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The 9 Best Lemon Tree Fertilizers for Backyard Growers

Having a lemon tree is a fun and rewarding way to grow your own citrus. But, it’s important to know that lemon trees are heavy feeders. That means they need proper nutrients to produce a good harvest. Applying lemon tree fertilizer is a great solution to keeping your tree happy.

Lemon tree producing lots of lemons because it was well-fertilized

So, what is the best lemon tree fertilizer for you to use? I’m going to go over the top nine. Keep reading to learn more!

What Should Be in Lemon Tree Fertilizer?

Lemon trees love to be fed, but what do they need specifically? Most fertilizers will include a Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium (NPK) ratio on the packaging that looks like three numbers with dashes between them.

For the best lemon tree fertilizer, the NPK ratio shouldn’t read any larger than 8-8-8. Lemon trees need nitrogen more than phosphorus and potassium, so the last two numbers should actually be less than eight.

Different Forms of Lemon Tree Fertilizer

Stakes

Fertilizer stakes will usually come in a set of several. The stakes have a premeasured amount of fertilizer in them, which makes it easier to give lemon trees the correct amount. They also slowly release the nutrients, which means they can be used all season without you having to replace or reapply fertilizer.

The stakes are installed around the tree’s dripline (the spread of the limbs), and they can even be used for lemon trees in containers.

Fertilized soil

Liquid

Liquid fertilizers are applied by hand. Most need to be diluted with water before application. Liquid fertilizers work great for instant feeding as the nutrients will reach the tree quickest in liquid form.

Granular

Granular fertilizer will come in a bag, and it often looks like powder or sand. This type of fertilizer is made to be mixed into the soil surrounding the lemon tree. It is more budget-friendly than liquid fertilizer, but it requires a little more work to apply.

To apply granular fertilizer, broadcast it below the lemon tree, then cultivate the soil to combine it. Apply water to set in the fertilizer.


The Best Lemon Tree Fertilizer for Backyard Growers

1. Best Overall:
Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix

Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3, 1 lb

Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer is the best lemon tree fertilizer for good reason. It’s a granular fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 6-3-3 that is applied three to four times per year, which is great for lemon trees! It also contains secondary nutrients like calcium, sulfur, zinc, and iron.

For the cost, the amount of fertilizer you get is a good value, and reviewers are overall happy with how this fertilizer helps their lemon trees grow.

Pros:

  • It’s cost-friendly.
  • It contains a variety of nutrients.
  • Reviewers are happy with the performance.

Cons:

  • The fertilizer has an odd smell.
  • It can attract gnats.

2. Best for Improving Soil:
Dr. Earth Natural Wonder Fruit Tree Fertilizer

Using lemon tree fertilizer to fertilize the soil for seedlings

Dr. Earth Natural Wonder Fruit Tree Fertilizer is a granular lemon tree fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 5-5-2. It can be worked into the soil before planting, or it can be applied to established trees every three months during the growing season.

This is a great option for improving your soil quality because of the included soil inoculants (fungal filaments that help with nutrient absorption).

Pros:

  • It’s pet and people-friendly.
  • It helps soil structure.
  • It can be applied before or after planting.

Cons:

  • Fertilizer has a strong smell.
  • The bag is small and may not cover a large space.

3. Best for Fruit Production:
Espoma Organic Citrus-Tone Citrus and Avocado Food

Applying lemon tree fertilizer to the soil

The Espoma Organic Citrus-Tone Citrus and Avocado Food is a granular lemon tree fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 5-2-6. It also contains calcium and sulfur. Similar to other granular fertilizers, it can be mixed into the soil around the lemon tree before or after planting. Reviewers are overall happy with how this organic fertilizer stimulates fruit production.

Pros:

  • It stimulates production.
  • It can be applied before or after planting.
  • The fertilizer is made in the USA.

Cons:

  • Some reviewers had problems with their pets wanting to consume it.

4. Best for Convenience:
Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Citrus, Avocado, Mango Plant Food

Miracle-Gro Shake 'n Feed Citrus, Avocado and Mango Plant Food 8 lbs.

Miracle-Gro’s Shake ‘N Feed Citrus Food is a granular fertilizer that works great for gardeners on the go. You can apply the fertilizer directly from the ergonomically designed container. You simply flip the lid open and shake out the directed amount around the lemon tree’s dripline.

This fertilizer has added compost to help your soil, and it feeds for three months before you have to reapply.

Pros:

  • It’s easy to use.
  • Fertilizer contains compost for soil health.
  • It doesn’t have a strong smell.

Cons:

  • The fertilizer is not organic.

5. Best Fertilizer Spikes:
Jobe’s 1612 Fruit & Citrus Tree Spikes

Jobe's 1612 Fruit & Citrus Tree Spikes, 15 Spikes, Brown

Jobe’s Fruit & Citrus Tree Spikes are a great investment if you don’t have a lot of extra time for garden maintenance. You simply insert the lemon tree fertilizer spikes into the ground surrounding the dripline of the tree. Jobe’s spikes will continually release fertilizer all season with no more work from you!

The NPK ratio for this fertilizer is 8-11-11, but when considering the slow release method, the higher numbers will be okay for your tree. This route is pricier when considering what’s included, but if you are going for convenience, the price may be worth it.

Pros:

  • They’re easy to use.
  • You don’t have to reapply fertilizer.
  • The amount is pre-measured.

Cons:

  • It’s a pricier option.

6. Best for Mature Lemon Trees:
Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes

Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes

Miracle-Gro also has a version of lemon tree fertilizer spikes. Miracle-Gro’s version is similar in price to Jobe’s, but the NPK ratio is a little higher at 10-15-15. That’s why I recommend only using these spikes for mature lemon trees that have been producing for several years. It works great on large trees, but it can be overpowering on young or potted lemon trees.

Pros:

  • It’s easy to use.
  • It encourages fruiting on mature trees.
  • The amount is pre-measured.

Cons:

  • It can be too strong for young, small trees.

7. Best for Potted Lemon Trees:
Jobe’s Organics 04226 Fertilizer Spikes for Fruit & Citrus

Jobe’s Organics 04226, Fertilizer Spikes, For Fruit & Citrus, 6 Spikes

Jobe’s has another version of lemon tree fertilizer spikes. This kind is organic with an NPK ratio of 3-5-5. These spikes are small, and therefore, they work great on smaller lemon trees – especially potted! They slowly release fertilizer into the tree for four to six weeks. At that point, new spikes will need to be installed around the tree.

Pros:

  • They work great for potted trees.
  • They are easy to use.
  • NPK ratio is appropriate for small trees.

Cons:

  • It’s a pricier option.
  • Fertilizer spikes need to be replaced every four to six weeks.

8. Best Organic Option:
Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer

Providing the best lemon tree fertilizer

The Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer is certified 100% organic and made from composted chicken manure. This granular fertilizer has an NPK ratio of 5-4-3, which is perfect for lemon trees. Like other granular fertilizers, it simply needs to be worked into the top layer of the soil before or after planting your lemon tree.

Pros:

  • It’s certified organic.
  • The nutrient ratio is great for lemons.
  • The package is resealable.

Cons:

  • It’s made from chicken manure, so it could have a smell.

9. Best Liquid Fertilizer:
EZ-Gro Citrus Tree Fertilizer

EZ-gro Citrus Tree Fertilizer - Orange, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Avocado - Liquid Plant Food for Tropical Fruit Trees to Grow More Fruit - Garden-Growing Miracle Nutrients - 1 Qt / 32 fl oz / 946 mL

EZ-Gro Citrus Tree Fertilizer is a liquid lemon tree fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20-3-19. Before you panic over those big numbers, let’s break it down. It’s a highly concentrated fertilizer that will be diluted with water each time you use it. You only use seven ounces for every gallon of water.

If you are concerned that it will burn your plant, start with a smaller amount and slowly work your way into a larger amount. It recommends feeding every seven to 14 days, so you will be able to observe how it works with different amounts over the season.

Pros:

  • It works great for undernourished trees.
  • It includes a measuring cup.
  • You don’t have to worry about the smell.

Cons:

  • It could overwhelm a smaller tree.
  • It’s pricey if you have several trees.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When should I apply lemon tree fertilizer?

No matter which fertilizer you choose, it should have instructions on the package that direct you on when and how often to apply fertilizer. Most often, you start fertilizing in the spring and then again throughout the growing season.

As always, I would recommend using your own discretion as to what your individual lemon tree’s needs are. If your tree looks like it’s being overwhelmed by the fertilizer, back down the amount or give the tree a break completely.

2. Should I use organic or inorganic fertilizer?

That’s really up to you! Both kinds of fertilizers work. It just depends on your preferences. If you want your garden to be free of any kind of harsh chemicals, look for organic certification on the package.

Wrapping Up the Best Lemon Tree Fertilizer

If you want to give your tree the best lemon tree fertilizer, I suggest Down to Earth’s Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix because of its value and performance. If you prefer fertilizer stakes or liquid fertilizer, I think you’ll be pleased to use any of my other recommendations. Now, it’s time to feed your lemon tree and enjoy a productive harvest!

If you want to learn more about growing and caring for lemon trees, visit our other lemon tree posts!