Do Lemon Trees Need Sun?

If you’ve ever seen an orchard of fruiting citrus trees, you will probably notice they are in a sunny spot. This obviously will make you start to wonder if lemon trees need a lot of Sun since they always appear to be put in the sunlight.  

Lemon trees like all trees need a lot of sunlight to flower and to produce lemons. They need at least 6 hours to 8 hours of sunlight a day to thrive. 

To grow well, lemon trees not only need sunlight but also shade. With enough of both, your lemon trees will flourish. 

How Much Sun Do Lemon Trees Need?

Just like water and soil, sunlight is an important resource for the growth of plants. Without adequate sunlight, your lemon tree will not synthesize enough energy for growth, flowering, and eventually fruit production. 

Lemon trees need a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight. However, they will only thrive to grow to the full potential with 6 or more hours of sunlight. 

While low amounts of sunlight won’t exactly kill your plant, it could lead to poor growth.

Additionally, your lemon harvest won’t be too exciting without enough sunlight. No sunlight at all would definitely pose a threat to the livelihood of your lemon tree! 

To get the best lemons and grow a healthy lemon tree, you need to find a balance between sun and shade. 

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Do Lemon Trees Need Full Sun?

Yes, lemon trees will need full and direct sunlight. Whether they are kept indoors or outdoors, both situations require full and direct sunlight.

Not being able to provide this will create problems in growth or fruit production or even both! 

The term full sun doesn’t vary much and means direct sun rays that do not have any obstacles or restrictions in their path.

If the sun is being partially blocked, it is not direct. That also means it is not as strong and intense. This in turn affects photosynthesis. 

Lemon trees need full sun to grow and thrive. However, high temperatures that exceed 95℉ (35℃) are not desirable at all! This could become too much sun for your lemon trees and they will require a bit of shade.

In situations where full Sun exceeds 95℉, you will have to find a way to provide cooler conditions for lemon trees. This may include planting it in a location with partial shade. Or, you could also bring your lemon tree indoors by planting it in a pot. 

Morning Sun or Afternoon Sun: Which is Better for Lemon Trees?

The sunlight on offer in the morning is not the brightest or most intense. That said, it is not the best sunlight for carrying out photosynthesis. 

But, afternoon sunlight is much brighter and more intense. Hence, it is also better for carrying out energy-producing activities. Thus, it may seem that the afternoon sun is the best in all cases.

This is false! Lemon trees can suffer from having too much sun (or too little shade). This occurs in the form of sunburn or sunscalds as it is more commonly known. 

Do Potted Lemon Trees Need Full Sun?

People usually wonder if potted lemon trees need more or less sun than ground-planted lemon trees.

The truth is a lemon tree’s sun requirements don’t change because it is indoors. Actually, the requirements differ because indoor and outdoor sun intensity varies.

Of course, the full sun can’t reach a plant indoors. Especially if the plant is not situated anywhere near a window. For this reason, you must be careful when placing your lemon tree pot plant indoors. 

If planted on a south-facing window where there is full sun, potted lemon trees need 4 to 6 hours of full sunlight. But, if full sunlight is not available your pot plants will need at least 8 hours of sunlight. 

How can you get full sun indoors? Perhaps you have a window or door that opens out and gets full sun.

In case you have no sun in your house, a pot is moveable and you can move it in and out as you please. Then you can move it back in again. 

Find out what are the other reasons and solutions for brown lemon tree leaves. 

Do Planted Lemon Trees Need Full Sun?

Yes, even lemon trees planted into the ground need the same amount of full sunlight. This basic requirement will determine how well your lemon tree grows out in the open.

Lemon trees need more than 6 hours of full sun to grow optimally. This means a minimum of size hours of sunlight that is not blocked in any way at all. 

A great part of getting direct sunlight to your lemon tree deals with choosing the right spot to plant them. Behind structures (buildings) is not the most ideal spot.

This is because eventually, the buildings will cast a shadow over the lemon trees.

When the shadow falls on the lemon trees is also important. Not all sun has the same intensity and this is a factor to consider. 

  • If you are in a moderate climate, lemon trees need more afternoon sun. 
  • But, If you are in a hot climate, lemon trees need less afternoon sun (partial shade) and a bit more morning sun. 

Do Lemon Trees Need Shade?

Lemon trees do need shade! But not too much as sunlight is still very important for lemon trees to grow.

In some cases, shade can save your lemon trees from extreme conditions. Also, lemon trees tend to be more tolerant towards more shade than other citrus trees. 

Shade is usually necessary for regions where the regular temperatures are high and humidity is not enough to compensate for the heat. High temperatures and long hours of direct sunlight are not a good combination. 

A sign of too much shade in lemon trees is limited flowering and poor lemon output. Moving your lemon into a spot with more should automatically resolve these issues. 

A lack of shade can present as sunscald. A common symptom of too much sun is foliage discoloration.

Find out if lemon trees grow well in shade.  

Can a lemon tree have too much sun?

Now that you know lemon trees need full sun, you may wonder if the full sun ever becomes too much sun.

In some cases, full sun accompanied by high temperatures and poor humidity can become problematic for lemon trees. Severe situations like these can start to cause sunburn, a condition commonly known as sunscald in all citrus trees.

This condition affects the leaves, flowers, fruit, but most importantly the bark as well. Once it gets to the bark there is little you can do to help. Prevention is better than cure in the case of sunscald in lemon trees. 

Ways to prevent sunscald in lemon trees include the following:

  • Make sure lemon trees are watered well, especially during the summer season.
  • Plant the lemon trees in partial shade in climates that are naturally hot. 
  • Although not common nowadays, you can paint the tree trunk with whitewash to protect it from heat. 

A combination of these methods can help to save your lemon tree from being irreparably damaged by the sun. But, adjusting watering habits according to climate is the most important to ensure your lemon tree copes with excessive sunlight.  


Sunlight is something lemon trees can’t do without. This is very true for countries that have mild climates where sunlight is not very intense.

But in countries where temperature and sunlight are equally matched, lemon trees will require a respite. 

Usually, lemon trees need a minimum of 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. But, if the sun is weaker, anywhere between 6 and 8 hours a day of sun is most desirable. 

But, be warned more of this can cause sunburn or sunscald as it is more commonly known in lemon trees. When sunscald affects all of the lemon tree’s foliage and bark, there is little you can do to correct it. 

In very hot conditions, you may have to limit sunlight to your lemon trees by giving them the benefit of shade as well. To do this you can choose to plant your lemon tree in a pot and move it into the shade or indoors when necessary. 


Where do lemon trees grow?

Lemon trees can grow in a range of areas. The biggest factors that decide if lemon trees can grow there or not are the amounts of shade and sun respectively. Lemon trees need anywhere between 6 hours to 8 hours or more. But in intense heat, they also require shade at the hottest time of day. 

Will lemon trees grow in shade?

Lemon trees can grow in shade but not in full shade. All plants including lemon trees need some amount of sunlight.
Sunlight is important to help lemon trees carry out photosynthesis and produce energy. This helps in growth, flower production, and ultimately fruit production.