How to Grow Lemon Myrtle

Written by megan shoop | 13/05/2017
How to Grow Lemon Myrtle
Lemon myrtle smells like lemons due to high levels of citral oil. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Lemon myrtle, a native of Australia, thrives in a warm, semi-arid climate. These fragrant trees produce white, feathery flower clusters in the spring, along with glossy, ovoid leaves. You can crush its mature leaves to produce a strong lemon fragrance or distil them to make lemon myrtle oil. Not only does lemon myrtle add vibrant citrus notes to food, the scent of the trees repels mosquitoes and other biting insects.

Choose a planting spot that receives about six hours of full sun per day. Lemon myrtle also needs moist, well-drained soil, so inclines or sandy soils work best for this plant. Choose between an incline and sandy soil -- both would make it too difficult to keep the soil moist.

Dig a hole for your lemon myrtle seedling that is about as deep and three times as wide as the root ball. For instance, a tree with an 18-inch-long, 12-inch-wide root ball requires a hole about 18 inches deep and 3 feet wide. This ensures that the roots won't be crowded and prevents them from wrapping around each other.

Line the hole with rich potting soil. Mix equal parts potting soil and compost with the soil from the hole. This gives the lemon myrtle plenty of food for lots of fast, first-year growth. The better the root system, the better the flowers and foliage.

Remove the tree from its growing pot and crumble the soil away from the roots, gently untangling them as best you can. Set the tree into the hole, spreading the roots out in a weblike pattern.

Cover the roots with the soil-compost mixture and tamp it down firmly to hold the tree in place, but don't hard pack it.

Mulch the tree with about 1 inch of mature compost and water it with about 3 gallons of water.

Water your new tree every three days until it reaches about 4 feet in height, then reduce watering to dry spells only. Mulch it with fresh compost once a month.

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Rich potting soil
  • Mature compost

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