The Q&A Archives: Germinating Lemon Seeds

Question: My wife has always admired potted lemom trees. I enjoy watching the entire process so I tried to germinate lemon seeds, twice and both times unsuccessfully. Can you give me any hints? I'm using sandy soil in a well drained pot and watering daily, butnothing happens.

Answer: Well, you may be trying too hard. We find them growing in the compost sometimes! Plant only fresh seeds - if they dry out, they die quickly. The soil you're using sounds well-drained, but make sure it will retain moisture throughout the day (add somepeat to the soil if necessary to boost moisture-retention). Keep pots in a warm place, such as atop the fridge, because they need soil temperatures of 80-90F to germinate. Here's a neat fact that adds even more interest to the process - some seeds contain two embryos which results in two seedlings. One embryo is the result of pollination, so the resulting seedling may exhibit carachteristics of either/both parent trees. The other embryo produces a clone of the tree from which it grew! If you want to grow a lemon that you can keep in a pot and that will produce fruit, I recommend purchasing a 'Meyer' lemon from a nursery or catalog. But don't let that discourage you from your gardening experimentation!

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