A lemon tree adds beauty, sweet aroma and delicious fruit to your life. Whether you plant one outdoors in a warmer zone or keep one in a pot, lemon trees are an excellent choice for brightening your home and getting your much-needed vitamin C.
Lemon Tree Origins
Lemon trees are botanically known as “Citrus limon,” and they are a small, evergreen tree. Lemon is the leading acid citrus fruit because of its color, aroma, flavor and many culinary uses. The lemon tree was likely introduced into southern Italy by 200 AD. Christopher Columbus carried lemon seeds to Hispaniola in 1493. The Spaniards may have introduced the lemon to Florida, which joins California and Arizona as the leading producers of lemons in the United States today.
Lemons: Healthy, Delicious, Versatile Fruit
Lemon is one of the most alkaline foods. Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium. The yellow fruit is very low in fats, cholesterol and sodium. Lemon’s main use is in lemon juice which is 5% citric. Lemon pulp and the rinds are used in cooking and in marinades. Lemon juice marinades are helpful for tenderizing meat. Just soak the meat until it is soft and tender. The lemon juice will also add a vibrant flavor profile to the prepared meat dish.
How & Where to Plant a Lemon Tree
Lemon trees need to be placed in a sunny, well-drained location and protected from all frosts and freezes. Lemons like fertile soil with plenty of organic matter, and they prefer a pH that is slightly acidic to neutral. Temperatures below 32 degrees will damage or kill a lemon tree. If the tree must remain outside in cold weather, wrap it in a blanket. If the tree is in a container, move the tree inside for the duration of the cold weather. Lemon trees need watering once a week rather than a small amount every day. A regular moisture routine is a must.
Best Varieties for Lemon Trees in Containers
Growing a lemon tree in a pot is easy and gratifying. Lemon trees are fairly compact, so you don’t need much room. A patio or balcony is a great home for a potted lemon tree in warm months, but they must be moved indoors if frost is in the forecast. Check out all the nature Hills tips on caring for lemon trees in pots.
The best lemon tree varieties for container growing include:
- Improved Dwarf Meyer Lemon - Bountiful year-round fruit production, fragrant flowers in spring, sweeter fruit is a blend of mandarin orange and lemon, thrives indoors near a sunny window
- Eureka Lemon - True lemon flavor with very few seeds, lack of thorns makes for easy picking and pruning, thrives in a greenhouse or near a south-facing window