“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” goes the old saying. Well, lemonade is just one of the many things lemons can do for you.
Lemons are used by chefs all over the world to add clarity and contrast to many dishes. Their tangy flavour cuts greasiness and gives food a “fresh, clean” taste.
Lemon trees have been cultivated for ages and today, we’ve come a long way. They are fairly easy to take care of once their basic needs have been met.
Do lemon trees need full sun? In this guide, we would be explaining:
- the basic sunlight needs of lemon trees
- what can happen when lemon trees don’t get enough sunlight
- if lemon trees can get too much sun
- if lemon trees can grow in the shade
- tips for lemon tree care
Let’s get started!
How Much Sun Do Lemon Trees Need?
Do lemon trees need full sun? Lemon trees are sensitive to cold and need protection from frost.
Instead, they prefer to be planted in full sun. It is widely suggested that lemon trees receive 8 to 10 hours of full sun every day for the best health and fruit output.
It has been discovered that lemon trees that receive plenty of sunlight produce lemons with the best flavour and those planted in shade produce bitter fruit.
Those planted in shade also yield noticeably fewer and smaller lemons than those planted in the sun. In addition to the sun, the amount of water provided for lemon trees greatly influences the quality of the lemon they produce.
A lemon tree that is well watered will produce tasty fruit of considerable size.
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What Happens When Lemon Trees Don’t Get Enough Sunlight?
Lemon trees can grow in indirect sunlight but they can never yield the same harvest as those that receive the appropriate amount of sunlight. If lemon trees do not get enough sunlight, a lot can go wrong.
Firstly, such lemon trees will not grow to their full capacity because their growth can be slowed. Secondly, the fruits are affected negatively because they either turn out bitter or bland, lacking the usual sour flavour they are recognised for.
It is not advisable to plant lemon trees in shade at all. A lemon tree planted in shade may not even blossom much less produce fruits and if it does, the fruits may never mature.
Do lemon trees need full sun? Lemon trees need heat and sun to thrive and you should have this at the back of your mind when choosing a location for planting.
Can Lemon Trees Get Too Much Sun?
Despite their affinity for sunlight, lemon trees can be harmed by too much sun. The condition is called “sunscald” and shows up as brown, raised bruises on the leaves, small branches and fruits.
In some situations, the trees can bounce back from it and in less fortunate ones, the trees never recover so the best thing is to prevent it from occurring.
If you live in an extremely hot climate, you are permitted to plant your lemon trees in partial shade where they can be protected from the sun’s harshest glares.
Assuming your lemon tree is sunscalded and the fruits are wounded, this could potentially be a channel for disease. Yes, lemon trees can get too much sun so they should be shaded in hot weather.
Can Lemon Trees Grow In Shade?
As noted previously, lemon trees can grow in shade but it is highly discouraged. If you want sizeable lemons with good taste, it is best to plant lemon trees where they can get sun for at least 8 hours a day.
The best sun for lemon trees to receive is early morning to midday sun which is not very intense.
They should be planted in such a way that by afternoon, the shade would have covered them, preventing sunscalding.
Lemon trees planted in shade exhibit:
- stunted growth
- fruits with an undesirable or bitter taste
- fruits that are small in size
- fruits that don’t get mature
- less fruit production
- taking time for fruits to bud
For these reasons, growing lemons in pots indoors is a no-no because it is practically impossible for them to receive adequate sun in the house. Only bring lemon trees indoors if the temperature drops below 5°C.
Although they won’t die if planted in shade, the disadvantages far outweigh the benefits.
Lemon Tree Care
Having illustrated the ideal sun requirements of lemon trees, we would take some time to give extra tips for their care. There are 3 Ps for lemon tree care:
- Prune the trees
- Prevent Pests
- Pick lemons
1. Prune the Trees
Pruning keeps lemon trees healthy and promotes new growth. The best time to carry out this exercise is after harvesting but before new buds begin to appear (between late winter and early spring)
Use shears to trim leggy, low-hanging branches and remove dead leaves. A pruned tree has a low chance of harbouring pests.
2. Prevent Pests
Prevent unwanted visitors to your lemon trees using insecticides, even your water hose can help you knock them off a few times.
Enlist the help of a specialist if you cannot handle it by yourself. Common pests to look out for are spider mites, citrus white flies, red mites and citrus mealy bugs.
3. Pick lemons
Yes, picking or harvesting the lemons the right way is important for your lemon trees. Lemons should be picked once they are firm.
To pick lemons correctly, you grab the fruit, twist and it should break off easily. If you pull it instead, you can damage the branch.
Alternatively, use a pair of gardening shears to do the cutting. For sweeter lemons, harvest yellow ones and for a more tart taste, pick the green ones.
Are lemon trees hard to keep alive?
Lemon trees are an excellent low-maintenance plant that can thrive even inside your home. Lemon trees, a citrus kind, need full exposure, which entails 6 to 8 hours of daily direct sunlight. Simply position them in front of a south or sunny window for indoor growing.
How do you make a lemon tree thrive?
For optimum growth, lemon trees need sandy, well-drained soil with a pH of 6–7.5. A destructive root disease can develop in poorly drained soil, which can also stunt growth. By adding high-quality compost and gypsum, you may lighten up heavy soil. Add lime to acidic soil to bring it up to the desired pH.
How often should lemon trees be watered?
Water lemon trees at least twice each week. The amount and frequency of watering are influenced by things including the soil type, tree size, age, season, and location. Watering is necessary for young lemon trees about 2-3 times in the first week and about once every seven days for the next two months.
How do you care for a potted lemon tree?
Make sure the pot has drainage holes because the lemon plants will need sufficient drainage. Additionally, they will require continuous and routine watering. The leaves of the lemon tree will fall off if the container in which it is growing is allowed to dry up.
How many years does it take for a lemon tree to produce fruit?
Regular lemon trees can reach a height of 20 feet when grown outside in warm regions and can take up to six years to produce fruit.
How can you tell if a lemon tree is overwatered?
On lemon trees, early leaf drop, yellowing leaves, and the presence of mold on the growing surface next to the plant’s base are key warning signs of overwatering.
How do you encourage a lemon tree to fruit?
A lemon tree should be fertilized in the spring with the right food, including phosphorus to promote blooming and fruiting, and pruned only as needed. It is advisable to simply remove dead wood and problematic branches because fruits will set on the ends of branches.
Should I pick the flowers off my lemon tree?
All or most of the blossoms will wilt away before bearing fruit. Only fruit that forms should be a concern. Pick the tiny green fruit instead of the blossoms.
Do lemon trees need full sun? To sum up, lemon trees can grow in partial shade but they prefer full sun for 8 to 10 hours daily.
Don’t plant lemon trees in full shade if you want the best yield. However, it can be a good idea to provide them with a few hours of shade during the hottest part of the day (late afternoon), particularly in summer and hot climates.
Prune lemon trees, keep pests away and in no time you’ll be harvesting your bright yellow bounty. All the best!