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.