When life gives you a lemon tree.
If life gives you a lemon tree, rejoice! Lemon trees are by far my favourite form of citrus. Super easy to grow; they’re hardy; they are generally not too big (dwarf lemon trees are great); they can grow in a pot; and they grow lemons. Surely this is a no-brainer?
In short, if you don’t have a lemon tree, you should.
If you have a garden, no excuses, go out and plant a lemon tree now (seriously – Autumn is the perfect time to plant). If you don’t have a garden, the great news is that a lemon tree makes a fabulous indoor plant, as long as it can be moved outside occasionally.
How to nurture your little lemon tree
If you have a garden, choose a sunny spot and plant your tree. Remember to protect it from frost while it’s young until it’s really established.
If you are growing yours in a pot, choose a good potting mix and remember to fertilise with citrus food regularly. A Meyer lemon is a good choice for indoors.
If you are bringing your lemon tree indoors, it will need a very brightly lit spot with plenty of good, strong sunlight. Ideally it should get about 8 hours of sunlight a day to thrive. Without plenty of strong sunlight it is unlikely that your little lemon tree will flower and fruit.
Indoor trees also require humidity, which means you need to keep the potting mix moist but not wet. Water when the top 2-3 centimeters of potting mix has dried out and the rest of the mix remains moist. Don’t let your lemon dry out or it will get stressed. A spritz of water on the leaves every couple of days will help keep the humidity up too.
On nice, sunny days, give your tree a holiday outside if you can. If you don’t have an outside or even a balcony, just opening the windows will help.
Lemons make you feel better
As winter approaches, at the first sign of a cough or sore throat, we pick a lemon from our tree and make a hot lemon and honey drink with loads of freshly squeezed lemon, hot water and a teaspoon of honey. Some use lemons to detox but I’d rather have them squeezed on pancakes with a bit of sugar.
To finish up, I have to share what a friend of mine said when he was reviewing our lemon care package, because it gave me warm fuzzies. He said, “I’ll buy this gift for the next of my friends who ends up in hospital with a serious health condition and needs a sense of survival embedded in a gift. I care about this one because if someone had given me this gift during my recent hospitalisation, I would have loved them forever”.
We’re meeting for coffee this week and I’m bringing him a lemon tree.