6 Different Types of Lemons with Pictures & Essential Facts

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by Max - last update on January 24, 2020, 1:34 am
Types of Lemons

Lemon trees have so much to offer; they are ornamentally attractive, produce fragrant flowers, and bear delicious fruits that offer versatility in the kitchen. They are also surprisingly easy to care for and can be grown in almost any climate.

While you will need to live in a warm area to grow lemon trees outside all year round, lemon trees can also be grown in cooler climates in containers so that they can be overwintered indoors. There are many types of lemon tree available, and these are some of the most popular for growing both commercially and in the home garden.

Types of Lemons

1. Eureka Lemon (Citrus x limon “Eureka”)

Eureka Lemon (Citrus x limon “Eureka”)

Mature Size: 20 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 9 and 10

Light: Full sun

Water: Water generously

Soil: Well-draining, neutral to alkaline pH

Special Features: Produces fruit all year round

The Eureka lemon tree is considered to be a true lemon tree, as it is not the result of any hybridization. It was brought over to the United States in seed form from Italy in the middle of the 19th century and has been growing in the warmer states ever since.

It requires a climate that gets neither too hot or too cold and therefore fares best in USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10. Any temperatures lower than 20° F will cause significant damage to the Eureka lemon tree, so if a temperature drop is expected in your area, then you’ll need to bring your lemon tree indoors until warmer weather returns.

The Eureka lemon tree typically grows to 20 feet in height and can be grown in a raised bed or a sturdy container, though dwarf varieties do exist, which are maybe more suitable for container growing. Plant your Eureka lemon tree in a spot that gets full sun. These trees require plenty of sun to thrive and do best in positions where they receive 10 to 12 hours of sun a day. They can be grown in partial shade with 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day, but in these conditions, they may struggle to bear fruit, and growth will be slower.

These trees also need plenty of moisture, and you should aim to maintain consistently moist soil, only ever allowing the top inch or two to dry out. During hot, dry weather, you may need to water every day, or even twice a day. As Eureka lemon trees have such high watering needs, they are not suitable for growing in the yard among the grass, as lawns do not enjoy this level of moisture.

Eureka lemon trees are attractive plants to grow. They have bronze colored new growth, while older leaves develop into a bright shade of green. The great thing about this tree is that it doesn’t have a dormancy period and therefore can produce fruit all year long. Eureka lemons are among the typical lemons you will find at the grocery store, suitable for cooking with or using in drinks. They are commercially popular because of their reliable flavor and continuous growing season.

Eureka lemons start out yellow-green but develop to the bright lemon yellow we are all familiar with.


2. Pink Variegated Lemon Tree (Citrus xlimon "Eureka Variegated Pink")

Pink Variegated Lemon Tree (Citrus xlimon 'Eureka Variegated Pink')

Mature Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 9 and 10

Light: Full sun

Water: Water generously

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: Pink

Special Features: Pink fleshed lemons

This cultivar of the Eureka lemon tree is an especially attractive ornamental plant, producing low-seed acidic lemons. The foliage of this plant is variegated, with glossy, ovate leaves splashed in random patches of creamy yellow.

It produces pretty flowers which bloom from vibrant pink buds throughout the year, though they are at their most abundant during spring and summer. The fruits of this tree are round, and young lemons have unique green striping. As the lemons ripen, their skin takes on a solid yellow color, while the inner flesh is pale pink. The fruit is produced all year round and is ideal for use in cooking or as a garnish.

This tree requires full sun to give its best performance, though it will tolerate a partially shaded position. This tree is the most tender of all lemon trees and will need to be brought inside to live in a bright and warm room, only being left outside during the warmer months.

Eureka lemons start out yellow-green but develop to the bright lemon yellow we are all familiar with.


3. Lisbon Lemon (Citrus limon “Lisbon”)(Citrus x limon “Lisbon”)

Lisbon Lemon (Citrus limon “Lisbon”)(Citrus x limon “Lisbon”)

Mature Size: Up to 30 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 8-10

Light: Full sun

Water: Medium moisture

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: White

Special Features: Heat and wind tolerant

The Lisbon lemon tree is capable of growing quite tall in the right conditions, growing up to 30 feet in height, with a spread of 25 feet, though more typically you can expect to see these trees grow to 15 feet in height, or even smaller if they are kept in a container.

Lisbon lemons are an old heirloom variety, which is believed to have their origins in Portugal. They have been growing in the United States since the 1840s and are now the most widely grown type of lemon tree in California. These trees produce reliable lemons that are large, have very few seeds, and are exceptionally juicy.

The tree can bear fruit all year round, though the main harvest times will be in the spring and winter when an abundance of fruit is ripe and available. Don’t expect your young lemon tree to produce fruit, as this usually doesn’t happen until year three. More mature trees will fruit the most profusely and will experience pretty white flowers all year round. Once your Lisbon tree does produce fruit, it tends to do so quite heavily, so you should never be without some fresh lemons in the kitchen.

The Lisbon lemon tree is easy to care for and is tolerant of heat, wind, and cold. It won’t need a protected position as the Eureka lemon would, and it is probably the most cold-hardy of all true lemon trees, though any climates which drop below freezing for more than a few days a year aren’t appropriate locations for this tree.

Instead, grow your Lisbon lemon tree in a pot so that it can be moved inside during cold snaps, or insulate it with a blanket if it is grown outside. You can also drape string lights between the branches, as this may help to increase the temperature by a few degrees.

As well as being easy to care for, the Lisbon lemon tree is aesthetically pleasing. It has glossy green leaves, and its white blooms give off a pleasant aroma.

This tree will require a full sun position, and in its first few years, will need a generous watering. As the tree does not cope well with soggy roots, it should be grown in well-draining soil, which will allow any excess water to pass through easily. If planting directly in the ground, you could plant the tree in an elevated position so that water runs off and doesn’t have the opportunity to pool around the base of the tree.

After a few years, you can reduce your watering schedule to weekly during the warmer months, and bi-weekly in the cooler months. As the tree matures, it will need less water. Like all lemon trees, the Lisbon lemon tree relies on rich soil or feedings of fertilizer to really thrive.


4. Meyer Lemon (Citrus x Meyerii)

Meyer Lemon (Citrus x Meyerii)

Mature Size: Up to 10 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 8-11

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: White and purple

Special Features: Dwarf variety

The Meyer lemon tree is not a ‘true’ lemon tree, but instead is a hybrid which originates from China. It is a cross between a lemon and a sweet orange such as a mandarin. This is one of the smaller lemon trees, growing to between 6 and 10 feet tall and is ideal for growing in a container.

The key benefit of growing the tree in a container is that it is portable and therefore able to be moved indoors during the winter. This is a great way to make lemon growing possible even if you live in cooler climates, though if you live in a warm climate where temperatures rarely drop below 50º F, you can plant this tree in the ground where it can remain all year round.

The fruit of this tree looks like lime when young, rounder than true lemons and with a lime green skin. As the lemon ripens, it takes on the typical yellow shade, with a strong fragrance and thin skin. These lemons have a more subtle flavor than the Eureka or Lisbon lemons, which are widely available in grocery stores. Instead, they have a sweeter taste, with a dark yellow flesh and usually around 10 seeds. The Meyer lemon tree is capable of bearing fruit from just 2 years of age when grafted or from 4 years old when grown from seed. The flowers it produces are white and purple, with a very intense scent.

In the United States in the 1940s, the Meyer lemon tree was found to be carrying a deadly citrus virus. In order to protect other citrus trees, all Meyer lemon trees were destroyed, and it became a banned species. Fortunately, a virus-free Meyer lemon tree was found and released in 1975. It is known as the ‘Improved Meyer lemon tree’ (Citrus x Meyerii ‘Improved’), and this is where the Meyer lemons in the US now stem from.


5. Primofiori Lemon (Citrus x Limon ‘Primofiori’)

Primofiori Lemon (Citrus x Limon ‘Primofiori’)

Mature Size: Up to 16 feet

Hardiness Zone: 8-10

Light: Full sun

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining

Special Features: Fruits heavily

This tree hails from Spain, where it is locally known as the Fino lemon tree, the Blanco lemon tree, or the Mesero lemon tree. The fruit is exported under the name of Primofriori lemons, though be careful not to confuse these with Primofiore, which are from Italy.

This lemon tree is grown extensively in the Mediterranean region and is the most largely commercially produced lemon in Spain. The trees have a vigorous growth habit, with large leaves and dense foliage. The fruit it produces is pale yellow in color, with a thin and smooth skin. Lemons can be round or oval, and are smaller in size than most other lemon varieties, though they tend to be much juicier.

This tree has many similarities with the Eureka lemon tree, but the key distinguishing feature is that the Primofiori lemon tree is heavily thorned, while the Eureka lemon tree is not. This tree requires 8-10 hours of sun each day and is best situated in a full sun location. It is a heavy fruit producer, able to bear fruit from 2 or 3 years old. Its main harvest will be in the winter, though smaller harvests will be available throughout the year.

It is suitable for growing in a container where it can be pruned to a smaller height and maintained at around 5 feet tall (University of California Riverside).


6. Verna Lemon (Citrus x Limon ‘Verna’)

Mature Size: Up to 20 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 8-10

Light: Full sun

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: White

Special Features: Vigorous growth

This lemon tree is native to Spain, where it is the second most important lemon tree after the Primofiori. It is widely known as both Verna and Berna. The fruits of this tree are less appealing for consumption than other lemons, as they tend to have a thick rind and do not contain much juice.

However, the tree has a vigorous growth habit and is ornamentally attractive. It can grow to be quite large, though it is also suitable for growing in a container if it is annually pruned. Its main crop is ready for harvest between spring and summer, with lemons which are bright yellow and of a medium to large size. The rind of these lemons is usually quite textured, on oval fruits which have a very pronounced neck.

 

6 Different Types of Lemons with Pictures & Essential Facts

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