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How Long Do Lemon Trees Live?

Most lemon trees will live around 50 years but some can live up to 100 in ideal conditions. The lifespan of your tree depends on the type of lemon tree you’re growing. Some lemon trees, like the Meyer lemon tree, may only live for around 30 years. Dwarf lemon trees also tend to live for shorter periods of time than full-sized trees. Learn to recognize how long different lemon tree varieties live before deciding what is right for you. 

Do Lemon Trees Last Forever?

Sadly, lemon trees can’t live forever. However, they are very long-lived for citrus trees. You can increase your lemon tree’s lifespan by providing ideal conditions for your citrus plant to grow in. This means planting your lemon tree in a warm climate with an ideal temperature between 50–80℉ (10–27℃). Lemon trees lack cold hardiness, so avoiding cold temperatures is vital. A 50% humidity level, partial-to-full sun (4–8 hours of sunlight each day), and frequent watering are also key for prolonging your lemon tree’s lifespan.

  • Lemon trees do not live forever.
  • The average lemon tree lifespan ranges from 30 to 100 years, depending on the variety.
  • Healthy lemon trees need warm temperatures, moderate humidity, and 4–8 hours of daily sun to live as long as possible.
  • Be sure to give your lemon tree direct sunlight, frequent watering, and balanced fertilizer

On top of these basic needs, you can provide additional nutrients to help increase plant hardiness. Most varieties of lemon trees will need 6-3-3 fertilizer. Dwarf lemon trees prefer 10-10-8 fertilizer. Use this organic true lemon tree fertilizer to keep your citrus tree healthy.

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How Long Does a Potted Lemon Tree Live?

A potted lemon tree can live up to 50 years, but most container-grown lemons won’t reach this age. Dwarf lemon varieties generally don’t live as long as their full-sized counterparts. This means your dwarf citrus trees most likely won’t live past 30. Especially not if grown as indoor plants. Being grown indoors deprives lemon trees of certain ideal growing conditions, which can shorten their lifespan. 

  • Indoor plants rarely live as long as outdoor-grown lemon trees.
  • Potted lemon fruit trees live up to 30 years.

The lifespan of your lemon tree can depend on things like pot size, since the root ball needs space to grow. If you are providing enough space for growth, the plant will live longer. If you’re not providing enough, you will shorten your lemon tree’s lifespan. 

How Can You Tell How Old a Lemon Tree Is?

The only surefire way to tell a tree’s age is to cut it down and count the growth rings on the tree trunk. Without killing your tree, your only choice is to make educated guesses. Lemon trees won’t reach the mature tree stage until around 3 years old. Before this, they won’t bear any of their famous tasty fruit. So, a tree that isn’t of fruit-bearing age is typically less than 3 years old.

  • It can be difficult to pinpoint a lemon tree’s age without cutting it down.
  • Lemon trees won’t bear fruit until they’re a 2–3-year-old tree. Trees that haven’t yet borne fruit are very young.
  • After a lemon tree begins bearing fruit, it will be difficult to distinguish the age of one mature tree from another

Once a lemon tree starts to produce lemons, it can be very hard to determine the age. Smaller trees are typically younger, but some lemon varieties grow larger and faster than others. You won’t be able to tell a 10-year-old tree from a 50-year-old one just by looking at it. Each mature tree will be virtually indistinguishable from every other mature tree.

What Are the Signs of a Dying Lemon Tree?

One sign that your mature lemon tree may be dying is if it stops yielding fruit. Lemon trees are supposed to bear fruit for their entire adult lives. If they suddenly stop producing, that’s a big red flag. Another sign of a dying lemon tree is discolored leaves or intense leaf drop. If a lemon tree is losing its leaves, it won’t be able to photosynthesize. The loss of energy from this will lead to a death spiral. Remember, citrus trees are evergreens, so they do not naturally lose all their leaves in fall.

  • Failure to produce lemons.
  • Dead or dying leaves.
  • Stunted growth.
  • Signs of rot.

If your tree is experiencing stunted growth, it’s a sign your lemon may be in trouble. During the juvenile stage, lemon trees should grow around 3–4 feet (90–120 cm) each year until they hit their max height around 6 years old. If your tree is young and growing far less than this, it may be starting to die. Look for signs of root rot to see if your tree has any diseases that may be stunting its growth.

How Do You Rejuvenate a Lemon Tree?

To revive a struggling lemon tree, create ideal growing conditions. Provide direct sunlight, frequent watering, warm temperatures, and a citrus-specific fertilizer. Check for signs of overwatering though. If your plant leaves are yellowing, you may need to scale back on watering frequency. If the temperature has been dropping recently, try wrapping your tree in fleece to warm it up. 

  • Check for the most common problems including overwatering, lack of sunlight, and exposure to cold temperatures
  • Consult a plant specialist if providing ideal conditions is not solving the problem

If these solutions don’t result in a healthy lemon tree within 3–4 weeks, you’ll know the trouble is serious. Consult a plant specialist if you have tried all of these tips and nothing is working. A plant specialist will be able to diagnose severe problems and prescribe more drastic solutions. 

How Long Do Lemon Trees Last?

Lemon trees can live anywhere from 30–100 years depending on what cultivar you grow and where it is grown. Here are a few tips to remember when it comes to lemon tree lifespan:

  • Lemon trees don’t last forever, but they can live for a century in ideal conditions.
  • An indoor lemon tree, especially a potted one, will usually live around 30 years.
  • It’s extremely difficult to tell a lemon tree’s age after they start bearing fruit.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of a lemon tree dying: no fruit, dead or dying leaves, stunted growth, and rot.
  • Rejuvenate dying lemon trees by providing ideal growing conditions.

A properly cared-for lemon tree will continue producing crops of lemons every year until it dies naturally. If you’ve planted a new lemon tree, wait 2–3 years before you expect to see any fruit. Once it begins producing lemons, you should be able to harvest lemons yearly for at least 25 years.

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