growing lemon tree growth stages.

Growing Lemon Tree Growth Stages and Care Tips: Ultimate Guide


Discovering the secrets of growing a lemon tree from the beginning and nurturing it through its life stages is an intriguing journey that we will unravel in this comprehensive manual. We will cover the seven growing stages of lemon tree growth, from seed germination to fruit harvesting. We will also share tips and tricks to help you grow a healthy and productive lemon tree.

Lemon trees are among the most popular and versatile citrus trees you can grow at home. They offer many benefits, such as:

    • Providing fresh and nutritious lemons that you can use for cooking, drinking, or preserving
    • Enhancing the beauty and fragrance of your garden or indoor space with their glossy green leaves and white flowers
    • Improving the air quality and humidity of your environment by releasing oxygen and moisture
    • Repelling insects and pests with their natural oils and acids

So, whether you want to grow a lemon tree indoors or outdoors, this guide is for you. Let’s get started!

Understanding Growth Stages of Growing Lemon Tree

Stage 1: Germination

Showing of image Seed germination; it is Growing lemon trees first growth stages.

Seed Germination

The first stage of growing a lemon tree is germination. At this stage, the lemon seed begins to grow roots and leaves. To successfully germinate a lemon seed, you will require the following items:

    • A fresh lemon (preferably organic)
    • A sharp knife
    • A paper towel
    • A plastic bag
    • A sunny windowsill

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Begin the lemon tree growth process by extracting the juice from a halved lemon, ensuring not to discard the precious seeds and utilizing the juice for culinary or refreshing purposes.
  2. Extract the seeds meticulously from the pulp, ensuring their cleanliness, and rinse them gently under a continuous stream of water to maintain their integrity.
  3. Create an optimal environment for the seeds’ germination by placing them on moistened paper, delicately folding the towel over them, and securely enclosing it within a sealed plastic bag.
  4. Foster the growth of the lemon tree seeds by placing the sealed bag on a sunlit windowsill, patiently awaiting the emergence of roots and shoots, which can manifest within 5 to 14 days, depending on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.
  5. Monitor the progress of the seeds’ germination daily, ensuring to keep the paper towel adequately moistened if it becomes dry, and observe with delight as tiny roots and shoots begin to sprout forth from the seeds.

Congratulations! You have successfully germinated your lemon seeds!

Stage 2: Seedling

Three-leaf seedlings of the lemon tree.

Lemon tree seedling

The second stage of growing a lemon tree is seedling. The sprouted seeds will transform into young plants with stems and leaves during this stage. To successfully grow your seedlings, you will require the following items:

    • A small pot ( 4 inches in diameter) with drainage holes
    • Potting soil (preferably organic and well-draining)
    • A spray bottle
    • A sunny spot

Embark on your journey of growing a lemon tree with these sequential instructions:

  1. Begin by filling a pot with potting soil, ensuring its ample capacity, and creating a slight hollow in the center to accommodate the seed.
  2. Gently and meticulously transfer a sprouted seed into the prepared hollow, covering it meticulously with soil. Limiting planting to a single seed per pot is crucial to avoid competition for nutrients and space.
  3. Employ a spray bottle to moisten the soil lightly, being mindful not to saturate it excessively.
  4. Situate the pot in a sun-drenched location and maintain its position until the seedling emerges, which may require an additional duration of approximately one to two weeks.
  5. Regularly provide the emerging seedling with moisture by employing a spray bottle, taking care not to overwater. The soil should retain moisture without becoming excessively damp. Congratulations! 

You have successfully cultivated your very own lemon seedling!

Stage 3: Vegetative Growth

Lemon tree on both sides; growing vegetative growth stages.

Lemon Tree.

The third stage of growing a lemon tree is vegetative growth. It is when the seedling grows into a sapling with thicker foliage, a more substantial trunk, and thorns on its branches. To support your sapling’s growth, you will need the following:

    • A larger pot (about 8 inches in diameter) with drainage holes
    • Potting soil (preferably organic and well-draining)
    • A fertilizer (preferably organic and citrus-specific)
    • A sunny spot

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. When your seedling has at least four sets of leaves, it is time to transplant it into a larger pot. Gently remove it from its original pot and shake off any excess soil from its roots.
  2. Prepare for the next stage of your lemon tree’s growth by filling a pot with potting soil and creating a hole in the center slightly larger than your sapling’s root ball.
  3. Place your sapling in the hole and spread its roots evenly. Cover it with soil and press it firmly.
  4. Water your sapling thoroughly until water drains out of the bottom of the pot.
  5. Place your sapling in a sunny spot and keep it there for at least six hours daily.
  6. Fertilize your sapling once a month during spring and summer with an organic citrus fertilizer according to the package directions.

Your sapling is now growing into a mature lemon tree!

Stage 4: Bud Development

Both sides are buds of lemon flowers.

Bud of lemon fruit

The fourth stage of growing a lemon tree is bud development. When your tree starts producing flower buds, it eventually turns into fruits. To encourage bud formation, you will need the following:

    • A cooler spot
    • Less water
    • Less fertilizer

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. When your tree is about two years old, it may be ready to flower. To trigger this process, you need to expose it to cooler temperatures during winter (about 50°F or 10° C).
  2. Move your tree indoors or to a sheltered spot where it can still receive sunlight but not too much heat.
  3. Reduce watering and fertilizing during this period, as too much moisture and nutrients can inhibit flowering.
  4. Please wait for your tree to develop flower buds on its branches.

Your tree is now preparing to bloom!

Stage 5: Flowering

Both sides of lemon flowers.

Lemon flowers

The fifth stage of growing a lemon tree is flowering. This is when your tree produces fragrant white flowers that attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. To ensure successful pollination, you will need the following:

    • A warm spot
    • More water
    • More fertilizer
    • A paintbrush (optional)

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. When you see flower buds on your tree, move it back to a warm spot where it can receive plenty of sunlight and heat (about 70°F or 21°C).
  2. Increase watering and fertilizing during this period, as your tree needs more moisture and nutrients to support flowering.
  3. Enjoy the beauty and aroma of your tree’s flowers as they open up.
  4. Ensure to increase your chances of fruit set; you can help pollinate your tree by gently brushing a paintbrush over each flower.

Your tree is now blooming!

Stage 6: Fruiting

Stage-6: Both sides of Lemon fruits.

Lemon Fruits

The sixth stage of growing a lemon tree is fruiting. When your tree produces small green fruits, it gradually grows larger and turns yellow as they ripen. To ensure optimal fruit quality, you will need:

    • A sunny spot
    • Regular water
    • Regular fertilizer
    • Pruning shears (optional)

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. some flowers fall off after pollination, while others develop into fruits.
  2. For your lemon tree to thrive and reach its full potential, it is essential to carefully select a sunny location that provides a generous dose of at least six hours of direct sunlight every day.
  3. Water your tree regularly but not excessively, as too much water can cause fruit to drop or split.
  4. Fertilize your tree once every two months during the fruiting season with an organic citrus fertilizer according to the package directions.
  5. To improve air circulation and light penetration around your fruits, you can prune some excess branches or leaves on your tree.

Your tree is now bearing fruits!

Stage 7: Harvesting

Ripe yellow lemon fruits; on the right side, a person is lifting them by hand and placing them in a basket.

Ripe yellow lemon fruits

The seventh stage of growing a lemon tree is harvesting. This is when you can finally enjoy the fruits of your labor by picking ripe lemons from your tree. To ensure optimal flavor and freshness, you will need the following:

    • A pair of scissors or hand pruners
    • A basket or container
    • A juicer or knife (optional)

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. When your lemons turn yellow or slightly greenish-yellow, they are ready to harvest. You can also test their ripeness by gently squeezing them. They should feel firm but slightly soft and give off a pleasant citrus aroma.
  2. Cut or snip off each lemon from its stem using scissors or hand pruners. Exercise caution to avoid harm or impairment to the fruit or its delicate peel during care and handling. You can also twist off each lemon by hand, but this may cause more juice loss.
  3. Safeguard the quality of your freshly harvested lemons by carefully placing them in a basket or container and storing them in a cool and dry location. You can also refrigerate them for longer shelf life, which may affect their flavor and juiciness.
  4. Enjoy your fresh lemons by eating them raw, squeezing them for juice, making them into lemonade, preserving them in salt, making them into marmalade, or adding them to your dishes and drinks.

You have now harvested your lemons!

Best Practice for Lemon Tree Care Tips

Not only is it essential to know about the growth stages of growing lemon trees, but you must take some care to get healthy plants and good yields. Here are the tips and tricks on how to care for your lemon tree:


When planting a lemon tree outdoors, choosing a sunny and sheltered spot protected from frost is essential. Growing it near the house can provide extra protection. Lemon trees need plenty of sunlight to grow properly, but they can tolerate different soil types as long as it’s well-drained and slightly acidic. For best results, plant the lemon tree slightly higher than ground level by digging a hole that’s shallower than the length of the root ball. Place the tree in the hole and firmly pack the soil around it as you fill the hole.


For the initial three months after planting, it is crucial to provide regular watering to newly planted lemon trees, especially during insufficient rainfall, while allowing the soil to dry partially between watering intervals. For optimal health, lemon trees require thorough watering once a week. In the case of container-grown lemon trees, it is essential to maintain high humidity levels. To achieve this, consider placing a tray filled with water and pebbles beneath the container to enhance the humidity.4,7,8.


To optimize the growth of your lemon tree, refrain from mixing fertilizer in the planting hole before planting. Instead, apply fertilizer every three to four months, specifically during November, March, June, and August. Utilize a citrus fertilizer at a recommended rate of 1 to 2 pounds, opting for a slow-release variant to ensure a consistent and steady supply of essential nutrients to your lemon tree.


Lemon trees require little pruning, moderate water, and a consistent supply of nitrogen-rich plant food. Their most vital growing requirements are a bright light and good air circulation. Cool overnight temperatures help to stimulate flowering, especially in winter and early spring. Prune back any diseased areas to prevent spread. Take prompt action and promptly prune any sucker branches that emerge from the base of your lemon tree to maintain its optimal growth and vitality.

Pest and disease control:

Lemon trees are, unfortunately, susceptible to diseases. Common bacterial infections include bacterial blast and citrus canker. Common fungal diseases in lemon trees include root rot and botrytis. Signs of root rot are poor growth and small yellowing leaves. Treating can be challenging, as the signs typically don’t appear until the disease fully develops. Depending on the type of rot, there may be no saving the tree by the time the symptoms are visible. The right formula of fertilizer can treat nutrient deficiencies. Climate can be another cause of leaf issues. Frost, hail, sun, and wind can damage leaves and twigs. While you can’t control the weather, it’s vital to prune damaged areas, which may be more susceptible to disease. If you’re growing your lemon tree in a pot, ensure it has drainage. Use regular potting soil for your tree11,10,8.

FAQs of Growth Stages of Growing a Lemon Tree

Q1: How long does growing a lemon tree from seed take?

A1: It depends on the variety and the growing conditions, but generally, it takes about two to three years for a lemon tree to start producing fruits from seed.

Q2: How often should I water my lemon tree?

A2: Maintaining an optimal watering routine for your lemon tree involves regular but not excessive watering. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist yet avoid over-saturating it. A helpful guideline is to water the lemon tree when the top inch of the soil feels dry, ensuring a balanced and appropriate moisture level for its growth.

Q3: How much sunlight does my lemon tree need?

A3: To ensure the flourishing growth of your lemon tree, it requires a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight daily. In the case of indoor lemon tree cultivation, additional measures such as utilizing artificial lighting or relocating the tree to a brighter area might be required to provide the necessary light intensity.

Q4: How do I prune my lemon tree?

A4: Enhancing your lemon tree’s form, size, and fruit productivity is attainable through careful pruning. It is advisable to prune your lemon tree during the late winter or early spring before the commencement of new growth. Prune the tree by eliminating any lifeless, afflicted, or impaired branches and those that intersect or rub against each other. Additionally, thinning out surplus foliage facilitates improved light penetration and air circulation, enabling the fruits to flourish.

Q5: How do I harvest and store my lemons?

A5: When your lemons transition into a vibrant yellow or a subtle greenish-yellow hue, they are ready for harvest. Employ a soft cutting or twisting motion to detach them from their stems, taking care not to harm the fruit or its delicate peel. For short-term storage, a cool and dry location can preserve their freshness for approximately a week, while refrigeration can extend their shelf life to a month. Alternatively, freezing the lemons in their entirety or sliced and preserving them in salt or sugar provides additional options for long-term storage and culinary use.


Embarking on the journey of growing a lemon tree from seed offers both enjoyment and gratification. You’ll witness the captivating stages of growth, relish the tree’s exquisite blossoms, and savor its delectable fruits. Your lemon tree will thrive indoors or outdoors with proper care and conditions. So gather your supplies, including a lemon, soil, and a suitable container, and start your lemon-growing adventure. 

Please share this growing guide to growth stages and tricks with others interested in cultivating their lemon tree!


I am Gaushoul Agam

𝐂𝐨-𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 & 𝐂𝐄𝐎

I am an experienced Horticulture Officer in the Department of Agricultural Extension in Bangladesh. I am committed to improving agriculture and farming.

I created ToAgriculture to address global food safety concerns. These concerns are caused by a growing population, diminishing farmland, and the impact of climate change on agriculture. I assist readers in learning modern farming techniques.

I also help them control pests and diseases. Additionally, I guide managing agriculture sustainably. All of this is aimed at creating a better and more successful future in farming.

I have experience in field crops and horticulture crops. I know about fruit and vegetable farming, managing pests and diseases, irrigation, and grafting. Come with me as I share my knowledge and experiences to help you create a better future.

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