A mature lemon tree can make a spectacular addition to the summer patio and along with its perfume and fruit, it can be a real winner. For those of you who have been enquiring about lemon trees recently we now have some starter plants in stock at the garden centre. I will keep a look out for more mature specimens in the next few weeks but the ones we have at present will need growing on in a conservatory, greenhouse or on a bright windowsill indoors.
Lemon trees are possibly the best citrus plant to grow as they are really quite un-demanding in their requirements. The young starter plants require potting on into a 6” pot to begin their development, using a citrus compost. Aim to keep these young plants in a bright spot and keep the compost moist without waterlogging. Within a few weeks you will notice lots of new shoots developing which will grow quite rapidly. At this stage it is best to pinch out the growing tips to encourage strong branching growths which will in turn will lead to a stronger plant. Pot on in stages as root development requires it.
During summer lemon trees will benefit from being placed outdoors. Water freely and feed with a citrus fertiliser about every 2 to 3 weeks. Lemons will flower whilst still quite young so you may see blooms developing on your starter plant, however I would recommend removing any early flowers and allowing the plant to put all its energy into developing into a strong plant.
Once you have raised a good strong plant then allow the flowers to develop and fruit should soon follow. You will have to thin out the fruit clusters at this stage to allow the lemons to form properly. Aim for 2 or 3 fruits per cluster.
During winter lemon trees require bright cool conditions, a cool conservatory, enclosed porch or greenhouse would be ideal.