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Lemons are one of the most well-known and widely used fruits around the world. Their tart flavor is unmistakable, used in an impressive variety of dishes. The fruits are also famous for their many uses outside the kitchen, particularly in the world of cleaning hacks.
Grafted lemon trees take about 5 years to grow to the point where they start to produce fruit, while trees grown from seed may take 7-10 years. Grafted trees are usually sold when they are already 1-2 years old. Once they are about 10 years old, the trees are more likely to produce a full crop. Dwarf trees may reach only 4′-6′ tall at maturity, while standard trees are more like 20′ tall. Lemon trees can produce fruit for decades.
Whether you’re growing your lemon tree indoors or out, you may be wondering when you can expect your tree to reach maturity. More importantly, you’re likely wondering what year you’ll be seeing fruits. Let’s find out.
How long does a lemon tree take to grow?
When you purchase a lemon tree from your local nursery, it is likely two to three years old already. Some trees can be purchased at later stages, closer to maturity, but most will be a few feet tall and about a year away from fruiting.
These trees are typically grafted. Growers use this process to provide the best growth and fruit possible on one tree. A lemon variety with quality fruit and high yields will be grafted onto a strong rootstock resistant to disease and other growth problems for the best of both worlds.
Grafted lemon trees usually grow for 4-6 years before they start to produce a small crop of fruit. Trees grown from seed may take 7 or more years to start blossoming and setting fruit.
How long does it take to grow a lemon tree from seed?
When growing lemon trees from seed (especially seeds from a store-bought lemon), your tree will mature much slower, and the fruit you harvest at the end of the season won’t be the same as the one you got the seed from.
The resulting tree will likely be more prone to problems with disease or, if you’re really unlucky, may not even produce fruit at all. If you’re wondering how long to grow a lemon tree from seed, know that this is usually done for the experience rather than for fruit production.
Lemon tree fruiting lifespan
Once your tree starts fruiting, you can expect lemons for the next 40 years or so, depending on the care of the tree. As lemon trees are self-pollinating, you don’t need two trees to ensure the plant produces fruits. This is ideal for small gardens or for growing indoors.
How long do lemon trees take to grow?
The time to maturity differs between the many varieties of lemon tree. Some mature in as little as 6 years, while others can take up to 15 years to reach maturity. Height at maturity also differs. Dwarf lemon trees can mature at a height of as little as 5 feet. Standard lemon trees usually reach around 15 to 20 feet in height once matured.
However, you don’t have to wait for your tree to reach maturity before you see fruits. Smaller trees will start producing in a few years and standard lemon trees will take slightly longer – around 6 years. You’ll also need to factor in the age of the tree at planting time to determine when you can expect fruits.
Factors that influence how fast lemon trees grow
This general guide of how long your lemon tree should take to grow doesn’t guarantee that it will. These different factors can impact how quickly your tree grows, potentially delaying time to maturity and fruiting. Certain varieties grow faster, and trees grow faster in optimal growing conditions.
Variety of lemon tree
The biggest influence on growth rate of lemon trees is your chosen variety. Some lemons naturally mature faster than others. If you’re looking for quicker growth, choose one of the dwarf varieties with a shorter mature height.
If you want a larger tree with more fruits to harvest in the long term, you’ll need to wait slightly longer. Standard lemon trees tend to take a couple extra years to start fruiting.
Location of the tree
Lemon trees grow best outdoors in subtropical climates that closely match their native habitats. If you live in a cooler region, you’re likely growing your lemon tree in a container indoors. Unfortunately, as indoor conditions are not ideal for these trees, growth will slow quite dramatically. The restriction of a container and lack of light will result in much slower growth each year, and likely a lower yield.
Environmental conditions for growth
Lemon trees need plenty of sun to produce their bright yellow fruits. If they don’t get their required 8 hours of direct sunlight per day, growth will slow and they will take longer to reach maturity. Soil conditions are also important. If soil quality is poor before planting and isn’t continually improved year after year, your lemon tree will struggle to develop.
Care for fast-growing lemon trees
Finally, care is also essential to strong growth. Ensuring your trees have enough water and nutrients is a must if you want plenty of fruits and quick maturity. Correct pruning technique is another element that can majorly impact growth and your harvest in the following seasons. Managing pests and diseases is another element of care that should be considered if you want your lemon tree to grow as quickly as possible.
For trees that aren’t growing as expected, take a look at these potential reasons to rectify the problem. With the right fix, you can bring back quick growth and tons of sunny fruits in no time.
How fast does a lemon tree grow?
Lemon trees grow quite fast in good conditions – usually in the range of 6-12 inches per year. Seedlings can easily sprout an inch per month during the growing season, and typically reach 6-12 inches tall by the time they are one year old.
Seedling trees grow vigorously but typically take about 7 years to bear fruit. In contrast, grafted trees can bear fruit when they are only 4-6 years old.
Mature lemon trees may take 15-20 years to grow to a mature height of about 20 feet tall.
More tips for growing lemons at home
Lemon trees (Citrus limon) are often the first ones gardeners look to when diving into the world of growing citrus. The plants are widely available and fruit reliably with very little effort from their owners. Unfortunately, they are prone to quite a few growth, pest and disease issues, but the harvest you’ll get at the end of the season is well worth the effort.
Native to Asia and widespread across the Mediterranean, lemon trees grow best in warm, subtropical climates with plenty of sunshine. Different varieties have different requirements, but generally these trees are not considered hardy. This is why many gardeners attempt to grow citrus indoors instead, providing protection from the harsh weather.
How fast do lemon trees grow?
Lemon trees grow about 6-12 inches each month. Grafted trees typically take 4-6 years to start producing fruit, while seedling trees take 7-10 years to start blossoming. It can take over 10 years for a tree to start producing a full crop.
How fast do citrus trees grow?
Other citrus trees like lime and orange tend to grow at about the same rate as lemons. Citrus trees grafted onto dwarf rootstock will grow 6-8 inches per year, while seedling and standard rootstock trees tend to grow more like 6-12 inches each year.
How long does it take for a lemon to grow from a flower?
Lemons typically take 4-6 months to grow from a flower in optimal conditions. That said, in less-than-ideal circumstances, the fruit may take up to a year to ripen on the tree.
- PennState Extension, Grow Your Own Lemons
- University of Minnesota, Growing Citrus Indoors
- University of Maryland, Growing Dwarf Citrus