Choosing a Lemon

I have in my cart a Cara Cara, Midknight Valencia, Owari Satsuma, Gold Nugget, and I want to add a lemon tree too. I’m not sure which variety to get though; I’m tempted toward the Santa Teresa Femminello or Eureka. I believe the Meyer has mandarin lineage (please correct me if I’m wrong), so I don’t want a lemon which leans on that taste, if it does. I’m going to buy them from Four Wind Growers. Does anyone know what rootstock they use?

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Those all sound like great choices! I love my Meyer lemon, it’s really juicy and not as sour so terrific for low sugar lemonade, wonderful on salads, etc. The juice doesn’t hold up to cooking though.
Eureka is supposed to be a great traditional lemon, hopefully someone familiar with the Santa teresa will chime in!


I forgot to mention that I do want a lemon that is suitable for cooking and baking and making agua fresca. A squeeze onto pan fried fish; a lemon pound cake or tart; a cool drink when eating tacos.

Don’t get Improved Meyer, it’s too different from a normal lemon, to be used for what you want to use lemons for, and yes mandarin stands out a lot in it’s fruit


We love our Meyer lemon tree! It produces a ton of lemons every year. The previous owners planted it near a sidewalk and all of our neighbors are constantly asking to take a couple. There’s so many that they are always welcome.

I do not use lemons a lot in cooking, but when I have used these it’s turned out just fine. Due to their heritage they are a little bigger and a little juicer than your average lemon, so if you do need to juice it, it’s rather easy.

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You can go wrong with Santa Teresa, hard to find cuttings or trees. I think Madison nursery might have them.

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Also, since I’m planting them close to each other, and it appears that lemons contain seeds, will the other citrus develop seeds?

Actually, Mexican Lime has seeds and the orange tree I have so far doesn’t develop seeds.

I personally would go with ‘Santa Teresa’, based upon my research it sounds a lot like store bought lemons, with an even better scent, may possibly have more oil in the peel, and it’s a rare variety originating from Sicily.

I am guessing that you are looking to buy from ‘Madison Citrus Nursery’, or from ‘Four Winds Growers’ because both places has all of those.

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I snagged the Santa Teresa from Four Winds this past year because it had been on my list for so long and I’ve read such great things, and have been babying it until it can go outside in better weather (I see you are in 10b, so our situations are a little different). It is somewhat hard to find versus the others.

As far as Meyers go, I have grown and fruited them, made cocktails and pie with my little harvests…in my personal experience they are not that exciting, but I did love how mine would bloom over and over, which was great indoors in winter.

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having grown all manner of citrus many years while in the tropics, would love to do it all over again here in vegas, but sadly vegas isn’t hospitable to the citrus family.
Our winters are too cold for most species. You could protect the branches by adorning them with old-fashioned edison xmas lights, but if its too cumbersome, you can’t go wrong with meyer lemons. Where am situated in vegas, only meyers and calamondins go unscathed(unprotected) from die-back in winter. Oranges, grapefruits, limes, and other lemons shipped from california and sold by home depot here will often lose their branches after one or two winters. One won’t even need ‘dwarfing rootstock’ since our winters are naturally dwarfing due to recurrent dieback. Many will be much smaller(than their original size)after several years in vegas.
below is our tree-sized and fruitful meyer lemon enjoying the company of our prolific birds of paradise.

As a side-note on birds of paradise, it is not our winters that are lethal , but our summers – so our meyer lemon protects by casting dappled shade.
If citrus is hard to find in vegas neighborhoods, birds of paradise are even less common as they are often shipped from southern california with instructions categorically saying “full sun”. Which should instead be “full southern california sun”
Full sun in vegas is a death knell to many sub-tropicals

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I have a very good Meyer Lemon and after reading above glad I don’t have the Improved Meyers now. I see them at the nurseries loaded.

I also have a Yosemite Mandarin and man is it a good one. I liked it better than all the others I tried so far.

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It really depends on what you are growing, most citrus that is considered seedless, some may have a few seeds in most of their fruit, if they are cross pollinated with another variety or crossed with a different kind of citrus, some will not, and some would have plenty of seeds if cross pollinated, yet the likelihood of the plenty of seeds is rare. I would not worry about seeds.

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If you want a lemon, choose Eureka. If you an interspecific, then skip Eureka.

Hopefully we are not confusing you too much, Improved Meyer is a great variety of lemon, I make a great citrus pie with it’s lemons, although it tastes so different from a real lemon, and so much like a mandarin, especially if you let the lemons ripen until their peels are literally orange, so you can not use them in place of a lemon, and get a real lemon flavor, it’s zest is nothing like that of a real lemon.

It does peel surprisingly easy.

Unless you are making a ‘citrus aid’ or using it for other beverages/drinks it can be complicated adapting it to recipes for normal lemons, since it’s way sweeter, recipes wind up being much sweeter than a normal lemon, so it’s not just about a different taste than a normal lemon. In my citrus pie I added lemon extract, and pectin, and added more volume to the filling, which toned down the sweetness, and made it taste more towards real lemon. It can be a lot of work reworking recipes to make them work with Meyer lemons.

I ended up getting the Santa Teresa. Also, while I was talking to my dad, he mentioned a friend had HLB in his citrus tree and it had to be cut and destroyed. I looked into my area and found that I’m blocks away from a quarantine zone. So now I have an inspector coming in, not sure what day yet, to take samples from the three trees on my property. I’m hoping they come back negative. If not, I’ll have to cancel my order and won’t be able to grow citrus. Or if I do, I’ll have to look up a spraying schedule and hang sticky traps.

That is one major disadvantage to living in California, or Florida. I hope that they don’t find HLB, although chances are that it will spread to your area eventually, since you live so close to where the disease definitely is.

From what I’ve read, they seem to be somewhat successful in mitigating the spread. I mean it’s been here for almost a decade in Orange County. They’ve released a type of wasp that preys on the carriers—at least I think it was in California.

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They are using that wasp in California, in Florida, in Texas, and in Arizona. Only time can tell how well it works.

Maybe I’m remembering wrong, but all Meyers you can buy today are Improved Meyer. The originals were widely propagated from virus infected wood.

Yeah, it’s literally the same plant as the original, just propagated from wood without the virus.


How did Improved Meyer get in to the hybridization field? If this blog article is true, which it likely is, then chances are that Meyer Lemon, which now that I see that article was probably a lemon and orange hybrid originating from China, was later hybridized with mandarin, I say this because someone with a university was credited with hybridizing the original Meyer lemon with a mandarin, thus making improved Meyer. It can not be a coincidence that Meyer lemon peels like a mandarin, and tastes a lot like a mandarin. I did a lot of research in to Meyer lemon, unfortunately I have misplaced my research. I will try and find it. It does make sense that the disease could have been removed from an original Meyer lemon tree. Before the hybridization took place. Like @swincher thinks it was.