Eucalyptus lemon trees are a good choice for indoor and outdoor growth. The plants can withstand extreme conditions and require minimal maintenance. Leaves produce a scent-rich oil that has several benefits including acting as an insect repellent.
Eucalyptus lemon species is also known as the lemon-gum tree, lemon-scented gum, spotted gum, silver dollar tree, etc.
What is a eucalyptus lemon?
A eucalyptus lemon tree (Corymbia citriodora) is a tall, slender species native to Northwest Australia. The tree is popular for its scented oil, which has medicinal benefits.
The eucalyptus lemon bush does not belong to the citrus family. Instead, it has a close resemblance to eucalyptus and other members of the myrtle family. You can distinguish the species from other eucalyptus varieties by considering features such as the leaf size and shape, trunk size and color, etc.
The average height of a lemon eucalyptus tree ranges from 82–131 ft when grown outdoors. Indoor-grown trees are often shorter and their height can vary widely depending on the growing conditions. Mature trees have smooth pink trunks and copper-colored barks that continuously shed as the tree grows.
Fully grown leaves (3.1”-8.3” long and 1.3”-3.1” wide) have a glossy dark green shade and a lance-like shape characteristic of other eucalyptus trees. Although the species rarely produces flowers, blooming can occur after two tears with the main budding season starting from mid-winter to spring.
Eucalyptus lemon tree flowers appear as three buds on the leaf axis while fruits (0.31”-0.59” long and 0.28”-0.47” across) have a hard woody exterior with several seeds inside.
How to start a eucalyptus lemon bush
You can grow a eucalyptus lemon bush indoors, outdoors, as an annual or perennial plant. The species have a relatively long lifespan; if grown under the right conditions your eucalyptus lemon bush can reach considerable heights.
A common means of propagating eucalyptus lemon bushes are seeds and cuttings. You can readily purchase the seeds online or at reputable dealers (price varies depending on the packet size, location, and overhead costs).
Here’s how to grow your lemon gum tree from seeds
- Prepare a small growing tray or pot. An ideal growing pot should be about 2″- 3.5″ deep with drainage holes. Fill in the space with a moist, fertile, and well-drained growing medium.
- Carefully place your seed at the middle, and push it roughly 1/8” beneath the growing surface.
- Water the soil (keeping it moist but not soggy). It’s also recommended to keep the growing pot under warm conditions for quicker germination.
Eucalyptus lemon tree seeds take about 14-21 days to germinate. The plant produces two primary leaves, after a month. Once the seed germinates, maintain a regular watering schedule while exposing your plant to adequate light.
The seeds can take 12-14 weeks before they are ready for transplanting. After the plant reaches 4-6 inches, carefully transplant your young tree to a larger container or outdoors depending on your intended purpose.
You can also grow eucalyptus lemon bush from cuttings. However, the process is more challenging and might require additional investments in mist propagation units or micropropagation facilities.
Here’s how to grow a eucalyptus lemon bush from cuttings:
- Prepare your tree cuttings during June/July months. Ideal cuttings should be about 4” long and have at least one budding leaf. Keep your cuttings covered to prevent moisture loss.
- Dip the cuttings in a root hormone solution for about 10-15 seconds. The hormone allows for quick, strong, and healthy root formation which can be essential when dealing with cuttings.
- Fill a sizable container with perlite (a volcanic glass that absorbs water) and position your cuttings within the pot while keeping the rooted section covered. Perlite allows for moisture retention which aids in root development.
- Cover your cuttings with a plastic bag and position the pot in a warm location. Eucalyptus lemon tree cuttings prefer indirect sunlight and temperature ranges of 80℉-90℉ for effective root formation.
It’s essential to keep your rooting medium moist during the propagation period. Roots may begin to appear after 4-6 weeks depending on prevailing conditions. You can transplant your cutting to growing containers after the roots measure about ½” in length.
You can also opt for other rooting mediums such as vermiculite, water, or sand. A mixture of ⅓ loam soil, ⅓ perlite, and ⅓ peat moss is also ideal when trying to reduce the effects of fluoride burn on young eucalyptus lemon tree cuttings.
Once your cuttings are ready, place your trees inadequate light to promote growth. It might take a while for transplanted plants to adjust to new conditions, but with proper care, they should continue growing after a few weeks.
How to care for lemon eucalyptus
Lemon eucalyptus trees are hardy plants that can tolerate a diverse range of conditions. However, the plants have specific care needs for optimum growth. Key issues to consider include water, light, soil type, and fertilizer usage.
The care requirements for lemon eucalyptus trees include
Lemon eucalyptus trees prefer warm temperatures averaging 25℉-40℉. The plants are susceptible to winter damage ( and you might have to move or cover young trees during the winter months).
The plant’s leaves are vulnerable to cold weather damage; an irreversible condition that could result in leaf loss and overall deterioration of your tree.
Lemon eucalyptus trees require little water to survive. The plants are especially well adapted to growing under drought conditions but prefer a subtropical climate.
Water your tree about once a week in warm months, and less frequently during the cooler months. Lemon gum trees need about 1-2 gallons per watering although the quantity varies on the tree’s size, location, and humidity.
Eucalyptus lemon trees are vulnerable to overwatering. It’s best to only water your tree after the top portion of the soil appears dry. The trees can take up copious amounts of water within a short time so it’s best to water them less frequently and with more water. Always allow excess water to drain completely between waterings.
Eucalyptus lemon bush trees prefer a humidity of about 40% which is ideal for most growing locations. However, high temperatures and reduced humidity can cause the tree’s leaves to wilt, yellow, and curl.
It’s best to occasionally mist your tree’s leaves during summer and other warm months to keep your tree healthy and to prevent early leaf loss.
However, excessive humidity can also damage the leaves causing yellowing and other undesirable symptoms; try to maintain a balance by adjusting the location of your plants according to their humidity requirements.
Lemon gum trees prefer growing in well-drained, slightly acidic soils. You can choose to grow your trees on sandy or loamy soils depending on the plant’s location, moisture, and temperature needs. In soggy soils, this plant may suffer from overwatering.
An ideal pH for growing a eucalyptus lemon bush ranges from 5.1-5.6 on the scale. High alkalinity levels inhibit the intake of essential nutrients such as calcium and magnesium from the soil affecting the plant’s growth rate and health.
It’s always best to first test the soil pH before transplanting your eucalyptus lemon bush.
Eucalyptus lemon bush requires the occasional application of potassium-rich fertilizers. The best time to apply new fertilizer is during the spring/summer months when the plant is inactive growing season.
You can opt for different NPK ratios including using a 10-10-10 fertilizer. The trees might also require annual sulfur and (10-30g) borax supplements during spring if grown under indoor conditions.
You can also go for organic slow-release fertilizers (low in phosphorus) as an alternative to chemical products. Eucalyptus lemon trees have minimal fertilizer needs which make them an ideal choice for indoor growing.
Eucalyptus lemon bush requires constant exposure to light. Young trees require about 8-10 hours of exposure to continuous light, especially when grown under indoor conditions.
You can choose to place your growing container on a south-facing window, or move the plants outside during the summer and spring months when the tree is actively growing.
The plants can also tolerate low light but might have a reduced growth rate compared to those under full light conditions. You can also leave your plant outside if conditions are mild and accomodating.
The Lemon gum tree has several benefits for its owner. The plant’s leaves produce a strong lemon-like smell when touched, leaving your indoor space feeling fresh and clean when grown indoors. You can also grow the tree as an ornamental plant on your garden, home, patio, etc.
Eucalyptus lemon tree oil has medicinal and insect repellent properties that can help keep your home free from mosquitoes and other annoying insects.
Here are some of the key benefits of growing a eucalyptus lemon bush
- Its oil helps to reduce muscle spasms, toenail fungi, joint pain, and chest congestion.
- Acts as an insect repellent by preventing mosquito and tick bites.
- Has ornamental properties
- Easy to propagate and maintain