How to grow Lemon in container? – Container Gardening Tips.
Containers, Gardening, Gardening Tips, IPS Gardening, Nutrients Management, Uncategorized, Urban Farming Oct 28, 2020
Lemon is the one of the most grown plant in almost all backyards and kitchen gardens. When you don’t have space to grow but still want to grow a lemon tree, container will be your best option. Let’s look at how to grow a lemon tree in a container.
How to Plant a Lemon Tree in a Container??
When you grow a lemon tree in a container, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
3.Selection of potting media
4.Selection of plant and planting
6.Proper nutrient management
7.Pest and Disease management
8.Pruning or pinching
Let’s go through each one in detail:
All plants in the citrus family love full sun, around 7 to 8 hours of sunlight is essential.
When it comes to a lemon tree, it is all about location. Keep your newly potted plant in semi shade and not full sun, so that it gets adjusted to its new home. Once you see new leaves cropping up, its time to move it to full sun, where the plant gets at least 5 hours of good sunlight. South-facing is the most optimum position for the plant.
2. Container selection.
When growing lemon trees in containers, the needs are very similar to lemon trees growing in the ground. The lemon trees will need good drainage, so make sure the container has drainage holes. Also you need to consider about the available area for root expansion, as the area for root expansion will allow uptake of more nutrients.
3. Selection of potting media
Yes, Potting media plays a key role in the growth of any plant. Lemon or any other citrus plant needs well-draining light soil. A compacted mass of a soil in the pot will not help the growth of the root system. A regular potting mix is equal parts of garden soil, cocopeat and compost. For lemon, instead of 1 part garden soil, dilute the garden soil with 50% sand for faster draining and lighter soil. *pH level of soil should be around 5.5 to 7 as this plant prefers slightly acidic soil to neutral soil.
So ideal potting mix to be prepared for a lemon tree is:
20% garden soil
This not only lightens the container weight but also ensures the roots don`t stay soggy.
4. Selection of plant and planting
Select a good quality, high yielding plant from the nursery. Its always better to choose a grafted plant. A plant grown from seed will take nearly 5 years to start fruiting. Choose a plant with a couple of fruits and a few blooms, so you know that it is a fruiting grafted variety.
How to do planting of lemon plant?
To pot the plant, put in a layer of thermocol bits at the bottom of the pot and top it with 3-4 handfuls of potting mix. Tap well to remove any air pockets. Place the plant on top of this (minus any plastic cover it came in) and shovel the prepared potting mix all around the plant so that it is held in the center. Top with 1-2 inches of the prepared mix as well. Water well until the water comes out from the drainage holes.
Keep your lemon tree in a less windy spot as it dislikes strong winds but provide good airflow
A newly potted plant needs to be watered well every alternate day – deep watering is essential so that the root ball gets the necessary hydration.
Once the plant is somewhat established, watering can be tapered to twice a week and then once a week or so.
A good test is to poke the soil with your finger. If more than one inch of the soil is dry, then better to give the lemon tree a watering. Summers may need more watering so keep an eye on how dry the soil is. Lemon tree in a container needs more careful watering than that in the ground as the roots cannot spread outside of the container in search of water.
6. Proper nutrient management
Fertilizer is also a key to growing a healthy lemon tree in a container. Use a slow release fertilizer to make sure that your lemon tree gets consistent nutrients. Citrus trees need a good balance of nitrogen and other macronutrients as well as a variety of micronutrients.
One needs to apply the fertilizer in a circle around the tree as much as the width of the height of the tree. Many people make the mistake of placing fertilizer just at the base of growing lemon trees, which means that the fertilizer does not get to the root system.
Look for a fertilizer that contains micronutrients, especially iron, manganese, and zinc. To give boost feed to your lemon tree, apply a water-soluble fertilizer once in a month in the growing season. Occasionally, side-dress your plant with compost or well-rotted manure.
7. Pest and Disease management
Whiteflies, aphids, scales and mites sometimes infest lemon trees. These insects seldom cause serious damage, but they may cause premature fruit drop and causes blemishes on the fruit. For small trees, a strong blast of water from a hose will knock some of the insects from the tree. Neem oil sprays are somewhat effective in controlling adult insects.
Usually lemon doesn’t get affected by any diseases, but it`s always better to give neem oil spray as a precautionary measure.
8. Pruning or pinching
Pinching encourages bushier growth. Pinch a growing tip when the branch is about 5 inches long. Pruning of a lemon tree is best carried out when new growth starts (February-March). Be careful before pruning it, one has to only prune diseased or dead branches because lemon tree stores excess food in its leaves and too much pruning can result in poor fruit crop. Also, keep looking for sucker [the branch which doesn’t give any fruits] and prune them immediately if found one.
Bonus point–What is fruit drop and How to avoid fruit drop in lemon??
A lemon tree normally goes through three periods of fruit drop.
The first drop occurs when 70 to 80 percent of the flowers fall from the tree without ever setting fruit.
A week or so later, pea-sized fruit drop from the tree.
The third drop occurs in spring when the fruit is about the size of a golf ball. Unless premature fruit drop is excessive, these drops are not a cause for concern. In many cases, lemon tree fruit drop is due to environmental factors that you can’t control. Sudden changes in temperature and heavy rains can often cause premature fruit drop. Apart from fruit drop occasionally, lemon tree fruit dropping can be prevented, as dropping fruit can also result from improper watering or fertilization, excessive pruning and insect infestations.