Dwarf Lemon Tree Care Requirements

If you’re someone who believes that small packages contain the best gifts, caring for a dwarf lemon tree will come naturally. Even if you’re outside the lemon-growing zones of USDA zones 9 through 11, dwarf lemons grow happily as indoor potted plants. With enough TLC, they’ll flower and fruit just like their full-sized relatives. Our look at dwarf lemon tree care explains it all.



Depending on cultivar, dwarf lemon trees grow from 4 to 10 feet tall. Ideal for containers or small outdoor spaces.

For container growing:

  • Choose a lightweight plastic container with several drainage holes, one size larger than the nursery pot.
  • Plant the tree in pre-moistened citrus potting mix.
  • Place a plastic drainage saucer beneath the container.
  • Set the container on a plant trolley for easier moving.


Expect to repot to the next larger size pot every four to five years, until you’re using a 20-gallon pot.


Give an outdoor dwarf lemon eight or more hours of daily sun and shelter from strong wind. Preferably, put it near a heat-reflecting wall or paved walkway.

Set an indoor tree in a south or southwest-facing window away from heat registers and cold drafts. Give it a temperature around 65°F (18.3°C.) and compensate for low indoor humidity by misting its leaves with water twice weekly .

Expert gardener’s tip: If possible, move your indoor tree outside into filtered shade when temperatures are consistently above 55°F (12.8°C). Gradually expose it to full sun and bring it indoors when nights drop below 50°F (10°C).


Dwarf lemons need regular applications of organic, granular slow-release 6-3-3 fertilizer. Choose one fortified with essential trace minerals, including manganese, zinc, iron and calcium.

Follow the manufacturer’s application recommendations for the size of your tree.


No dwarf lemon tree tolerates soggy soil. Water an in-ground tree when the top 6 inches of soil are dry and a potted one when the surface of the soil looks and feels dry. Curled leaves are a sign of thirst.

Always water an in-ground tree slowly and deeply so moisture penetrates to all the roots. Water a potted dwarf lemon until the pot feels heavy and water flows from the drainage holes. Empty the drainage saucer immediately.


Dwarf lemon trees attract a number of insect pests, including aphids, mealybugs, scale and the dreaded Asia citrus psyllids. All feed on leaf sap and cover the plants with clear, gooey ant-attracting waste.

To control them, spray your tree until it drips with organic insecticidal soap. After a few hours, rinse the residue. Reapply every three days until the problem is gone.

Text: Garden.eco