Home » Growing Food » How to Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree from Seed in a Pot

How to Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree from Seed in a Pot

Having a potted Meyer lemon tree at home is wonderful, although growing from seeds can be a little challenging. In this article, I summarize all the tips you need to learn how to grow a Meyer lemon tree from seed in a pot, when is the best time to grow it, and how to grow it from seeds. I also offer a few pieces of advice for choosing the right pots.

Before we discuss how to grow a Meyer lemon tree from seed in a pot, let’s learn some facts about this fruit. The Meyer lemon (Citrus meyeri) is an evergreen tree that is sensitive to long periods of cold and frost. This member of the Rutaceae family can grow between 6 and 10 feet (2 to 3 m).

The Meyer lemon or Citrus × meyeri is a hybrid of lemon and sweet orange native to China. The flavor of its fruit is much sweeter and less acidic than most lemons, making it much more palatable.

The Meyer lemon tree is one of the most widely grown lemon trees in pots around the world because of its ease of growth and good lemon production.

When to Grow Meyer Lemon Tree from Seed in a Pot?

You can technically grow Meyer lemon trees from seed any time of year, but there is a best time to improve your chances of success.

The ideal time to plant Meyer lemon seeds is in the spring, specifically from late March to early May. This gives the seedlings plenty of warm weather and sunlight to grow strong before the winter months.

Here’s why spring is the best time to grow Meyer lemon trees from seed:

  • Warm temperatures: Lemon seeds germinate best in warm soil, typically between 68 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (20-30 degrees Celsius). Spring provides the perfect warm environment for germination.
  • Sunlight: Seedlings need plenty of sunlight to grow strong and healthy. Spring days offer longer daylight hours, giving your seedlings the sunlight they need to thrive.
  • Less risk of frost: Since lemon trees are not frost-tolerant, waiting until the danger of frost has passed in the spring is essential.

While you can plant Meyer lemon seeds at other times of the year, be aware that the germination rate may be lower, and the seedlings may not grow as vigorously. If you do plant seeds outside of the spring season, you may need to provide supplemental heat and light to help them germinate and grow.

when to grow meyer lemon tree in a pot
Meyer lemon trees in pots.

What Is the Pot Size for Planting Meyer Lemon?

To plant a Meyer lemon tree, you’ll want to start with a relatively small pot, as young citrus trees prefer smaller containers initially. However, as the tree grows, it will need to be transplanted into larger pots to accommodate its expanding root system. Here’s a general guideline for pot sizes at different stages of growth:

  1. Seedling Stage: When planting the Meyer lemon seed, you can start with a small pot that is around 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) in diameter. This size allows for good root development while preventing the soil from staying too wet.
  2. Early Growth: As the seedling grows and develops more leaves, you can gradually move it into a slightly larger pot. A pot that is 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 centimeters) in diameter should provide enough space for the young tree to continue growing comfortably.
  3. Juvenile Stage: Once the Meyer lemon tree has outgrown its initial pot and its roots start to fill the container, it will need to be transplanted into an even larger pot. At this stage, a pot that is 16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 centimeters) in diameter should be sufficient.
  4. Mature Tree: As the Meyer lemon tree matures and reaches its full size, it will require a larger container to support its growth and root system. A pot that is 24 inches (60 centimeters) or larger in diameter is recommended for a mature Meyer lemon tree grown in a container.

Ensure that whatever pot you choose has drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape, preventing waterlogging and root rot. Additionally, consider using a high-quality potting mix specifically formulated for citrus trees, as they have unique nutrient requirements.

The HC Companies 16 Inch Sedona Round Self Watering Planter - Decorative Lightweight Plastic Plant Pot for Indoor Outdoor Plants Flowers Herbs, Cottage Stone
1,382 Reviews
The HC Companies 16 Inch Sedona Round Self Watering Planter – Decorative Lightweight Plastic Plant Pot for Indoor Outdoor Plants Flowers Herbs, Cottage Stone
  • DURABLE & LIGHTWEIGHT – Made from polypropylene plastic, these plant pots are sturdy and lightweight. Matte finish resists scratches, dirt and fingerprints.
pot size meyer lemon tree
Meyer lemon trees in terracotta pots with drip irrigation system.

How to Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree from Seed

how to grow a meyer lemon tree from seed in a pot

Every Meyer lemon seed needs three main elements to germinate: sunlight, soil, and the right temperature.

These are the things you will need to grow a Meyer lemon tree in a pot:

Prepare the Meyer Lemon Tree Seeds

Prepare the Meyer Lemon Tree Seeds. We explain the steps to follow to successfully germinate lemon seeds since citrus seeds germinate with difficulty if you do not do what we explain in this article.

If you have lemon with seeds inside, you should know that you can use them to produce new lemon tree plants and that it is not at all complicated to achieve this.

You could actually sow them just like any other seed, but it might take months before you see a plant grow from them. You might even get tired of waiting and forget about them altogether.

That’s why you have to read this article to the end. In it, I will give you some very valuable tips, which, if you follow, will make it very easy to germinate Meyer lemon seeds or any other citrus tree.

But let’s see how to perform germination step by step.

  • Obtaining the Meyer lemon seeds
  • Take a ripe Meyer lemon of good size and cut it into two parts, but be careful as the first tip comes.
  • Do not cut the Meyer lemon down the center but towards one of the sides so that one of the two parts is larger than the other. This way, you will not damage the seeds.
  • Pick the seeds, select the biggest and most swollen ones, and discard the ones that are too flat or too small and the ones that have been damaged, as those will surely not germinate at all.
  • Wash the seeds with water until there are no remains of pulp or juice on them, as these could favor the appearance of fungi that would spoil them.
  • Do not leave the Meyer lemon seeds to dry -as it is natural to do with many others-, since they will lose their germination power. They must be kept moist at all times for the process to go well.

Great progress! Now, let’s proceed to the next stage and explore how the process unfolds from here.

  • Remove the seed coat so that water can enter more easily, and germination will take place much faster.
  • You can use your fingernails, a sharp knife, razor, or cutter, and the way to do it is as follows:
  • Identify the pointy end of the seed.
  • With your fingernails – knife, etc. – pinch the end and pull back on it. You will see a portion of “skin” peel off.
  • Remove all or part of the skin, and you’re done with this step.
  • You can also scrape away the inner seed coat in a small area using sandpaper, a nail file, or the very edge of the knife. Although this is not necessary, it also speeds up germination.
  • Removing the outer layer of the seeds is a type of stratification, which we discuss more extensively in this article.
  • If you have already tried this method without good results, try it again, but this time, keep the seeds in the refrigerator, buried in moist sand or between moistened paper, for two weeks. This is another way to “wake up” the seeds.

Now the seeds are “activated”.

removing seed coat meyer lemon

Gather all the materials: With all the materials ready, we will proceed to prepare each container by placing the soil in it, approximately at a height of 2-3” (5 to 7 cm).

Prepare the substrate to grow a Meyer lemon tree from seeds. Then, moisten the soil. Place one Meyer lemon seed per container.

After placing the seed in the soil, add 0.2-0.6” (1 to 1.5 cm) of additional soil to cover it. Some seeds may germinate better when moistened or cooled before sowing. In our case, we will place it dry.

Location to grow a Meyer lemon tree from seeds. It is important at the time of defining a place for the seeds to receive constant sunlight.

Although it is not necessary for the seed to germinate, it will be necessary for the sprouts.

Watering to grow a Meyer lemon tree from seeds. During this process, it is likely that the soil will dry out. That is why we must keep the soil moist, taking care not to flood the surface.

Germination can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks or even longer. Be patient and continue to care for the seedlings as they grow. Once the seedlings have developed several sets of true leaves and are sturdy enough to handle, you can transplant them into larger pots or outdoors if the weather permits.

prepare seeds lemon meyer
Growing Meyer lemon trees in pots with a drip irrigation system offers optimal hydration. I highly recommend reading our article on the advantages of drip irrigation for further insights.

Essential Care for Potted Lemon Meyer Trees from Seed

  1. Sunlight: Lemon trees thrive in full sunlight, so place your potted lemon Meyer tree in a location where it can receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day. A south-facing window or a spot on a sunny patio is ideal.
  2. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water your lemon tree whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. During the growing season (spring and summer), you may need to water more frequently.
  3. Humidity: Lemon trees prefer humid conditions, so consider misting the leaves with water regularly, especially if you live in a dry climate. Alternatively, place a humidity tray filled with water and pebbles beneath the pot to increase moisture levels around the plant.
  4. Fertilizing: Feed your lemon tree with a balanced fertilizer formulated for citrus trees during the growing season (spring and summer). Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for the correct application rate. Avoid fertilizing during the dormant season (fall and winter).
  5. Pruning: As your lemon tree grows, prune it occasionally to maintain its shape and encourage healthy growth. Remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches, as well as any suckers that emerge from the base of the tree. Learn more about how to prune a Meyer lemon tree.
  6. Pest Control: Keep an eye out for common pests that can affect lemon trees, such as aphids, scale insects, and spider mites. If you notice any signs of pest infestation, treat the problem promptly using insecticidal soap or neem oil, following the instructions on the product label.
  7. Support: As your lemon tree grows taller, you may need to provide support in the form of stakes or trellises to help it remain upright. Tie the main trunk to the support structure using soft ties or twine, being careful not to constrict the tree’s growth.
  8. Transplanting: As the lemon tree outgrows its current pot, transplant it into a larger container to provide more room for root growth. Choose a pot that is 2-4 inches larger in diameter than the current pot, and use a well-draining potting mix.

Recommended reading: Lemon Tree Yellow Leaves: Causes, How to Fix and Prevent It

how to grow meyer lemon tree from seeds
Meyer lemon trees in pots.

Final Conclusions

In conclusion, growing a Meyer lemon tree from seed in a pot is a rewarding and fulfilling experience that allows you to witness the miracle of nature firsthand. While it requires patience, dedication, and proper care, the journey from seedling to mature trees is filled with excitement and satisfaction.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, from selecting quality seeds to providing optimal growing conditions and ongoing care, you can cultivate a thriving lemon tree that will reward you with fragrant blossoms and bountiful fruit for years to come.

Remember, each lemon tree is unique, and while growing from seed may not always result in a replica of the parent plant, the process itself is enriching and educational.

If this post about how to grow a Meyer lemon tree from seed in a pot was helpful, please share it:

how to grow a meyer lemon tree from seed in a pot pin

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

Leave a Comment