garden tips

Seedless Lisbon Lemon Tree

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Posted By John Pearson

Grow lemons on the patio and enjoy the sight and scent of indoor winter blooms with this container-sized Lisbon Lemon tree. Productive, commercial variety that is more tolerant of heat, cold, and wind than other lemons. Fruit can be harvested year-round in most areas. Evergreen. Full sun. To about 10 feet, or clip to shape. Grafted on dwarf rootstock, so makes great container plant on porch, patio, or indoors. Large yellow fruit with nice tart flavor.
Blooms and fruits throughout the year, but main crop of fruit occurs in winter and early spring. Everbearing and seedless, the Lisbon Lemon Tree is larger and more thorny than eureka lemons with medium skin thickness. Once tree reaches fruit-bearing age, has lemons on tree nearly year round. Can be grown indoors in extreme winter areas. To only about 8 to 10 feet if not clipped, or easily pruned to shape.
The Lisbon lemon is what you want if you’re looking for the type of lemon found in the grocery store. High-acid fruit develops well without high temperatures and the tree is vigorous in many areas. The fruit of the Lisbon Lemon Tree is popular of all citrus because it is so easy to grow, its wide application as a flavoring in foods and drinks and it is very popular as a diet food since it only contains about 20 calories per fruit.


‘Lisbon’ originated in Portugal, possibly as a selection of ‘Gallego’; reached Australia in 1824; first cataloged in Massachusetts in 1843; introduced into California about 1849 and cataloged there in 1853; introduced into California from Australia in 1874 and again in 1875. The fruit is almost identical to ‘Eureka’; oblong, prominently nippled, peel yellow, barely rough, faintly pitted, sometimes slightly ribbed, medium-thick, tightly clinging; pulp pale greenish-yellow, fine-grained, tender, juicy, very acid, with few or no seeds. Main crop is in February, second crop in May. Fruit is borne inside the canopy, sheltered from extremes of heat and cold. Tree is large, vigorous, thorny, prolific, and resistant to cold, heat, wind.
Lemon trees can grow up to 20 feet, but they are usually smaller, especially if container grown. The branches are thorny, and form an open crown and the leaves are green, shiny. Flowers and ripe fruits can be found at the same time. Lemon fruit are oval-shaped with a pointed tip at the end. When ripe, the lemon fruit have a bright yellow skin with a paler yellow segmented interior.
Even if there were no fruit at all, this evergreen would be attractive enough to grow as an ornamental. The leaves are lush and glossy, the small white flowers (arising indoors in late winter, just when the house needs some color and scent!) are intensely fragrant, and the habit is upright and well-branched. Depending on the size container and pruning you give it, this tree could reach 8 feet high and 10 feet wide, but can also be kept smaller.

Frequently Asked Questions

I know the Eureka and Lisbon will do good, but which one will be better? For lemonade, eating fresh, and to have a container. I know about the Meyer lemon, but I think it might be too sweet for lemonade or for my tea, but would make a good container tree.
Lisbons seem to be a little less leggy and more compact in their growth. They are supposed to be more tolerant of heat (good for where you are) and cold compared to Eureka. Also, I have read that Eurekas have a comparatively shorter lifespan. Some like these true lemons better – many think they are better for cooking/seasoning, but some people just love those Meyers. One drawback compared to Eureka that doesn’t bother lots of people lots if sharp thorns. You could just cut them off.

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