Unless you have a greenhouse, lemon tree planting should probably best be restricted to those living in tropical or sub-tropical climates. Lemon trees grow where temperatures get no colder than 60 degrees F. (15 degrees C.). It is possible to grow a small version of this plant in cooler regions, but most likely, the tree will not produce fruit.
Grow in Pots or Outdoors
If you are interested in lemon tree planting but live in a region too cold for the tree to produce fruit, you still can attempt to grow one for the foliage only, and maybe an occasional blossom. Place your potted lemon plant in a window of your home that receives the brightest light and make sure to keep it watered well and free of insects. Cleaning the leaves, especially the undersides, with an intermittent washing of insecticidal soap will help keep bugs away.
Apply a high-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 4-1-2 for lemon tree planting in pots and spread it evenly over the soil three times per year in late spring, in the fall, and then once more in late winter.
Lemon tree planting outdoors in the proper environment and climate produces trees that grow from 20 to 30 feet tall. The trees are evergreen and spread up to 15 feet wide, depending on the variety. Some varieties include Eureka, Genoa, Meyers, Ponderosa, and Lisbon, to name a few. In the United States, these trees grow primarily in USDA zones 9b-11, which encompass mostly the east and west southern-most coasts.
Although the origins of lemon tree planting are unknown, some link it to the northwestern areas of India. From its introduction to Italy around 200 AD, it was thought to have been cultivated in Egypt and Iraq by 700 AD. By 1751, lemon trees were being grown in California and in the northeastern regions of Florida by 1839.
By 1870, more than 140,000 boxes of lemons were being shipped from Florida annually and this production kept its pace until 1876. That year, a freeze hampered the normal crop, plus a disease called scab, of which lemons grown in humid climates like Florida are particularly susceptible.
Florida did not resume its lemon tree planting industry until 1953, with California having taken up the slack in the previous years production. Florida now ranks third behind California and Arizona in lemon production.
Lemon tree planting can be done in many types of soils. Floridas groves grow mostly in sand, while in California, water-holding earth consisting of silty clay loam is put to use to grow lemon trees. A soil pH of between 5.5 and 6.5 is recommended, with lime to be added to soils with a too-high acidity.
The Easy, Delicious Meyer
Lemon tree planting can be a fun endeavor for the home gardening hobbyist, with one of the best plants to try your hand at being the Meyer lemon. This lemon and mandarin orange hybrid produces large juicy fruits that do not have nearly the acid of regular lemon varieties, yet taste nearly exactly like them. The blossoms are breathtakingly sweet and are often present at the same time as the ripening fruits. A Meyer lemon tree growing in a bright window of a room can freshen the entire house.
Whether or not you try lemon tree planting in your backyard area, you should at least try growing one in a pot in your home. By moving them outdoors in warm weather and back indoors during the cold, you are sure to have at least some success, especially with the above-mentioned Meyer variety. The wonderful smell of lemon blossoms is worth the trouble many times over. Try it yourself and see!