjoy the light Mediterranean flair.
Lemon trees are undoubtedly one of the most popular potted plants. Appropriate care is necessary so that you can enjoy the beauty of this subtropical citrus plant for a long time. Since the normal citrus tree is too big for an apartment with its height of up to 4.5 meters, there are special cultivars, such as “citrus limon Meyer” and “citrus limon Ponderosa”, which are suitable for a lemon tree as a houseplant.
Lemon tree for the apartment – choosing the right location
As with other plants, the right location is initially of crucial importance for care. Coming from the subtropics, where the sun shines all year round and is warm and humid, the lemon tree needs a lot of light. If you want the lemon tree as a houseplant, you have to organize a bright location for it. The tree will feel right at home by a large, south-facing window. The lack of light can be problematic for the plant, especially in winter. The leaves are pale and the tree often sheds them when it doesn’t get enough light. In summer you can put the lemon tree on the terrace. The sun’s rays will have a positive effect on flower formation and the growth of the plant.
Lemons do not like to stand in drafts and prefer higher humidity. Usually the humidity in an apartment is too low for the plant to thrive, which can attract pests such as spider mites and scale insects. Therefore, ventilate the room often and spray the lemon plant regularly with water.
Plastic pots or tightly burned clay pots are suitable for the bucket culture of the lemon tree. The vessels should have watertight side walls and good water drainage on the bottom. So that the excess water is drained away and waterlogging is prevented, good drainage in the plant pot is of great importance. Therefore, layer small pebbles as the bottom layer in the bucket. The special citrus plant soil contains substances in which the roots are well supplied with oxygen. Otherwise, citrus plants like slightly acidic soil.
Maintain lemon tree – properly water and fertilize
The best way to care for the lemon tree is to water and fertilize it properly. Lemons don’t like too much or too little water. The lemon plant should be watered moderately in spring, summer and autumn. Do the finger test and let the top layer of soil dry slightly before you water the next time. It is best to use lime-free water for watering. Rainwater is great.
Tap water should first stand for a few days so that the limescale settles on the ground. As soon as the water flows out of the holes at the bottom of the pot, you don’t need to pour any more. Remove excess water regularly. Fertilize the citrus tree every two to three weeks with a nitrogenous liquid fertilizer that is low in phosphorus. In winter the plant is not fertilized and only poured enough that the soil does not dry out completely.
Repot the lemon tree regularly as a houseplant
The lemon plant needs to be repotted every two to three years. If the bale is completely rooted, repotting is necessary. In the new bucket there must be 2-3 cm of space between the root ball and the edge of the pot. The new planter should be about a third larger than the root ball of the lemon tree. Then give the plant enough time to grow because the changes in the plant world take more time, especially when the light and temperatures are not exactly summery.
Cut the lemon tree
A lemon tree does not need pruning like the fruit trees, for example. You should cut a lemon tree if you want to give the crown a certain shape. In order for the leaves inside the crown to be supplied with sufficient light, it should become lighter towards the inside. The cut stimulates the growth of the tree and the branching of the branches. Remove damaged or dead branches. Branches that are too thin can also be cut out because they cannot bear fruit. Cross-growing branches can also be cut off. Use sharp and clean scissors and try to always make the cut perpendicular. Otherwise, water could collect on the cut surface. You can prune a lemon tree either before the flowering period or after the main flowering and harvesting period.
Hibernate lemon tree
You have to overwinter the lemon tree houseplant at temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees. The location should not be changed during hibernation. A sunny winter garden would be ideal. Water the plant very sparingly and do not fertilize it. If a lot of leaves are shed during this period, there is no cause for concern. At low temperatures, the roots stop their activities, which is also the reason for the increased loss of leaves. After its winter quarters, the lemon tree has to be gradually accustomed to the sun again.
Lemon tree diseases and pests
Especially in winter quarters it can happen that your lemon tree houseplant is attacked by pests. A plant substrate that is too moist promotes the development of various diseases. Regularly check the exotic, eliminate the causes of the lemon tree diseases and act accordingly. Basically, one can say that lemon trees are quite susceptible to diseases.
Anyone who grows a lemon tree as a houseplant and notices honey-like, sticky and shiny secretion on its leaves has to struggle with scale insects. These are located on the underside of the leaf and must be collected. Oily agents help with severe infestation. If you notice twisted leaves and overgrown shoots, then the lemon tree is infested with aphids. You can wipe it off with your fingers or spray it with a mixture of water and washing-up liquid. Thin nets at the tips of the shoots, which usually occur during winter, are a clear sign that the lemon plant is infested with spider mites. An insecticide is usually used to get rid of the spider mites. Mistakes in care, too low room temperatures, waterlogging or dryness can cause the yellowing disease. This can be recognized by yellow or light green leaves and is a sure sign that the plant is not absorbing enough nutrients. In this case, the lemon tree in the pot needs the appropriate care and the right conditions.