If you’re considering growing fruit indoors, or even in a patio container, far and away the most popular and prolific choice is the dwarf lemon tree.
Happily, the term dwarf doesn’t refer to the size of the fruit the tree yields! The fruit itself is full size, and as an added advantage, usually seedless. The lemons from these trees are typically sweeter than store bought lemons, for reasons we’ll explain below:
Indoors or Outdoors?
Given their smaller size, these small lemon trees offer gardeners a couple distinct possibilities. They can be planted in the soil outdoors, or grown in containers. Where to actually place your lemon tree container offers yet another possibility, since these trees can be grown indoors or outside.
Climate factors also come into play. Being a citrus plant, these trees need a warm, humid environment to thrive. In colder areas, like Zone 5 as an example, a lemon tree wouldn’t survive the outdoor temperatures in winter. Growing these trees in a container indoors becomes a realistic option.
Because these trees are small, i.e. dwarf, they’re easier to maintain. Most of their growing energy is devoted toward fruit production rather than growing taller. Typical outdoor lemon trees routinely top 30 feet. In contrast, a dwarf variety might reach a height of four feet at best.
The bottom line is, one can easily grow these trees indoors, given proper care. They are quite hardy by nature, but they do have some care requirements. Most are self pollinating, so there’s not a worry of the tree not producing fruit. But they do tend to do better when spending a few months outdoors in the warmer weather.
Dwarf Lemon Tree Care
Most citrus trees are remarkably low maintenance. Their biggest enemies are cold temperatures and too much water. Since most thrive in warm locales like Florida and areas of California, the warmth and humidity they need is readily available.
When growing these trees indoors, the key factor is ample sunlight. You’ll find your tree will do best with at least six hours of direct sunlight per day … even more if possible. A sunny room with southern or western exposure seems to work best.
Humidity levels are another factor. Citrus trees love humidity, and indoor environments are often quite dry. Fortunately, there’s an easy way around this issue, simply mist the tree with tepid water (not warm and not cold) every other day or so. This increases humidity levels around the tree and provides the environment it needs to thrive.
As for watering, usually once a week is satisfactory. More citrus trees suffer due to over watering as opposed to drought. If you’re growing the tree in a container, make sure the soil is completely dry a couple of inches down before watering. You can test this with your index finger, simply plunge your finger into the soil. If it’s still damp or moist, hold off on watering for another day. If your finger emerges completely dry – it’s time to water!
Growing a dwarf lemon tree is quite rewarding, especially when you’re enjoying bushels of fresh lemons! They are quite easy to grow, either outside or in an indoor container. Be sure to provide ample sunlight, though. These trees need lots of direct sunlight to thrive. Don’t over water your tree, actually under watering is better.
Be sure to explore the rest of this site to see all the varieties of dwarf citrus and other fruit trees you can grow indoors. There are at least a dozen different types, and given their low cost, you can start growing your own indoor orchard today!