Growing lemon trees from pips is fun, especially for children, and although they flower as quite young plants, it takes a number of years before they fruit. In the meantime, they make attractive, highly fragrant, house and patio plants.
When to plant: Spring.
At their best: All year round.
Time to complete: 30 minutes.
You will need: Lemon pips, pots, seed potting mix, soil-based potting mix.
Prepare to plant
Cut open a lemon, remove the pips, and dry them. Plant several pips per pot, ½ in (1 cm) deep in seed potting mix. Water them in and put the pots in a warm spot. Keep them well watered.
Once the young seedlings are growing well, remove them from their pots and carefully tease their roots apart. Pot them on individually into their own small pots in soil-based potting mix, and water them in well.
Place pots in a sunny spot outside and keep well-watered. Grow in a cool room indoors, or in a greenhouse, over winter; place outside in summer and early fall until the first frosts are forecast. Water with rainwater, if possible, and watch out for aphids, scale insects, and mealy bugs.
Citrus have a fabulous variety of fruit color and texture, and many of these beautiful plants can be grown fairly easily. Some may survive the winter outdoors in milder areas, but they grow best with a little protection.
Growing and care
Citrus plants need plenty of water during spring and summer, less during winter. Use rainwater where possible, particularly in hard water areas. Feed with a specially formulated citrus fertilizer throughout the growing season. Indoors, mist daily with rainwater to keep humidity high and to help ward off red spider mite. A little warmth in late winter and spring will encourage the citrus to flower, and then, hopefully, fruit.