When you think of a lemon, you probably think of the type of lemons you get from a supermarket. But there are dozens of types of lemon trees, each of which produces its own distinct fruit. Some of these look like stereotypical lemons, while others are different shapes, sizes, and even colors.
Not every lemon variety tastes the same, either! If you want to try new lemons that taste different than any lemon you have had before, here are 12 lemon tree varieties that you should consider for your garden.
1. Avalon Lemon
Avalon lemons, also known as Avon lemons, are large yellow fruits with a bumpy rind. Though they are not usually sold commercially, you have probably consumed Avalon lemon juice before in juice concentrates.
These extra-large lemons are perfect for juicing because of their size and liquid content. Avalon lemons are widespread throughout Florida and have many similar traits to Lisbon and Eureka lemons. They have a mild sweet-tart flavor.
Unless you live in a very warm, humid climate, Avalon lemons may best thrive in a greenhouse or indoor planter, since they usually grow in semi-tropical places like Florida!
The Variegated Pink lemon is an eye-catching variety because, as the name implies, it’s not yellow but pink! To be more specific, the flesh is pink, while the rind is a striking yellow striped with deep green.
Variegated Pink lemons are prized for their sweet, juicy fruit, as well as their ornamental qualities. The taste is much milder than most lemon varieties, so much so that you might find yourself snacking on these lemons raw!
In addition to delicious fruit and beautiful foliage, the Variegated Pink Lemon tree is a wonderfully low-maintenance, hardy citrus tree that home gardeners love.
3. Verna Lemon
The Verna lemon is one of the most widely grown lemon tree varieties in Spain. Though it is not grown commercially in the United States, home gardeners can plant them in their yards and enjoy the gorgeous fruits from this little-known cultivar.
Verna lemon trees are much more adaptable than many citrus trees and can even grow in cooler climates. The fruit is ready for harvest as early as February depending on your growing zone.
This medium-large fruit is bright yellow and juicy, with only a few seeds. It has a thick rind with a large bud on the end.
4. Primofiori Lemon
The Primofiori lemon, also called the Fino, is the most widely-produced variety in Spain. Originating in Murcia in southeastern Spain, it is not grown commercially in the United States.
This medium-small, bright yellow fruit has a thin rind that is easy to peel away. It is very juicy and highly acidic, making it unpalatable for raw eating but perfect for cooking and baking.
The Primofiori lemon tree is large and hardy, letting it thrive in the slightly cooler Spanish climate. Home gardeners may find that this tree is perfect for their yard, even if they don’t live in a tropical region.
5. Bearss Lemon
The Bearss lemon is one of the most widely grown commercial varieties in the United States. You have probably seen this classic, bright yellow lemon on the shelves of your local supermarket.
Bearss lemons have the juicy sour taste that most of us associate with common lemon varieties. They are prized for their fast growing time, high juice content, and thornless tree branches.
This variety is most widely grown in semi-tropical regions like Florida. But they can survive in cooler climates, provided they have special care. You may need to plant your Bearss lemon tree in a pot so you can move it indoors once the weather drops below freezing.
6. Dorshapo Lemon
The Dorshapo lemon is a mild, low-acid fruit that is related to the Eureka lemon. The most striking feature of this cultivar is its green skin, which might have people mistaking it for a lime.
The variety originated in the early 1900s. Unlike most lemon varieties, it has a very sweet, mild flavor, making it perfect for juicing and even eating raw.
The Dorshapo prefers warm, humid climates and thrives in USDA growing zones 8 through 10. Since it is not cold hardy, home gardeners who live in cooler climates may want to grow Dorshapo lemons indoors.
7. Lisbon Lemon
Lisbon lemons originated in Australia before making their way to California in the 1950s. Since then, they have maintained a strong foothold among California lemon producers, becoming one of the most popular varieties in the United States.
Lisbon lemons are prized for their large size and high juice content. They are beautiful on the tree, bright yellow in color and larger than many other cultivars. You have probably eaten one of these, as they can be found in almost any grocery store.
They are striking trees, with deep green foliage, bright yellow fruit, and stunning white springtime flowers.
8. Baboon Lemon
The Baboon lemon tree is native to Brazil, so it should come as no surprise that it prefers warm, humid climates. In fact, it is more heat resistant than some citrus varieties, though it still needs significant water to thrive.
This thick-skinned fruit is larger than average and has an intensely sour flavor with a lot of juice. Many people say that it tastes more like a lime to them than a lemon. While the fruit is found frequently throughout Brazil, it is not common in North America and may be hard to find if you want to grow it in your own garden.
9. Genoa Lemon
The Genoa lemon was developed in Italy and is still most commonly known there today. Unlike many types of lemons, this variety is fairly cold hardy and thrives in areas that are much cooler than the tropics.
Another unique feature of the Genoa lemon is that it grows on a shrub rather than a bush. This makes it ideal for smaller gardens. The shrubs grow very densely, making an ornamental bush that is extremely striking. In fact, many gardeners grow them for the view as well as for the fruit, which ripens very quickly, providing a fast harvest.
10. Ponderosa Lemon
The Ponderosa lemon tree is not a true lemon tree. Rather, it is a hybrid of a lemon and citron. This unusual citrus tree will definitely stick in your mind, not just because of its striking purple flowers, but also because it produces fruit that can grow up to five pounds.
Ponderosa lemon trees have many special needs and caring for them is an exact science. They thrive in climates like Florida and California and it can be extremely difficult to help them thrive anywhere cooler.
However, if you are willing to put in a lot of work, you may have success with these larger-than-life fruits.
11. Volkamer Lemon
Scientists aren’t exactly sure where the Volkamer lemon comes from. But they think it might be a hybrid between a lemon and a sour orange. With its orange flesh and skin, it is easy to mistake the Volkamer for an orange rather than a lemon.
This bitter lemon has an unusual but still pleasant flavor. Though it is not widely grown on a commercial scale, it has been used since the 1950s as a rootstock for more popular varieties. It has lower acid content than many lemon cultivars, with some people comparing it to a rough lemon or other Italian varieties like the Monachello.
12. Meyer Lemon
The Meyer lemon is a popular variety for home gardeners and commercial growers alike. This dependable citrus tree grows quickly, producing fruit in just two years under the right conditions.
Technically, the Meyer lemon is a hybrid citrus fruit that is a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange. The dwarf variety of the tree, introduced in the 1970s in California, is highly disease- and insect-resistant, making it a low-maintenance favorite of gardeners.
Meyer lemon trees produce fragrant white flowers tinged with purple. Their dwarf status means they reach a maximum of seven feet, perfect for small yards.
If all this talk about lemons has made you hungry (or thirsty), click here for recipes you can use lemons in.
How Long Does It Take a Lemon Tree To Bear Fruit?
The amount of time it takes a lemon tree to bear fruit depends not only on the growing conditions but especially on the variety. Most lemon trees take three to five years to produce fruit after planting, but there are varieties that take only a year or two.
How Big Does a Dwarf Lemon Tree Get?
The size of a dwarf lemon tree depends in part on the variety, but they generally grow between three and seven feet tall, making them a great choice for a small yard, greenhouse, or even indoor pot.
With So Many Types of Lemon Trees to Choose From, You’re Sure to Find a Favorite!
Growing your own lemons is a great way to experience the many citrus varieties that you’re not likely to find in the supermarket. To learn more about lemons (growing and care, cooking uses, etc) visit our Lemons hub page for more resources.