Rounder, darker in color and with a sweeter taste than its more acidic relative, the Meyer lemon probably began as a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange. The tree’s small stature, usefulness and attractive appearance make it popular in containers and in Miami gardens.
When planted outdoors, the Meyer lemon grows to between 6 and 10 feet in height, with a softly rounded crown composed of glossy, dark green leaves. New leaves and leaf shoots are purple. The flowers are white with purple bases and sweetly scented. The fruits are less elongated than traditional lemons and often ripen to a pale orange tint.
The Meyer lemon enjoys well-drained soils, full sun and regular watering during the summer months. Avoid overly damp locations to prevent root rot. Prune in late winter to remove any low-growing suckers or rubbing branches.
The subtle flavor and tender rind of Meyer lemons have made them a favorite with professional chefs and home cooks alike. The Meyer lemon is popular in culinary circles because of its versatility. Use them to create seafood, poultry or pasta dishes or to construct extravagant cocktails and sumptuous desserts. The Meyer lemon is a must-have for any amateur gourmet.