Skip to Content

How to propagate a variegated lemon tree

Want to take a cutting from your citrus tree? Here’s a step by step guide on how to propagate a variegated lemon tree!

Variegated lemon trees are beautiful citrus trees. They grow leaves with multiple shades of green and lemons with green and yellow stripes!

Check out my complete variegated lemon tree care guide!

I got my variegated lemon tree on Facebook marketplace and it was looking a bit bushy. I decided to remove the lower branches to raise the canopy and give it more of a tree-like shape.

Since I love to propagate, I decided to root the cuttings! Here is the result of my experiment.

potted variegated lemon tree

Can you root lemon tree cuttings in water?

All of the cuttings that I tried to root in water rotted. It was not successful. I had better success rooting lemon tree cuttings directly in soil!

How long does it take lemon tree cuttings to root?

I found these cuttings to be very slow to root. It took at least a month to see the first roots, and 2-3 months before the roots were significant!

baby lemons on a variegated lemon tree

Will lemon trees grown from cuttings produce fruit?

I took these cuttings last summer and 2 of my 3 successful cuttings bloomed this year! They are only about 1 foot tall but had many blooms. We will have to see if any of them get fruit!

When is the best time to take a lemon tree cutting?

You want to aim for a “semi-hardwood” cutting. This is the new year’s growth beginning to turn brown into hard wood. The best time for this is late summer!

how to propagate variegated lemon tree

How to propagate a variegated lemon tree

Tools needed:

  • Sharp plant shears
  • Pot of moist soil
  • Plastic bag (like from the produce section at a grocery store)
  • Rooting hormone

Steps to propagate a variegated lemon tree

STEP 1: Identify a branch

Ideally choose a branch with new growth to indicate that it is healthy. You don’t want a branch growing fruit because you want the energy to go towards root growth, not fruit maintenance.

STEP 2: Cut the branch

Cut the branch. I cut mine at the trunk, but you want to be sure you get at least 2 nodes on your cutting. Nodes are the bumps where leaves grow from the stem – and where roots will grow.

variegated lemon tree cutting

STEP 3: Remove lower leaves

Remove the lower leaves, only leaving leaves at the end of the cutting.

STEP 4: Dip in rooting hormone

Dip the cutting in rooting hormone to encourage root growth.

variegated lemon tree cutting

STEP 5: Stick in moist soil

Stick directly into a pot of moist soil.

STEP 6: Cover

Cover with a clear plastic bag. This creates a greenhouse effect. Place in bright indirect light.

variegated lemon tree cutting

STEP 7: Wait

Be patient, it takes a while! I checked my cuttings once a week and watered as needed.

A great thing about rooting in soil is you don’t have to transplant them. Once roots are established, leave them in soil. I pulled mine out to take this photo, but otherwise leave them in the pot!

Once the cutting is 1 year old, you can plant it in the ground outside!

Any questions about propagating lemon trees?

Thanks for reading!

About Me Plant picture

Sharing is caring!