Why is my lemon tree not bearing fruit: causes and solutions

The lemon tree usually bears many fruits

The lemon tree is a very, very productive tree. If it is healthy, it can bear so much fruit that its branches can break due to not supporting the weight. In fact, to prevent that from happening, it is recommended to prune it, since in this way a slightly smaller but higher quality harvest is guaranteed.

However, it is curious because sometimes our beloved plant only takes leaves and grows, but nothing else. Why is my lemon tree not bearing fruit?” We asked ourselves. Well, the reasons are most likely to be found in the care we give it.

When does the lemon tree bear fruit?

The lemon tree is a perennial fruit tree

The lemon tree is a perennial fruit tree.

But before getting into the matter, you have to know the answer to this question, since it is possible that your tree does not give lemons simply because it is not the season. Well, the lemon Tree, whose scientific name is Citrus x lemonis an evergreen tree (rather a small tree since it does not usually measure more than 5 meters) that blooms in spring and bears fruit shortly thereafter, in summer and into fall.

In any case, nowadays it can be harvested at any time of the year if the weather allows it, but it will be from May to October (in the northern hemisphere) when most of the fruits will be harvested.

How long does it take for a lemon tree to bear fruit?

Another reason why your lemon tree does not bear fruit may be because it is young. A tree from seed will take an average of 5 yearswhile if it is grafted, it will take less time: around 2 or 3 years after the graft has been performed. But this is by no means an exact science.

Why is my lemon tree not producing lemons?

Whether your tree takes more or less time to bear lemons will depend on many factors. If we have ruled out age, let’s see what the others are and what to do to make it bear fruit:


In hot climates, where frosts are not registered but there are no extreme maximum temperatures (40ºC or more), it can bear fruit earlier than expected and for longer.. To give you an idea, in my area, where summer can be very hot (temperatures over 35ºC and minimum temperatures of 20ºC or higher) and with mild springs and winters, the lemon trees are producing lemons almost all year round. But in colder areas, they will only do it in summer-autumn, or only in autumn.

Even so, you should know that the lemon tree withstands temperatures well between 40ºC and -7ºC (for a short time). It is, in fact, one of the most cold hardy citrus fruits known. But yes in your area the temperature drops below -7ºC, you must protect it at least one anti-frost fabric (on sale here!), or in a greenhouse.

Water and nutrients

Lemon tree leaves are vulnerable to pestsLemon tree leaves are vulnerable to pests

Image – Flickr / Catalina Gracia Saavedra

The lemon tree it is not a tree that withstands drought. Now, the ground should not be flooded either since otherwise it will rot. For this reason, if it is watered when necessary and if it is also fertilized during its growth, it is possible that the start of fruit production will be a little earlier.

How to know that the lemon tree lacks or excess water and / or needs nutrients? For these symptoms:

  • Lack of water: the leaves turn yellow and the tips dry until they fall; if it has flowers, they abort; growth stops.
  • Excess of water: the lower leaves turn yellow and fall; new leaves that grow may turn brown; the flowers fall; the earth looks very compacted, it can even come out green.
  • You need nutrients: in this case, the leaves will turn yellow but the veins will remain green. This happens a lot when grown in alkaline soils, since its roots cannot obtain iron and / or manganese.

What is there to do? Well, if you need water what we will do is water of course. You have to pour water into it until the earth is well soaked. Likewise, we will have to increase the frequency of irrigation, at least temporarily (when temperatures drop and / or it starts to rain more often, it will be important that we readjust this frequency so that it does not have problems).

If what happens to you is that you have excess water, it will be necessary, on the one hand, to suspend the irrigation for a few days; and on the other, perform some anti-fungal treatment, since these microorganisms like very humid environments, and could seriously damage the lemon tree. In addition, if we have it in a pot, it will be highly advisable to remove it and wrap the root ball (roots) with absorbent paper for a day so that it has a better chance of recovering.

And finally, if you need nutrients, we will fertilize it with a citrus fertilizer following the instructions for use (get it here). But not only that: if the soil in which it is growing is alkaline, it will be very, very important that we continue to fertilize it with that product every spring and every summer, as this will prevent it from happening again.


By space we mean what you can have in a pot or in a garden. Trees grown in containers generally take longer to bear fruit than those grown on land. Likewise, if its roots have already occupied the entire pot, its growth will slow down and, also, the production of lemons will be delayed.

For this reason, If we have it in a pot, it is necessary that it be of an increasing size every so often (2-3 years). The lemon tree can be grown in a container and bear fruit without problem, but if it is too small, its yield will not be what we would like. Likewise, a suitable substrate must be put on it, like this one they sell here! for example.


If pests tend to attack it, it will take longer to bear fruit. The most common in lemon trees are: cottony mealybugs, aphids, leaf miners and spider mites. All of them, except the miners, are sap suckers, which are found on the underside of the leaves, especially in the tender ones. In the case of miners, what they do is dig tunnels inside the foliage, destroying it.

How to remove them? It is advisable to do it with products such as diatomaceous earth (for sale here!), potassium soap (for sale here!) or neem oil (for sale here!). These are natural, so they won’t harm the environment. But if we see that they have spread a lot, it is best to choose specific insecticides, such as these that you can find in the links: for the mealybugs, aphids, miners and for the No products found..

Citrus limon with fruitscitrus lemon with fruits

Related article:

Lemon tree pests and diseases


Alternariosis is a fungal diseaseAlternariasis is a fungal disease

Image – Wikimedia Commons / MPF

When the lemon tree lives in very humid environments and / or when it is watered too much, it becomes vulnerable to certain diseases:

How to treat it? If the disease is caused by a fungus, then the tree must be treated with a fungicide.. An effective and natural one is copper (you can get it here!), which should be sprinkled around the trunk and watered. But if it is very weak, it is more advisable to opt for a chemical fungicide, such as this.

In the case of viruses, unfortunately nothing can be done, just uproot the affected tree and burn it.

What if nothing works?

If, no matter how much we take care of the lemon tree, it still does not bear fruit even though it is the right age, we can still do something else: fertilize it with a fertilizer that stimulates floweringthat is, the production of flowers. For example, this one they sell here! It is organic, so it can be used even in organic farming.

In the case of choosing to use it, we will have to stop fertilizing it with citrus fertilizersince otherwise we would be adding too much compost, and we could lose it.

Has it served you? I hope that with these tips your lemon tree will bear fruit.

Why is my lemon tree not bearing fruit: causes and solutions

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