Keep lemon trees ‘happy’ in colder weather with simple care tips

Monty Don shares his tips for planting a lemon tree

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Lemon trees and other citrus plants can easily be grown in the UK as long as they receive the right care and conditions. They can be grown outside in the garden during the summer months and brought inside during the winter. An expert has shared how owners of a lemon tree can ensure they provide the right conditions for it ahead of the cold weather.

Patch’s Plant Doctor, Richard Cheshire, told “It is best to move your lemon tree under shelter or inside when it gets really frosty.

“It is good to bear in mind that it will not respond well to central heating as it is too hot and will eliminate any humidity.

“Try to keep it in a room that has enough light and won’t be badly affected by heating.”

According to the expert, regularly misting the tree will help to boost its humidity levels, helping to “keep it happy” whilst inside during the colder months.

Misting is also a job which should be done if you recognise that the flowers are not setting fruits. It is best to do this either in the early morning or evening.

The expert added: “If you don’t have a sunny south-facing window to bring it indoors, try using some horticultural fleece to keep it warm outdoors.

“Alternatively, reusing old sheets, bubble wrap and old packaging are great alternatives to wrap your tree in.

“Make sure you don’t let fallen leaves sit on the top of the compost as this can cause issues. Keep watering the tree throughout winter, but sparingly.

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“Be very conscious of overwatering, only water when the top two inches of soil feel dry to touch.”

To test the soil, citrus tree owners can stick their finger into the soil, or they can use a pencil and see when the soil becomes dry.

The expert also warned gardeners to stop fertilising their trees during the late autumn frost as it can result in no fruit developing.

A slow-growing fruit, lemons can take up to a year to go from bud to edible fruit, meaning it can be hard to spot when the tree needs repotting.

Although it shouldn’t need a new home often, the expert also shared signs to look for when thinking about repotting.

Richard explained: “Look for roots which are growing through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot or above the topsoil.

“Roots will be pushing the plant up and out of the pot too.”

According to the plant expert, the plant may be growing slower than usual. This may take some time to spot as a healthy lemon tree will only grow 10 to 25 inches per year.

When watering, if the plant dries out quickly, and you need to water it more often, it may be a sign the plant needs a new pot.

After a hot and dry summer, gardens and plants alike have been suffering across the country.

To combat this, Patch has launched a Plant Paramedic Service for the month of September.

Founder and CEO of Patch Plants, Freddie Blackett, said: “Many plant owners see the telltale signs of a dying leaf and immediately reach for the bin, but it’s actually often possible to revive your plants by following some simple steps – that’s why we’ve created the Patch Plant Paramedics service to salvage your houseplants when you return from your holiday, rather than replacing them.”

The Plant Paramedics campaign will be running until the end of September, initially launching in London before rolling out to other cities. To add your foliage to the trans-plant list and book a visit from the Patch Plant Paramedics, go to

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