The Lemon Myrtle is a wonderful evergreen native tree that belongs in your garden for its amazing citrus scent. Although it grows naturally in coastal rainforest areas in Queensland and New South Wales it has adapted well to cooler climates as long as it isn’t subject to frost when young. In its native habitat it can grow to over 20 metres (66 feet) but in cultivation it would normally only grow to 5-8 metres (16-26 feet). Regular, light, tip pruning after 1 to 2 years will keep it bushy and prevent it from reverting into a large tree.
You can enjoy the leaves for their wonderful lemony flavour. Use to flavour seafood, chicken or vinaigrettes by adding at the end of cooking to capture the lemony oils. Add to boiling water and allow to infuse for a refreshing herbal tea. In summer through to autumn the clusters of white flowers with fluffy stamens are a favourite nectar source for butterflies, birds, beetles and bees.
The seeds are contained in a nut-like capsule and are retained until the whole fruit falls from the tree. According to the Australian National Botanic Gardens the best form of propagation is from tip cuttings in March. As the Lemon Myrtle is a rainforest tree grow it in light shade especially in hotter areas, for best results. The soil should be rich with humus, moist and well mulched. Can be grown in pots or kept trimmed as hedges.