16 Types of Lemons and How to Grow Them Part 1: Eureka to Lisbon!
Updated: Aug 8, 2022
Lemons are a slightly sour citrus plant that originates from China, northeast Myanmar, and northeast India in Asia. People started cultivating different types of lemons as early as in the first century AD, and Argentina, Brazil, India, China, and Mexico currently hold the title for being the top five countries for different types of lemon production. This is a lovely ornamental tree that will grow all year round, and it can easily survive between 50 and 100 years in the correct growing conditions. You can get indoor and outdoor types of lemon trees too, so there is a flexibility available, depending on your environment.
As a bonus, you don’t need a whole grove of lemon trees to produce a lot of lemons. No matter the type of lemon your tree produces, you’ll be able to harvest them between 6 and 10 times every year. One tree can give you almost 600 pounds of lemons, so consider this when you’re deciding on which type of lemon tree you want to have. There are dozens of types of lemons available, and I’m going to walk you through the most popular ones. Luckily, almost every type has similar growing conditions, and this makes it easy to mix and match.
1. Eureka Lemons
The first type of lemon on the list is one of the more predominant around the world. Eureka lemons look very similar to hybrid varieties that growers have produced over the years. However, there is one big difference. This lemon will have a very prominent nipple when they finish growing rather than being smooth and round. The trees will bear fruit all year-long, and there aren’t any thorns to worry about working around when you tend to your tree. It’s a very beginner-friendly lemon that is very popular with growers, and it has a reputation for putting out large yields. They do best outdoors as they do get slightly bigger.
2. Ponderosa Lemon
This type of lemon is very hardy due to the bumpy and thick skin it has. Many people believe that they are a cross between a citron and a lemon. It’s a nice low-maintenance landscaping addition to your yard, but it’s very sensitive to the cold. It has a very citrusy taste to it, and it’s not a true lemon since it’s a cross between two fruits. This makes it a nice addition to desserts because you won’t get those extremely sour notes when you eat it. This lemon has a slightly smaller size than traditional lemons, and it was thought to originate in Maryland sometime in the 1800s.
3. Finger Citron
This is a misshapen but extremely fragrant type of lemon that grows in the lower portion of the Himalayas. This is a traditional temple offering in China, and it’s a symbol of good fortune, longevity, and happiness. The fingers on this lemon are all rind, but you can use them in a huge range of culinary dishes, and you can also use the pith. The tree can get between 5 and 15 feet tall at full maturity, and the lemons are also slightly larger due to their unique shape. They have a bright yellow coloring, and you’ll get a nice white shade when you cut them open to use them.
Native to India by Burma’s border, this type of lemon grows wild throughout the valleys by the Himalayas. This is a larger variety that can produce fruit that can easily weigh between 8 and 10 pounds. This weight can cause the branches to break on this fruit tree as it grows. It lacks the juiciness in the pulp, and it’s a very dry lemon. You use it for the rind, and the thicker white pith is what you want to cook with. You can make gourmet treats or candy it, and it produces an oil that is popular in fragrances. It has a long history of medicinal use, including helping alleviate digestive upset and nausea.
5. Corfu Etrog
Better known as the Green Citron, this type of lemon comes from the Ionian Islands. It has a slight pear shape to it with one wider end that narrows to a slight point, and it has a long history of being exported from Greece to be part of the Jewish Sukkot ritual. It has a slightly bitter taste that isn’t as strong as some lemons, but it also produces very little juice. This dry lemon has a very light and peasant smell both before and after you cut into it. It’s small enough to keep as an indoor lemon plant, and it has a very thin profile with bright green leaves.
6. Meyer Lemon
This is another type of lemon hybrid, and it’s a cross between a mandarin or sweet orange and a lemon. It can be round or egg-shaped, and it has a very soft, thin, and smooth light orange rind on it. The pulp of this lemon is an orangish-yellow color, and it has a lot of juice with a very sweet taste. It’s also very acidic. You’ll get a pleasant floral aroma with this lemon, and it works very well in sorbets or tarts. You’ll find it growing in California’s Central Valley, Texas, and Florida. They only get picked when they’re fully ripe, and they’ll give you fruit all year-round. They do well in larger container gardens.
7. Verna Lemon
This type of lemon is very similar to the Eureka lemon. You’ll get a very thick skin on the fruits, and the fruits tend to have a much larger size than most lemon cultivars. It produces very few seeds, but they do have a lot of juice. Under the correct growing conditions, this tree will give you fruit twice a year. They could also potentially give you a third crop with a boost of fertilizer. It has links to Spain for the origins, but it’s not concrete. It can get between 10 and 12-feet high with a 3 to 4-foot wide spread at full maturity, and it likes to be planted in areas that get plenty of sunshine.
8. Bush Lemon
This is a wild type of lemon that comes from Australia, and it’s a very hardy species that comes with a very bumpy and thick skin. The rind will give you a very strong lemon flavor with a very low juice output, and this makes it great for seasoning your smoker recipes to get a strong citrus flavor flowing through it. Since this cultivar is so hardy, you’ll typically see it as rootstock to graft other species. This is a self-seeding type of plant, and the seeds will germinate and grow wherever they fall during the end of the year. It can get between 6 and 10-feet tall, and there are dwarf varieties that only get up to 5 or 6-feet tall.
9. Pink Variegated Lemon
This is another type of lemon that is a very attractive ornamental addition to your landscaping due to the pink flowers it produces before lemons form. The lemons from this tree have very few seeds, and they have a low acid content. The fruits have a round shape to them, and the young lemons have green striping that is very eye-catching. The inner flesh is a pale pink color, and you can use it as a garnish or in your dishes to give a sweet but slightly bitter taste. They do start out a yellow-green color when they’re young before turning bright yellow as they mature.
10. Primofiori Lemon
Originally from Spain, this type of lemon is better known as the Fino lemon, Mesero lemon, or the Blanco lemon. It grows very well in meditteranean regions, and it has a very quick growth habit. You get very dense foliage with a pale yellow fruit. The lemon has a very smooth and thin skin, and it can come in round or oval shapes. It produces a lot of juice, and the trees are heavily thorned. You can grow them in raised garden beds without a problem, and they’re also one cultivar that does well inside as long as you routinely trim it back. This is a very heavy fruit producer.
11. Lisbon Lemon
This type of lemon has a tree that can grow an impressive 30 feet high at full maturity, and it can spread out up to 25-feet. But, you can control their growth by keeping them in a container. They have origins in Portugal, and you could find them growing in the United States since the 1840s. This tree will bear fruit throughout the year, and you should plan to harvest in spring and winter. It does take three years to produce fruit after you plant it. This is a hardy variety of lemon that will tolerate cold, wind, and heat without a problem. It has glossy deep green leaves with eye-catching white flowers.
To be continued...
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