When you listen to any of those garden question and answer sessions, it seems the lemon tree always tops the ‘most asked about’ list. But it’s not because lemons are all that troublesome. It’s because they’re so widely grown that almost everyone has one in their yard – hence, lots of questions!

While we associate lemons with sunny Mediterranean gardens, in reality it’s thought that this popular fruit tree originated somewhere in India. But it was so long ago the origins are somewhat lost and not all that important. What is critical is choosing the right variety for your area.

Popular Lemons

'Eureka' produces fruit almost year-round in warm areas. The fruit is virtually seedless and has a thin skin. However, as lemons go, 'Eureka' isn’t particularly cold tolerant. 'Villa Franca' is a relative of 'Eureka' that does better in inland areas, as well as in the subtropics.

'Lisbon' develops into a large, prickly tree that produces a heavy winter crop. It is very hardy and more tolerant than 'Eureka' to both cold and heat.

'Meyer' is a small grower that is thought to be a cross between a lemon and an orange. Its small size means it’s suited to pot culture and its cold tolerance sees it used widely in frosty areas.

Choosing the spot

Lemons trees need sun and good drainage. Anything less is a compromise. If the soil is heavy, you can build a raised bed, dig in organic matter and gypsum or, safer still, choose a small lemon variety that can be grown in a pot. Most of the popular lemons are available on a dwarfing rootstock called Flying Dragon that restricts their size by about half. Potted lemons should be grown in a good quality mix (such as Yates Premium Potting Mix) and moved into larger containers as they develop.

Lemons planted out into the ground don’t like competition, so remove any grass from the base and keep the root area mulched with a light organic mulch. Don’t let the mulch touch the trunk of the plant because this could encourage rotting in the stem.


Feed your citrus with Yates Thrive Citrus & Fruit Granular Plant Food regularly throughout the year, in early spring, summer and again in autumn. 

An annual treatment with a small amount of trace element mix, like Yates Health Tonic Trace Element Chelates, is also a good idea.

Controlling common problems

  • Apply Yates Nature's Way Organic Citrus, Vegie & Ornamental Spray Ready to Use regularly, especially through late summer and autumn, to control citrus leaf miner, a tiny caterpillar that creates wavy lines and causes curling in new foliage. This will also help prevent scale infestations.
  • Cut off gall wasp lumps in stems. Only worry about the most recent lumps – leave old ones (the wasps are long gone).

Related products

Yates Premium Potting Mix

A premium potting mix, ideal for all potted plants and shrubs, including ornamentals, fruit trees, vegies and herbs.

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