Growing lemon trees

Growing lemon trees are so beautiful and scented, never mind the fruit.

I particularly like the Meyer because it goes on bearing for months. I chose this picture of a lemon tree, not the most dramatic, because you can see the mixed yellow and green fruit, and often new generations of flowers.

And the so-called improved Meyer is even better; it flowers twice and just continues to bear fruit, almost year round.

Meyer lemon trees

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 8th November, 2021.

I will confess it up front; they bear incredibly well, if you care for them and plant it in a hole filled with compost, for about thirty years. Our two are 31 years old, a Meyer and a Eureka ; the former continues to thrive but the latter is looking very tatty.

Update; the Eureka has now died of old age, and in fact was a very sour lemon. I am going to replace it rather with a lime tree. Old faithful Meyer is growing right over our french drain from the septic tank, and continues to flourish at 40 years.

It has produced at least 12,000 lemons, at today's prices worth R40,000; from one tree.

Growing lemon trees

Growing lemon trees is such a boon to the family's all round health.

Google, the source of all knowledge!, tells me that Meyer lemon trees are a Chinese cross between a lemon and a mandarin, hence it is less tart that the Eureka. It was brought to the USA by one Frank Meyer in 1908 from China. Its bright yellow fruit and sublimely scented flowers makes it a great favourite as a indoor potted plant too. Ours is located outside our bedroom window, and the scent in the Spring is heavenly.

"Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat."

Amazing how wrong a guy can get it. Both with his girl and the lemon fruit impossible to eat.

Planting Lemon trees

Planting lemon trees is such a plus to your salads and cooking.

Instructions for digging the pit for a tree.

If you want a fruit tree that bears heavily, then break your back and dig a deep hole. It should be square, not round, so that the roots go outwards and not just down.

It took me three hours of hard labour to dig this hole and fill it again with sticks, compost, more humus, lime and finally replacing the topsoil.

First, dig a big square hole.

For more details about how big the hole should be, and what goes in the bottom of the crater, type tree planting help into the search engine in the navigation bar.

On top of your old half rotten sticks and the first layer of compost replace most of the subsoil. In my case it's this orange clay. Hard as rock, hence the importance of digging a deep hole to give your Meyer lemon tree a good start. Then, provided you have good root stock, it will provide bountiful fruit for thirty years and more; now 37 and counting.

Walnuts and pears, you plant for your heirs; lemon trees too. At 62, I wonder how many years of lemon juice I will get to enjoy?

Does a lemon a day prolong life? We do not know, but they certainly rich any salad; I am now in my 67th orbit of the sun. I can well imagine that until as recently as three hundred years ago, many still believed the sun circled the Earth.

Although the German Copernicus is generally given credit for the discovery of the helio centred universe, Ptolemy wrote about it in ancient times.

The hole for our lemon tree.

Growing lemon trees usually require lime or wood ash.

Particularly in high rainfall regions the soil is too acid, so a good dusting of agricultural lime is a good idea. I cannot tell you just how essential, but I believe it is helpful to your growing lemon trees.

Now the order is not too important. I do not put the lime in contact with the compost, as I fear the earthworms may turn up their toes, so I will cover it with the first layer of topsoil.

Put some lime or wood ash in the hole when planting a lemon tree.

Grow a lemon tree; now replace the topsoil

The subsoil should have gone deeper in the crater but there will inevitably some over, which I use to seal the compost pile and then the topsoil goes back where it belongs.

At the top.

Return the topsoil when planting a lemon tree.

Compact compost tumbler

Growing lemon trees need compost.

If you have a small garden that's highly visible to the neighbours, then I recommend a COMPACT COMPOST TUMBLER but I'm privileged to have a very large and secluded fruit and veggie patch, so we have four different piles of humus in various stages; actually it's now seven, with the added benefit of two worm farms to provide liquid manure for our plants and creepy crawlies for the hens. 

It is best to put the waste from the kitchen into a worm farm first, rather than into the compost pile where they attract rodents.

Of course the compact compost tumbler can be sealed to keep them out too.

The compact compost tumbler would provide nutrients for your lemon tree.

One for old sticks, one for the prime garden waste like grass cuttings and kitchen refuse, one for large stalks (like from growing corn, or mealies as we call them), another for rough stuff that might well contain weed seeds and other suspect garden waste that you might not want to spread back into the garden.

This is the third, or the fourth layer of compost?, I can't remember even though I started planting lemon tree yesterday. Bit of senile decay setting in? I'll have to eat more fatty fish! Did you know that Omega-3 has a very beneficial effect your grey matter? That's the part of the brain where all the data is stored. The hard-drive... starve yourself of the right fatty acids and Alzheimers and senile decay is inevitable. Fish oil, salmon, flax seeds and walnuts.

If you plan to grow a lemon tree it will need plenty of compost.

Now replace the rest of the topsoil. Heap it up slightly as it will settle with time as that organic matter decays back into sublime earth for your growing lemon trees.

Grow a lemon tree; make the hole square.

Birthday gift idea; Meyer lemon trees

Actually I got sneaky. The good wife had to buy her own Meyer lemon tree. My birthday gift was to dig the pit; three hours' hard labour from start to finish. She can plant the tree, with the help of our grandchildren. Tomorrow, hopefully I'll have a picture of the finished growing lemon trees product.

Oh, by the way, if you are growing lemon trees commercially, and have unlimited space then they should be 25 feet apart. For the home garden 15 to 20 is probably adequate. Our 30 year old Meyer lemon has grown to about 3 metres tall.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • Lifestyle and ideal body weight
  • What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
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  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
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  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
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  • Create a cyan zone at your home

Now we sit back and wait for a couple years. Then I'll probably pull the old lemon trees out. I might be tempted to plant another Eureka, but I don't find it as juicy, and it doesn't bear as long in the season. They also seem to be susceptible to drought, when the fruit may have almost no juice.

Instead I've just put in the first lime tree.

Here's an update at our growing lemon trees page. Just occasionally it pays to procrastinate.

She who must be obeyed had other things on her mind yesterday, and the lemon tree, still very pretty, remained in protection. We had a terrible hail storm last night; I wonder how the other young plants coped?

Here it is, nearly a year old. Next year will probably see the first flowers, but I'll pull them off.

Beehives in the background so there's no fear the flowers won't be well pollinated. How to start beekeeping is a story you will find on another page.

White oil

White oil is a safe, easy to make fluid to protect your growing lemon trees; all citrus in fact. 

Sap sucking insects on your citrus trees can be catastrophic; that might be aphids, black or green, or white fly and probably a host of others.

There is a very simple, non toxic solution for the organic gardener; you really don't need to expose yourself to the dangerous chemicals that certainly will kill the bugs, but might well destroy you too.

The title white oil manufacturers is something of a misnomer; you will do it yourself. Can you mix together sunflower oil and washing up liquid?

Lemon drop drink recipe

Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summers day than this lemon drop drink recipe; make it today if you have a lemon tree. I'm convinced that carbonated colas are one of the main causes of obesity. Start your child out on the right track from the first years as a toddler and save him the ravages of a too-heavy body.

Ever since I gave up beer - it was threatening to become master of the house, rather than the nave - I have this orange grapefruit, half a lemon drink every evening. Fifty percent diluted with water.

A small Meyer lemon tree.
A mixed orange, grapefruit and lemon drink.

Lemon and honey

Lemon and honey has been a traditional sore throat and flu medication for centuries. I cannot comment on the scientific validation of that practice, but it is certainly a delicious drink. But what about the honey glycemic index? Does it produce a sugar rush in the blood stream which must be countered by an outpouring of insulin by the pancreas?

Lemon juice

There's an expensive and nasty alternative to fresh lemon juice; a processed product for those too lazy to press their own fruit. To preserve it, chemicals are added that are detrimental to our health, and taste terrible. Consider growing lemon trees, or at least purchasing them weekly.

"There were no lemons, so I made do with a little squirt of plasticky juice in my G&T from the Jif lemon in the fridge. When I picked up my glass, the ice cubes rattled uncontrollably. The G&T tasted vile but it gave me courage."

- Little Bee by Chris Cleave

An exceptional book by the way, if you're a reader. 

Lime nutrition

Lemon and lime nutrition abound in healthy substances; vitamin C, limonin and phytogens to name a few. We call it our viral guard.

It all starts with growing lemon trees.

There are suggestions that citrus peels shouldn't be put in your compost bins gardening. Certainly I have not compared two similar piles, one with and the other without, but after a few months there is no sign of them, but a gentle orangery scent in the humus if you love your oranges and limes.

Limonin is the active ingredient that the citrus family provides for our well-being.

Compost bins gardening

Useful links

Bernard Preston

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