The lemon tree is a much loved fruit tree: it produces fruits that, although they cannot be consumed directly, the juice has many uses in the kitchen. With it you can make drinks, ice cream lollies, as well as to sweeten dishes. In addition, it gives very good shade, which is always very interesting, especially if you live in an area where temperatures rise above 30ºC during the summer.
Taking all this into account, if you are thinking of having a fruit tree that is useful for both preparing delicious dishes and for the garden, then we will explain when to plant a lemon tree.
Lemon tree characteristics
Before going into the subject, it is interesting to first know what the tree is like to know where and how to plant it. Well, the lemon tree, whose scientific name is Citrus x lemon, it is an evergreen tree hybrid between Citrus medica (known as French citron or lemon) and Citrus oranges (bitter orange tree). It usually reaches a height of four meterswith a very branched open crown. The leaves are alternate, leathery, dark green.
During the spring it produces a large number of aromatic flowers white in color, and with a size of less than 1 centimeter. Once they are pollinated, the fruit begins to ripen, which as we know is the lemon itself. This is rounded, yellow in color, and measures about 3-4cm in diameter. The pulp or meat is yellowish, with a very, very acidic taste.
It is a plant that has no invasive rootsso it can be planted near pipes without problems. Even so, in order for it to grow and develop well, it is highly recommended that it be planted at a distance of at least three meters from the wall and / or tall plants, since otherwise there would come a time when it would not have enough space to be able to spread its branches well.
When to plant a lemon tree?
The question is, when is the best time to plant it in the garden? Being a plant that does not like low temperatures very much, the ideal is to plant it late winterwhen the risk of frost has passed. In this way, you will be able to adapt much better and faster, since you will have weeks of heat and good weather ahead of you.
Thus, when the cold returns again, your root system will have been strengthened enough to be able to face it without too many problems. Oh and watch out for lemon tree diseases that can be very dangerous for him.
How to plant a lemon tree?
If you want to plant a lemon tree, we recommend doing it as follows:
Lemon tree in the orchard or garden
To plant it in the ground, follow this step by step:
Choose the location.
As we have said, it is highly advisable that the tree be about 3 or 4 meters from the walls, walls, tall plants, and others, because otherwise the branches on one or more sides would end up rubbing with them and they would be damaged. What’s more, it is a plant that must have direct sunlightideally throughout the day.
With regard to the soil, it grows best in those that are slightly acidic, with a pH between 5 and 6, but it tolerates the limestone soils as long as they have good drainage.
Make the planting hole and fill it with good soil
The hole where it is going to be planted must be large, at least 50 x 50cm (but if it is 1m x 1m much better, because the roots will have an easier time to resume their growth after transplanting). Then fill it in with quality soil, like the universal substrate they sell here! for example, up to about half.
If the soil you have is rich in organic matter, something that you will know true if it is dark brown / almost black, you can use that same without problems.
Once the hole is ready, it’s time to carefully extract the lemon tree from the pot. If it does not come out easily, see if it has roots tangled at the base of it, and in that case untangle them carefully; on the other hand, if there is nothing, tap the sides of the pot.
Then, take the tree from the trunk and carefully remove it from the container to immediately put it into the hole. It has to look good, that is, neither too high nor too low. If you see that you need to add more soil, or on the contrary remove, do not hesitate to do so. Think that the ideal is that the soil bread or root ball is a little below the level of the soil, so that when you water, no water will be lost.
Finish filling in the hole
Now the only thing left to do is fill in the hole with dirt. Add all that you think is necessary, and when finished, tamp it, which will help the lemon tree to be well ‘attached’ to the ground, and incidentally so that you can see if more soil is needed. Then give it a good watering.
If the wind blows a lot in your area, or if it is a very young specimen with a thin trunk less than 1cm thick, it is advisable to put a stake on it (you can buy them here).
Potted lemon tree
If you have a lemon tree or you have just bought one and want to move it to a bigger pot, follow this step by step:
Choose the right pot
The pot must be at least 5 or even 10 centimeters wider and higher than the one it hadand of course it must have drainage holes in the base through which any excess water can escape during irrigation.
It can be made of plastic or clay without problems. The plastic ones are cheaper, but over the years they tend to get damaged especially if you are in an area like the Mediterranean, where the degree of insolation is high; on the other hand, the clay ones can always be conserved with a minimum maintenance.
Fill it with substrate
Once you have it, add a 2-3cm thick layer of gravel, arlite balls or similar, and then fill it a little with universal substrate mixed with 30% perlite.
Do it carefully not to break the roots. If necessary, lean it slightly on the ground to make it easier for you to remove it from the container. As soon as you have it out, plant it in the new pot.
Make sure that the trunk is centered, and that the root ball or bread of the lemon tree is slightly below the edge of the container. Compact the soil a little with your hand, for example to see if you need to add more.
To finish, you will only have water until the water comes out of the drainage holes. Don’t forget to put it in a sunny exposure.
We hope it has been useful to you .