Growing Lemon Trees in Ontario: A Zesty Endeavour

Lemon trees, often associated with sunny, tropical climates, may seem like an unlikely addition to an Ontario garden. However, with the right approach and understanding of the unique Canadian climate, it’s entirely possible to cultivate these zesty citrus trees right here in Ontario.

Growing lemon trees in Ontario is more than just a gardening experiment; it’s an opportunity to bring a slice of the Mediterranean into your Canadian home. Whether you’re growing them indoors or nurturing them on a sunny patio during the summer, lemon trees can thrive in Ontario, offering fragrant blossoms and tangy fruit.

A potted lemon tree on a table.

Indoor Cultivation: A Fragrant Delight

Growing lemon trees indoors in Ontario is a rewarding experience that can bring a touch of the tropics to your home. Here’s how you can cultivate a lemon tree indoors:

Sunlight and Supplemental Lighting

Sunlight: Lemon trees require 8 to 12 hours of sunlight daily. Place your plant near a south or southwest-facing window to maximize natural light.

Supplemental Lighting: A full-spectrum grow light can supplement additional daylight hours.

Watering and Soil

Watering: Your tree should be consistently moist but not wet. Water when the soil feels dry up to your second knuckle.

Soil: Use light soil with organic compost, not garden soil. Garden soil compacts too easily.

Humidity and Misting

Humidity: Citrus trees need a humid environment (50%+).

Misting: A daily misting of the leaves will benefit the plant.

Choosing the Right Variety

Meyer Lemon: Known for its sweetly scented, edible lemons, it’s a popular choice for indoor cultivation in Ontario.

Winter Care

Temperature Range: Keep your tree at 15.5 degrees to 29 degrees during winter months.

Pruning: Prune out diseased or dead branches and pinch the growing tips to encourage branching.


Self-Fertile: Lemon trees are self-fertile, but you may need to pollinate the blossoms yourself using a cotton swab or an artist’s brush.

Summer Outdoors: Lemony Harvest

In Ontario, the summer months offer a unique opportunity for lemon tree enthusiasts. As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, your potted lemon tree can thrive outdoors, basking in the full sun. This seasonal transition is more than just a change of scenery; it’s a chance to enhance the growth and vitality of your lemon tree, leading to a delightful lemony harvest.

Winter Care for lemon tree

Winter Care: Protecting Your Citrus Investment

Ontario’s winters are renowned for their chill, and most citrus trees, including lemon trees, are best suited for warmer climates like zone 9. This climatic mismatch might seem like a barrier to growing lemon trees in Ontario, but with proper care and understanding, you can protect your citrus investment even during the coldest months.

Transitioning Indoors

Gradual Adjustment: As the temperatures begin to drop, gradually reduce your lemon tree’s sun exposure to acclimate it to indoor conditions.

Choosing the Right Spot: Place your tree near a south or southwest-facing window, where it can enjoy at least 8 hours of sunlight daily.

Pest Inspection

Regular Checks: Inspect the leaves and branches regularly for signs of pests, which can be more prevalent indoors.

Conclusion: A Tangy Touch to Ontario Homes

Growing a lemon tree in Ontario is more than a horticultural challenge; it’s a journey into the world of citrus, filled with fragrant blossoms, tangy fruits, and the satisfaction of nurturing something truly unique in the Canadian landscape.

While the idea of cultivating lemon trees in Ontario’s climate may seem daunting, it’s a rewarding experience that’s within reach with the right care and attention. From selecting the perfect variety like the Meyer Lemon to understanding the seasonal needs, growing a lemon tree in Ontario becomes a delightful possibility.

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