Lemon trees, known for their vibrant green foliage and tangy fruits, go through several distinct growth stages as they mature. Understanding these stages is crucial for successful lemon tree cultivation and optimal fruit production.
From the moment a lemon seed is planted to the tree reaching its full maturity, each stage presents unique challenges and opportunities for care and maintenance. By gaining insight into the lemon tree growth stages, growers can provide the necessary conditions and support for their trees to thrive and yield bountiful crops. Let’s delve into the fascinating journey of a lemon tree, from seedling to maturity.
Lemon Tree Growth Stages 8 Phases
Stage 1: Seed Stage
The lemon trees started from seed. It is where most trees and plants start their journey. The lemon seeds are small, slippery, smooth, and the color white. There are few seeds in one lemon fruit which can range from 5 to 10 seeds. Also, the size of the fruits can affect how many seeds will be there inside.
There is a possibility that bigger lemons have more seeds than smaller ones. Some other lemon tree varieties produce fruits with no seeds. They are hybrid and some people like having seedless lemons.
Stage 2: Germination Stage
The lemon seeds will form a tree in the next few years once they start to sprout. There are ways to help the lemon seeds germinate. Soaking them in the water for at least 8 hours before planting them in the pot/container will help to soften the seeds.
Once the seeds are a little bit soft, they can now be planted in the soil. The germination process of the seeds takes about 3 to 4 weeks. It can also take longer than expected time.
Another way is by using a paper towel method. In this method first, you need to extract lemon seeds from the fruit. Second, wash them thoroughly with water to remove the gel-like coating. Next, soak them in the water for around 8 hours, and then, using your fingernail or craft knife, remove the seeds’ cover.
Get a paper towel, wet them, and after that place the seeds and fold them. Finally, place them inside a zip lock bag and monitor after one week if the seeds have germinated.
In order to have a high chance of germination, don’t dry the lemon seeds. Let them moist even after extracting out from the fruit.
Stage 3: Seedling Stage
Once the seeds have germinated, they will slowly grow and turn into lemon seedlings. A small stem will grow and a few tiny leaves will appear. Once they have enough height they can be transplanted in a bigger size pot. In that way, they have a space for them to grow. It will be too crowded if transplanting will not be done.
The lemon seedlings need water to keep them growing. Keep the soil moist but not too soggy. Also, sunlight is essential for their growth. Since they are still small, at least 4 hours of sunlight will be fine. The seedlings will grow better as time passes by.
Stage 4: Young Lemon Tree Stage
The lemon seedlings will turn into young lemon trees. During the first year of the tree, it can grow around 1 to 3 feet (12-36 inches) in height. The roots will grow longer and get established. More leaves and branches will grow. But they don’t produce flowers and fruits yet at this stage.
The lemon trees will grow better when they get enough water, sunlight, and nutrients. When watering them you need to be careful to avoid overwatering. Overwatering can cause root rot which affects the trees.
When the roots are damaged, they cannot transport water and nutrients on the tree which causes yellow and wilting leaves. Water them once or twice a week to keep them thriving.
Stage 5: Mature Lemon Tree
After a few years of growing, lemon trees get mature. They have a bigger stem, branches, lots of leaves, and roots and are well established. Since they are big, they need more sunlight, water, and nutrients. At least 6 hours of sunlight is needed but more is great. It will make them better.
At this point, the lemon tree has the ability to produce flowers. They are mature enough and developed. A lemon tree grown from seed will take about 5 to 10 years before the blooming stage will come.
If you planted true-to-type lemon seeds, in a few months you will see flowers and fruits. But since most of the lemons are not true-to-type, there is a possibility that the tree will not grow the same as the parent tree and not produce flowers and fruits.
Stage 6: Flowering Stage
One fascinating thing about the lemon tree life cycle is when it started to flower. After a few years of growing, finally, the tree is now producing flowers. The small, fragrant, white flowers appear on the tree.
When the tree blooms for the first time, there will not be so many flowers. But after a few years, lots of flowers will appear on the tree every time it blooms.
Some of the flowers on the lemon tree will actually grow into fruits. They will develop and will stay on the tree. While some of the flowers will not grow and fall to the ground. Not all flowers will turn into lemons which is just normal.
Stage 7: Fruiting Stage
The next lemon tree life cycle is the stage where it starts to fruit. The lemons will appear faster for grafted lemon trees in around 3 to 5 years but for trees grown from seeds, it takes about 5 to 10 years.
The flowers will turn into lemons and there will be lots of fruits will be grown on the tree. The lemon tree is self-fertile which means they don’t need cross-pollination. They have the ability to transform their flowers into fruits.
But even though they are self-fertile, hand pollination and growing another lemon tree near your lemon can increase the chance to develop more flowers into fruits. An increase in harvest can happen.
Stage 8: Ripening Stage
When the lemon fruits are big enough, they are going to ripe very soon. It takes about 4 to 6 months to a year for the lemons to ripen. The peels of the lemons will change from green to yellow-green to completely yellow.
But there are circumstances that even if the fruits are still green, some of them are actually ripe. It will taste sour but rich in vitamins and minerals.
The lemons are not ripening well off the tree so you need to make sure they are ripe before picking. Picking green lemons will taste bitter. You will not enjoy the taste and it will be awful.
To enjoy the awesome taste and juice of the lemon, wait for them until ripe. You can use them to make lemonade or mix them on other dishes to add extra flavor.
Conclusion: Lemon Tree Growth Stages
In conclusion, growing a lemon tree from seed is a rewarding process that requires patience and care. From the initial stage of lemon seeds to the germination, seedlings, young tree, and finally the mature tree, each phase brings its own milestones and requirements. Providing adequate water, sunlight, and nutrients is crucial for the tree’s growth and development.
Once the lemon tree reaches maturity, it has the potential to produce beautiful flowers and, eventually, fruits. It is important to note that not all flowers will transform into lemons, but with proper care, hand pollination, and cross-pollination, the chances of a bountiful harvest can increase. Waiting for the lemons to ripen fully ensures the best flavor and enjoyment of their juice and culinary uses. Growing a lemon tree from seed is a journey that allows you to witness the wonders of nature and enjoy the fruits of your labor.