There are two citrus trees that are often seen in NZ. These trees often grow in a river valley surrounded by hills on either side and a harbour at the entrance of the valley. The climate is in the temperate zone and although it does not have a hot climate here, some citrus trees grow well in New Zealand. For a more detailed guide on how to grow citrus trees, click here.
Many homes in NZ have a lemon tree growing in their backyard. The most common variety is the Lemon Meyer variety which grows lemons all year round as opposed to other citrus trees which fruit only over 2 to 4 month period. Lemon trees need fertiliser – a small amount but frequently but less during winter which is the winter period.
Perhaps ancestors grew lemon trees because they were near to the sea with fish readily available by surf casting or fishing off a jetty or boat. For example, our neighbour visits us regularly to get lemons from the lemon tree branches hanging over into our property. The first fruit tree I planted was a lemon tree.
Lemons are not only commonly used with fish but are used in Asian cooking and in desserts, adding the tang and tartness to offset the sweetness of a dessert. Hot lemon drinks are also commonly used to avoid winter chills and soothe sore throats.
Established lemon trees are often seen in Aotearoa around 2-3 metres tall and wide. They are often placed in the front lawn area or a back yard
Lime trees are of a similar size to that of a lemon tree but they are a fussier plant to grow and maintain. They can sometimes be a little smaller than lemons.
The limes are not harvested all year but for a small period of time in winter.
The fruit is green and often lightens in colour, sometimes to a pale yellow. Limes have the same nutritional value as lemons.