Lemon Symbolism and Meaning (Cleansing & Abundance)

Lemons have been known to symbolize healing and cleansing due to their many culinary and medicinal uses.

Because of the sour taste of the fruit, lemons have also been associated with negative feelings such as jealousy, disappointment, of frustration.

The tree from which it grows is not very tall, growing only as high as 6 meters and is monoecious as its flowers contain both male and female parts.

It is capable of producing fruits consistently and generously throughout the year.  As such, it has also been associated with abundance, love, and fertility.

Lemon Symbolism and Meaning

Lemon Symbolism

Due to its bright yellow color, lemons are also associated with hope, happiness, abundance, and vitality.

Many parts of the lemon can be used to revitalize the body such as the juice, the pulp, and the rind, and because of this, the fruit is also taken to symbolize healing and cleansing both physically and spiritually.

1. As a Symbol of Healing and Cleansing

It is believed that if you want to ward off negative energy and prevent it from affecting the household, plant a lemon tree in front of the house.

Some people also place a few pieces of lemon in a crystal glass filled with water then leave it by the front door. 

If you feel that the house itself is already filled with bad vibes, cut the lemon in pieces and place them in four sides of a room.  To get rid of sickness, drinking lemon-infused water or soaking yourself in a lemon bath will cleanse the body and flush out toxins.

In the Chinese culture, it is recommended to place 7 or 9 lemons in a bowl then place it on the southwest kitchen to attract positive energy inside the home.

2. As a Sign of Abundance

The Lemon Tree is also associated with wealth, abundance, and having more than enough because of its ability to bear fruits all year-round, and the harvest is usually generous.

With this, it is believed that the lemon tree will bring luck inside your home, leading you into having a  successful business, healthy relationships, and a good financial situation.

Make sure to plant the lemon tree in healthy soil and in an area that gets plenty of sunlight to ensure that it will flourish and grow well.

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3. As a Status Symbol

In ancient Rome, lemons represented higher status in society. This is because it was a rare and expensive commodity during that time due to its scent and taste, as well as its varied uses in healing and cooking.  

While the demand was high, the availability was scarce because it had to be sourced from Southeast Asia and was not a native product in the continent.  For this reason, lemons used to be very expensive, and only wealthy and prominent families were able to afford them.

Meaning of Lemon in Dreams

The appearance of a lemon in your dreams may have different meanings, mostly depending to how the lemon looked like and what you were doing with it. 

  • Cutting lemons signifies that your relationship is going through some problems and you are feeling sad or worried about it.
  • Drinking lemon juice is a reminder to take better care of your health, or your body may suffer and you may fall sick
  • Squeezing lemons hints at bad times ahead. You may be facing some financial difficulty or relationship problems in the near future.
  • Watching other people picking or squeezing lemons is a warning that you should be more observant of the people around you because there is someone near you who is having some problems and do not want others to know, or there is someone who wants to take revenge on you.
  • Buying lemons means that your actions have been misunderstood by someone and they have a bad impression about you.
  • Planting lemons refer to an increased awareness about self care, and that you have started making better health choices.
  • Throwing lemons away symbolizes an acceptance of a new future and leaving the past behind. But if someone is throwing the lemons at you, then it means some people are jealous and wants to take you down by ruining your reputation.
  • Fresh and ripe lemons indicate that you are about to have a small gain or that a positive change in your life is coming, while a rotten one means that you have fallen into a trap and you have been deceived.
  • A pile of lemons refer to abundance and wealth. If they are placed on a table, then good fortune is about to enter your home, and when contained inside a bowl or plate, it signifies a happy marriage.
  • Lemons on a tree indicates luck or success in your business, but if they are falling off, then there may be unfortunate incidents in the coming days that will make you sad.

How to Interpret Spiritual Symbolism

Interpreting symbolism and spiritual meanings is subjective and deeply personal. The symbolic meanings listed in this article are examples of potential interpretations, but might not be true for your situation.

Make sure you meditate and journal about your vision. Reflect on what you saw and think about what message you think is relevant to you and your life right now.

This doesn’t mean choosing the message you want to hear, but the one you think you need to hear at this point in your life. Only you can decide which meaning is the right one for your situation.

Use of Lemons in Idioms and Metaphors

The use and representation of lemons in many languages have evolved over the years, ranging from a representation of emotions to conveying relationships.

1. To Describe Feelings of Envy or Jealousy

In modern language, feelings of love is described in metaphors as sweet, while negative emotions such as jealousy, frustration, or disappointment are characterized as sour and bitter. Some examples are “bitter taste” which refers to being forced to accept an unhappy incident, or “feeling sour” to indicate envy or jealousy.

Since lemons are known for tasting sour and bitter, some cultures refer to a jealous person as a “lemon”.  In the Chinese language, “Ning Meng Jing”, or “sour lemon monster” in English, is a popular slang commonly used in both conversations and novels.  “Lemon Eyes” is also an adjective used to describe the look of a person while gazing at a someone or something while feeling envious.

2. To Express Fraud or Deception

Because the lemon looks bright and tasty on the outside, but is actually sour and bitter on the inside, it has become a reference for acts of deception or trickery.  To be handed a lemon means that someone was given an item or product that was not as good as it was made out to be. 

This is more often associated with the purchase of second hand items that are described to be “good as new”, but turns out to be worn and damaged upon receipt.

3. To Make the Best Out of a Situation

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is a widely used phrase in the English language that refers to taking charge of a bad situation, or making the most out of it.  This saying was said to be originated in 1915 from author Elbert Hubbard, and later made popular by fellow author Dale Carnegie in his 1948 book “ How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.”


Lemons are very versatile fruits with many uses whether as a food, drink, fragrance, or as part of treatment for illnesses.

Its symbolism is also varied and can be found in opposite ends of the spectrum which also accurately represents the fruit itself – looking sweet and appealing on the outside, but actually sour and bitter inside.

Find out what the lemon is trying to inform you by taking more time to observe and analyze the events in your life and given them proper context.

Like the lemon, a person who may look nice and friendly on the outside, may actually be intending to bring you harm, while someone who is cold and unapproachable could be the one who is trying to extend help.