Originating from tropical climates, lemon trees have a low resistance to cold and can't survive temperatures below -5°C. Here's some key information on how to care for them during the colder months.
Location and Temperature Requirements
Lemon trees usually thrive in Mediterranean regions where they are typically grown in the ground. In colder climates, these citrus wonders are cultivated in pots. It's not just for aesthetic reasons, but it also lets you move them indoors during winter.
Despite their tropical origins, lemon trees can endure temperatures around -1°C for a brief period. But it's best to shift them indoors or protect them with a winter veil once temperatures fall below 0°C.
If you're in the south, you can leave your lemon trees outside even in winter, provided that they're given protection from a winter veil.
Both the aerial parts and the roots of lemon trees, especially those grown in pots, need protection. Applying a thick layer of mulch around the tree's base can aid in this.
If your lemon tree is planted in the ground, cover it with a winter veil during the frosty months. The same can be done for trees in pots that can't be transferred indoors. Remember to take off the veil when temperatures climb, as your tree needs access to light.
Another point to remember is the positioning of your outdoor tree during winter. It should be situated in a spot sheltered from wind, facing south, preferably near a window to make the most of heat losses.
Pruning and Pest Control
Before moving your lemon tree indoors for winter, give it a light pruning. This doesn't just allow sunlight to filter through, but it also helps maintain a pleasing rounded tree shape.
Also, don't forget to check for parasites and treat any infestations before the move indoors. This can be done using a cloth soaked in water and black soap or Marseille soap.
During winter, lemon trees do not need much watering as they are in rest mode. Those in the ground will not need additional watering, while those in pots only need watering once a month. Avoid watering your lemon trees before a cold snap, to prevent damage.
If you have your lemon trees in pots, the best place for them in winter is a cold greenhouse or an unheated veranda. Aim to keep the temperature between 6° and 11°C to ensure their survival.