Growing lemons in the UK

Hello I am from the UK which I understand is mostly zone 8. I’ve never grown any seeds or the like before, I just thought i’d stick a few lemon and orange seeds in some pots and see what happens.

Much to my suprise, some seeds I left outside (most likely oranges) (no more than 18 degrees celcius, with lows of around 4c at night), the seeds had germinated after about 2 months.

I transplanted them indoors on my windowsill in some wet citrus soil (miracle gro citrus) and after a week one of the orange seeds now looks like this:

It looks very small at this moment and I am sure its early days, but is this what it is meant to look like at early age ?

I’ve also got the lemons which have never been outside, again mostly getting around 6 hours of sun in the afternoon/evening. Both pots have two seeds in and I will move these to their own pots when they prove fruitful

I cover these over with a plastic bag to lock in heat and moisture with a hole in at the top for air to breath.

Would you chaps say that at this time, albeit very slow growth (due to UK climate), these are looking ok or are they a waste of time?

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Welcome mburdett

Nice of you to try some gardening out :slight_smile:

Virtually all Citrus will have a hard time in the UK without a heated and mabey lighted greenhouse.

If your new(er) to gardening id recomend starting with something easier.
Most berries are quicker and easier. Strawberry’s for example. Although they are a bit of weeding work. Less maintanance are courants and goosberries and rasphberries and blackberries.

For larger fruit id go apple pear plum and grapes maybe try some kiwi berries (actinia arguta).

When you have some experiance/knowladge

a little harder/more work. fig mulberry Pawpaw.

Or a lot harder/more work than those, apricots peaches and cherries.

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Oh I don’t know…how hard is it to keep watering them until they give up the ghost?

Unlike other citrus such as grapefruit, lemons don’t require intense heat. So at least you have a theoretical possibility of getting usable fruit. They are more attractive than your average citrus tree, so there’s that…

Growing them outside wouldn’t work I think.

I wonder—-what is citrus food anyway?

Thanks for your reply, Miracle Gro soil has various nutrients in it for healthy citrus growth and mediteranean type plants. I know they’ll probably have a hard time here, however usually the summers where I am are quite hot (over 25c), so there is good opportunity for some growth over the summer.

i agree outside definately wont work, (although bizarre the seeds germinated outdoors), will see what happens over the next month or two,

i’d hate to burst your hopes.

But usualy the highest summer temp is not the problem. It’s also the length of the growing season. And especially the length of the warmer growing season. I think you can keep it alive and get it growing. But fruitfull will likely need a heated, and probably lighted greenhouse.

It’s a cool adventure. And i loved the advocado tree’s i grew as a kid. As long as you don’t expect advocado’s in our climate it’s fun. If your doing it for the fruit’s. Probably better spend your time on something else. It probably could be done. But being a trailbalzer requires a lot of work time and effort for verry little reward.

if your set on citrus. There are some “wild” species that can tolerate some frost. And likey more fruitfull in our climate zone.

With seeds you can wait years to get fruit. It also may never fruit. I remember a post on reddit by a guy who waited 45 years for his orange tree to fruit that he grew from seed. What I would do is buy a actual citrus fruit if you want to grow them. At least here in the US you can buy them for 30 something to 50 something US. Zone 8 is really pushing it for citrus if it is the same zones as the US. Even my cold hardy citrus is only supposed to survive down to something like 28 F.

This post made me remember an article I read once about efforts to grow citrus ( successfully) in the USSR. If I recall they were basically growing them like bushes below grade. Pretty wild stuff. I think they were also breeding to increase hardiness. If the genetics are still available somewhere, that could be useful. Here’s the link:

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You can grow lemons if you grow them in pots and are prepared to bring them in the house for the winter. I have a Ponderosa lemon that does produce lemons even though the plant is not very big, my Meyers also produced but I gave that plant to the grandkids.

I grew them in a pot outside for the summer and move it into the house in the winter. However, to get enough light I do have it under a grow light in my basement for the winter months. Cocktail grapefruit also fruited for me with this process, only one fruit though before it died because I forgot to bring it in before the frost one year.