Have you ever heard of the sweet lemons? It is a variety of citrus that has a long tradition in our country, but that has gradually fallen into oblivion. To the point where, today, few are dedicated to its cultivation.
However, the lemon tree that bears this fruit is easy to care for and you can incorporate it both in an orchard and in a garden. In fact, this is one of those ideal trees to plant in a pot, so you can put it in any corner of your home. Let’s get to know him a little better!
What exactly is sweet lemon?
This is a fairly generic term that we use to refer to the citrus hybrids with pulp that have a low level of acidity. Said in a much simpler way, to talk about lemons that do not meet the most outstanding characteristic of this fruit: being acidic.
With them, the opposite happens to what we expect when we open a lemon, because its flesh turns out to be sweet. So the ideal is take it as if it were any other fruit. And we will not be able to apply it to other uses that we give to acid lemon, such as using it to dress salads or other types of dishes.
Its texture is also somewhat different from that provided by the classic lemon, so trying it turns out to be an experience for the senses.
A species in danger of extinction
The history of sweet lemons in Spain is not entirely clear. This variety is known to have been introduced to the peninsula by Muslims sometime between the 10th and 12th centuries. Historical references to this fruit have been found in the 18th century, but since then it has been forgotten.
In it Guadalhorce Valley up to three varieties of sweet lemon lemon trees are cultivatedbut the production does not reach the distribution chain, because it is not a fruit that is in demand in our country.
To this day, those who grow this tree do so more to maintain the tradition than because they really earn anything from it.
Internationally, this fruit has not had any better luck either. There is sweet lemon plant known as Ujukitsu which is native to Japan (it is a hybrid between grapefruit and tangerine), and its fruit ended up being known in the United States as “lemonade fruit”because of its sweet taste.
In the United States, this variety was propagated through the USDA Rio Farm, but the center was closed in the early 1980s and sweet lemons fell out of favor.
Characteristics of sweet lemons
This is a tree that It can reach up to 8 meters in height, although the Ujukitsu variety that we were talking about before is more of a plant type and measures between 0.5 and 1 meters. However, even its largest variety, It can be grown to a reduced size if proper pruning is done.
It is a tree that is characterized by having a cdense opa formed at the base of irregular branches. Its bark is white wood with a grayish color, and you have to be careful with it because the tree has hard thorns.
In spring it has some white flowers about three centimeters wide that stand out for their good aroma. From them the formation of the fruit will take place, which ripens between autumn and winter in places where the temperature is warm.
As regards the fruit, it has a shape that reminds us of a pear. With a thicker and more wrinkled skin than that of a sour lemon.
Planting and caring for sweet lemons
This tree can be planted through seeds, but it is also possible make a graft of one of its branches in another lemon tree. In any case, the care that must be provided is very similar to that needed by any other citrus tree.
the lemon tree prefers warm temperatures and loves to receive direct sun for a minimum of six hours a day.
It can be planted directly in the ground, although to control its growth it is better to put it in a large pot.
An important fact to keep in mind is that you can have sweet lemons indoors if you live in a cold area. Of course, try to place the pots in a place where the plants receive all the natural light they need to grow.
He soil has to be well drained, because this tree does not handle waterlogging of the roots well and could start to rot. In case you have it in a pot, make sure that the holes it has are enough to drain all the excess water.
Irrigation and fertilization
Regarding the frequency of watering, in spring and summer you should water it frequently, three to four times a week. But remember what we have said about flooding. It is better to irrigate more days, providing a moderate amount of water each time, than to water less frequently and providing much more water with each irrigation.
In autumn and winter, if you are in an area that receives regular rain, you can let the tree continue its normal life cycle with just this water. However, if you see that it does not rain, water it from time to time even if it is in the middle of winter.
A little fertilizer will make your sweet lemons even prettier and bear more fruit. In this case, just fertilize three times a year: in spring, summer and autumn. The amount depends on the state of the tree, but make sure it is a nutrient-dense compost.
If you take good care of this plant, you will have a tree at home that will offer you a fruit that will surprise you with its flavor and its multiple beneficial properties. I assure you that you will not be able to resist the charm of the sweet lemons. Are you lucky enough to have one at home? Tell us in the comments!