If you are trying your hand at growing lemon trees, the first thing you need to establish is the best potting mix for lemon tree growing. So, starting off with the right soil will greatly increase your chances of growing a healthy productive lemon tree.
A lemon tree will need soil that is rich in nutrients, well-draining, slightly acidic, and loose (well aerated). Only when such conditions are provided, it will lead to the fastest lemon tree growth possible.
Read on to find out what components in what quantity need to be added to your lemon tree’s potting mix soil.
What is the Best Potting Mix for Growing Lemon Trees?
The best potting mix for growing lemons should have everything a lemon tree requires to fulfill its growth. However, the presence of certain items will assist growth in a certain way.
Ultimately, having everything the tree needs will help it flourish with many lemons!
The ideal lemon tree potting mix is solely made from four important materials! These are compost, peat, perlite, and sand.
Because, they are so few, each one of these items plays an important role in the lemon tree’s growth and well-being.
Also, the absence or incorrect ratio of one of them could tip the balance and create problems for your lemon tree. So that’s why the correct potting mix is essential if you want to see lemons!
All compost is particularly popular for something. Any guesses? Firstly, compost is what will provide your lemon trees or any plant with the nutrients and minerals it requires for optimal growth.
You can make your own compost by mixing leaves, branches, grass clipping, and even fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen. Thus, you will know exactly what it contains!
Secondly, compost also helps with something else. The compostable materials are capable of absorbing moisture and holding it in. Thus, enough water remains in the soil to facilitate growth. This is especially helpful in summer and times of drought.
Both points make compost important, if not the most important component. Are you using too much compost? Hence, it may be one of the reasons why lemon tree leaves turn brown.
Although, most Peat is retrieved exclusively from peat bogs which are made mostly from dead plant material (dead moss in particular).
Peat is a soil softener that aids the texture of the soil, it does this by holding good water amounts. This makes it much more comfortable for the lemon tree to source its nutrients and minerals easily.
Also, it is slightly acidic. Thus, adding this component is a great natural way to provide lemon trees with air, nutrients, and acidity.
If you don’t know what Perlite is, chances are you have seen it but didn’t know. It is actually a volcanic glass that takes the form of a white stone, especially when mixed into potting mixes.
If the sand content can’t maintain good drainage, perlite will definitely help with this. This lightweight material does not just allow excess water to pass down the soil gradients.
It also allows air to enter soil spaces.
This is vital for roots to carry out functions that lead to growth. The presence of air in the soil is good since it makes the soil light and roots can easily spread at will.
But, failure to make the soil loose and aery can lead to poor growth. Every plant needs a component like this to handle waterlogging.
Sand as you already know is extremely porous. Hence, it makes sure that too much water doesn’t wait around for long! This is a good thing seeing as too much water is detrimental to lemon trees, young and old.
Another way sand helps your lemon tree potting mix soil is by acidifying it. Actually, lemon trees love acidic soil but only mildly acidic soil. The sand keeps the pH levels low enough for your trees to grow without any hindrance.
Make sure the sand is pure and does not have added impurities as this may decrease its draining ability.
What Lemon Tree Potting Soil Mix Should Look Like
Ideal lemon tree potting mix soil should be crumbly to the hand. This implies that there is enough air penetrating the soil and reaching the underground root parts.
Additionally, this will also allow the roots to grow and be mobile without hassles.
Soil should be loose and ingredient-rich to satisfy all necessary requirements. Luckily, sand and loam should be the majorly present material as it provides this. Signs of good lemon tree soil are:
- Acidic pH (pH 6.0 and slightly below)
- Loose and light soil
- Porous soil with a variety of materials (limited or absence of clay)
- Fertile with adequate nutrients and minerals
If the soil you are using is correct, your lemon trees will show impressive growth. However, note that lemon trees require their potting mix to be changed every 3 to 4 years.
Repotting your lemon tree involves changing the pot if it is too small as well as changing out the soil.
But, over time the quality of soil will decrease, and keeping your lemon tree in it could be risky. Here’s what to look for if you think your soil is depreciating.
What Lemon Tree Potting Soil Mix Shouldn’t Look Like
Lemon trees require porous soil so that water does not accumulate and choke or damage the roots or trunk. Avoid clay-rich soils at all costs!
Also, roots need to breathe if they want to carry out daily chemical reactions. Hard soil will inhibit the growth of the roots.
Additionally, lemon trees like all other citrus trees cannot grow in poor infertile, and alkaline soil. Signs of bad lemon tree soil are:
- Alkaline (pH 7.0 or higher)
- Flat, dry, and compacted
- Heavy clay based soil
- Poor nutrient and mineral levels
Poor soil may look waterlogged and wet if it has clay, poor drainage, and is alkaline. Your lemon trees will soon start to exhibit signs and symptoms of an inadequate environment.
How to Amend Lemon Tree Potting Mix?
After a few months or years, your lemon tree may start to slow in terms of growth or fruit-bearing. Or, it may even start to look weak or diseased. These all may be instances of degradation of the soil.
To fix the problem, you will have to amend the soil. Sure signs your soil needs amending are as follows:
- Water is accumulating and soil looks wet all the time.
- Roots may possibly have mild root rot.
- Soil looks flat, poor, and cracked.
- Soil is drying out too fast and so is the lemon tree’s foliage.
- Constant need to add compost materials on top of the soil around the tree.
But, by now you are probably asking the question about “how to amend lemon tree potting mix”, right? Is it even possible to amend the soil?
Yes, it is and there are a few ways to go about this. It purely depends on the issue you are facing with your soil. There are three main issues as follows.
Soil is too Wet
If soil is watery or overly moist, the soil needs its draining ability drastically improved to support plant growth. Excessive water will lead to root rot and this will affect the whole tree, its ability to function, grow, and produce lemons.
You can correct it by adding a material that will let water pass through relatively easily. Add sand or perlite as per your requirement. But, be sure not to add too much, or else this will create another problem.
Nutrients Need Replenishing
Has the growth of your lemon tree slowed down or ceased completely?
Nutrient or mineral depletion could be the cause. Growth won’t resume until nutrient levels are replenished.
Usually, some organic ingredients will be enough to help with nutrient levels in the soil. It would be highly advantageous to start a compost heap in the garden!
Getting nutrient levels back up won’t be hard. If anything, it can be quite a quick fix! You can mix manure or compost into the soil or add a layer of mulch.
Also, you could even use fertilizer to do it faster with an artificial, nutrient-rich substance.
Soil is too Dry
After watering your lemon tree, watch to see how long it takes for the water to completely seep through the soil. The water shouldn’t linger for too long. Also, it shouldn’t disappear straight away!
Water immediately passing through the soil is a sure sign that the sand/perlite content is way too high. Although you can’t decrease it by removal, instead you can increase the content of water-holding materials by adding more peat or compost.
Lemon trees require well-draining, fertile, aery, and acidic soil to grow fast and produce healthy flavorful lemons. But, soil lacking in any of these requirements will lead to possible poor growth and poor lemon output.
The best potting mix for lemon tree pots is a combination of four main ingredients:
- Compost – ¼ (25%)
- Peat – ¼ (25%)
- Perlite – ¼ (25%)
- Sand – ¼ (25%)
Together all these ingredients will make sure that there is enough water in the soil (not too much or too little). The soil will have enough air to conduct reactions and ultimately grow. Nutrient levels will be maintained and support growth.
Now you know exactly what components and soil are best, plant your lemon trees today!
Don’t know where to plant your lemons, read, Can lemon trees grow in shade?
How do you make potting soil for a lemon tree?
You can make potting mix soil for a lemon tree by adding equal ratios of peat, perlite, sand, and compost. But, an alternative is to use sand, peat, compost, and coconut fiber. Also, you can even use worm castings instead of compost and coconut fiber.
Is growing lemon trees in pots possible?
Yes, growing lemon trees in pots is possible. But, as long as the right soil (sandy loam soil) is provided as well as the correct watering routine and location, the lemon tree will grow.
Evidently, the soil is the most important requirement of a potted plant since it doesn’t have much soil to deal with and support it.