Reading Time: 5 minutes 🍃
Lemon trees are a great addition to any garden. Not only will it provide greenery and shade, but it can also give you some fruit. For your lemon tree to thrive, though, it will need to have the right soil conditions.
So, will ericaceous compost be a good choice for lemon trees?
Yes. Lemon trees prefer a pH level of 5. Ericaceous compost has a pH of four to five, making it the ideal choice. Using ericaceous compost, gardeners can ensure that their lemon trees can absorb soil nutrients easily. Ideally, the compost mix will be high in nitrogen.
Soil pH is important; lemon trees, like dahlias, will thrive in slightly acidic soil. But it isn’t the only element that will determine how well your tree will grow.
Keep reading to learn how to make sure your lemon trees will thrive.
Why Lemon Trees Prefer To Grow In Ericaceous Compost
Citrus trees like to have slightly acidic soil. For them, the ideal pH level is between 6.5 to 6. This is because it increases the availability of soil nutrients. However, you will need to monitor the pH levels carefully. If they fall below 5, the soil could become toxic to lemon trees.
The good news is that monitoring the pH level is easy. You should be able to get a test kit from your local hardware store.
If the soil in your area is alkaline, there are some ways that you can lower the pH level. This can include distributing sulfur or using ammonia-based fertilizer. However, it’s often easier to grow the tree in a pot, using ericaceous compost to control the pH levels.
If you are thinking about taking this approach, you’ll need a 15-gallon tub, which will be large enough to contain the root system of the lemon tree.
Another reason why lemon trees love ericaceous compost is that it provides the right amount of nutrients for the plants. Though you can supplement the ericaceous compost with a fertilizer mix. In this case, you will need to make sure that the one you select is high in nitrogen.
When choosing compost and fertilizer, you will need to look at the Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium (NPK) levels. You don’t want any of these figures to be higher than 8. You shouldn’t have to fertilize a lemon tree more than three times a year.
What Soil Conditions Does A Lemon Tree Need?
Lemon trees will need to be planted in an area that doesn’t experience any frost and receives full sunlight. They also require sandy soil, so the water can easily be drained. It’s recommended that lemon trees receive a deep watering once a week and are kept in a humid environment.
In addition to acidic soil, there are a few other things your lemon tree will be looking for. These are:
- Soil moisture levels. Trying to find the right amount of water for your plant can be tough. The requirements will change a little, depending on the time of year. The best option is to use your finger to feel beneath the soil. If it’s dry, you’ll need to give it a little more water. It’s recommended that you fill it up to 20 percent of the pot volume each time. If possible, you should give them a deep watering once a week. Just be careful not to overwater them, particularly during the winter.
- Weather. Citrus trees don’t do well in cold weather. If you have planted it outside, it’s best to apply a thick mulch over the winter. If it’s in a pot, you might want to bring it inside during the colder months. The lowest temperature they can tolerate is 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit). If there is frost on the ground, a lemon tree won’t grow well in the area.
- Amount of sunlight. If you are planting a lemon tree outside, you will need to put them in an area that gets full sunlight. The shade will reduce the amount of fruit that the tree will be able to produce. Sometimes, you might bring a potted plant inside during the winter months. In this case, you can move them back outside during the summer. Though you should make this transition gradually, moving them to a shady area for a few weeks before putting them in full sun.
- Air humidity. Many lemon trees grow best in areas of high air humidity. Because of this, you might want to mist the leaves during the summer months.
- Soil drainage. Lemon trees prefer soil that can drain fairly easily. If you notice drainage problems, you might want to add more sand to the mix.
How To Plant A Lemon Tree?
The good news is that lemon trees tend to be quite hardy plants. As a result, it will be fairly easy to cultivate them successfully.
There are a few ways that you can do this. Let’s start by looking at the steps you’ll need to follow if you want to plant a lemon tree in the ground:
- If possible, choose a spot on the south side of the house. This will provide some protection from the frost.
- Dig a hole slightly shallower than the root ball. Then, replace the soil. You’ll need to water the plant in with a generous drink. You can also mix some fertilizer and compost into the soil.
If you are growing a plant in a pot, you will need to follow these steps:
- Choose the right container. It’s best to choose something that will allow the roots enough space to expand and grow.
- Dig a hole shallower than the root ball. Then, cover the tree with soil and give it plenty of water. You might also want to add a little fertilizer to help it grow.
- Give it plenty of light. If you are growing a lemon tree indoors, you’ll need to make sure that you are providing it with plenty of light. You might need to use a heat lamp.
- Move it outside during summer. As we mentioned, it’s common to move the lemon tree inside during the winter months. However, when the summer months roll around, it’s best to place it outside. This will allow the bees to pollinate your plant.
- Repot as the plant grows. As it gets larger, the root system will expand and need to be moved to a larger container. The best time to do this is during the March months. When fully grown, the ideal pot size is 15 gallons.
Finally, you might want to grow a lemon tree from scratch. This is the most difficult path, but it can also be the most rewarding. Here are some of the propagation options you can explore:
- Cuttings. This is the most common approach. Plus, you’ll need to prune your lemon tree anyway, so you might as well use the cuttings to your advantage.
- Air layering. This method is a little more complex. Though it can produce good results for more experienced gardeners.
- Seeds. This is the easiest option. Though rewarding, this approach will test your patience as it can take a few months for the seedling to emerge.
Lemon trees will be both a beautiful and functional part of a garden. The good news is that they are very easy to cultivate. The key is making sure that they have acidic soil to grow in. This lets them access the nutrients that they need to thrive. This is why it’s best to use ericaceous compost when growing citrus.