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Coaxing Lemon Tree to Flower and Fruit

I live in the north but have an 8ft. tall lemon tree started from seed as a joke from a friend in Florida.  The leaves smell lemony when rubbed and are large, shiny & healthy.  We put it outside all summer.   How do we get it to bear fruit?  Do we need another tree to cross pollinate?   How do you tell if it's male or female?

It sounds like a beautiful plant.  That’s good since you may need to wait seven or more years for the plant to reach maturity and start to bloom.  Fortunately most citrus are self-fruitful and do not need another plant for pollination.   Many citrus varieties require a period of cool weather or drought to stimulate bloom and fruiting.  However, extremes of either condition can damage the plants.  Most citrus plants selected for indoor gardening are dwarf varieties suited to the challenges of growing indoors in the winter.  I wouldn’t give up but you will need to be patient.  Fertilize your citrus plant several times during the growing season.  Use an acidic fertilizer for best results.  Low light, insufficient fertilizer and too large a pot for the root system can impede bloom.  Allow the plant roots to fill the pot before transplanting. Slightly potbound plants are also more likely to flower and fruit.


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