Bright yellow lemons reflect happiness, summer, and joy, so having everything lemon in the house is great to lift your spirit. Instead of sticking with lemon fragrance or motifs, why not try planting a dwarf lemon tree? This mini version of a regular lemon tree provides amazing color in the house. You can also enjoy the fruits longer, because the tree is more protected from the weather.
The dwarf lemon tree is similar to a mini orange tree, and you can shape it into the desired size. Don’t get intimidated by pictures of beautiful trees with plump fruits. You can grow a fertile lemon tree at home by following proper guide.
Why Planting Dwarf Lemon Tree?
Dwarf lemon is a perfect addition for any house, especially if you like using fresh lemons for cooking. Here are several reasons why this plant is a must for your indoor garden:
Versatile and robust plant
Mini citrus trees are famous for their versatile nature. They can adapt more easily to various planting conditions. They are also more protected from elements than their outdoor counterparts, making their appearance more beautiful.
Easy to care
Lemons love warm water and adequate watering, so the maintenance is not too difficult. Mini variants can handle room temperature, which makes it easier for owners who want to see vibrant color indoor.
Great source of tart flavor
Having a close source for small orange fruit, or lemon, is perfect for home cooks. Lemons are used in various dishes, desserts, and beverages. You don’t need to walk all the way to the garden just to get some lemon juice or zest.
Great border plants
If you plant mini lemon trees outdoor, they can serve as border or hedge plants. They are also great as a perennial garden background or patio decoration.
Dwarf citrus trees are also famous for attracting bees, so they can pollinate the plants. However, indoor plants require manual pollination to produce good fruits.
How to Plant Dwarf Lemon Tree Indoor
Many dwarf lemon trees are sold in containers, so all you need to do is transferring them to new pots for indoor planting. Make sure you fulfill all these requirements:
Use an ideal potting mix
Lemon tree needs fertile, well-drained, and moist (but not flooded). You can use regular potting soil mixed with organic matter, such as compost. The ideal pH is slightly acidic to neutral (6 to 6.5).
Use proper pot
Since lemon tree hates waterlogged soil, make sure you use a pot with drainage hole(s). The pot can be as large as 24 inches (60 cm) in diameter. However, you can plant a mini lemon tree in a slightly smaller pot. Use regular pruning to control the growth.
Indoor lemon tree is planted mainly as decoration, so you need to fertilize the plant regularly. Liquid fertilizer is an easy way to feed the plant. Follow the instruction or just mix it with water for watering the tree. 10-10-8 fertilizer is a nice formula.
Place on the right spot
Lemon tree likes light, so mind where you place the pot. It needs around 12 hours of light to thrive. You can place the pot near the window and rotate it regularly, or just use artificial light.
Finally, there is a matter of pollination. Since you keep the tree inside the house, bees cannot pollinate it. Conduct pollination by transferring the pollen to the flower’s stigma using a small brush.
Can You Grow Mini Lemon Tree from Seeds?
Yes. Growing lemon tree from seed is easy, and you can use seeds from the existing mini fruits in your house. You must take the seeds from fresh fruit that still hangs from the tree. Fallen fruit may have bacteria in the seeds, while grocery store lemons usually have unripe seeds. Use these fresh seeds to propagate the mini lemon tree.
To germinate the seed, pluck it from the fruit and rinse it until clean. Place it between two paper towels until dry. Sterilize a planting pot using a bleach solution and rinse it under running water. Place potting soil and compost into the pot before burying the seed half an inch under the surface. Place the pot in warm spot and water every day until the seedling grows.
How to “Shape” Dwarf Lemon Tree
Shaping is important in indoor lemon tree care. Because you plant the tree as a decoration, you want it to look straight (unless you like a slightly crooked shape, which is more natural). A mini citrus tree usually needs a few years until it can look symmetrical and “fully rounded” in its overall shape.
There are several ways you can control the growth and shape the tree. For example, if you want to keep it low, pinch the new growths regularly once the tree reaches your desired size. You must also regularly deadhead the tree and remove yellowed, damaged, or dead leaves and branches to keep it robust.
Common Problems of Dwarf Lemon Tree
The mini lemon tree has several common pests, such as ants, aphids, and spider mites. Insecticide soap spray is available to remove these pests. For a more environmentally-friendly method, you can use diatomaceous earth. This substance comes in a white powder that you can sprinkle liberally on the plant. It is good for a house with kids and pets.
Diatomaceous earth is also ideal to remove slugs. While you can just pick up visible slugs, sprinkling this substance directly on top of them will do the job. Avoid applying this substance to wet or dewy plants, since it does not work in a wet condition.
Mini citrus trees can also experience fungal infection. Common signs include yellowed leaves, white spots, and partially ripen fruits. Once you see the signs, apply horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. You must remove the parts that are infected. However, if the plant already shows signs of infection all over, there is no other way than removing it.
Having lemon tree inside the house will brighten the interior and provide zesty color in the house. You can also get fresh lemons to make various recipes, from desserts to lemonade and even homemade beauty concoctions. Plant a dwarf lemon tree in a nice pot and see how your house gets brightened instantly.