If you’re wonder what does a lemon tree look like, here’s one word: springtime (which, incidentally, is the best time to plant a lemon tree, after the cold weather is past but before it gets very hot)! With its brilliant, sunshine-colored fruit standing out against its shiny, dark green leaves, fragrant lemon tree flowers, and a silhouette that’s sheer fruit poetry, a standard or dwarf lemon tree are great choices for your garden. Plus, lemon trees are easy to grow – even if you don’t live in a lemon tree growing zone!
Choosing a Tree
Despite its tropical vibe, lemon trees can thrive in many locations. Even if you live in an area where it gets cold outside, you can plant a lemon tree in a pot and bring it indoors during the winter. To help you choose a tree that’s right for you, here’s a quick rundown on some of the most popular lemon trees:
- Meyer Lemon tree. It’s easy to find a Meyer lemon tree for sale! Sweeter and less than acidic than true lemons, this well-known hybrid’s gourmet taste is a favorite with true and would-be chefs. Because its delicate skin makes it prone to bruising, the Meyer lemon is seldom seen in grocery stores, but the simplicity of Meyer lemon tree care and the dwarf Meyer lemon tree’s ability to thrive in an indoor environment, it’s a natural choice for home gardens.
- Eureka lemon tree. A top choice for growing juicy lemons on your patio is the dwarf eureka lemon tree. Drought-tolerant and a high producer, the eureka is resistant to most lemon tree diseases and lemon tree diseases and pests. Thanks to the eureka lemon tree’s early and abundant harvest, the home citrus gardener can enjoy fresh-squeezed lemonade all summer long!
- Bearss lemon tree. Bearss Lemon trees are fast-growing and produce fewer lemon tree thorns than other lemon tree plants (if you’ve ever wondered do lemon trees have thorns, the answer is yes when they’re still juveniles…mature, established trees generally outgrow them). The fruit is known as a “true” lemon (i.e. not a hybrid), and is very juicy with a sharp tartness that’s ideal for use in beverages, lemon desserts, and other home recipes.
- Ponderosa lemon tree. Another citrus variety that can be dwarfed, ponderosa lemon trees may be small, but their fruit is huge – sometimes up to four pounds in weight! Ponderosa lemons are egg-shaped with a short neck. The rind is thicker and bumpier than true lemons (more like a citron), with a typical yellow lemon color. The sharp, seedy flesh is ideal for savory recipes and entrees.
- Pink lemon tree. Did you love pink lemonade when you were kid? Experience the nostalgia of those summer days with your very own pink variegated lemons! A hybrid derived from eureka lemons, this unique container tree’s leaves are striped with cream and pale green, while the fruit sports a vertically green-and-yellow striped skin and the sweet flesh has a soft pink color.
- Cocktail lemon tree. Do you only have room for one tree but can’t make up your mind between a lemon and lime tree? How about a lemon lime hybrid? Yes, a lemon lime tree is a real thing. A lemon lime hybrid tree is either a standard-sized or dwarf-sized tree that has been grafted to produce more than one fruit on the same tree. A cocktail Key lime/Meyer Lemon tree is a great way to two of the smallest sweet-and-sour fruits for making Key lime pie, lemon freeze, and more!
If one or more of the above-listed trees strikes your fancy but, as a citrus novice you’re still not certain about caring for a lemon tree, here are a few answers to some common questions to ask before you go looking for a lemon tree for sale (keep in mind these answer apply to just about all lemon trees):
- How much water does a lemon tree need?
A number of factors go into determining how often to water lemon trees, including age, size, and whether the tree is potted or planted in the ground. New-planted trees should get 2 gallons of water daily at the trunk for four weeks. Afterwards, water the young tree three times weekly during the summer and once a week during the fall for as long as the tree’s trunk is less than 1″ in diameter. Once the tree’s trunk exceeds that size you can reduce watering to twice weekly during the summer (though you’ll need to water it thoroughly as the root system should be well established by then). In very rainy weather, make sure to avoid overwatering. Newly potted trees need about a cup of water every day for the first month. Five gallons a week for potted lemon trees during the summers is a good rule of thumb.
- How long do lemon trees live?
Wondering how long you can expect to enjoy your new lemon tree? Lemon trees typically have a 50-year lifespan, but with proper care your tree could love to be over hundred years. That’s definitely a good investment!
- How long does it take to grow a lemon tree?
When folks want to know how long does a lemon tree take to grow, they usually mean how long how long does it take a lemon tree to grow to bear fruit! You might be surprised by how quickly a lemon tree from seed gains height, but don’t expect to harvest any lemons before the tree is at least three years old (it may take as long as five years for fruit to come). You can help move things along by ensuring your tree is well watered (but not overwatered) and that the soil had good drainage. Taking steps to protect the tree excessively cold temps, making sure it has plenty of sunshine, and applying fertilizer regularly will also help. Your first few flowerings are likely to be small, but as your tree matures, so will your harvest increase.
No matter the variety of lemon tree you wind up going with, you’re going to love the bounty it will provide you. So get growing on your lemon tree!