Lemon trees were named one of the best fruit trees to plant on your residential property because of their beauty, scent, flavor, and long lifespan.
Most homeowners find that once they’ve planted one lemon tree, they can’t wait to plant more!
If you want a second lemon tree, do you need to visit your local arborist and buy a new sapling? Not necessarily.
Many backyard growers find it rewarding to put their green thumb to the test and propagate their existing crops.
That’s why we’re going to talk about how to grow a lemon tree from a cutting.
Keep reading to find out the best method for growing a lemon tree from a cutting to ensure that you have fresh, homegrown lemons all year round.
A Word to the Wise
The lemon trees you buy from a nursery were probably grown from grafting or budding.
Both of these systems tend to develop saplings with more disease-resistant roots. “Foot rot” is a big problem for cutting-grown lemon trees, which means that growing a lemon tree from a cutting comes with risks–and often, few rewards.
The problem with foot rot is that the disease can spread from one tree to another, affecting your otherwise healthy trees.
We tend to recommend that cutting-grown lemon trees are kept in large pots to avoid spread if the roots develop the disease.
If you’re looking for something more foolproof and less experimental, it’s probably in your best interest to contact a local nursery.
These certified arborists can bring your yard to life without fear of disease.
How to Grow a Lemon Tree From a Cutting in 5 Steps
If you’re ready to take on the challenge of growing a lemon tree from a cutting, you’ve come to the right place.
As we mentioned before, it’s often more of an experiment than a sure-fire method to grow a perfect lemon tree. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun!
Let’s dive in.
1. Ready Your Container
Grab a sterilized container that can hold around 1 gallon of soil and make sure that it has tons of drainage holes.
Fill your container with either a sterile seed-starting mix or a DIY mix of sand and milled peat.
If you go the DIY route, make sure that you’re using a 50-50 ratio for the best results.
We don’t recommend using regular gardening soil because it could contain damaging bacteria or fungi.
If you do use a peat-based soil, remember that peat is a little stubborn at first. Continue to add water to the mix until it starts to hold moisture.
2. Finding the Perfect Cutting
Perfect cuttings are the easiest to find between late May and early July. When you’re looking for the perfect cutting, you want to see three things.
First, your cutting should contain no fruits or blooms, because it will need all of its energy to produce roots.
Second, your cutting needs at least two to three nodes, which contain the necessary cells for root production.
Third, your cutting needs to look healthy, meaning there shouldn’t be any damage or disease anywhere on it.
Grab a non-serrated sterile knife and measure about 6 inches from the tip of the cutting down.
Then, make your cut at about a 90-degree angle. Wrap the edge of the cutting in a damp paper towel while you prepare to pot it.
3. Potting Your Cutting Without Shocking It
First, you’re going to want to remove excess foliage and open up your rooting nodes.
Take off all but the three or four leaves that are closest to the top of your cutting.
Take your re-sanitized knife and cut the base of the stem at a 45-degree angle before dusting the bottom nodes with rooting hormone powder.
Make a small hole in your pre-moistened soil that is deep enough to contain your rooting nodes.
Place the base of the cutting in the hole and tamp the dirt down around it until it can stand upright on its own.
As soon as your cutting is potted, you need to place it in a warm area with high humidity.
To increase humidity, take a plastic bag and two sticks to make a dome over the cutting. Ensure that the bag is resting on the sticks, not the cutting, and poke a few holes in the plastic to allow excess moisture to escape.
4. Rooting Your Cutting
What conditions are required to encourage your lemon tree cutting to root? Lemon tree cuttings are a bit finicky, so you’re going to have to monitor growing conditions closely.
The soil should remain between 70 and 80 degrees, which means that your lemon tree cutting needs constant heat.
You don’t want to place your container in direct sunlight, but it should stay in a bright area with plenty of indirect sunlight. Keep the soil damp and mist the cutting daily in order to keep humidity high.
After about two months, give your cutting a light tug. If it comes right out, it has failed to root. If it resists, you’ve got some good root growth!
5. Transplanting Your New Lemon Tree
Once you’ve got decent root growth, it’s time to get your lemon cutting into some regular potting soil. Grab another 1-gallon container with good drainage, fill it with potting soil, and pre-moisten the soil.
Gently remove your cutting from its original container and replant it in its new container so that all roots are covered by the soil. Water your tree until you see a small amount of water coming out of the drainage holes.
Keep your cutting-grown lemon tree in a low-wind area that remains at least 60 degrees or warmer. Use a 1/2 teaspoon of 10-10-10 fertilizer mixed with your water every two weeks during the growing period. Enjoy your lemons!
Get Zesty With Homegrown Lemons
Learning how to grow a lemon tree from a cutting isn’t the best way to ensure a healthy, hearty crop, but it is a fun experiment. Put your green thumb skills to the test with this DIY project.
Looking for more ways to brighten up your property? Take a look at our interior and exterior design advice and breathe new life into your home!