Why is my lemon tree not producing fruit?
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Here’s the sequence that leads to fruit on your lemon tree: Buds produce flowers which produce lemons. A problem at any of these stages can result in your lemon tree not producing fruit. In this article I’m assuming your lemon tree is old enough to produce fruit (3-5 years)
Lemon tree doesn’t have any buds
A lack of buds on your tree indicates a problem with the dormancy period in the winter. Did you give your tree the correct cool temperature and reduced watering schedule in the winter months that it needs. And did you still give it enough sunlight, especially in early spring? Please read Can I leave my lemon tree outside in winter? for information on how to give your lemon tree the winter break it needs.
Flowers don’t develop from the buds
A total lack of flowers is probably the result of environmental shock. Did you move your lemon tree immediately outside from its winter home? Lemon trees don’t like abrupt change and need to be coaxed gradually from one environment to another. Rapidly changing the amount of sunlight, their watering schedule or the humidity around them is enough to throw them into shock and survival mode rather than growth mode.
A more detailed article in my Lemon Tree series about this is Why is my lemon tree not flowering?
Having some but not many flowers shows that the tree is producing some energy, but not enough. Check the surrounding temperature, the soil moisture level and the pH of the soil. These may be inhibiting the flower growth. My How to look after a lemon tree? article details what you should be doing in general to give your tree its best life.
Flowers but no lemons
This is the time to check the leaves on your lemon tree. It doesn’t produce enough energy to develop the fruit so something fairly major is going wrong. If the leaves are curled with dried edges, then you’re under-watering the plant and giving it too much sun. If the tips of the young leaves are brown surrounded by yellow then there’s not enough moisture in the air (humidity). A soft tree stem indicates over-watering and wilting leaves show under-watering.
All of these reduce the necessary elements that the plant needs to form fruit.
Lemon tree bugs and disease
If your lemon tree is not producing fruit, regardless of whether you have buds or flowers, always check for bugs and disease. These can cause significant harm to your lemon tree. The Why are my lemon tree leaves sticky? article addresses this issue.