Don't Buy a Lemon Tree from Spar  • Franklyn + Vincent
Franklyn & Vincent is a few casual peeks from my kitchen garden beginnings and home maker dreams in a small terrace house in East London.
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Don’t Buy a Lemon Tree from Spar 

08 May Don’t Buy a Lemon Tree from Spar 


I know.
I’m sure anyone of you could have told me that wasn’t a good idea.

Firstly, I’d had a few wines, so didn’t have my plant buying wits about me and instead, saw the lemon tree and instantly had boozy romantic dreams of lemons hanging from the ceiling of my potting shed.

Secondly, it’s a lemon tree. I live in Leyton. We love Leyton, but it’s not the Amalfi coast.

Thirdly, I bought it from Spar. Not even the nice fancy one in Walthamstow, but a rather shit one attached to a petrol station near our house.

So. Obviously it was £14.99 well spent!

However, not all plants bought in Spar are destined for failure, I bought a raspberry bush in there that is going great guns.*

Yes, I really should stop buying plants at the petrol station, but what can we learn from my rookie mistakes when buying plants?

1. Emotional State

Are you drunk or in a state of giddy excitement in Ikea?

2. Think

Read the label and if you haven’t already, have a very good think about where it’s going to go.

3. Choosing a Partner

Similar to choosing any kind of partner, they should look healthy and perky.
Nice green leaves and good-looking clean flowers.

4. Them Roots

Knock the pot gently and have a look at the roots. It should come away gently and have a good amount of roots. If it comes away with difficulty it could be pot bound, which means too many roots and if lots of soil comes away that’s not good either, so put it back.

So I did all this, what went wrong?

5. Get involved

Properly check the plant like you know what you’re doing, for any damage or broken branches. The lemon tree was wrapped around a small trellis. This is normal, my Jasmine was packed a similar way and no bother there.

But when I unpacked, one of the branches had been slightly ripped being pushed around the trellis. Undeterred I thought it might be ok, as I broke a tomato branch last year, that miraculously healed itself, so I was not too worried.

But I was wrong, as the bloody thing died.

But all is not lost… I’ve cut it back and will keep you posted.

Sits back and dreams of Amalfi…

Lemons Almafi Coast Lemons Almafi Coast


*Updated August ~ wasn’t actually a raspberry bush, but a red currant busy. Still alive tho. Just.


*Updated December ~ Holy Amalfi! I’ve grown a lemon. A real lemon. So after I bought the lemon plant from Spar and the main branch fell off and died, I put the plant in the potting shed and pretty much forgot about it. I spotted a small green lemon at the end of the summer but never thought it would go yellow, but look at it! Normally I’d celebrate with gin & tonics all round, but it’s 10am on a Saturday and I’m still in my pyjamas, so I’ll settle for a lemon tea.



“Never make eye contact while eating a banana.”
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