Lemon trees are a part of the citrus genus of plants, and are prized by home gardeners because of their lush green leaf and juicy, flavorful fruit. Two common varieties found in home gardens are the eureka orange tree (Citrus limon ‘Eureka’) along with also the Meyer orange tree (Citrus limon ‘Meyer’). While both make ideal plants for any Mediterranean landscape, they vary in many ways.
The Meyer lemon tree is indigenous to China, but was brought to North America over a century ago, and is thought to be a cross between a lemon tree along with some form of tangerine or orange tree. Eureka lemon trees originated in California from seeds that came from Sicily in the late 1850s.
Eureka lemon trees have been classed as true lemons, along with Lisbon lemon trees. Meyer lemon trees, on the other hand, aren’t classified as accurate lemons because they’re a hybrid, created in the crossing of a real lemon with a orange or tangerine cultivar.
Both Meyer and eureka lemon trees are hardy at U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 and higher, but Meyer lemon trees are more cold-hardy than eureka, which can be one of the least cold hardy lemon varieties. When temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the two varieties need protection through covering or even a nearby supply of heat to prevent cold damage.
Eureka lemon trees grow to between 10 and 20 feet tall, with a open and spreading growth habit. They are almost thornless with thin leaf compared to Meyer lemons. Meyer lemon trees are smaller, bushy trees that produce ideal container plants and have also been developed as hedges. Meyer lemon is just a self-pollinated tree that grows to about 10 feet tall.
Both varieties of lemon trees produce fruit year round when grown in warm climates, however, the period each tree indicates that the heaviest production differs. Eureka lemon trees produce fruit abundantly, with most fruit production occurring throughout the spring to summer months. Meyer lemon trees bear fruit mainly in fall to winter. Meyer lemons produce orange-yellow fruit that is thinner-skinned compared to the eureka lemons. They resemble a huge orange in shape, pulp and colour, over they do a true lemon. Eureka lemon trees produce oblong, juicy fruit that has a medium-gold color, and though the skin is thicker than Meyer lemons, it is softer. Meyer lemons are generally sweeter and less acidic than eureka.
Care and Maintenance
Meyer lemon trees are prized as ornamentals because they require little pruning. They also grow well in containers because of their relatively low-maintenance. Eureka lemon trees have less dense leaf, making the fruit more prone to sun and wind damage than Meyer lemons. Eureka lemon trees also need more care and monitoring because they’re more vulnerable than other lemon varieties to harm caused by insects and poor cultural practices, and are inclined to be shorter-lived as a result.