The Variegated Pink lemon tree or variegated/pink-fleshed Eureka lemon is a unique lemon cultivar that is growing in popularity. Technically an evergreen, the variegated Eureka lemon is a flowering plant that produces unique, delicious, and prized fruits with numerous uses.
The plant is highly valued for its decorative appearance that brings an unmatchable look to any lawn or garden. The fruit of the tree are renowned for their unique flavor that sets them apart. Like other citrus, it may need some extra protection against winter frost. But with basic care, this variety will flourish in your garden and bear deliciously one-of-a-kind fruit.
History of the Variegated Pink Lemon Tree
The original variegated pink lemon tree was discovered as a bud sport on a Eureka lemon tree in 1931 in a private garden in Burbank, California. A bud sport is part of a plant that has significant morphological variety from the rest of the plant.
Different bud sports may have distinct colors, shapes, flowers, branch structure, and more caused by chance genetic mutations. In cases like the Variegated pink lemon tree, the variant is worth preserving, so gardeners propagate it. Numerous other fruits began as bud sports, including green grapes, blood oranges, red and pink grapefruits, nectarines, and many apples.
Tree / Fruit Characteristics
This cultivar features a striking green-striped rind until ripe, surrounding tender pink flesh. The tree is a medium-sized citrus plant that grows well in the ground or containers. Gardeners and landscapers delight in the pink Eureka lemon for its gorgeous foliage and striped fruits. The plant’s leaves are also striped.
The lemon’s flesh is pink but juice is mostly clear with only a pink tint. The fruit has a milder flavor than most lemons so that it could practically be eaten by itself (in fact, some gardeners like to do just that!). Harvest when fruits are still striped for a tangy flavor. If you want mellower lemons, wait until these stripes disappear. The tree’s growing season starts in October-November and continues until April.
Gardeners who live in USDA zones 8 through 11 can grow the Variegated Pink lemon tree without issue. For growers in northern planting zones, the plant can be grown in a container on casters to be brought inside when the weather begins to cool. These trees are resistant to drought and adapt well to many soil types.
Size and Spacing
The Variegated Pink lemon tree is a beautiful tree that adapts well to most landscapes. Many gardeners love it for its ornamental appeal. Since they are dwarf trees, they can be included in your landscaping without crowding out other trees or shrubs. At full height, a pruned tree stands at eight feet and six to eight feet wide. They are moderately fast growers that can bear fruit within the first year.
The Variegated Pink lemon tree self-fertilizes, meaning you can harvest fruit with just one tree. Adding more pink Eureka trees can help improve your crop’s yield tremendously, but one will grow fruits by itself without issue.
If you plant your trees in containers to bring them indoors, you can pollinate them by hand. Use a fine-tipped brush to access the center of a bloom, swirling the brush to collect its pollen. Then repeat this process at every other bloom. You can repeat this daily to help improve results further.
The Variegated Pink lemon tree is a relatively easy, low-maintenance tree for gardeners of all skill levels. Make sure to plant your pink Eureka lemon in loose soil full of vital nutrients and minerals.
If you want to plant your tree in a container, make sure it is no smaller than 41 cm (16 inches) wide. You are most likely to find trees sold to be between two and three years old, early enough in their lifespan for easy replanting but late enough that you will not wait too long for fruit.
Loosen soil to twice the width and depth of your tree’s root ball when planting in the ground. You need to backfill with enough soil to keep the plant sitting evenly with the ground. Make sure you keep soil loose when refilling.
As you set the plant into the hole, make sure you backfill around the roots with a gentle hand. Finish up by watering your tree. Keeping it well-watered as it acclimates to its new home is essential.
Your lemon tree will need at least eight hours of sunshine each day, so take this into account when planting. It can receive more than this if you like, though it is fine if it spends much of the day in partial sun.
Your Variegated Pink lemon tree will likely want to be watered weekly. In hot weather, you may need to water twice a week. Let the top couple of inches of soil completely dry before you water any more to avoid overwatering. (This is especially vital with trees in containers; less so for those in-ground.)
You can stick your finger below the surface if you are unsure whether the soil is totally dry. Be sure to use citrus fertilizer in the early spring or even late winter to ensure your tree has sufficient nutrients for the growing season.
Prune your variegated pink lemon tree annually. You should prune and train the tree back to five or six bearing limbs in its first few years of life. Any smaller growth on the interior of the tree can be removed to improve airflow between branches. Regardless, make sure to cut out any dead or diseased growth as soon as possible.
Thankfully, Eureka lemons are not prone to many pests or diseases, but you should always watch out. When pruning your tree, take the opportunity to give an extra careful look for any evidence of damaging insects and other pests.
Common Uses For The Fruit
One common use for Pink Variegated lemon fruits is in cocktails, juices, and other drinks. People often use pink Eureka lemons to garnish desserts, salads, and seafood. The fruit is good for pink lemonade because it is sweeter and less acidic than other varieties. These lemons also have fewer seeds than normal Eureka lemons, making them a bit simpler to use in various dishes.
What Do Pink Variegated Lemons Taste Like?
Fruits that are harvested earlier have striped rinds and have a robust tart flavor. Later on, as rinds lose their stripes, the fruits become much milder. The fruits are packed with juice that adds delicious flavor to innumerable dishes and drinks.
Like many other varieties of lemon, you can use this variety in many types of cooking. Lemons are most popularly incorporated in baking recipes like breads, cakes, and pies, or used in sauces and glazes. They are also a great choice to pair with meat, fish, or pasta dishes.
Bear in mind that the Pink Variegated lemon is sweeter and milder than other varieties, so it may not provide the same level of sharp tanginess to your dishes.
Pink Variegated lemons are known for having a milder flavor than other varieties. This is true especially as the fruit ripens and the rind loses its characteristic stripes. Many gardeners enjoy eating lemons right from the tree, striped or not. While the fruit is likely to be too sour for many, it is not uncommon for many people to enjoy the flavor all on its own.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Lemons do not lend themselves well to drying, but they are delicious when canned or preserved in other ways. They are often made into jams, jellies, and curd. You can also freeze them, either sliced or whole, so you can enjoy them even during the winter months.
There are countless recipes that use lemon juice or zest to add an acidic note. If you want to incorporate Pink Variegated lemons in your kitchen, try this eggless lemon plum cake.
Health Benefits of Pink Variegated Lemons
Pink Eureka lemons are a rich source of vitamin C but are lower in other essential nutrients. The fruits are also much higher in citric acid than either lime or grapefruit, and far more than amounts found in oranges. While there is no evidence that lemon oil aromatherapy affects the human immune system, some evidence indicates that it may help relaxation.
Where To Buy Pink Variegated Lemon Trees?
You can purchase Variegated Pink lemon trees from certified growers like Nature Hills. This gives you all the insight you need into how your tree was cared for. This means you can start harvesting your own Pink Variegated lemons in a year or less!
Where To Buy Pink Variegated Lemons
Pink variegated lemons are sold throughout the year in California and the Western United States. They can often be found at local farmers’ markets and grocery store produce sections. Pink variegated lemons can also be ordered online. (Florida, Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Hawai’i all prohibit the shipment of citruses.)
The Pink Variegated lemon is one of the most popular cultivars for many reasons. From the fruit’s distinctive, colorful appearance to its dense foliage and charming size, it continues to grow in popularity. Gardeners love how easy it is to care for and how quickly it produces fruit.
The Pink Variegated lemon is a rewarding fruit tree for any gardener looking to harvest fruit at home without endless pruning, fertilizing, and pesticide application. Whether you consider it for decoration or your own personal fruit farm, the Pink Variegated lemon is liable to grow on you.
Other Lemon Trees on Minnetonka Orchards