Lemon is one of the easiest species of fruit-bearing indoor trees to propagate. But, tempted by the ease of growing lemons from pips or cuttings, flower growers often make the main mistake – they expect quick results. Lemons are the most capricious of indoor citrus plants. It takes many years to wait until fruiting, and growth problems are the first reaction of the plant to any blunder with conditions or care. And to understand why the lemon does not grow is not always easy, because you need to analyze literally all the nuances of cultivation.
Table of Contents
Why doesn’t the lemon grow? Colorful, filling the house with an inimitable fragrant cloud, bringing a delicious harvest, attractive all year round, indoor lemons are not accidentally so beloved. They respond to proper care with even more ornamental greenery and an abundance of flowers and fruits. But they are also more sensitive to deviations from these conditions than their counterparts.
Unless the blessed climate of their usual southern countries is created for lemons, there will be no success. The lemon is a subtropical star that requires a cool dormancy period, access to fresh air and consistency. Without ideal care and optimal conditions, problems with the lemon cannot be avoided.
And the most common of these is stopping or slowing growth, disrupting the growth rate of twigs and leaves, accompanied by other symptoms as well. Consider the causes that can lead to problems with the growth of lemons. They are worth checking one by one if your lemon grown from seed or cuttings does not grow.
Improper transplanting or soil
A lemon requires transplanting only when it is needed – after the plant has filled the ground lump with its roots. Transplanting unnecessarily or not transplanting when the roots have nowhere to grow is equally unfavorable.
For lemons, it is worth choosing containers with large drainage holes, corresponding to the volume of the rhizome, with an increase of a few centimeters each time – deep and wide enough, but not too spacious or cramped.
Lemons do not tolerate deep planting: in seedlings do not deepen the root neck, leaving it in line with the soil to avoid the risk of rotting. After planting, the plant is watered carefully, allowing it to adapt in cool, soft light and very high humidity – and only then transferred to a familiar place.
Very often a poor quality substrate or mistakes in its selection leads to the fact that the lemon does not grow. Lemon prefers peat-free, loose, nutritious, breathable earth mixes on leafy, sod soil, inert additives and sand – special multi-component substrates for citrus or cadmium. For them necessarily add to the soil loosening agents – coarse sand, vermiculite, perlite, coconut fiber, etc.
Sudden changes in conditions
Lemon, as, indeed, all other citrus fruits, reacts extremely poorly to changes in temperature, lighting, degree of substrate moisture, draughts – in the direction of deterioration of any of the indicators. A plant that is quickly transferred to radically different conditions drops its leaves, bears fruit poorly and slows growth. This is how lemons, especially young ones, often react even to being turned in relation to a light source.
Lemons should be given time to adapt to intermediate conditions. However, the lemon gets used to improving conditions – increasing light, stabilizing temperatures – quickly and responds vigorously and positively.
Often the fact that the lemon does not grow well is caused by constant fluctuations in the temperature of the groundball – overheating or overcooling from the air, contact with surfaces or watering with cold water at any time of the year.
Disruption of the dormancy period or lack thereof
Stopping lemon growth, sometimes abruptly after a booming period of development, with the shedding of some or all of the leaves, is most often due to improper overwintering. The lemon requires a dormancy period in the cool – from the ideal 7-10 degrees to at least 15-16 degrees.
In addition, during this period it needs increased lighting to compensate for the winter shortening of daylight hours, reduced watering to light substrate moisture and a complete stop of nutrition. Both heat and too much watering and winter feeding all together or separately lead to growth problems.
Overwatering and rotting
If it is not a matter of wintering or soil, when lemons grow poorly, you should suspect dampness and its consequences. In spring and summer, water lemons abundantly, but not excessively – letting the top layer of soil dry out and avoiding drought. In winter, watering is reduced, maintaining a slight stable humidity and drying out the soil more.
Improper watering, insufficient drainage, compacted soil, stagnant water – and the roots begin to develop rot. To diagnose the condition of the substrate, moisture in the middle layer, signs of mold and sourness on top of the soil and in the trays should be checked.
You can gently remove the plant with the root ball and inspect the roots on the outside and the soil to see if everything is okay. If the disturbance is not systemic, you can try drying out the soil. But if there is an unpleasant smell, traces of mold or rot, an emergency transplant is the only thing that can save the lemon. The substrate must be removed completely, the roots – to inspect, removing damaged areas and treating the cuts. Transplanting is carried out in a new clean substrate.
Sometimes problems with growth can also cause improper (uneven) watering, which is carried out on one side of the pot.
In spring and summer, water lemons abundantly, but not excessively – allowing the top layer of soil to dry out.
Too dry air
Lemon likes normal, but not extremely dry air. It is very important for it to spray or take other measures to keep humidity levels from dropping below 45%. If the stoppage of growth is accompanied by the shedding of leaves, it is better to create greenhouse conditions for the lemon – install a hood or a mini greenhouse.Inappropriate fertilization.
Lemons need nutritious soil. They are fed only during active growth, every 2-3 weeks, with special or universal in alternation with organic fertilizers.
If problems with the growth of shoots and new leaves are accompanied by deformation and changes in the color of the leaves, the appearance of spots, pale or yellowing, it is worth checking the possibility of a lack or excess of nutrients or certain macro-and micronutrients.
It is best to look for signs common to all plants. Analyzing whether the nutrients match the developmental stage and individual preferences of the lemon will enable you to quickly adjust the procedures and fertilizer composition. And the accompanying signs will reveal exactly what substances the plant is lacking.
More often than not, the lemon simply does not have enough resources to ripen all of its budding fruit.
Lack of light
Lemons require bright light and long daylight hours (in the fall and winter, the lighting is increased, keeping it familiar). With insufficient light, placement of lemons not on a window sill or on the northern window and without extra light, plants stretch, lose leaves and change colors. But most of all, they stop growing.
Lemons are sensitive to watering with hard, not soft or cold enough water. The water temperature should always be a few degrees higher than the room temperature. And it is better to use melted, rain or filtered water for this citrus.
Too much flowering
Many new lemon varieties with early fruiting tend to bloom wildly, but more often than not, the plant simply does not have enough resources to ripen all the fruit that will set – the trees drop their leaves, stunt their growth, form small fruits (and they do not ripen well). Fruiting needs to be regulated by partially snipping unopened buds.
Continuous control of pests and diseases
Regular inspection of leaves and soil, shoots and buds can prevent serious problems. Scabies, aphids, spider mites, rusts, and rot require detection as early as possible. The more infested a plant is, the more impaired its growth is.
If signs of infestation are detected, isolate the plants immediately and start fighting with fungicides or insecticides.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why your lemon tree may not be growing, but with proper care and attention, these issues can often be addressed. By providing your tree with enough sunlight, high-quality soil, proper watering, pest and disease prevention, and proper pruning techniques, you can help your lemon tree grow healthy and strong, providing you with delicious and juicy fruits for years to come.