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CITRUS limon 'Ponderosa'

Image of Citrus limon 'Ponderosa'

James H. Schutte



Botanical Name

CITRUS limon 'Ponderosa'

Plant Common Name

Lemon, Ponderosa Lemon

General Description

Puckery, cold lemonade and tart, sweet pies are modern pleasures made from the fruits of Citrus limon or lemon trees. However, lemons have been used for centuries and prized for their medicinal qualities. The true origin of lemons is unknown, but most likely from the northwestern reaches of India. The trees have moved with civilization and burgeoning transportation routes around the globe. It is said Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds with him to Hispaniola in 1493, and it was among the first fruits Spaniards introduced to St. Augustine, Florida.

Lemon ‘Ponderosa’ trees are medium to small, evergreen and have sharp thorns on their branches and twigs. The fragrant leaves are elliptical to oval and often have winged petioles (leaf stems). The flowers are born throughout the year. Solitary or a few grouped flower buds are produced in the leaf axils (joint between the leaf and stem). The flower buds are red to purple-hued opening to reveal white, fragrant blooms. Most lemons are grafted on to rootstocks which impart tolerances to local soils, pests and climate conditions as well as preserving the desired varietal characteristics.

The ‘Ponderosa’ is very ornamental and it produces enormous lemons with buff-colored, seedy flesh. The trees are small, open and are somewhat weak. An ever-bearing cultivar, it has fruit throughout the year once it reaches bearing age.

Lemon trees are more cold sensitive than other citrus. They prefer warm, dry winters, cool summers and can only tolerate a few degrees below freezing for a few hours. They require full sun and are tolerant of most soil conditions, even poor soils, as long as it is very well drained. The trees are somewhat drought tolerant once established, but must have regular applications of water for good fruit production. Citrus trees are heavy feeders and require regular applications of fertilizer. Lemons ripen individually and are harvested by hand as the fruits mature.

No backyard orchard in subtropical and tropical zones is complete without at least one variety of a prolific-bearing and long-lived lemon. Lemons make great tub or conservatory specimens where not hardy. Grow ‘Ponderosa’ lemons in home orchards or landscapes for the beautiful foliage, exceptional, large fruit and many pitchers full of real lemonade, all from one ripe lemon.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    4'-15' / 1.2m - 4.6m

  • Width

    5'-15' / 1.5m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time


  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Red, Purple

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Green, Gray Green, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Houseplant, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing