Lemon trees will not grow flowers if the plant is too young, is over or under watered, lacks potassium or if the growing season weather is too cold. Solving these problems by using a fruit-promoting fertilizer, watering regularly and planting lemon trees in a sunny position. Improve the soil with organic matter and top with bark mulch to encourage lemon flower growth.
|Plant is too young||Plants less than 2 years old will be too young to flower.||Buy an advanced plant from a nursery or wait until the plant reaches 3 years old.|
|Too old||Old trees will stop producing flowers after 20+ years.||Add extra organic matter like compost or aged cow manure around the base.|
|Too much water||Too much water will wash nutrients away and rot roots.||Check the soil before watering and water deeply 1-2 times per week instead of everyday.|
|Not enough water||Dry roots and leaves will stop the plant from growing flowers.||Water regularly and deeply when the soil feels dry 1-2 inches below the surface.|
|Too much nitrogen fertilizer||Results in lots of leaf and stem growth and no flowers.||Stop adding nitrogen rich fertilizers like chicken manure and add a fertilizer with a higher potassium content.|
|Too cold||Cold spring weather will stop the tree from growing flowers.||Wait until spring or summer for flowers to form. Move lemon trees in pots inside greenhouses.|
|Poor soil||Soil that lacks the range of nutrients will stop the tree from flowering.||Add aged cow manure, compost and worm castings before planting or top-dress roots|
|Root damage||If small feeder roots near the surface have been damaged the plant won’t absorb enough nutrients and wont’ flower.||Avoid disturbing the top layer of soil under the fruit tree. Top with a thin layer of cow manure and cover with bark mulch.|
|Suckers||Grafted lemon trees can be taken over by suckering stems which will not flower.||Cut off suckering stems from the grafted root stock right back to the stem and water the plant well.|
|Too much shade||Lemon trees will not flower well if grown in deep shade.||Plant lemon trees in full sun or part shade or move pots into a sunny area.|
|Over pruning||Trimming growing tips off where flowers will form can stop flowering.||Avoid pruning growing tips before spring. Let the tree grow new tips and flower buds.|
Reasons why lemon trees are not flowering and solutions
Plant is too young
Lemon trees less than 2 years old will be too young to flower. Lemon trees bought from nurseries can be anywhere from 1 year old all the way up to 5 years for a more advanced tree.
For the best results and value for money, buy a tree that is 2-3 years old or around 3 feet high and you should see flowers in the next growing season. Lemon trees will take around 1 year to settle into their new spot in the garden or pot.
Solution: To get flowers quicker, buy an advanced lemon tree from a nursery. Another option to buy lemon trees that have been bred for growing in containers and you will get flowers and fruit faster.
Lemon trees can live for many years but eventually they will stop growing flowers. Old trees can be encouraged to continue to grow and produce more flowers by adding a top dressing of rich organic matter.
Solution: Care for old lemon trees by adding extra organic matter like compost or aged cow manure around the root zone. Add a 2-3 inch layer of homemade or commercial compost and aged cow manure. Sprinkle pelleted chicken manure on top and cover with a 2 inch layer of bark chips.
Water this in well and this can give old lemon trees the nutrient boost they need to start growing flowers again in the next spring.
Too much water
Overwatering lemon trees can wash nutrients away from the plant. Too much water can also sit at the root base and rot the roots over time. These damaged roots will not be able to take up nutrients and the plant will stop growing flowers.
Solution: Before watering lemon trees place your finger 1-2 inches down into the soil and check to see if it is dry. Water lemon trees planted out in your garden deeply 1-2 times per week instead of everyday as this will allow the water to reach deeper roots and avoid washing away nutrients.
Not enough water
Lemon trees that do not get enough water will stop growing flowers. Regular deep watering will keep the plant in a state where it is growing leaves, stems and flowers and eventually fruit. Lemon trees can dry out quickly in very hot weather so prepare them with mulch before summer hits.
Solution: Check lemon trees in hot weather and water regularly and deeply when the soil feels dry 1-2 inches below the surface. Cover the surface of the root zone with 2-3 inches of mixed bark mulch to hold soil moisture in.
Too much nitrogen fertilizer
Plants that get too much nitrogen will grow lots of leaves and will stop growing flowers. Stop adding nitrogen rich fertilizers like chicken manure and add a fertilizer with a higher potassium content if you don’t see any flowers in spring.
Solution: Choose a fertilizer labelled for fruiting or add sulphate of potash. This will increase the Potassium to Nitrogen ratio and encourage flowering.
Cold spring weather will stop the tree from growing flowers. As the weather warms up lemon trees can form new flowers later in the season. If you see lemon trees dropping flowers after a cold snap, don’t worry your lemon can grow new flowers when the weather warms again.
Solution: Wait until spring or summer for flowers to form. If your lemon tree is in a movable pot, move them into a sheltered area away from frosts or if you have one, move pots inside a greenhouse.
Lemon trees will need a range of nutrients to grow and flower well. Poor soil that lacks the range of nutrients will stop the tree from flowering. Trees that have been growing in the same spot in your garden for a long time can run out of nutrients if the soil is not improved.
Potted lemon trees can also quickly use up nutrients in potting soil if extra nutrients are not given over time.
Solution: Before planting lemon trees, add aged cow manure, compost and worm castings to the soil before planting. Use this same mix to top-dress roots for lemon trees already planted in the ground. Add pelleted chicken manure around the base of the plant in spring and fall.
Small lemon tree feeder roots will grow near the surface of the soil and any damage can stop the plant from taking up enough nutrients and stop them from flowering. Avoid disturbing the top layer of soil under the fruit tree.
Solution: Top the lemon tree root zone with a thin layer of cow manure and cover with bark mulch. Water this mix in well and your plant will recover and replace damaged roots.
Grafted lemon trees can be taken over by suckering stems which will not flower. Lemon trees are often grafted onto fast growing root stock which can quickly grow stems from below the graft and take over the flower producing lemon tree.
Solution: Cut off suckering stems from the grafted root stock back to the stem and water the plant well.
Too much shade
Lemon trees will not flower well if grown in deep shade. To grow lots of flowers, lemon trees need lots of sun so choose an open area of your garden that gets sun at least 6 hours of the day to plant your new lemon tree.
Solution: Plant lemon trees in full sun or part shade or move pots into a sunny area. Trim back branches from other trees to stop the light from being blocked.
Pruning your lemon tree before it produces flowers can stop them from growing. Lemon trees will grow new stem and flowers will form on the ends. Trimming growing tips off in spring where flowers will form can stop flowering.
Solution: Avoid pruning growing tips before spring. Let the tree grow new tips and flower buds. Trim the tree at the end of the summer growing season to avoid cutting off flowers.
No flowers on lemon trees – Summary
These are the top 11 reasons why your lemon tree will not be flowering. Lemon trees are fantastic for backyards planted in the ground or in a pot if you live in a small apartment or rental. Picking your own lemons is the best feeling as a gardener and these tips will help you to grow more at home.
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- Overwatering a lemon tree | 6 Ways to know + Solutions
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I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.