To grow a lemon tree in a pot, select a dwarf variety such as the Lisbon, Ponderosa, Meyer improved and Eureka cultivars. Choose a spacious pot with good drainage, and use general-purpose potting mix. Submerge the lemon tree roots in water for two or three hours. Place the tree in the pot, and cover the roots. Make sure the top roots are close to the surface and the tree is straight and stable.
Lemon trees lose their leaves when they dry out. Water the tree regularly, and allow the top 1 or 2 inches of soil to dry before watering again. Mist daily, or place the pot on a pebble tray to prevent drought.
Fertilize the tree every six to eight weeks with a slow release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Lemon trees grown in pots are more susceptible to cold weather and drought. Find a spot to place the pot that is protected from strong winds and receives sun for four to eight hours a day. Move the tree indoors during the winter, and place it where no drafts can reach it, making sure it gets plenty of sunlight.
Remove sucker branches as soon as they emerge, and prune the tree regularly to maintain a desired shape. Only harvest the fruit when it fully ripens.