Ponderosa Lemon Tree

Growing Zones in Ground: 8 - 11 / in Pots: 4 - 11



The Ponderosa Lemon Tree (botanical name Citrus x pyriformis) is a chance seedling derived from a hybrid of pomelo and citron first discovered in the 1880’s. Although initially believed to be a hybrid of lemon and citron, further analysis proved the variety to contain only pomelo and citron DNA.

The Ponderosa Lemon Tree (botanical name Citrus x pyriformis) is a chance seedling derived from a hybrid of pomelo and citron first discovered in the 1880’s. Although initially believed to be a hybrid of lemon and citron, further analysis proved the variety to contain only pomelo and citron DNA. The Ponderosa Lemon was then named and launched for commercial purposes in the 1900’s.

This lemon tree is a slow-growing, evergreen citrus tree with long, glossy leaves. When planted outdoors in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11, the Ponderosa Lemon Tree can grow as tall as 24 feet. The tree can be kept smaller when planted in a pot indoors. Both the standard and dwarf Ponderosa Lemon Tree have a rounded top and medium-thick branches full of spines.

Like most lemon or lime trees, Ponderosa lemon trees are cold sensitive and frost tender when grown in areas colder than USDA planting zone 8. While potted trees can grow to fruit-bearing ages in colder areas, they need additional light during the cold season and protection from freezing by overwintering indoors.

These lemon citrus trees are often grown as ornamental plants for their beautiful white and purple-tinged flowers that grow simultaneously among yellow fruits and dark green leaves. Moreover, since the fruits and blooms are produced at the same time, you will be mesmerized by the sublime scent of the flowers mixed with the sweet scent of the lemons. This combination is rarely found in other fruit trees. Also, Ponderosa lemons can be kept on the tree for months without deteriorating and losing fruit quality.

Citrus Tree Care

Growing citrus trees is easy. They need very minimal care as well as just the right amount of water and citrus trees fertilizer to grow and start bearing delicious fruit.

The best Citrus trees, including Eureka Lemon trees, are all grafted or budded. This is done to retain the superior quality of the fruit, speed up the harvesting time, and increase the trees’ resistance to many types of citrus diseases.

A new lemon tree comes in a container and needs to be replanted either in the ground or in a larger pot that has a good water drainage system.

  • In Ground Planting – The Eureka Lemon tree can be planted in the ground in USDA growing zones 8 through 11 when winter is consistently warm.
  1. Shovel the soil and make a hole twice as broad and deep as the root system.
  2. Put the tree in the hole and fill with acidic, well-draining potting soil. Press the soil down while filling the hole to ensure no air pockets are formed.
  3. Once done with planting, deeply water the citrus tree for 5 minutes then mulch around the tree canopy to retain moisture and inhibit weed growth. Keep the mulch a foot from the tree trunk to avoid root rot and other citrus tree diseases caused by trapped moisture.
  • Potted Planting – Potting is the recommended type of planting for areas where winter could be harsh and temperatures drop below 40°. USDA growing zones 4 to 7.
  1. Select a pot that is slightly bigger than the container your citrus tree arrived in and has lots of holes in the bottom. Fill the pot halfway with well-draining potting soil then gently place the Eureka lemon tree in the soil.
  2. Fill the space around the citrus tree with the remaining potting soil and pat it down while doing so. Ensure the grafted area is not covered with soil. Leave an inch of space below the pot rim for easier watering.
  3. Right after planting the fruit tree, deeply water it until water flows through the holes in the bottom of the pot.
  4. Place your Eureka Lemon tree beside a south-facing window to give it plenty of sunlight. Also, since the tree is planted indoors, you may need to create humidity by misting the leaves with water or placing a tray with pebbles submerged in water under the citrus tree. Don’t let the soil sit in water.

Fertilization: Growing citrus trees should be fed with fertilizer for citrus trees once every six weeks during spring and summer. Organic citrus tree fertilizer can be used to make certain that your tree has a steady and healthy growth cycle. During autumn and winter season, ease back fertilizing to once every 2 to 3 months.

Fruit & Harvesting


Eureka lemon fruit trees produce medium-small sized lemons with thick, bright-yellow rinds all year round. The fruit is often in clusters outside of the canopy. The fruits are elliptic to oblong in shape with a short neck at the stem end and have very few seeds if any. The surface of Eureka lemons are finely pitted with sunken oil glands and have typically low longitudinal ridges.

The flesh of Eureka lemons is tender and has a greenish-yellow color. They are fine grained with abundant juice and have a highly acidic flavor.

Like the fruit from other citrus trees, Eureka lemons are a rich source of vitamin C and contain phytochemicals like polyphenols, terpenes, and tannins which are all known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are thought to help fight off diseases and boost the immune system.

Eureka Lemons can be used for assorted sweet and savory applications. They can be used to make marmalade, cakes, pies and tarts and the zest can be infused into oils. The zest and juice can be used in syrups, marinades, dressings, and even cocktails.


Eureka lemons are abundantly produced all year round but winter through early spring is the peak harvesting season. Look for a lemon that has a slightly glossy appearance and do a taste test. Once fruit has 25 per cent juice content, Eureka lemons are ready for harvesting.

Use secateurs or clippers when harvesting lemons since they are prone to oil spotting and cannot be handled roughly.

Growing Zones


The Eureka Lemon tree is a great choice as an indoor plant. It can be kept to around 3-5 ft tall and just needs sunlight, room for growth, and adequate drainage. When planted in the ground it can be expected to grow up to 10’ to 15’ ft. Its usual bloom season is in spring/fall with fruit season in winter/spring. Keep in mind that although cold hardy, Eureka lemon citrus trees should still be protected when temperaturesdrop below 32°.

Pests and Diseases

Common pests attacking citrus trees are scales that suck the sap and nutrients of the plant, and citrus leaf miner that causes leaves to become distorted. Other pests of citrus trees include the spider mite, aphid, fruit fly, and snails. These pests can be controlled using beneficial insects that prey on the pests, horticultural oils, insecticides, and pesticides.


  • Citrus Canker – A serious and highly contagious bacterial infection that causes halo-like lesions on the foliage, twigs, and fruits of affected trees. Left unchecked, canker will result in dieback, leaf loss, and fruit drop.

Spraying copper fungicide is the best way to prevent the tree from getting infected with citrus canker disease. However, once the tree gets infected there is no viable treatment and the tree will have to be removed and destroyed to avoid infecting other trees.

  • Greasy Spot Fungus – Symptoms include yellow-brown ulcer on the underside of leaves. As the disease advances, the ulcers begin to look oily.Spray liquid copper fungicide in June or July and follow up with another set of application in August or September.
  • Phytophthora fungus – Commonly known as brown root rot or collar rot due to the resulting dark brown patches on the tree trunk characterized by oozing from the infected area. As it progresses, you will notice that the patches turn dry, crack and leave a dark, sunken spot. Treatment of this disease includes removal of affected area and dropped fruit, pruning of lower branches, and application of spray fungicides.


Is the Ponderosa Lemon Tree cold hardy?

Ponderosa Lemon Trees can be planted outdoors in USDA Zones 9 to 11. The trees can withstand temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Are Ponderosa Lemons good for you?

Ponderosa Lemons contain Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, and many other nutrients. While it is typical to consume relatively small amounts of lemon flesh or lemon juice as compared to other citrus, each ounce of Ponderosa Lemon is packed with nutrition.

Does the Ponderosa Lemon Tree have thorns?

Yes. All lemon trees have some manner of thorns and the Ponderosa Lemon Tree is no exception. Use caution when picking.

Does the Ponderosa Lemon Tree grow a larger tree than other lemons?

Yes. The Ponderosa Lemon Tree is not only the largest lemon fruit, but also grows the largest lemon tree. A mature Ponderosa Lemon Tree can be as tall as 25 feet, and grow to a width of about 20 feet. The trees can be pruned to maintain a smaller size.

What makes a Ponderosa Lemon different than a normal lemon?

Ponderosa Lemons grow fruit that is much larger, and milder tasting than a Meyer or other lemon. The fruit can be as large as 2 pounds each, and they are not quite as sour as the lemons you may be used to.

What does a Ponderosa lemon look like?

Ponderosa lemon is less cold hardy than a true lemon. It bears medium to large fruit that have a thick and bumpy rind. The fruits are seedy, and while they look similar to a citron, they taste like a lemon.

Are Ponderosa lemons edible?

They are primarily grown ornamentally in warm climates because of the Ponderosa lemon tree’s small size and attractive growth, but the fruits they produce are edible and delicious.

How do you care for a Ponderosa lemon tree?

Water the dwarf Ponderosa lemon just enough to moisten the soil. Citrus trees do not like wet roots. Cover a shallow container with pebbles and enough water to cover them. Set the potted tree on them to provide additional humidity if growing Ponderosa lemon indoors.