Can Lemon Trees Survive Winter Outside?

Do you have a potted or in-ground lemon tree outside your home? You may wonder if you can leave it out in the cold when winter arrives. You're on the right page, because we researched thoroughly to discover whether this is possible. 

Lemon trees are generally cold-sensitive, but they can withstand moderately low temperatures during winter. However, they need extra maintenance and protection under these conditions.

In this post, we have a detailed discussion of how to care for a lemon tree during cold months. We'll also explore the tree's primary care, propagation, harvesting, and ideal companion plants. Keep on reading to learn more.

Lemon garden in winter. Lemon tree with yellow lemons in the snow., Can Lemon Trees Survive Winter Outside?

Aside from the vibrant crops, you will notice thorns along its twigs. This upright shrub has other identifiable features.


The lemon tree has alternating foliage that is initially red but turns dark green upon maturity. Its dried leaves are also suitable for adding flavor to drinks and foods.


Before they turn into fruit, showy flowers with four to five petals blossom. These purplish white clusters emit a mildly sweet fragrance.


Upon maturation, this plant bears fruit throughout the year. It is self-pollinating, meaning one tree is enough to produce crops.

Lemons have segmented pulps inside and a bump at the outer tip. Whether raw or cooked, they have a distinctly sour taste. Even the rind or outer skin comes with a purpose, especially in the culinary world.


Like other citrus plants, lemons possess a shallow and fibrous root system. Its roots spread in all directions and surpass the drip line.

When Should I Bring My Lemon Tree Inside?

Blooming lemon tree in a cozy living room with a view over a winter landscape. Focus on the tree.

Bring the potted lemon tree inside your home before the temperature drops between 20 and 29 degrees Fahrenheit. By knowing the lowest temperature it can tolerate, you will avoid defoliation, cold injury, slow growth, and eventually death.

For more insights into extending the life of your lemon tree, explore this post: Why Is My Lemon Tree Dying?

When Can I Put My Lemon Tree Back Outside?

When early spring comes, re-acclimate your potted lemon tree to its outdoor surroundings. At least one hour daily of sun exposure allows the plant to adapt to new conditions.

Do Lemons Lose Their Leaves In Winter?

Bunches of fresh yellow ripe lemons on lemon tree branches in Italian garden

Generally, lemons do not shed their leaves during winter under slight frost. Instead, they will stop growing new leaves.
However, there can be other reasons if ever it happens aside from the temperature. These include improper watering and poor nutrition.

How Do You Protect A Lemon Tree During Winter?

Lemon tree covered to protect for the winter season, concept of gardening

Citrus plants like lemons do not have the same levels of cold-hardy. You can consider methods before planting, such as purchasing the rootstock or cold-resistant variety and choosing the best location. 

Nonetheless, you can still protect it while growing. Even though you can readily transfer shrubs grown in containers, the ones on the ground require different solutions.

To care for a matured citrus tree from cold, perform one or more of these short-term yet practical strategies.

Cover with sheets

Old blankets, quilts, or sacks are handy to sustain the accumulated heat within the day.

Use an artificial heat source

Holiday light strips or incandescent light bulbs offer additional heat for the trees with smaller or medium canopy.

Moisten the bare ground

This method prevents heat radiation throughout the night.

Water the canopy deeply during the frost

It maintains the tissue temperature of leaves and branches, reducing their breakage.

What To Plant Under A Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree, winter Lemon tree with snow

Companion plants with shallow roots are ideal for stand-alone lemon trees. However, do not grow other greeneries alongside the potted shrubs. Crowded root spacing hampers the development of lemons.

Here are a handful of plants to attract bees and repel pests.

  • Annual or perennial alyssum
  • Bee balm
  • Chamomile
  • Daisies
  • Echinacea
  • Impatiens
  • Lobelia
  • Nasturtium
  • Pansies
  • Rosemary

Final Thoughts

Green lemon tree in winter in nature, green tree covered with snow

This fruit-bearing citrus tree can survive outdoors during winter. You should perform long-term and short-term cold protection techniques to keep it alive and nourished.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, explore these related articles on citrus greeneries:

5 Of The Fastest-Growing Citrus Trees To Know

How To Overwinter Lemon Trees?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *