The Q&A Archives: Lemon Tree

Question: When I was in Italy, I noticed that they had lemons that were different from those in the United States. These lemons had a very thick rind and very small inner fruit and the Italians called these "Eating Lemons". The edible portion of the fruit was the rind and not the inner fruit. Can you give me some insight as to where I can purchase this type of tree and the care and feeding of same?

Answer: You may be looking for the citrus 'Ponderosa'. It's a novelty and bears huge, rough lemons with thick, coarse skin. Two-pound fruits are not unusual from this 8-10 foot tree. There's a dwarf variety as well. Since it's a novelty, you may have to special order from your local nursery. As with all citrus, plant in full sun, in rich, well-draining soil, and mulch with several inches of organic matter to help keep roots cool and moist. New trees won't need fertilizing, but mature trees should be fed with about one-pound of actual nitrogen per year; one third in late winter, one third in June, and one third in late August.

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