Why is My Lemon Tree Dropping Leaves

Lemon trees are a beautiful plant to look at, be it in your garden or used as a piece of indoor decor. But there is an issue that can creep into this plant and steal away the freshness and beauty of a lemon tree: leaf dropping.

Leaf dropping is a serious issue and can lead to your plant dying if left unchecked. Worry not because we’re here with expert advice on how to rectify the situation and restore your precious lemon tree to its former glory.

Understanding the reasons behind leaf dropping is essential in eradicating this problem, and since there can be various reasons for this, one needs to observe closely to diagnose the ailment.

Leaf Drop and The Reasons Behind It

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There are several reasons why different types of tree leaves can cause leaf drops. The same is the case with lemon trees. We will have a detailed look at each of them, and towards the end, we’ll give expert recommendations on how to revive your lemon trees and prevent any further leaf dropping.

Following are the reasons you should watch out for:

1. Temperature

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When talking about temperature, we’re focusing more on cold temperature as it is one factor to which the lemon tree reacts by starting to drop leaves. The ideal temperature range for optimal growth of a lemon tree is between 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and cold temperatures harm these leaves as they are sensitive to temperatures less than 25 degrees Fahrenheit, causing severe damage or even killing them.

To protect from the cold, water the tree early in the morning; the moist soil will absorb the heat during the day and radiate it upwards during the night to keep the tree warm.

2. Too Much Watering

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Yes, water is necessary for the tree to grow, but overwatering can kill it in the long run; this happens because the wet soil underneath it can rot with fungus due to too much moisture.

The best approach is to water the plant only once or twice a week after it has been established in the soil. A quick poke test of the soil around the plant can give an idea of how much water is needed; if more than an inch of soil is dry, the rate of watering should be maintained well.

3. Too Much of Shade

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Making the mistake of providing too much shade to the lemon plant can lead to the plant dropping leaves at an accelerated rate; people generally have a misconception in this regard, but the lemon plant needs an ample amount of sunlight for ideal growth and establishment.

To give an accurate idea, at least 4 to 5 hours of ample direct sunlight is needed for the ideal growth of a lemon tree. Also, the perfect time to provide this sunlight to the plant is when you start to see the new leaves growing on the plant.

4. Optimal Conditions for Growth

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Let’s start this from the basics: do not take your lemon plant indoors during winter for protection; they need whatever little heat they can absorb from the soil to keep the entire plant somewhat warm. Also, this instant change in its atmosphere, from outdoor cold to indoor warmth, can kill the plant due to a phenomenon called temperature shock.

To prevent this, gradually acclimatize the plant from outdoors to indoors over about two weeks. Add shade and then bring it inside, but take your time while doing these steps.

Lemon Tree Leaf Drop, the Revival

Don’t panic if the leaves have already started dropping; there’s still time to revive the plant by taking some extra measures to care for the plant. There will be some effort involved, but your precious tree will be saved.

Following are some of the best expert tips, curated in the form of a list, that’ll help in reviving your lemon tree and prevent any further leave-dropping:

  • Protection from the cold is one big and important step; the plant has to be protected from the cold but also not in an instant way; this should be done gradually and over a while to prevent temperature shock.
  • An ideal temperature should be maintained once you bring the plant indoors, and there shouldn’t be too much heat involved in this process; otherwise, even that can lead to the plant dying.
  • Proper humidity levels should be maintained for the ideal growth and revival of the plant. Do the soil poke test we discussed earlier in this article and water the plant as needed.
  • Adequate exposure to sunlight is also one remedy for situations like leaf dropping; the plant should be kept inside in such a place where it can receive a good 5 hours of sunlight; this is one major step that’ll help revive the plant fast.


All in all, we have looked at the WHYs of lemon trees dropping leaves and how to take proper care of the plant to prevent any further leaf drops. Leaf dropping is one huge indicator of the declining health of your plant and should be taken as an absolute warning.

We also talked about the measures for revival in such cases. The steps discussed in this article will help restore the lemon tree very effectively. We hope you get to see your lemon tree in full bloom with tons of leaves and lemons on it.

Happy Gardening!

Quinn Roberts

Quinn Roberts, with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from the University of Washington, has been a nature enthusiast since childhood. With over a decade of experience in environmental research, Quinn's work has been pivotal in understanding ecosystem dynamics. Joining our team in 2019, Quinn has enriched our platform with insights into natural landscapes and sustainable practices. When not working, he loves hiking and photography, capturing the serene beauty of the wilderness.

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