How to grow a lemon tree from seed [3 Easy Steps]

How To Grow A Lemon Tree From Seed

How to grow your own Lemon Tree Plant from seed right from a store-bought lemon! It’s super easy, just takes time and patience. The key is in germinating the seeds which can take up to a month. Once germinated, the little trees grow fast and you could be swimming in Lemons if grown right! In this article, I will show you step-by-step how to sprout and grow your very own Lemon tree right from the seeds of a store-bought Lemon. Follow along and try this with your kids! Works with most Citrus plants actually, so experiment with your favorites!

3 Easy steps to grow a lemon tree from seed

1. Extract the seeds

Extract the seeds

First, we gotta get the seeds out of the lemons. We can cut the lemons in two different ways let me show you the wrong way first and why it’s advisable to not cut this way.

Cutting the lemon longitudinally is traditionally the way that people cut lemons to get wedges and that’s fine it works great and it’s easy enough.

However more often than not cutting your lemons this way results in actually slicing through the lemon seeds themselves, not good, and once you do this that lemon seed is toast in terms of trying to get it to germinate.

Slice right in half with neither piece being viable to produce a living plant. Even digging out the undamaged seeds seems to be a bit of a pain in the ass, there has to be a better way.

Well fortunately there is. Taking the clean non-stem end of the whole lemon slice off about half an inch. You want to slice just enough so that the flesh is exposed but not so much that you run the risk of damaging the seeds inside.

Next, simply squeeze the remaining lemon like you would if you’re trying to get lemon juice. The seeds should pop out all on their own and be left behind in the strainer without any risk of being damaged.

On lemon seeds and most citrus seeds for that matter, there are two protective coatings. This is to prevent the seeds from germinating inside the wet fruit.

speed up germination

Now to grow these seeds you don’t have to remove that outermost layer but it does speed up germination. It does come with a slight risk of ruining that seed altogether so I tend to leave mine on, dealer’s choice though.

After the seeds are out and you’ve made your decision on what to do with the barrier seed coat you’re left with another decision of whether or not to pre-germinate.

What I’ve been doing right here is what you would do if you choose to pre-germinate before planting.

You place your seeds between layers of wet paper towel and then put that paper towel in a clear plastic bag, zip lock if you have it preferably but a regular clear plastic bag works just as well.

2. Time to plant lemon tree from seed!

Time to plant lemon tree from seed!

What’s gonna happen is these seeds will germinate between those layers of wet paper towel in about two weeks if you remove that outer seed coat layer, if you didn’t remove it it’s gonna take about four weeks.

Whichever method you choose pre-germination or not if there’s gonna be any delay in setting your seeds up you gotta soak them while they’re waiting.

Citrus seeds should never dry out and in doing so it’ll greatly affect your germination rates. I myself skip the pre-germination stage and get my seeds right in the soil.

Normally I use the professional 10/20 trays but when I’m just doing a few lemon seeds here and there I like to use these little six-cell pack trays, they work just as good.

I fill my trays with a quality organic seeding mixture. Fill each cell up nice and solid and then soak that whole tray for about two hours to really moisten that soil.

When the trays are ready I make depressions in the center of each cell about twice as deep as the seeds are tall and about twice as wide as they are wide, easy stuff.

Place one seed per cell in each depression laying them flat. Don’t try to figure out the shoot root orientation, let these lemon seeds decide for themselves. Here’s where the quality of your seeding mixture really shines through.

You can readily buy great soil mixes at your local garden nursery or even home improvement stores.

lemon seeds are all successfully planted

Once the seeds are placed gently push that soil closed and your lemon seeds are all successfully planted. Again if you took off the outermost seed coat you’re in for about a two-week wait until they germinate, if not sprouting may take as long as a month maybe even a little bit more.

7 weeks since planting lemon tree

Lemon seedlings come up without much fanfare or flashy large leaves at first. They do grow quite quickly however and are impressive little plants.

All right so it’s been about three weeks since these guys have sprouted let’s go ahead and get them into some bigger pots.

3. Final Planting

Final Planting

I always move my lemon tree plugs onto one-gallon standard pots. They’re just an ideal manageable size. I try to move them out of the plug cells when they have about two sets of true leaves and they’re starting to work on that third one.

It always seems to work out to about two months after the initial planting. Fill your pots right to the top with that quality organic potting mix and then compress them down about twenty-five percent.

Soak the pots from below for about two hours to get that soil good and moist for the young lemon seedling. I like to pry out my plugs with a flathead screwdriver being super careful not to tug on the stem or to disturb the root system.

pry out my plugs with a flathead screwdriver

These guys are pretty tough plants but they’re not the world’s best transplanter. It’s at this point that we have two different ways that we can plant our young lemon trees.

Method 1. This method is the easiest way and the way that I always do it, so let’s start with that. Fill the remaining part of the pot right up to the top and take the handle end of a screwdriver and make a large hole in the center.

Method 1 to plant lemon tree

You want to make it slightly larger than the lemon plug itself place the seedling in the newly formed hole and proceed to plant it up.

Try to match the soil level with how it was growing in the cell tray, that is don’t bury the seedling further down than where it was already growing.

Compress that soil all around that little lemon plant and we’re done this little guy can live in this one-gallon pot for roughly a year until he’s gonna need to go into a much larger one.

Remember these guys are trees the second potting method begins much like the first and that we carefully pry out that plug seedling from the tray. But instead of filling the pot right to the top we leave it where it is compressed down about 25 and place the seedling right on top.

Holding that ceiling with one hand we then take that same potting mix and fill it in and around it. That young main stem is not quite as woody and tough as an adult lemon tree plant so be careful not to snap it in half.

Again compress the soil all around that lemon seedling to plant it up nice and snug. Same result as the first method albeit a little messier, a little bit longer, and a little more finicky, either way, it’s your choice.

For those with tiny attention spans or more important stuff to do here’s the fast recap to grow your own Lemon Tree From Seed.

Fast recap on how to grow a lemon tree from seed

Fast recap on how to grow a lemon tree from seed

Slice about half an inch off the top of your lemon on the non-stem side. Squeeze out the juice like you’re trying to make some lemonade and the seeds will be left behind in the strainer.

Place the seeds in a bowl of water to wash them off and to preserve their moisture before planting them up. Use ultra moist pre-soaked seedling soil and sow these seeds about one to three centimeters deep.

Germination is in about two to four weeks but after that, the growth is quite fast. Place yours in a larger pot after you see two sets of true leaves with a third node starting to poke through.

Pat yourself on the back post it on Instagram you’ve just successfully started your own lemon tree right from the seed of a store-bought lemon.

Hey, thanks so much for reading guys. I appreciate the support more than you know and if you’re getting value from this article please share this to spread the word and help your fellow gardener to grow better.

I am Fenil Kalal. Professionally I have done Engineering in Information and Technology. Gardening is my passion/love/favorite hobby and I have 5+ years of experience in Gardening.

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