Fresh lemonade is a natural match to summertime--and there’s nothing more satisfying or delicious than making it from the lemons picked from your own backyard tree. If you're interested in culinary arts, you’ll likely find many other uses for fresh lemons as well. Many types of hybrid lemon trees exist (created through breeding), but only two original (or true) types are grown in North America.
The Lisbon lemon tree is one of the two original ones grown in this continent. It can be grown indoors (dwarf variety), outdoors or in protected locations, reaching an average height of 10 feet. This seedless lemon tree bares the type of fruit you find at your local grocery store, making it the most popular type. Normally, lemons are thought to be grown in very warm climate locations; however, the Lisbon is more tolerant of cold and wind than other types of lemon trees.
Grown mostly in California, the Eureka lemon tree is less cold hardy, having fewer thorns than other lemon trees. Its popularity grows out of the multiple crops each year. This tree requires a well drained soil and to be grown in a full-sun location. The tender and juicy fruit originated in Italy. It will produce lemons throughout the year, with the right conditions. However, the main crop is harvested October through February.
This lemon tree is a hybrid, bred from a lemon and orange tree. Originating in China, the Meyer (Valley Lemon Tree) has a rounder, less acidic fruit that is a bit orange in color. One of the biggest draws to the Meyer tree is its resistance to tristeza virus, which a problem for many other lemon tree varieties. However, it can act as a carrier of the disease, infecting other citrus trees.
The Meyer lemon tree is compact enough to plant in a large container and grow on your deck, patio or indoors. This hybrid lemon tree can grow to a height of 10 feet. However, it can be trimmed to keep it an ideal size for its location or choose the dwarf variety. It produces a sweeter tasting lemon, which is excellent for cooking. A hardier variety, it can take a colder climate.
The Ponderosa lemon tree is believed to be a citron-lemon hybrid. The fruit has a definite lemon flavor, but is large (2 to 4 pounds), round and lumpy. It grows to a maturity of 10 to 25 feet in height. It is sensitive to cold (freezing, frost) climate locations. It does well in a container and, in fact, can grow indoors in colder weather.