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When life gives you lemons, make trees!
Next time you're sucking on a lemon save a few of the seeds to grow into your own tree. Even in the colder months, a productive lemon tree can be growing inside of your home. They are beautiful in appearance, from their dark-green leaves to snow-white blooms, and they also emit a pleasant, refreshing fragrance.
Growing a lemon tree from seed is surprisingly straightforward, and something that anyone can do if they have a warm, sunny windowsill. It will take a few years to before it fruits and flowers but eventually your hard work will pay off. Citrus will grow in all parts of Australia except areas that experience severe frost.
Citrus trees have big benefits
- They can produce gloriously perfumed white flowers, sport glossy, green leaves and brightly coloured fruit – yellow, orange and green
- Fruit holds on the tree in good condition for many months after ripening providing long-term self-storage
- Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and are great for winter health including resistance to colds and flu
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Here's how you grow your own lemon tree
Firstly you'll need
- An organic lemon since non-organic lemons often contain non-germinating seeds
- Fertile potting soil, and natural fertilisers like compost
- A seedling pot that is about 24 inches wide by 12 inches deep
- A planting pot that is six inches wide and six inches deep (this comes in handy further down the track)
- A sunny, indoor growing location
- Moisten the potting soil so that it is damp, but not soaked, all the way through.
- Fill the smaller pot with soil, all the way up to an inch below the rim.
- Cut open your lemon and remove a seed. Remove all of the pulp from its surface. A good way to do this is to simply suck on it until it is clean.
- Do not delay to plant. The seed must still be moist when it is buried into the soil in the smaller pot. Plant the seed about half an inch deep in the middle of the pot.
- Spray the soil that is directly above the seed gently with water from a spray bottle.
- Cover the pot with clear plastic wrap, seal the edges with a good rubber band, and poke small holes in the top with a pencil.
- Place the pot in a warm, sunny location.
- Spray on more water occasionally, not allowing the soil to dry out. Do not cause water to puddle though. Just keep the soil somewhat moist.
- After about two weeks, when the sproutling emerges, take the plastic covering off. If you need additional light for your lemon plant, you can use a grow light to supplement the sun's light.
- Take care of the young plant by keeping the soil damp, by making sure it gets at least eight full hours of light per day, and by giving it moderate doses of organic fertiliser like compost.
- Watch over your plant to ensure it is not attacked by bugs or diseases. Prune off brown, dead leaves when necessary. Use pesticides if you must. Protect your new lemon tree!
- When the plant outgrows its small pot, put it in the larger pot. You will go through much the same procedure when you re-plant it as when you first planted. Younger plants need more water than older plants, but they all do need adequate water. Don't starve your poor plant after all that work of growing it!
Thanks to Eat Local Grown for these great tips.
I have also seen people who sprout the seeds using a different method requiring a plastic bag, so if anyone is familiar with this, would love you to leave a comment below.
Happy lemon tree planting!