Lemon (Container Grown) Growing Guide

Citrus limon

Lemon (Container Grown)

Crop Rotation Group



Warm, moist soil, well-enriched with organic matter. When growing dwarf lemons in containers, avoid potting soils that contain wetting agents.


A sheltered spot in full sun. In gardens where the temperatures drop below –5 °C grow them in containers that can be moved into a warm, sheltered area during winter.

Frost tolerant

Lemons are best suited for sub-tropical gardens, but will survive moderate frosts (-3 to -5°C) if protected when young. In colder areas, don’t worry too much if citrus leaves go yellowish in winter – it is just a sign of them not enjoying the cold. Position them in a warm microclimate such as a north or west facing wall


In spring and summer, feed with a high nitrogen organic fertiliser. Fertilise more if you see yellowing leaves.


Lemons and other citrus are heavy feeders that resent close company, so companion plants have to be planted a little way away.


Single Plants: 60cm (1' 11") each way (minimum)
Rows: 60cm (1' 11") with 60cm (1' 11") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Set out new plants in late winter or early spring. Grow in containers of rich compost to keep plants compact and to make it easy to bring plants indoors for the winter. Good drainage is essential. Start small plants in containers at least 30cm (1ft) wide and pot them up a size yearly until they reach mature size.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Prune in spring or summer to shape plants, and watch for thorns. The 'Meyer' lemon is easier to grow than other types.


Pick when richly coloured and fully ripe. Picking can continue for several weeks as fruits do not ripen all at once.


Soft soap sprays can help against scale insects and mealybugs.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Lemon (Container Grown)