You’ve heard that you don’t have to live in a lemon tree growing zone to grow your own lemons, and now you’re excited at the idea of finding a lemon tree for sale and keeping a miniature lemon tree of your very own in a pot indoors. But with all the lemon tree varieties available, what’s the best lemon tree for you?
Choosing Your Tree
If you’ve never grown potted fruit trees before, you may be confused about where to start. Many lemon tree varieties do very well in pots (especially dwarf lemon tree varieties), and if you’re keeping your tree indoors when it’s cold out you’re not limited to a growing zone. That opens a lot of possibilities up, but before you choose your variety, you should consider the type of fruit you hope to harvest.
True Lemon or Hybrid?
Lemon trees fall into two basic categories: true lemons and lemon hybrids. If you’d like to grow lemons like those you find in the grocery store, you’re going to want to get a true lemon tree, which will produce larger, acidic fruit with the lemon’s trademark “punch” of tartness. A hybrid lemon is a cross between a true lemon and another citrus fruit, resulting in a lemon that’s sweeter, and often smaller, than a true lemon.
Once you’ve figured out what kind of lemons you’d like, you can consider two other common questions: what’s the easiest lemon tree to grow, and how long before lemon trees bear fruit?
The Bearss Lemon
If tartness is the way you want to, a Bearss Lemon Tree is a great choice. The Bearss Lemon is one of the easiest true lemons to grow at home. It has a lot of great things going for it: for one thing, it has more juice than many lemon varieties of the same size. It also has a higher concentration of lemon oil in its skin, which makes it great for zesting. It’s very similar to the lemons you’ll find in a grocery store (usually Eureka or Lisbon lemons), but the tree grows a lot faster than either of those trees and is much more productive.
Bearss Lemon Trees have fresh, fragrant blossoms, and they produce fruit through the summer and fall. They do have few seeds and a few lemon tree thorns. Bearss lemon tree care is fairly easy, but the trees are prone to certain lemon tree diseases (such as scab, greasy spot and oil spotting). They’re also very sensitive to cold, so you want to make sure never to leave them outdoors when a freeze is expected.
The Meyer Lemon
Meyer Lemons are a hybrid lemon, resulting from a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange. Because of this, their fruit is less acidic and sweeter in flavor than that of a true lemon, while the fruit is smaller, rounder and with more of an orange cast to it than a true lemon.
The Meyer Lemon Tree is more cold hardy than the Bearss Lemon Tree, though it too should not be left outdoors when a freeze is expected. The fruit is thin-skinned, so it’s not as good for zesting, but the sweeter lemons make a lovely lemonade and are prized by chefs. The Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree has even fewer lemon tree thorns than the Bearss, and it’s everbearing – you can expect fruit year-round with a Dwarf Improved Meyer Lemon Tree, though it fruits most heavily in the winter. Meyer Lemon tree care is also very easy, though again, it is subject to lemon tree diseases including greasy spot and oil spotting.
Why not both?
One of the beauties of keeping fruit trees in pots is that you can keep more of them in a smaller space! You can find a Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree for sale on Citrus.com, as well as a Bearss Lemon Tree which, when kept in a container, will stay around 4-11 feet high. Citrus trees are self-pollinating, but they still do better with other citrus trees, and if you keep one (or more!) of each kind of lemon tree, you can be sure you’ll have the perfect fruit for the perfect purpose all year long.