I successfully sprouted a lemon seed but after a month it stopped growing and its leaves started turning yellow. I was using heavy nitrogen fertilizer, so that can't be the problem. Then I tried some fertilizer with magnesium, since I thought that was the problem, but still no luck. Have any ideas?

Here is the photo of the sprout.

Sprout with yellow leaves

1 Answer 1


You have to post a picture but from what your questions states, sounds like OVER fertilization. No plant needs 'heavy nitrogen' and depending on the age of your lemon tree you certainly want lower N percentage in relation to the P and K! I've seen tiny little lemon tree twigs producing lemons. Nitrogen will produce lots of foliage and little, malformed reproductive growth (lemons). To fertilize again in one month is way too much. You can easily kill a plant with just a little too much fertilizer.

Baby plants should not be fertilized until they get their 3rd or 4th set of leaves!

Send pictures, the formulation of both the fertilizers you used, what micro nutrients are included with both, how much you used, the size of the pot and what kind of soil you are using. What type of water are you using? How often you water and how much water at a time? This could be a problem with high salts from tap water, too little iron...sounds to me too much fertilizer but this is just a lame guess. What environment? Indoors, outdoors, how BIG OF A POT are you using.

Tiny little seedlings/plants need tiny little pots. A big pot will cause root rot, too much water that can't be siphoned, drained or sucked up by the plant whose roots only occupy a small chunk of soil. I hope you are using potting soil...

  • Thanks for the long answer! This fertilization is probably the one who did it. I read in some other post which stated that sprouts should be fertilized once or even twice in two weeks since they are growing fast and using up all the nutrition in the soil. And after I saw the leaves turning yellow I kinda freaked out and added even more fertilizer with magnesium. The soil should not be the problem since I have another lemon sprout which perfectly grows in the same one (even if it is not potting soil) and already has 4 sets of leaves. Of course the other one survived my over fertilization.
    – MattJ
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 2:54
  • The pot size may also be a too big, its diameters is 12cm (4.7in) and the height is the same length.
    – MattJ
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 2:58
  • Super observations. Try to understand that fertilizer is just chemicals us humans have removed from the ecosystem, NOT FOOD. Plants make their own food. Anything added is just chemicals which means we humans have to understand what and how much to add for different species of plants! Otherwise, we can kill our plants so quickly! Far worse than too little fertilizer! Over fertilization will kill plants within days, completely. MORE IS NOT BETTER. I'd get potting soil and repot as the extra fertilizer will only cause problems. All seeds will sprout with enough light and moisture.
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 0:09
  • I am known for MUCH longer answers. I try to keep it short and only answer the question...BUT, there is so much more entailed with educating others about plants than any simple answer could do justice. To questions they just might not understand enough to ask. Oh well. Everyone is trying so hard to educate me how to be more focused and how not to use caps to emphasize. I am working hard to say less and use less CAPS. Grins.
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 0:23
  • 1
    Thanks, Matt. I have not seen this plant until now. I would carefully, gently repot your plant into a smaller pot. This pot is way too big. Am I seeing a 10" diameter pot? I'd repot this baby into 6" no more, with potting soil. No more fertilizer for awhile. Keep the roots in the soil, the newbie trunk out of the soil. No rocks or gravel at the bottom of the pot, just fill with sterilized potting soil. Let the soil dry out a bit before the next watering. A tray of pebbles and water would help, these guys love some humidity. You are welcome. If you have more problems please talk to us.
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 18:56

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