My brown thumb and How to grow a lemon tree-

I grew up in a family that gardened. We had a garden every summer. We grew all sorts of stuff, from flowers to veggies. And we always canned loads of stuff. So I spent lots of hours weeding, watering, and nursing sick plants back to health. And I loved it! I loved being out in the garden… most of the time at least. And I love plants. And I thought I was quite good at gardening. So when we got married and got our own apartment, I started collecting plants! Making my own indoor exotic garden!

All over Pinterest You can see “do it yourself- grow your own plans.” Plants like lemons and avocados. So I decided to try it. I started an avocado tree last year. It started growing super fast and was awesome. I felt so proud I had a plant that was growing from a seed I made. It grew and grew. It was more than two feet tall with huge leaves. It was super cool. Then at the beginning of this summer the leaves started falling off. So I gave it some fertilizer. Then I noticed when I watered it a bunch of bugs came up to the surface of the soil. Well pretty soon my avocado tree was dead. I felt like crying. And have not had the heart to try again.


I also started some lemon seeds last summer. I had a few that sprouted, but only one actually grew over an inch tall. The rest died. So I kept the scrawny little lemon tree I live for about two months then  it too died. About a month ago, I had a really good lemon. It was big, juicy, and sweet. So I decided to try again. I planted the seeds, and set some little pebbles on top of of the soil (per advice of a blog I read.) I watered it faithfully as it sat in my warm windowsill. And I waited. And waited….and nothing came up. So after having an avocado, a store bought cinnamon tree, (which yes would have been freaking awesome if it had grown! But you know…) a bunch of kiwi trees (hand planted), a Lilly, and a few other plants all die, I discovered I must have a brown thumb.

Well I, being the sucker that I still am, fell in love with a Venus flytrap and bought it. I had already tried to grow one! (Right before they became popular and everyone was buying them.) but apparently the instructions that came with my plant that suggested keeping them in soaked peat moss stuff…. wasn’t the best instructions. And my poor little babies drown. So I was determined to do it right this time. The instructions on this plant said to keep it in a terranium. Well everything else that I read said no to terraniums because they get too hot and they need airflow. Well…. we live in Idaho…. where hot is relative most of the time. And it’s so dry I figured the humidity would be better for the plant. Plus I had this awesome apothecary jar! So I planted it, and took the lid off at night for airflow (talk about dedication!) I planted my Venus beauty with fake plants since not much else grows in the same conditions, I needed to fill some space, and I was afraid I couldn’t keep two cool plants alive in this terranium. It was beautiful! I loved it! But…. it was short lived. My Venus fly trap turned black and died. I removed it and just kept the fake plants in my sweet jar. I decided then and there that these plastic plants were awesome! I looked like a superb gardener, they were a whole lot easier, and my thumb couldn’t ruin them!

Well when I was making this terranium, I had some extra plastic plants. (Since I didn’t know exactly what would look good and fit.) so I had a cute little round spike bush and I figured eh what the heck I have this cute pot of pebbles in my windowsill…. yes from my lemon attempt…. I’ll stick this in that so that it looks better. It was a bit small…. but it was better then nothing! And I left it. Pretty soon I was doing dishes and I looked at the plant. I was pretty sure it had just been a spike plant but there was a little round leaf in it. I was a bit surprised, but just figured I had missed it. A few days later I was surprised to feel like the leaf was bigger. (Now at this point I really started to question my sanity. It was about five weeks since I had my little baby boy and I started wondering what those drugs and lack of sleep had done to me! I was imagining a plastic leaf growing!) But a few days later when it was a centimeter higher then it had been I decided to investigate. And upon further inspection I discovered a cute little lemon plant popping up right in the middle of my fake plant! (Of course I can’t grow a plant but my fake plants can grow plants! :P) I found this so amusing! It is only little still…. but it has grown bigger then my last attempt so I figure we got something right!


So how to grow a lemon tree?

  1. Find a delicious lemon to be your parent.
  2. Cut open your lemon, watch for any cuts on your hands as this task can be quite painful to open skin!
  3. Juice, eat, or save the slices for water.
  4. Extract the seeds.
  5. Optional- the first time I tried I put the seeds into a plastic bag with a wet paper towel and put them in a very warm sunny window to start sprouting.
  6. Or you can skip that and just place them on the dirt. Spread them evenly around the pot if you are doing multiple plants or one in the center if you are trying one. Do not bury them. This is not as safe because you can’t be sure they will all sprout. If you do sprout them first try to carefully arrange them so you don’t break off the sprout. And try to aim the sprout downwards a bit.
  7. Place little pebbles, like for a fish tank, on top of the dirt and seeds. You only want them one later thick, but enough to cover the dirt without ugly gaps. I got mine from the dollar store. They are small and slightly polished for a smooth soft look.
  8. Then water and place in a warm sunny spot.
  9. For best results plant a plastic plant in the middle so that it helps give you patience to give your seeds ample time to come up because there is a plant there to look at instead of an empty pot, but if your seeds don’t work, your pot still looks very pretty so it’s a double win! 😉
  10. I would recommend watering with a spray bottle fairly often until the plants have come up. This ensures damp soil without drowning the delicate new plant.
  11. Then enjoy the smell and adoreableness of your new family member. That is if you can get them to grow better then I can.

Why take advice from me, a girl with a brownish thumb? Well if I can forget about a plant because I gave up on it, and a fake plant grows it instead, then I must have done something right!

And stay tuned to see how long before I kill this and any of my other plants! 😉

P. S. I keep telling my husband I need a green house, maybe then I wouldn’t kill all my plants…. he says it’s not worth it cause I’ll kill them anyway. 😛 any experience with green houses for exotic plants like banana, pomegranate, and fig plants? Cause yes those are the other babies I have that I haven’t been defeated by! … yet….Isn’t that sooo cool though? I have a banana tree!!! Let me know what you think!

2 thoughts on “My brown thumb and How to grow a lemon tree-

  1. I am a firm believer that everyone has a green thumb because, after all, humanity began in a garden. I’ve killed more plants than I can count, so it takes lots of practice and patience. Honestly I think sometimes it also takes a moment of stepping back and saying “well, I tried,” and then having those miraculous seeds surprise us by popping out of the soil after we’ve given up on them, just like you experienced. So keep trying- You DO have a green thumb, it’s just hard to figure out what conditions different plants require, but you are doing great!! ☺️🌿💕 (also I am still struggling to keep my own houseplants alive, so this is not coming from an ‘expert,’ just a fellow plant lover!)


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