Properly water and fertilize lemon tree in winter

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:15 pm

To produce many flowers and fruits, your citrus tree needs a little break in the winter to gather strength. In this article we look at how to properly provide it with water and nutrients in the winter.

Wintering lemon tree: good to know!

Properly water and fertilize lemon tree in winter

Unlike most other types of fruit, lemon trees often bear fruit in November and December. In order for them to develop well, they need to be moved to quarters protected from frost and properly cared for. Also, the fruits need a cold stimulus to develop their bright colors. For this, the right amount of water and fertilizer at the right time is crucial.

Half speed ahead – the metabolism of your lemon tree in winter

Lemon trees retain their foliage and bear fruit into the cold season, so they still evaporate some liquid through their leaves. This means that some metabolic activity is also present, but as weak as possible. During this time, our lemon goes into hibernation, consuming very little energy.
Wintering lemon tree: watering properly

During the main growing season between April/May and September/October, the lemon tree generally needs more water than during winter dormancy. No wonder, because that’s when it flowers and grows diligently. It is very important that no waterlogging occurs. Wet feet over a longer period of time can mean death for our lemon trees in the long run.

When is the best time to water my lemon tree in the winter?

Just wait until the top 5 – 10 cm of soil has dried and if in doubt, wait another 2 days – then you can water it. It’s easier to prevent waterlogging that way. The brighter and warmer it is, the more active the lemon’s metabolism is and the more water evaporates through its leaves. Keeping this in mind, you’re sure to soon get a feel for your lemon tree’s water needs.
The amount makes the poison: Proper water dosage

In winter, watering should be based on the location of your lemon tree. Generally, the more light it gets and the warmer it is, the more you should water it. Water enough so that the entire root ball is adequately supplied once and soaks up. If a little water drips out of the drainage holes, it’s perfect.

However, there should be no water left in the saucer, otherwise the roots may start to rot. If the lemon is not so bright and also cooler, it should be watered accordingly less often. You will quickly notice that the soil in such a place also dries out more slowly.

Properly water and fertilize lemon tree in winter
The brighter the tree, the more water it needs.

Properly fertilize citrus trees in winter

Winterizing lemon tree: Does my lemon need fertilizer in the winter?

When it comes to fertilizer, lemon “Zeus” is generally not quite as frugal as it is with water. Since in our latitudes it can only be cultivated in a container, it uses up nutrients more quickly and you have to help it out with fertilizer. The timing is crucial, we’ll come back to that in a moment.

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Which fertilizer is right for my lemon?

Special citrus plant fertilizers are available in stores in both organic and mineral form as instant fertilizers. Mature compost is a perfect slow release fertilizer, our Bloomify slow release fertilizer is also good for your lemon tree.

When do I fertilize my lemon tree?

In April, when our lemon trees are now signaling us to start growing (that is, when new shoots are showing), you can also start the first applications of nutrients, either slow-release or immediate-release fertilizers. With instant fertilizers, regular, almost weekly applications are necessary until August, after which the tree should slowly prepare for winter. That means you gradually reduce the fertilizer as it gets cooler outside toward the end of summer.

If it is still warm and sunny in September and October and your lemon is still growing then, you will still need to fertilize it 1 to 2 times per month. If you use a slow-release fertilizer, you save time and effort. One or two applications throughout the spring and summer will be sufficient and you will not need to do anything else.
Winterize the lemon tree: Lent in the cold season

From about October or November, when lemon “Zeus” must go to its winter quarters, fertilizing is then completely stopped. At temperatures below 15 degrees, the plant can absorb virtually no more nutrients. In addition, after the exhausting period of growth and flowering, the little tree now allows itself a break, which it absolutely needs and in which we should not mess it up.

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  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.