Bush Lemon - Citrus limon
Bush Lemon - Citrus limon
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Bush Lemon - Citrus limon

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The Bush Lemon (Citrus limon) grows wild in subtropical Australia. They have a thick rough skin with a true lemon flavour.

It grows to approx. 4m and is a bushy, small tree, with glossy dark green leaves.

The fruit is oval shaped with a rough skin, and is produced all year round if conditions are suitable.  They are slightly bigger than most smooth-skinned varieties and are VERY juicy. The skin of the fruit is thick and is very good for lemon zest in cooking. 

Lemons like a warm climate but are hardy to frost. They grow well in sub-tropical and warm temperate climates and coastal climates in cooler areas with a minimum of care.

Propagation by seed is not difficult and young trees will generally produce fruit in their third year of growth.  Self pollinating, 1 plant required.  Important for citrus is to never grow it in the middle of the lawn, with grass right up to the trunk and expect it to do well as the grass competes for water and nutrients, and releases allelopathic chemicals into the soil that diminish the vigour of the tree.

Soak seed in warm water for approx. 2hrs prior to sowing.  Sow 5mm deep in Spring, using quality seedling medium.  Germination is approx. 8 weeks. 

Once the seedling is established, a fertile, well-drained soil with a pH between 6 - 8 is best. Citrus are vulnerable to root-rot so care must be taken to avoid badly drained areas. For the permanent growing site choose a sunny position with shelter from strong winds.

Citrus trees are very hungry feeders with high requirements for trace elements, a seaweed fertiliser can be used regularly as a spray to provide these nutrients.  Fertilise citrus trees in April/May and always water the tree well after fertilising. Never place fertiliser close to the trunk or in heaps, spread it as evenly as possible to just past the drip-line of the tree. Compost or animal manures can be used starting with approx. 4kg for a 1 year old tree to 20kg for a mature 8 year old tree. 

It is best to prune the tree in June or July before the spring buds develop in frost-free areas. In frost affected areas delay pruning until after the last frost. Remove dead or damaged branches, branches growing inwards and very low branches to improve air circulation.

5 seeds per packet