Want to take a cutting from your citrus tree? Learn how to propagate a lemon tree step-by-step!
We bought our lemon tree at a big box home improvement store. When we bought our first lemon tree I had no idea what to look for and purchased a poorly shaped lemon tree that quickly transformed into a bush because it had never been pruned.
I have been successful with propagating house plants and rosemary so I thought I would give lemon and lime trees a try. Thankfully, they have been pretty successful.
Can you root lemon tree cuttings in water?
I tried rooting cuttings in water, but they all rotted. Unfortunately, it did not work. The lemon tree cuttings I rooted directly in the soil had better success!
How long does it take lemon tree cuttings to root?
It took a long time for these cuttings to root. Seeing the first roots took at least a month, and significant roots took 2-3 months!
Will lemon trees grown from cuttings produce fruit?
There is no reason why the propagated tree would not produce fruit once it is mature enough.
When is the best time to take a lemon tree cutting?
A "semi-hardwood" cutting is what you're looking for. New year's growth is beginning to turn brown into hardwood. Late summer is the best time to do this!
How to propagate a lemon tree
- Sharp plant shears
- Pot of moist soil
- Clear plastic bag (I use the clear bread bags but produce bags work too.)
- Rooting hormone
Steps to propagate a lemon tree
STEP 1: Identify a branch
Choose a branch with new growth to indicate health. The energy should go into root growth, not fruit maintenance, so you don't want a branch growing fruit.
STEP 2: Cut the branch
Cut the branch, ensuring you get at least 2 nodes on your cutting. The nodes are the bumps where leaves grow from the stem - and where roots will grow.
STEP 3: Remove lower leaves
After removing the lower leaves, you should only leave leaves at the end of the cutting.
STEP 4: Dip in rooting hormone
To encourage root growth, dip the cutting in rooting hormone. Rooting hormone is not considered organic, so keep that in mind if you want everything in your garden to be 100% organic. Rooting hormone is very helpful and one of the few non-organic chemicals I allow on our plants.
STEP 5: Stick in moist soil
Plant directly in a pot with moist soil.
STEP 6: Cover
Put a clear plastic bag over it. Placing the bag over the cutting creates a greenhouse effect and keeps the soil moist. Place the pot in bright and indirect.
STEP 7: Wait
Waiting is the hardest part of propagation. Be sure to check the cuttings once a week and water as needed.
When Do I Transplant the Cuttings
The great thing about rooting in soil is you don’t have to transplant them. Once roots are established, leave them in the soil. The cuttings shouldn't need to be transplanted until they outgrow the pot.