Lemon tree not fruiting

Will I get lemons from a tree grown from a lemon seed?

The existing, great answers here about the fruit lotto (or Russian roulette) that one wins or loses when they grow from seed without grafting can only be added to minimally by my own examples of outcome, which were surprising and rewarding to me even having known about improbable success etc. While I’ve had parents or neighbors with useless bitter orange, and all my raw citrus is thorny, I have had three elements of extreme success.

1) A lucky hit of my favorite tree yielding yummy, prolific, plump oranges that is blessed not only with fruit causing people ask for cuttings off its branches to graft on to their own bases, but it is blessed with a decent-sized (if not smallish but sturdy) hearty structure and a drought and disease-resistant system which has survived all commercial varieties, now standing alone. Some areas even restrict sale or even planting of unapproved species because they want citrus in the area to be known to resist local blights, but I seem to have their regulated species beat. I keep a watchful eye out and destroy sick citrus with fire.

2) The other one (and I mourn its loss in a construction misunderstanding) was a weird, yellow fruit that looked like a lumpy, grapefruit-sized lemon. The peel was impractically thick, but they were interesting-looking and the lemony inside tasted delicious and I couldn’t get over the notion they “made me feel good” enhancing my hydration with nutrients exceeding a simple ascorbic acid pill. I’d welcome another.

3) I’ll also note that calamondin always seems to yield come kind of acceptable passing-for-calamondin fruit good for preserves and drinks (if not with minor variations in size, tartness, and peel-ability I’ve never known if was genetic or individual phenotype / environment influenced).

— Jeff (the lay observer of what’s in his yard & who was obsessed with planting saved seeds one year).

P.S. Citrus is very water and nutrient hungry, gets miserable-looking and sick without care, and makes for an inevitably sad and depressing item to just let fend for itself in every case unless one is very fortunate by chance. They don’t like to come back from poor health easily and all too often, if combined, poor state + some diseases = forget it, even though it looked salvageable. In fact combining random genes with neglect can more easily cause them to spread detrimental diseases to local crops when haphazardly planted and neglected, unfortunately.

Water, pruning canopy to give roots a break, and even watered-in or diluted urine can go a long way. The best grapefruit in two come from the one the high school football team pees on each season (the elderly lady waters in the pee after practice so it doesn’t sit concentrated). She says they’re not technically organic or steroid free, “It’s all the natural testosterone makes the fruit grow”, LOL.

Growing Lemons – How To Grow A Lemon Tree

Growing a lemon tree isn’t that difficult. As long as you provide their basic needs, growing lemons can be a very rewarding experience.

How to Grow a Lemon Tree Outdoors

Lemons are more cold-sensitive than all other citrus trees. Due to this cold sensitivity, lemon trees should be planted near the south side of the home. Lemon trees need protection from frost. Growing them near the house should help with this. Lemon trees also require full sunlight for adequate growth.

While lemon trees can tolerate a range of soils, including poor soil, most prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Lemon trees should be set slightly higher than ground. Therefore, dig a hole somewhat shallower than the length of the root ball. Place the tree in the hole and replace soil, tamping firmly as you go. Water sufficiently and add some mulch to help retain moisture. Lemon trees require deep watering once weekly. If necessary, pruning may be done to maintain their shape and height.

Lemon Tree Growing Indoors

Lemons can make excellent houseplants and will be comfortable in a container as long it provides adequate drainage and room for growth. Heights of around 3 to 5 feet can be expected for a lemon tree growing indoors. They also prefer well-draining, slightly acidic soil. Keep the soil evenly moist and fertilize as needed.

Lemon trees thrive within a normal temperature range of about 70 F. (21 C.) throughout the day and 55 F. (13 C.) at night. Keep in mind that they will usually go into dormancy when temperatures fall below 55 F. (13 C.)

Lemon trees require lots of light; therefore, they may need to be supplemented with fluorescent grow lights during winter.

Lemon trees can be placed outdoors during warm periods, which is also recommended in order to increase their chances of bearing fruit. When you grow a lemon tree indoors, bees and other insects are unable to pollinate them. Therefore, you should place them outdoors during summer unless you want to hand pollinate.

Propagating for Lemon Tree Cultivation

Many lemon trees are container-grown, purchased straight from the nursery. However, they can be propagated through cuttings, air layering and seed. The variety usually dictates the best method used; yet, different people see different results using different methods. Therefore, it’s best to find the method that works for you.

The majority find it easier to propagate lemons by rooting large cuttings. While seeds can be used, the seedlings are usually slow to bear.

When choosing to grow from seeds, allow them to dry out for a week or two. Once dried, plant the seeds about an inch deep in good potting soil and cover with clear plastic wrap. Set the pot in a sunny location and wait for it to reach 6 to 12 inches before transplanting outdoors or to another pot.

No Fruit On Lemon Trees: How Can I Get My Lemon Tree To Bear Fruit

Dooryard citrus evokes summer days and provides lovely blooms and colorful fruit. If you’re looking forward to homemade lemonade and your tree is not producing, there may be a simple explanation. When you’re growing a lemon tree, problems are bound to crop up, but the worst is having no fruit on lemon trees. Read on to learn how I can get my lemon tree to bear fruit.

Reasons for No Fruit on Lemon Trees

The first query here would be, do the trees flower? Flowers lead to fruit, and a lack of blooms means your tree cannot produce. Some reasons for this would be incorrect cultivation, lack of nutrients, insufficient water and bad rootstock.

If the plant does bloom but still fails to fruit, this might be because the tree is not old enough. Lemon tree fruiting occurs at three to five years old, depending upon the rootstock. Blossom drop is one of the key growing lemon tree problems. Many of the newly forming fruits fall off well before they can begin to grow. This lack of fruit set may be due to an excess of fruits, too much water, low nutrients or exposure to cold.

How Can I Get My Lemon Tree to Bear Fruit?

There are several cultural situations that prevent fruit. At installation, place the plant on the southern or western side of the home. Lemon tree fruiting will only occur in warm temperatures. Choose a well drained area with shelter from damaging and drying winds. Use thermal covers or even just an old blanket to protect new buds or little fruits when unexpected freezes occur.

Also, make sure the fertilizer you apply in early spring is formulated for citrus trees and is high in potash. Avoid excess nitrogen during the flowering period as this spurs leafy growth and minimizes the production of flowers.

How to Encourage Fruit on Lemon Trees

Water the tree deeply and frequently during fall and half the amount of irrigation in winter. Resume the deep watering in spring and summer as these juicy fruits need plenty of moisture to form.

Fertilize in spring with an appropriate food, including the addition of phosphorus to encourage blooming and fruiting, and prune only where necessary. Fruits set on the ends of branches, so it is best to remove only dead wood and problem branches.

Protect the tree from disease and insects and take appropriate steps at the first sign of trouble. Healthy plants produce the most fruit.

No Fruit on Lemon Tree After Cultural Attempts

If the lemon tree is still not producing fruits, it might be due to a poor rootstock. Dwarf stocks produce the best fruit and will bear more quickly than full sized trees. You can always wait a year after good cultivation and see if fruit comes the second year. This is especially true if you have neglected lemon trees. They may just need a little TLC for a year and then will reward you with a bumper crop of golden lemons.

What Time of Year Do Lemon Trees Bear Fruit?

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Lemons are an acid citrus fruit. Available in many varieties, lemon trees grow in temperate zones. The time of year lemon trees bear fruit depends on the variety and climate.


In mild climates, some lemon trees may bear fruit any time of year. Lemons ripen on the tree and at maturity typically change color from green to yellow.

True Lemons

According to Texas A & M University, the true lemon species apparently originated in India centuries ago. Two primary types of true lemons are the Eureka, developed in California, and the Lisbon, developed in Australia.

Ersatz Lemons

Other lemon types are not descended from true lemons, but look or taste like lemons. These types, such as Ponderosa and Meyer, are used like lemons.

Spring Fruit

Eureka lemon trees bear fruit from spring to early summer. These warm season lemons are small and sensitive to cold.

Summer Fruit

Lisbon lemon trees bear fruit from summer to fall. Medium in size, this fruit is more cold tolerant and has more fruit seeds than the Eureka.

Winter Fruit

Ponderosa lemon trees with a large and seedy fruit, and Meyer lemon trees with fruit shaped like an orange, are cold tolerant and bear fruit from fall to winter. These fruits are larger than true lemons and have thicker rinds.

Q. I have a five year old Meyer lemon tree that currently has 14 nice large yellow lemons on it. New leaf growth is sprouting and blossoms are budding. My question is should I harvest all of the lemons now or can I leave them on and use them as I need them? Will it affect the next crop of lemons?

A. The Meyer lemon has been a popular garden tree since it was first imported from China in 1908. For most of those years, the fruit was available only from home gardens or occasionally from farmers markets because the fruit’s rind was considered too delicate to withstand commercial packing lines. More recently, it has found its way into grocery stores in small “gourmet” packages, expanding its popularity. Since I get questions about Meyer lemon trees regularly, I’ll cover the subject more fully.

The tree itself is quite attractive with glossy evergreen leaves and fragrant white flowers with faint purple shading. It is considered a hybrid between lemon and orange, and the fruit has a unique flavor and aroma. Although Meyer lemon cannot substitute perfectly for a true lemon, many people prefer its more delicate flavor and aroma, which are often described as somewhat floral. Its flavor or fragrance has become popular in everything from cookies to cleaning products.

The main flowering season for Meyer lemon trees is spring, although they also flower intermittently throughout the year, ensuring an almost continuous supply of fruit year-around. The mature fruit can be harvested as you need it because it stores well on the tree. As long as you don’t leave an exceptionally large quantity of mature fruit on the tree all the time, your tree should continue to do well and fruit-set should not be affected.

The fruit is similar in size to a true lemon but more rounded, and the rind is smoother with more of a yellow-orange color. The flesh is a darker yellow color and is juicier than true lemon. Although it is sweeter than a true lemon, it is still an acid fruit. With its distinctive flavor and aroma, Meyer lemon can provide you with a unique fruit for beverages, baking, and cooking.

The tree tolerates colder temperatures and stays much smaller than a Lisbon or Eureka lemon tree, making it more suitable for most southern California gardens. Because of its smaller size, Meyer lemon can also be grown successfully in a large container. Whether planted in the ground or in a container, it requires no special care. Grow it as you would any other citrus tree.

Q. I’m considering adding asparagus plants to our vegetable garden. I know the plants live for years, but just what is a reasonable life expectancy for an asparagus bed?

A. Asparagus is quite long‑lived and, as long as soil fertility is maintained, will remain productive indefinitely. A general purpose fertilizer should be incorporated into the soil in spring and fall, and care should be taken not to damage the underground parts of the plants. With reasonable care, an asparagus bed can last at least 25 years so choose its location carefully.

Ottillia “Toots” Bier has been a UC Cooperative Extension master gardener since 1980. Send comments and questions to [email protected]

Contact the writer: [email protected]

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