lemon bonsai tree

Bonsai Lemon Tree: How to Grow and Care

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If you’re going to grow a bonsai lemon tree, you’ll have the best luck growing one that’s already trained to grow in a compact fashion – and that’s geared toward indoor growers. The Meyer lemon tree, or Citrus × meyeri, is the best option.

Some other names you might hear for this plant include Improved Meyer Lemon, Chinese Dwarf Lemon, Dwarf Lemon, and Chinese Dwarf Lemon. 

Always beautiful, this plant offers interest and appeal even when it’s not loaded with fruits (that’s right – even when grown as a bonsai, your lemon tree can still produce tasty fruit for you!). It has evergreen leaves with fragrant fruits and a gorgeous array of purple or white flowers. 

The Meyer lemon offers a flavor that is sweeter than a true lemon, similar to that of a Mandarin orange. The lemon is a bit darker than what you’d find on a “traditional” lemon tree, too.

Growing a lemon tree bonsai is easy – here is what you need to know. 

Interesting Facts about Bonsai Lemon Tree

SunlightFull sunlight
Flowering Time LengthSpring
Lifespan50 years
Scientific NameCitrus × meyeri

Growing Lemon Tree Bonsai from Seed or by Propagation

The bonsai lemon plant can be propagated by both seeds and cuttings. Air layering is another technique you can use. In most cases, it’s easiest to purchase a plant that has already been started from a specialty bonsai dealer, since it will already have been trained to grow in a container.

How to Care for Bonsai Lemon Tree


When grown outdoors, this plant grows best in USDA Zones 8B-10. As you can see, it likes the heat. It needs full sun in order to bloom and fruit reliably, but it can tolerate some shade if that’s what you have.


You can water your citrus bonsai regularly in the summer but do keep in mind that it can handle occasional periods of dryness. It is better for this plant to be slightly dry than it is for it to be overly wet. If your soil is well-draining, just water when the surface of the soil is dry. Try to use water that has not been treated, as the plant prefers water that is free from lime. 


Use a special liquid fertilizer, ideally one that is designed for citrus plants, about once every two weeks. This can be done regularly from spring until fall, but in the winter, you will need to slow to just once per month. Consider diluting the fertilizer to half strength to avoid overdosing your plants.

Potting and Repotting

You may repot your lemon once every two to three years, ideally by using the technique of root pruning. When you repot, use a slightly acidic soil mixture, like peat, to provide your bonsai with the nutrients it needs. 

Pruning Bonsai Lemon Tree

Your bonsai can be pruned back, with shoots cut to leave just two leaves, after a total of four leaves have grown. Prune regularly after this time, as this will help your lemon bonsai trees remain healthy and adapted to growing in a container. It can also help improve the quality of blooms and fruit set. 

You can also wire your lemon bonsai tree, but make sure the wires don’t cut into the bark. You may need to use guy wires instead to shape your tree.

Pests and Diseases

The bonsai lemon tree is prone to many of the same pests and diseases that might plague outdoor-grown plants. Some of the most common include aphids, fruit tree red spider mite, caterpillars, glasshouse red spider mite, scale insects, and mealybugs.

These pests are significantly more common when you grow your plant in a low-light condition with too much heat. Improve the growing conditions and treat with a pest-specific pesticide in order to get rid of these bugs.

Where to Buy Bonsai Lemon Tree

Consider purchasing your lemon tree bonsai from a dealer that specializes in these plants. Although you can buy a regular lemon tree and simply train it to grow in a small container, this may not provide you with their results you’d like, or as quickly.

Check our other guides about orange bonsai tree, fruit tree bonsai and other bonsai types.

*image by mne_len/depositphotos

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