Lemon Tree Plant: How to Grow From Seed Indoors (17 Types of Lemon Trees)

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 13, 2024

Man standing under a lemon tree holding a lemon fruit wonders how to grow a lemon tree from a seed and if he can find a complete lemon tree identification guide that includes indoor lemon tree plant steps for growing lemon trees in pots.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to grow a Lemon tree from a seed, rest assured that it probably isn’t as difficult as you might fear.

Anyone can plant a lemon tree from a seed, it just depends on the type of lemon tree that will work with your climate. Fortunately, there are a number of small plants for growing lemon trees in pots, so that anyone can enjoy freshly grown lemons at home.

Originally from the northwest region of India thousands of years ago, the popularity of this sour-tasting fruit has spread across the globe.

Many weekend gardeners learn how to grow a Lemon tree to take advantage of the nutritional benefits, but since there are hundreds of cultivars, as well as cross-hybrids, which one is the best one to choose?

This complete lemon tree growing guide explains everything you need to know.

17 Types of Lemon Trees

The lemon farming industry in the United States of America is enormous, occupying at least 54,000 acres spread across various states.

From these farms, lemons are trucked all over the country to supermarkets and distribution centers and, despite there being so many varieties, all are just sold as lemons.

Lemon tree identification chart showing Lemon tree leaves, Lemon tree flowers, Lemon tree seeds, and Lemon tree bark images in circle frames on a green background.

Here is a brief list of just 17 of them so when you’re making your very own lemonade from your Lemon tree you’ll know which type it is.

Lemon TypeCharacteristicsNative HabitatUSDA Zone
1. Lisbon
(Citrus x limon ‘Lisbon’)
Most common lemon found in supermarketsSouth Asia9-10
2. Verna
(Citrus × limon ‘Verna’)
A large lemon with a protruding nipple and normally only 3-4 seedsSpain9-12
3. Ponderosa
(Citrus x pyriformis)
Large fruit with an unmistakable teardrop shapeCalifornia9-11
Closeup of Ponderosa (Citrus x pyriformis) tree with its teardrop-shaped fruit.

(Image: Davgood Kirshot9)

Lemon TypeCharacteristicsNative HabitatUSDA Zone
4. Assam
(Citrus jambhiri)
In their native countries, these lemons are mainly used for making juicesChina and Nepal10-12
5. Eureka
(Citrus limon ‘Eureka’)
Almost as popular as Lisbon, with minimal seedsSouth Asia8-10
6. Canton Lemon
(Citrus x limonia Osbeck)
Trees need daily watering. Fruits have been crossed with mandarin to adjust the tasteIndia10-13
Eureka Lemon tree situated next to a backyard fence showing green leaves and ripe lemon fruits.

Ripe Eureka Lemon Fruits. (Image: Stickpen10)

Lemon TypeCharacteristicsNative HabitatUSDA Zone
7. Genoa
(Citrus × limon ‘Genoa’)
This oval-shaped lemon is cold-resistant and easy to grow.1Italy and California8-12
8. Bearss
(C. aurantiifolia ‘Bearss’)
Very acidic, very juicy, and easy to grow.Florida8-12
9. Buddha’s Hand
(Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis)
From a round center sprout offshoots in the shape of fingersChina8-11
Closeup of Buddha's Hand Lemon fruit with hand-like shape.

(Image: Thanh Tran11)

Lemon TypeCharacteristicsNative HabitatUSDA Zone
10. Lemonade
(Citrus limon x reticulata)
A cross between a lemon and a mandarin, giving a sweeter tasteNew Zealand9-11
11. Lumia
(Citrus × lumia ‘Pyriformis’)
Thick, mottled skin over a pear shape. Doesn’t contain a lot of juiceAsia9-11
12. Greek Citron
(Citrus medica)
Very sour, with an unusually mottled thick skinGreece8-11
Closeup of Citrus × lumia 'pyriformis' with its pear-shaped lemon fruit.

Lumia Lemon fruit hanging on a tree. (Image: Andy M.12)

Lemon TypeCharacteristicsNative HabitatUSDA Zone
13. Pink Variegated
(Citrus × limon)
The unusual pink-colored flesh is covered by yellow skin with green stripes.California8-11
14. Baboon
(Babiana stricta)
The lemon tang is accentuated by a floral flavorBrazil9-12
15. Villafranca
(Citrus × limon ‘Villa Franca’)
Known for having hardly any seedsAsia8-11
Sliced Villafranca Lemon with no seeds.

(Image: MiraCosic13)

Lemon TypeCharacteristicsNative HabitatUSDA Zone
16. Primofiori
(Citrus × limon ‘Fino’)
Known to be thin-skinned, and easy to peelSpain8-12
17. Meyer
(Citrus × meyeri)
A hybrid with smooth skin and not such a tangy tasteCalifornia8-11
Close-up shot of a sliced Meyer Lemon, showing the juicy segments and pith against a plain background.

(Image: noellemyers14)

The health benefits associated with lemons are often overlooked because of the sour taste. But they shouldn’t be.

They contain Vitamin C, fight against certain cancers, eliminate harmful toxins, are good for the skin, and can aid in a weight loss program.

Chefs grate the peel to add zest to a recipe while savvy house owners use lemons mixed in a cleaning solution that kills germs and leaves a pleasant after-aroma in the room.

How To Grow a Lemon Tree: Growing Zones for Lemon Tree (Where To Grow)

Areas like California and Arizona have the perfect weather for growing Lemon trees, but if your backyard resides in zones 8-11, then you’re also good to grow, but temperatures below 55°F will force the tree to become dormant.

If the temperature drops below 30°F any fruits there are will die off.

A temperature range of between 77°F and 86°F is the sweet spot, but certain types of Lemon trees have been known to tolerate the extra hot days in California, as long as sufficient water is available, that is.

Also, be aware that if cut off from sunlight for months on end due to an unexpected overhang that casts a long shadow, the tree will suffer and you’ll be lucky to squeeze one juicy lemon from the branches.

Always do your homework on which type to select for your hardiness zone so you won’t have to learn how to grow a Lemon tree the hard way.

How To Grow Lemon Tree From Seed (Growing Lemon Trees in Pots)

Learning how to grow a Lemon tree in a pot is not a complicated process and is actually one of the easiest fruit trees to grow with little to no experience.

A graphic that shows the 9 steps on how to grow a Lemon Tree which is cleaning and soaking the seeds, planting it in soil, misting and covering it, moving it on sunny windowsill, watering when dry, moving it on a sunny place, pruning it for maintenance, replanting on larger pot, and transferring it in a garden spot with moderate sunlight.

The items that home gardeners are going to need are very simple:2

  • A pot that is at least 30 cm deep and twice as wide
  • Potting soil
  • Fertilizer
  • A spraying bottle with water
  • And a lemon, organic ideally

First, fill the pot with moistened potting soil nearly to the brim and then follow these steps:

Step 1: Remove the seeds from the lemon and give them a quick clean.
Step 2: Gently push the seeds into the soil up to the second knuckle on your finger.
Step 3: Spray a fine mist of water.
Step 4: Wrap the entire pot in a plastic sheet to recreate a humid environment.
Step 5: Pop a few holes in the plastic then place the pot on a sunny ledge.
Step 6: Water when needed over the next two weeks if the soil looks dry.

How To Grow a Lemon Tree Indoors (Indoor Lemon Tree)

After two weeks it’s possible to see the fruits of your labor begin to push through the soil. Now it’s time to remove the plastic sheeting and encourage further growth.

  • Move the pot into a position where it can bathe in 8 hours of sunlight.
  • Water as and when needed.
  • Add a fertilizer.
  • As the plant grows, remove dead or dying leaves.
  • When the burgeoning Lemon tree outgrows its current pot, replant it into a larger one. Be careful not to damage the roots when repotting.
  • Regularly monitor for any bugs or pests.

The time to integrate your sapling into your garden will depend on the time of year. Ideally, after the last frost has melted away, a location can be chosen where the sun won’t be too harsh so the plant can acclimatize slowly to its new environment.

How To Grow a Lemon Tree (How To Plant Lemon Trees Outdoors)

How to grow a Lemon tree successfully involves knowing how to transplant it correctly into its new home in your garden.

The roots are sensitive to a change in the soil and the leaves can be hypersensitive if suddenly exposed to full direct sunlight. If done incorrectly, transplantation can be a shock to the system of a Lemon tree.

Before you start digging holes at the beginning of spring, ensure that the temperature in your local environment is consistently around 40° or slightly above.

Related Reading: 125 Facts About the Environment in 2023 You Might Not Believe

Keep the Lemon tree in the same pot and move it outside where it will be exposed to a few hours a day of indirect sunlight. Too much too soon will lead to a too-dead plant.

At this early stage, the health of your plant is sun dependent, so even if you have to physically move the pot after an hour to avoid over-exposure, do so.3

Over the next few days gradually move the pot to positions where the sun is slightly stronger, and leave it for longer periods of time.

As the exposure time increases to the 8-hour mark over a week, water more frequently to prevent the soil from drying out.

There are organic fertilizers specifically for citrus trees, so using one is recommended throughout the summer.

If the encroaching winter months are too chilly for the species of Lemon tree that you have, it will be advisable to move the plant pot back indoors for protection. If the winters are mild in your zone, or the plant is cold-hardy, then it’s time to put it into the ground.

Lemon Tree Plant Outside (When To Plant Lemon Tree for the Best Yield)

Proper planning on how to grow a Lemon tree so it consistently produces a bountiful harvest starts with location, so the soil is well-draining, with location, so the soil has a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5, and with location, so the tree is sheltered from any cold drafts.

  • Choose a spot where 8 hours plus of sunshine is available.
  • Dig a hole as deep as the roots but just over twice as wide.
  • Remove the sapling from the pot and free the roots so they can be spread out evenly in the new hole.
  • Fill in and gently tamp damp to remove any excess air.
  • Spread mulch around the base to conserve moisture and nutrients.4
  • Water for a few weeks and then add some fertilizer.

Planting just at the start of spring increases the chances that when the harvesting lemons period rolls around, you won’t be disappointed.

The Advantages of Growing a Lemon Tree From a Cutting Over Growing a Lemon Tree From a Seedling

The method selected of propagating for Lemon tree cultivation between a cutting and a seedling can be contingent on how accurately you want the new lemons to be genetically identical to the originals.

Closeup of Lemon Tree seedling in black container to show growing a Lemon Tree from a seedling.

(Image: 330889415)

Despite being harvested directly from a lemon, growing a Lemon tree from a seed can lead to a variation in the fruit. It may not be an exact copy while using a cutting as the source will lead to the lemon looking and tasting exactly like the ones from the donor tree.

Also, if the intention is to improve the lemon genetically, either for cold hardiness or flavor, grafting two cuttings from different trees together can yield a variant more to your taste buds and environment.

Planting Tips for Lemon Tree (Watering Needs for Lemon Tree Plants)

Some planting tips on how to grow a Lemon tree better will show you the best ways to care for your tree and get the best harvest time after time and, just as importantly, keep it healthy.

Proper watering is the starting point, with younger trees requiring watering twice a week whereas more mature trees can be watered just when the top 1 or 2 inches of the soil is dry to the touch.

  • Also, ensure that there is good drainage so roots do not get waterlogged.
  • Do not spray water heavily on the truck as this can cause root rot.
  • Fertilize often throughout the growing period.
  • Remove ripe fruit to avoid overloading the branches and causing potential damage to the tree limbs.
  • Keep the base of the trunk clear of debris and fallen fruit as these can be an open invitation to pests.
  • Once a month when watering, add Epsom salt with water as this is beneficial to the growth and the juiciness of these citrus fruits.5
  • Scraps of fish heads buried around the base of the trunk is also a neat trick to increase the quality of the lemons at harvest time.

Lemon Trees: How Long Does It Take for a Tree To Grow?

In a suitable outdoor environment, Lemon trees can take up to 6 years to grow to their full height of 20 feet.

That time can be shortened if the gardeners know how to grow a tree from a branch with a grafting technique to achieve greater control over the fruiting time and even the height of the tree.

Lemon tree growth chart showing a line graph with Lemon tree age on the x-axis and Lemon tree height on the y-axis.

Other trees in the citrus family such as oranges and mandarins can differ in their production cycles. Orange trees grown from seed can take up to 10 years to produce any fruits, while mandarins can take between 4 to 7 years.

All of these citrus trees have a lifespan of up to 50 years under ideal conditions.

The Orange tree can continue to blossom until it dies of old age, while the Lemon and Mandarin trees generally produce a harvest of up to 30 years.

How To Grow a Lemon Tree: Common Pests of the Lemon Tree and Natural Pest Control for Lemon Tree

Virtually all of the 17 types of Lemon trees listed in one way or another can be afflicted by a range of pests with bad intentions.

Moths seem to flock to citrus trees as a home to lay their larva. Here are a few of the most invasive ones, as well as a few other annoying pests, that just seem to love the taste of a sour lemon.

Pest TypePart of the Tree AffectedMethod of Control
Lemon Bud Moth (Prays parilis)They devour flowers and cause the fruits to become mishappen.Spray with a mixture of garlic, dish soap, oil, and water
Citrus Leafminer (Phyllocnistis citrella)Leaves from this moth larva can be decimated if the infestation is severePrune damaged leaves or spray with a horticultural oil
Closeup of a citrus tree leaf infected with Citrus Leafminer (Phyllocnistis citrella).

(Image: Scot C. Nelson16)

Pest TypePart of the Tree AffectedMethod of Control
Medfly (Ceratitis capitata)Very damaging by laying eggs inside the fruit skinsDestroy infected fruit or lay baits that will kill them off when eaten
Citrus Aphid (Toxoptera citricida)They secrete a substance that creates black mold on leaves or branchesA forceful jet of water will remove these pests very quickly
Closeup of citrus tree leaf infected with Citrus Aphid (Toxoptera citricida).

(Image: Scot C. Nelson17)

Pest TypePart of the Tree AffectedMethod of Control
California Red Scale (Aonidiella aurantii)The female lays 100-150 crawlers that infest the fruits, leaves, and stemsOil sprays or organic insecticides work well
Florida Wax Scale (Ceroplases floridensis)Initially infests the leaves become consuming twigs and branchesOther insects naturally keeps these pests under control
Closeup of citrus tree leaf showing early signs of Florida Wax Scale (Ceroplases floridensis) infection.

(Image: Mathieu Basille18)

Pest TypePart of the Tree AffectedMethod of Control
Citrus Red Mite (Panonychus citri)Prefers feeding on the leaves rather than the fruits. Can cause severe leaf drop and branch damageSoap-based insecticides and spraying with horticultural oils keep these pests in check
Citrus Mealybug (Planococcus citri)6Infests primarily the leaves but the fruit quality and tree health will sufferStrong jets of water or using recommended insecticides will get rid of them
Top shot of Citrus Mealybug (Planococcus citri) with its white body.

(Image: Sandeep Handa19)

How To Stop Lemon Tree Disease

Recognizing tree diseases as early as possible when learning how to grow a Lemon tree can save your prized possession from falling past the point of no return when the rot has penetrated too deeply.

Diseases such as:

Citrus Canker

Description: This fungus causes defoliation of the leaves before attacking and devastating the fruit crop.

Treatment: Prevention is best by spraying a natural fungicide and bactericide. But uprooting or burning the entire tree may be the only solution when this disease is detected.

A citrus tree leaves showing signs of Citrus Canker infection.

(Image: Scot C. Nelson20)

Botrytis Blight

Description: Every part of the lemon tree is attacked by this mold that causes branches to die off and fruits to rot away.

Treatment: Early detection and pruning will eliminate this threat.

Lemon Scab

Description: Unsightly mold will grow on the lemons but the major harm is to the health of the tree itself.

Treatment: Spraying with a copper fungicide is a good form of control as is pruning.

Closeup of unripe Lemon fruits with scabs caused by Lemon Scab.

(Image: Scot C. Nelson21)

Closeup of Citrus Greening Disease causing the paling of citrus trees leaves.

(Image: USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service22)

Citrus Greening Disease

Description: Once the symptoms are detected of the leaves first paling on one side and the discoloring fruits growing lopsided, it’s way too late.

Treatment: Uproot the entire tree and burn before this blight spreads to other nearby Lemon trees.

Armillaria Root Rot

Description: Early signs are leaves turning yellow and an unpleasant smell coming from beneath the bark itself.

Treatment: Excise infected roots and expose the rest to dry out if detected early enough.

Closeup of a tree branch with mushrooms on its root and showing signs of Armillaria Root Rot.

(Image: Scot C. Nelson23)

Cotton Root Rot

Description: Wilting leaves and decaying root bark are signs that the Lemon tree is under severe duress.

Treatment: Prevention is the best method of control by applying a specific fungicide for this malady when planting the tree if it is known to be in your area.

Whether you’re just learning how to grow a Lemon tree, how to grow an Apple tree from seed, how to grow a Cherry tree from seed, or how to grow a Mango tree from seed, be aware of what diseases may be prevalent in your area and pre-treat your trees accordingly.

Preventing any of these problems, such as the infected roots, from cropping up at a later stage and ruining your harvest needs to be anticipated at inception in order to avoid any of these possible future threats to your juicy fruits.7

Companion Plants For Growing Lemon Trees

The Avocado tree and other plants and vegetables planted close by or underneath a Lemon tree can play a beneficial role in warding off potential pests as well as aiding in pollination and improving soil conditions.8

The reality is that even trees need a helping hand sometimes. Include companion plants and vegetation such as onions, peas, parsley, different types of wildflowers, petunias that repel aphids, and even roses that just smell great, and the ecosystem around your Lemon tree will be eternally grateful.

Related Reading: Can We Live Without Trees? How Our Worst Fears Are Becoming Reality

Discovering new information about how to grow a Lemon tree successfully can be a fun and rewarding experience if steps are followed diligently.

Even though it may not change your life, the Lemon tree plant (how to grow from seed Indoors – 17 types of Lemon trees) will definitely enhance your landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Grow a Lemon Tree

Does Lemons Grow on Trees?

Yes, lemons do grow on trees.

How Big Do Lemon Trees Get?

A Lemon tree grown indoors can reach heights of 4 feet. Outdoors, the heights can ascend to 20 feet.

How Many Types of Lemon Trees Are There?

There are 30 different distinct types of trees that grow lemons of all shapes and sizes.

How Much Sunlight Does Lemon Tree Need Each Day?

8 hours of direct sunlight is required for a Lemon tree whereas some other indoor plants need in excess of 12 hours.

What Are the Best Growing Conditions for Lemon Trees?

Lesson number with how to grow a Lemon tree is understanding that these types of trees love the heat and thrive in sub-tropical conditions.

How Long Does a Lemon Tree Take To Grow and How Long Does It Take a Lemon Tree To Bear Fruit?

If grown from a seed, it will take 3 -6 years to grow and about 5 years for a Lemon tree to bear fruit.

How Far Apart To Plant Lemon Trees?

Lemon trees need to be planted about 12-15 feet apart

Read More About How To Grow a Lemon Tree


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2Smith, T., & Cox, D. (2015, August). Bagged Potting Mixes and Garden Soils for Home Gardeners. University of Massachusetts Amherst. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from <https://ag.umass.edu/home-lawn-garden/fact-sheets/bagged-potting-mixes-garden-soils-for-home-gardeners>

3Hawkins, L. (2017, February 21). Five Tips for the Kickoff to Citrus Health. USDA. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from <https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2012/09/25/five-tips-kickoff-citrus-health>

4Kluepfel, M., Polomski, R. F., Williamson, J., & Scott, J. M. (2016, June 20). Mulch. HGIC | Clemson Cooperative Extension. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from <https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/mulch/>

5Carignan, C. (2022, October 17). Growing Dwarf Citrus. University of Maryland Extension. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from <https://extension.umd.edu/resource/growing-dwarf-citrus>

6UC | IPM. (2022, February 17). Mealybugs. UC | IPM. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from <https://ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/citrus/mealybugs/>

7Grabowski, M., & Kanner, C. A. (2018). Armillaria root rot. University of Minnesota Extension. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from <https://extension.umn.edu/plant-diseases/armillaria-root-rot>

8Weisenhorn, J., & Hoidal, N. (2020). Lighting for indoor plants and starting seeds. University of Minnesota Extension. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from <https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/lighting-indoor-plants>

9Photo by Davgood Kirshot. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-276542/>

10Eureka Lemon Photo by Stickpen / Public Domain. Resized. From Wikimedia Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eureka-lemon.jpg>

11Photo by Thanh Tran. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-7734078/>

12Photo by Andy M.. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-4944135/>

13Photo by MiraCosic. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-991085/>

14Photo by noellemyers. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/photos/meyer-lemon-lemon-citrus-yellow-2294026/>

15Photo by 3308894. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-1673077/>

16Citrus leafminer Photo by Scot C. Nelson / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. Resized. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/scotnelson/30112292368/sizes/c/>

17Brown citrus aphids on citrus leaf Photo by Scot C. Nelson / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. Resized. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/scotnelson/9577706575/sizes/c/>

18Florida Wax Scale Photo by Mathieu Basille / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. Resized. From iNaturalist <https://www.inaturalist.org/photos/34134317?size=large>

19Photo by Sandeep Handa. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/images/id-5968967/>

20Citrus Canker Symptoms Photo by Scot C. Nelson / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. Resized. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/scotnelson/8233193438/sizes/c/>

21Fungal scab of unripe lemon Photo by Scot C. Nelson / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. Resized. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/scotnelson/9504944200/sizes/c/>

22Symptom of Citrus Greening Disease Photo by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service / Public Domain Mark 1.0. Resized. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/usda-aphis/34517474693/sizes/h/>

23Declining tree with root hosting mushrooms Photo by Scot C. Nelson / CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication. Resized. From Flickr <https://www.flickr.com/photos/scotnelson/9729794257/sizes/c/>

24Seeds Identification Photo by kaitlyn :). Cropped, Resized, Changed Format. Unsplash. Retrieved February 23, 2024, from <https://unsplash.com/photos/a-lemon-and-seeds-on-a-black-surface-aoSWuR6XMNg>