Lemon Tree Not Growing New Leaves: What You Need to Do

Do you have a lemon tree you’re proud of growing? That’s great, you’re in for a treat because these trees look amazing and bear a lot of fruit. Plus, they grow fast and you’ll be able to enjoy its beauty and harvest in no time.

That said, they do come across a few problems, some of which may stung their leaf growth. If you notice your lemon tree not growing new leaves, it can be cause of concern (with a bit of frustration). To help you out, I’ll be showing you the main reasons why this happens and what you can do to remedy it.

lemon tree not growing new leaves

Lemon Tree Not Growing New Leaves

I understand how frustrating it is to deal with a lemon tree that doesn’t grow new leaves, especially if you believe that you’re doing everything right! The main causes why your lemon tree isn’t growing new leaves may be due to an insufficiency of some of its nutrients, along with light, water, or fertilizer. There may also be other reasons as well.

We will get into these causes in detail and a few tips on how to care for your lemon tree properly to encourage new leaf growth.

1. Poor Watering Schedule

It usually boils down to a poor watering schedule. Too much or too little of watering can end up with your lemon tree not growing at all. Take note that these citrus trees have higher water requirements compared to other plants, and growth would stunt when water is scarce.

If your lemon tree doesn’t grow new leaves, its current leaves would also experience leaf curling, brown tips, dry and inflexible texture, even dropping. This is caused by lack of water.

Now, too much water can end up with your plant being too soggy, developing root rot. This damages and kills roots, causing no new leaf growth at all.

Make sure that you water your plant well and check it through sticking your finger on the soil to see if the soil is dry or not. If the soil is dry, water the top inch until it’s watered well. If it is still moist, you can check the next day if it will need watering.

Besides this, be sure to grow lemon trees in well-draining potting mix, using pots with a lot of drainage holes. Do NOT let your plant roots sit in wet soil for long periods.

Watering schedules may change, depending on the season and where you place the plant. During the summer, you may need to water it every other day, while during the winter, they’ll require watering every 7-10 days only.

2. Poor Soil Quality

Besides its high water requirements, your soil’s drainage is crucial for your lemon tree’s leaf growth. Water needs to soak in soil within seconds as you water it, and it shouldn’t take over 30 seconds for it to drain out of its drainage holes.

While you may buy readymade citrus soil, this isn’t necessary. Some of these soils actually do NOT drain well!

You can make your own potting mix instead using 2/4 citrus potting mix and 1/3 perlite for better drainage. Another solution is to combine 2/3 general-purpose potting mix with 1/3 gravel, perlite, or pumice.

If you see that water pools on the soil’s surface after watering, not draining after a minute, you will need to repot your lemon tree immediately. Or, you may aerate the soil as a way to improve its drainage, whichever works best for your situation.

3. Insufficient Lighting

Lemon trees love full sun and grows well when they receive a lot of light. When it doesn’t have enough light, you will see that there will be no new growth. You don’t need to move your indoor lemon tree outdoors to remedy this, but you’ll have to make sure that it receives adequate amount of lighting for proper leaf growth.

For indoor lemon trees, place it in front of the sunniest area of the house, such as a south-facing window if you live in the northern hemisphere. Move it by the window to increase the amount of light it gets, but do so in phases to avoid exposing it to a lot of light too quickly, as it can result in leaf scorching.

4. The Fertilizer Used

Lemon trees have a lot of nutrient requirements and while you shouldn’t overdo it on fertilization and providing proper nutrients, you still need to take care of this.

There are various ways you can fertilize your lemon tree, including adding a synthetic fertilizer daily or adding more organic material to the potting mix. If you are using fertilizer, there’s no need to use a certain citrus fertilizer.

You can use balanced water-soluble fertilizers that are diluted to half of the recommended strength. Fertilizer every 4-6 weeks from the early spring until the late fall. Avoid using too much, as this can cause root damage and stunted growth.

5. Pest Infestation

Your lemon tree may not grow new leaves because of pests. While lemon trees are generally pest-resistant, they do come across pest infestations that cause stunted growth. The common pests that do the most damage are spider mites, scale, and mealybugs.

Spider mites are dangerous as they are very small and you won’t notice a pest infestation until it’s too late! This is why you need to inspect your plants carefully and regularly to identify signs of pests on the leaves.

6. Other Reasons for Poor Growth

Besides what was mentioned above, there are more reasons as to why your lemon tree isn’t growing new leaves or growing at all. It can come from the following:

  • Poor temperature, especially when it is under 50 degrees F
  • Acclimation, which happens if you placed your lemon tree in a dry environment near draft windows, near sources, or air conditioning
  • Diseases such as root rot caused by fungal infections, bacterial infections, or poor care

Wrapping It Up

There are a host of reasons as to why your lemon tree doesn’t grow new leaves. However, it all boils down to caring for it better and taking preventative measures to ensure your lemon tree is free from diseases and pests. With patience and a bit more effort, you’ll notice new foliage growth on your lemon tree soon.

I hope you learned a lot about a lemon tree and their leaf growth. If you have trouble growing new leaves, keep this information in mind so you can enjoy a healthy lemon tree and its fruits. Happy gardening!

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