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In this article, we are bringing you everything you need to know about growing, cultivation, fertilization, varieties, planting, harvesting, and more about lemons. Whether you want to plant lemons in your gardens or on your farm, this is the article for you.
Lemon is a beautiful and very decorative evergreen plant that grows from 120 to 240 inches tall, with glossy leaves, white flowers with a strong aroma, and refreshing fruits. In the appropriate climate, lemon trees bloom up to 3 times a year, from May to September, and after each flowering, it yields fruits that are used for eating, juice, and processing.
The most famous varieties of lemons we can grow are:
- Meyer (lower tree, suitable for growing in a bowl and sweeter fruit)
- Eureka (hard bark and more acidic fruit)
- Lisbon (smooth crust and sour fruit)
Lemon planting and growing
Experts advise planting lemons in permeable soil. To increase the permeability of the soil, you must also add sharp sand to the solid soil. This kind of soil is important because lemon is not suited to too much water, which can stifle the root. Too little water, on the other hand, can cause the leaves to fade. It is best to plant the seeds that have previously dried. Put them in a bowl or even a glass of yogurt, a few inches deep. The soil to germinate must be constantly moist, but not too wet so that the seeds do not rot.
At the standstill stage, which occurs for the lemon during the winter, we can transplant the lemon into a larger jar or out into the ground. From April to August is the time when lemon should be fertilized. This is done once a week, and it is best to use fertilizer specifically made for citrus fruits. You will not have to treat the tree or the soil with artificial fungicides.
For starters, keep in mind that lemon does not tolerate low temperatures. It grows best in the Mediterranean, subtropical, and tropical climates. In continental areas, winter temperatures are a big problem for citrus trees, so if you want to grow it there, it should be well protected during the cold months. For the same reason, many choose to plant lemons in containers that are brought indoors when it is cold. Lemon does not tolerate temperatures below 23 °F. If you grow it outside, you will need to protect the fruit during the winter with foil.
Although lemons grow in warmer areas, they still require large amounts of water, especially during their growing season, which runs from April to late September. During the summer, lemon must be watered more often, and after September, moderate, only after the soil has dried.
Growing lemons in a pot
Lemon can also be grown in a pot for personal use or as an ornamental plant. Citrus lemon or lime is the best kind for this. These plants can be moved to warmer rooms, so they are suitable for cultivation and in areas with inadequate climate for citrus fruits. The lemon planting pot should be kept in the light, preferably on the south side of the house, with a maximum daily temperature of up to 68 °F. With enough light and small changes in temperature, you can expect to bloom year-round.
In summer, the plant must be in the fresh air and in winter in a closed, bright room. If you cannot provide the required temperature, above 50 °F, it is important to place the plant in a room where there is not much light to allow the tree to enter the resting phase.
Indoor citrus fruits should be vaccinated to bear fruit. We make that with fertile shoots. This is best done from mid-August to mid-September. Indoor plants should be transplanted every 2 to 3 years, into the soil that is a mixture of heavy soil, compost, rough sand, and leaf.
We maintain the lemon tree by pruning it, removing entire branches. It is done at least once a year, preferably in the spring, in March or April, when we will be able to remove any possible damage from the winter. Competitive branches are cut so that the saplings receive more nutrients and thus grow better. The pruning can be sharp and it produces more vegetative branches and fewer buds, or weaker ones, which make the fruitless flowering but bear more fruit.
Lemon disease protection
Lemon trees, like any other, can be infected with various fungal, viral, or bacterial diseases. They are also threatened by various parasites, most notably the lemon worm, aphids, scale insects and moths, mites, and many others. Chemicals can be used to protect the tree, although they are not recommended if you have few trees and if you grow them for consumption, precisely because then you won’t be allowed to use lemon peel.
Instead of chemical agents, you can use natural preparations to protect lemons from diseases and parasites. The most effective plants for this are:
- oak leaf
You must first dry each of these plants and soak them in rainwater for a few days. Then place the water in a spray bottle and spray the tree regularly – on diseased and healthy spots. Do not leave plants in the bottle for more than a few days so that the solution does not start fermenting.
Lemon only gets fruit three to four years after planting. Later the tree gives birth once to twice a year, especially in a suitable climate. The best fruits grow from spring flowering. It lasts for two months. So long ripe fruits can wait to be picked, which means that lemons can be harvested almost all winter, from November until April or May.
The second flowering, which occurs exclusively in a suitable environment, is actually forced and begins in August and lasts until the end of September. The fruits can begin to be harvested in May, just after the last harvest of winter fruits.
Adult trees, which we properly care for, can yield up to 800 fruits a year. This is enough to enjoy this medicinal fruit all year long, not only by consumption but also by natural cosmetic preparations.
After picking, the lemon can be stored in the refrigerator for a month or at room temperature for about a week after picking. This is why it is great to have a lemon tree in your home or garden, as you can harvest the fruit just before use to prevent the fruit from rotting. Always harvest ripe, yellow fruits, because they are sweeter and juicier than greenish ones.
If you want to extend the lemon’s durability in the refrigerator, store it in hermetically sealed plastic containers or zipper bags. Also, you can store frozen lemon juice in the freezer for a long time, and if necessary, defrost and consume it.
Medicinal properties of lemons
It contains a full range of vitamins, most vitamins C, A, B1, and B6. In addition, it is full of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and folic acid. Because of all this, it perfectly protects the immune system, stimulates the liver, circulatory system, and nerves. It stimulates the bowel and is good for the stomach, so it is beneficial for overall digestion. Precisely because it is acidic itself, it reduces the secretion of acid, thereby promoting the alkalinity of cells, preventing cancer and tumor formation.
Lemon consumption prevents many diseases, from infectious, viral and bacterial ones, such as flu, colds, sore throat, sinuses, and bronchitis, to arthritis, high blood pressure, gallstones and kidney stones, all the way to cancer.
Lemon in cooking
The use of lemon in culinary arts is widespread. It is mostly used in addition to sweets, juices, and alcoholic beverages, but also in the preparation of salad dressings, sauces, smoothies, and the like. The most important thing is to consume fresh and shortly after squeezing, because the more heat is processed, the more its nutritional properties and vitamin action are lost. However, it can be baked in cakes, cookies, creams and still retain its characteristic sour taste.
Lemon is also used a lot as part of diets, because of its antioxidant and digestive properties, so it affects weight loss. For this purpose, the drink is freshly squeezed and diluted with water, without the addition of sweetener.
Freshly squeezed lemon is an indispensable addition to teas, especially when treating sore throats, colds, or the flu when it is consumed with honey. Lemon can be used on a daily basis, not only in culinary arts, but also as part of cosmetics, cleaning products, and the like, so it is also more than useful to have it as your own tree.
Interesting facts about lemon
Although lemon is so healthy, lately we have been listening to warnings about how and how much is best to use it, because of the huge amount of pesticides used on it. That is why it is more than advisable to plant your own lemon tree. So we can control the use of all harmful chemicals (or not use them at all) and later use the fruits without fear, even the lemon peel, which should be consumed with caution if purchased from a third party.