Easy Steps to Propagate Lemon Trees from Cuttings: Growing a Potful of Citrus Sunshine

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Growing your own lemon tree in a pot from cuttings is a rewarding and cost-effective way to enjoy the tangy freshness of homegrown lemons. Not only does it save you the trouble of buying seeds or young saplings, but it also allows you to control the quality and variety of lemons you produce. In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to propagate a lemon tree from cuttings, taking them from a healthy lemon tree and encouraging them to develop roots in water before transplanting them into pots. With a little patience and care, you can have your own thriving lemon tree in no time.

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Pruning shears
  2. Healthy lemon tree (source of cuttings)
  3. Glass or jar
  4. Clean, distilled water
  5. Rooting hormone (optional)
  6. Pots with drainage holes
  7. Potting soil mix (specifically formulated for citrus trees)
  8. Plastic bags or plastic wrap
  9. Rubber bands or plant ties
  10. A sunny location or grow lights

Step 1: Choose Your Lemon Tree Cuttings

To start, select healthy branches or stems from your established lemon tree. It’s best to take cuttings from the softwood, which is the newer growth, as it has a higher success rate in developing roots. These cuttings should be approximately 4-6 inches long and include a few leaves. Make sure to cut just below a node (the small bump where leaves or branches emerge), as this is where the roots will develop.

Step 2: Prepare the Cuttings

Remove the leaves from the bottom two-thirds of the cuttings, leaving a few leaves at the top. This will help direct energy towards root development. If you prefer, you can dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone to enhance the rooting process. While this step is optional, it can increase your success rate.

Step 3: Root the Cuttings in Water

Place your prepared lemon tree cuttings in a glass or jar with distilled water. Make sure that at least two nodes (where the leaves were) are submerged in water. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh. This step usually takes 2-6 weeks for the roots to form.

Step 4: Transplant into Pots

Once your cuttings have developed a few inches of roots, it’s time to transplant them into pots. Select pots that are at least 6-8 inches in diameter with proper drainage holes. Fill them with a well-draining potting mix formulated for citrus trees.

Step 5: Transplanting Your Cuttings

Gently remove the cuttings from the water, being careful not to damage the fragile roots. Plant each cutting in its pot, ensuring that the roots are covered with soil and the top leaves are above the surface. Water the newly planted cuttings thoroughly.

Step 6: Provide Optimal Conditions

Place your potted lemon tree cuttings in a sunny location, preferably receiving 8-12 hours of sunlight daily. If sunlight is limited, consider using grow lights to supplement. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. You can use a plastic bag or plastic wrap to create a mini greenhouse effect, which will help maintain humidity around the cuttings. Secure the bag or wrap with rubber bands or plant ties.

Step 7: Monitor Growth and Care

Keep a close eye on your lemon tree cuttings as they continue to grow. As the roots establish and the plant grows, you may gradually remove the plastic covering. Ensure that the soil stays consistently moist but not waterlogged, and feed your young lemon tree with a balanced citrus fertilizer according to the package instructions.


Growing a lemon tree from cuttings is a fulfilling journey that can yield delicious rewards. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy the satisfaction of nurturing your own citrus tree. From adding zest to your culinary creations to brightening your living space with its vibrant foliage, your potted lemon tree will become a delightful addition to your home. So, get started, and in no time, you’ll be harvesting homegrown lemons to brighten your day. Happy gardening!

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