Lemon trees attract bees to their fragrant, white flowers and sweet nectar. Bees will pollenate the lemon flowers as they collect the nectar with the highest number of bees visiting in spring. The reason bees visit lemon trees is because they are a rich food source for the bees to to make honey.
When lemon trees attract bees
Lemon trees will attract bees when they are in flower which can happen throughout the year. Lemon trees will produce most of their flowers in spring so expect bees to visit your lemon trees during this time to feed on the nectar.
The fruit will set over summer and be ready to pick in the cooler months, in late fall to winter.
Why are bees attracted to lemon trees
Lemon trees will attract bees because they produce nectar in their flowers. Nectar is a sweet substance produced by the trees to attract pollinators. Bees collect nectar and will knock the pollen off of the flower anthers onto the stamens. This moves the pollen from the male to the female part of the plant.
Pollen can also stick to the bees and be moved from flower to flower. This will pollenate or fertilize the flower with another flower’s pollen.
Lemon trees do not need bees to grow lemons
Lemon trees don’t need bees or another pollinator to grow lemons. Lemon trees produce flowers with both male and female parts in the same flower. The flower will pollenate itself when the male anther drops pollen onto the female stigma.
The movement of the lemon tree in the wind is usually enough to pollenate the flower. When pollination happens, the flower will close and the fruit will begin to form. If you have an indoor lemon plant, you may need to use a paint brush to move the pollen down onto the stigma manually.
Growing lemon trees and lemons indoors without bees
lemon trees are self-pollinating so they are the perfect fruit tree to grow inside. Small varieties like Dwarf Eureka and Meyer lemon trees are great for indoors. The size of a lemon tree will be limited by the size of the pot so even a full size lemon tree will stay small. Keep trimming it back to the size you want and they will grow well.
To make sure that the flowers are pollenated, you can move the tree outdoors when it starts to flower or use a small paint brush to move the pollen onto the stigma. If you move the tree outside, make sure you put it in a sheltered area, out of direct sunlight. An indoor lemon tree will not be used to direct sunlight so it is best to move it into the light gradually.
Other bugs attracted to lemon trees
Lemon trees can attract a range of pollenating insects and ants. Pollinators like bees, flies and butterflies can all visit your lemon tree when it is in flower.
Lemon trees attract ants
If your lemon tree becomes infected with aphids, ants can be attracted to the sticky substance produced by the aphids. The ants won’t damage the plant but are a sign that there are other pests on your lemon tree.
To remove the aphids, you can use your hose and set it on a strong spray and just spray them off. You can use an Eco Oil available at your garden center or hardware store or I like to just trim back the affected areas. Put the trimmings in the bin, not in your compost or worm farm. This will make sure the aphids don’t affect other plants in your garden.
Over time, lady bugs will make their way into your garden to eat the aphids, but if there are too many, the lady bugs won’t be able to control the population on their own. You may need to start with hosing the aphids off first then let the lady bugs eat the rest.
Bees and Lemon trees – FAQ
Are there any lemon trees that don’t attract bees?
All lemon trees will grow flowers before they grow lemons so all of them will attract bees. Although lemon trees don’t need bees to pollenate them, they will still attract bees to your garden.
Will bees help my lemon tree to produce more fruit?
Lemon trees will produce more fruit if they are pollenated by bees. While wind and movement of the plant can be enough for the lemon tree to pollinate itself, bee pollination will give you more lemons. This is because it is a more reliable method of pollination. The bee will land on the flower and the direct movement of the pollen within the flower.
Bees are important pollinators for lemon trees in sheltered areas. My lemon tree is between two tall townhouses so does not get affected by winds. Bees will be essential to pollenating my lemon tree in spring to make sure the pollen is moved and fertilizes the flower.
What can I do to attract bees to my lemon tree?
To attract bees to your lemon tree plant a range of spring flowering plants that have a diverse range of flower colors and heights. The bee hotel I recently bought came with a packet of bee attracting plants which include lavender, aster, cornflower and daisies.
I have been planting a range flowers in my garden to attract more pollinators including bees and butterflies. I have just planted Lisianthus, African daisy and butterfly bushes in my garden to start to attract more bees to my space. When spring comes along, these will burst into flower and hopefully bring more bees to my new lemon tree.
Bees also need to drink water so lay out a shallow tray with rocks in it to give them a drink. When the weather is warm, bees will land on the damp rocks to have a drink and hopefully stay to feed on the nectar in my lemon tree flowers.
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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.