7 In Seed Starting

Growing a Lemon Tree from Seeds, an Update

Two years ago, I began an experiment to grow lemon trees from seeds. These seeds were simply seeds picked out of store-bought lemons. One tree survived – and flourished. Let’s take a look at two years of progress on my lemon tree grown from a seed.


2014 – they’ve sprouted!

lemon trees

Lemon trees…September 2014


lemon tree July 2015

July 2015…about double in size from the previous year.

growing a lemon tree from seeds

July 2016. It’s huge! More than double in size. Only one survived.



Growing a Lemon Tree from Seeds

I inherited my curious mind from my dad. He loved to experiment with plants. My dad always had one or two unusual botany experiments going on. He would grow ferns from spores, or grow an avocado from the pit just to see what would happen. Growing a lemon tree from seeds would be something right up his alley!

As you may remember, in 2014, I first wrote about growing a lemon tree from seeds. I’m not sure why I decided it would be fun to experiment, but experiment I did. I planted several seeds from a plain old store-bought lemon from Wal-Mart. Two plants grew, but then one died. The remaining plant is healthy, strong and vigorous.

Here’s what I learned about growing a lemon tree from seeds in Virginia:

  • Not surprisingly, the lemon tree loves the hot, sunny summertime. I leave it outside all summer long and it flourishes.
  • Inside the house in the winter, it looks horrible. It drops leaves. It sulks. I’m afraid it will die. It’s probably dormant.
  • It hasn’t blossomed yet.
  • It’s going to need a bigger pot…

I’m having fun, I have a nice plant for my front porch, and it’s still alive, so I guess I’m doing something right. Growing a lemon tree from seeds has been fun!

Happy gardening. Keep growing!

Happy growing 2016 signature blog

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  • Jennifer Rote
    August 5, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Looks great! So want to try this. Know that in NY, my tree would hate winter.

  • Alfonza
    November 7, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Lemons are expensive here in my country philippines. So ill expirement in planting the seeds. Thanks for sharing.

  • P
    April 6, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    I absolutely love this! I struggled to find anything when I first planted my mandarin plant (now 3 years old). I flourished the first 2 years but is sadly sick after I went on holiday…

    When you plant citrus seeds, beware that the plant from the seed may not necessarily be a clone of the mother plant. However, all citrus are special as there are both monocotelydon seeds and dicotelydon seeds. If you are growing your plant for fruit, you want seeds of the second type as the larger embryo is a clone of the mother plant. If, like me, you want a plant to love and cherish, you are fine with either type of seed. It is important to know that some people suggest pinching out the smaller embryo in dicotelydon seeds as they are naturally more slow-growing but my ‘plant’ is actually two plants as I didn’t bother with this bit. The plant that is normally smaller actually the same size as the bigger one in my case but this is untrue of my key lime seedlings. The smaller of them generally died on their own just because of the process of natural selection and being out-competed by their twins.

    • Jeanne
      April 6, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      That’s so interesting! Thank you so much for sharing the information and story.

  • Joye
    August 25, 2018 at 9:03 am

    Have a lemon tree with thrones and it grows straight up like a whip I was told to cut middle/top to make it bushy what does mean please help tia

    • Kevin
      January 3, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      I had the same problem and eventually snipped the tip which did in fact encourage it to start branching out.

      Beware though that, while there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer on this, some say a citrus tree needs to reach a certain node count (number of leaves from the base) before it will flower. If you keep pruning the tips off it may never grow enough nodes to start flowering. To be safe I wouldn’t cut too much off!

      • Jeanne
        January 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm

        Really interesting, Kevin. Mine is still growing like that too. I think pruning will help.