Lemon-Scented Myrtle Tree: Accurate Guide

by Australian Flowers

Learning about the Lemon-scented Myrtle Tree is a great start to know if you want to add this excellent Australian native to your garden!

Let’s dive in and learn about the Lemon Myrtle!

About The Lemon Myrtle

The lemon-scented myrtle tree is native to Australia and is related to the eucalyptus. The tree grows up to 20 feet tall and has a strong lemon scent. The leaves are used to make teas, oils, and perfumes. Lemon-scented myrtle trees can be grown in containers or on the ground.

Lemon myrtle trees need full sun and well-drained soil. They are drought-tolerant and do not like wet feet. Lemon myrtle trees can be propagated from seed, cuttings, or division.

Origins and History of Lemon-Scented Myrtle Tree

Lemon-Scented Myrtle Tree

The lemon-scented myrtle tree is native to the wet subtropical and tropical areas of eastern Australia. European settlers first described it in 1788, who noted its Lemon-like scent. The tree has since been widely cultivated for its essential oils, which are used in various products, including perfumes, soaps, and candles.

The lemon-scented myrtle tree is a member of the Myrtaceae family, which includes other well-known trees such as eucalyptus, clove, and gum trees. The scientific name for the Lemon-scented myrtle tree is Backhousia citriodora, and it is also sometimes referred to as Lemon myrtle, Lemon-scented ironwood, or Lemon-scented backhouse.

Lemon Myrtle Uses

Have you ever wondered why there are a lot of uses for the lemon-scented myrtle tree? Did you know that this versatile tree can be used for culinary purposes and for its fragrant oil and leaves? In this article, we’ll explore all the different ways you can use Lemon Myrtle.

Here are some brief discoveries about the uses of the Lemon Myrtle Tree:

Cosmetics and Perfumes

Cosmetics and perfume, as you know, would not exist without the Lemon-Scented Myrtle tree. We have these beautiful scents because of the Lemon Myrtle tree. The Aboriginals first discovered it using the Lemon Myrtle tree for medicinal purposes.

The Lemon-scented Myrtle tree has a unique smell that is Lemon Myrtle-scented. The Lemon Myrtle tree is also known as the Broad-leaved Tea Tree, Lemon Scented Ironwood, Lemon Scented Tea Tree, and Lemon Tea Tree.

Culinary Aromatics

Cooking food is one of the most popular ways to enjoy Lemon Myrtle. The strong citrus fragrance and flavour are a refreshing change to many recipes. It can be used as a herb or spice in sweet or savoury dishes and is a versatile ingredient that compliments fish, poultry, lamb, beef, vegetables, pasta, grains, baked goods, desserts, and more. Lemon Myrtle can be used fresh, dried, or ground into a powder.

To use Lemon-scented Myrtle leaves, remove the stem and add the leaves to your recipe. If you are using dried Lemon Myrtle, rehydrate the leaves by soaking them in warm water for 10 minutes. Lemon Myrtle powder can be added to recipes as is, or it can be combined with water to create a Lemon Myrtle paste.

Medical Uses

The lemon-scented myrtle tree has a long history of use in traditional Aboriginal medicine. The leaves were used to treat colds, flu, and skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema and chickenpox. Lemon myrtle oil is now commercially available and is used in aromatherapy.

European settlers in the 1800s first used it as a lemon-scented alternative to quinine. Lemon myrtle oil is now commercially available and is used in aromatherapy.

Cleaning and Personal Hygiene

Lemon myrtle trees are highly effective in cleaning the air and environment. They produce a Lemon Myrtle essential oil with antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. This makes it an excellent natural disinfectant.

To clean with Lemon Myrtle essential oil, add a few drops to a spray bottle of water and use it to clean surfaces in your home. You can add Lemon Myrtle oil to your laundry cycle or Diffuser to freshen your home.

Sustainably Grown Australian Botanicals

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora)

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) is a rainforest tree. The Lemon Myrtle tree is indigenous to the subtropical rainforests of central and south-eastern Queensland, Australia. The Lemon Myrtle tree can grow up to 20 metres high in the wild but is usually smaller when grown in cultivation, around 8 metres.

When crushed, the Lemon Myrtle tree has smooth white bark and elliptical leaves with a lemon aroma. White flowers appear in spring and summer.

Lemon Myrtle Growing Conditions

The growing condition of this plant is that it should be in a pot, and Lemon Myrtle prefers moist but well-drained soil in a sunny to the part-shaded position.

Lemon Myrtle is also known as the Lemon Scented Myrtle, Lemon Scented Ironwood and Lemon Tea Tree. The botanical name for this product is Backhousia citriodora.


The soil should be rich, with a pH of 6-7. Lemon myrtle trees thrive in well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider adding some compost or peat moss to improve drainage.


The light exposure that your lemon myrtle tree gets is essential for its growth. Lemon myrtles need full sun to partial shade, which means they should get at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. If you live in an area with hot summers, you may want to provide some afternoon shade for your tree.

How To Grow Lemon Myrtle

If you’re interested in planting this wonderful Lemon Myrtle tree, also known as backhousia citriodora, this guide is for you.

From Seed

If you are planting it from seed, sow the lemon-scented myrtle tree seeds in spring or summer. Lemon myrtle trees are easy to grow from seed but can take up to 18 months to germinate. To speed up the process, soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting. Fill a pot with a well-draining potting mix and sow three to four seeds per pot. Place the jars in a warm, sunny spot and moisten the soil. Once the seedlings have germinated, thin out the weakest seedlings so that only the strongest remain.

From Cuttings

For planting it from cuttings, take 10-15cm (4-6in) softwood cuttings from the current season’s growth in late spring or early summer. Lemon-scented myrtle grows best in sandy, well-drained soils in a sunny position but will tolerate most soil types provided they are not waterlogged. It is also drought and frost tolerant.

Plant the cuttings in pots filled with premium seed-raising mix. Place the pot in a sheltered, shady spot and keep the mixture moist but not wet. When new growth appears, transplant it into larger pots or plant it directly into the garden.

Growing Lemon Myrtle In A Pot

Growing lemon myrtle in a pot

I know what you are thinking: how do you get a tree to grow in a pot? Lemon myrtle trees are perfect for pots. They don’t mind being root-bound and can survive on very little water.

The key to growing lemon myrtle in a pot is to ensure that the bank is big enough. Lemon myrtle trees can grow up to three meters tall, so make sure you choose a pot at least 60 centimetres in diameter. Lemon myrtle trees also like to be in full sun, so if you are growing them indoors, make sure they are in a bright spot.

Lemon Myrtle Care

Caring for this beautiful plant is simple and easy. Lemon myrtle prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Once established, it is quite drought tolerant. Lemon myrtle can be pruned to shape as needed and is generally pest and disease free. This plant can be used as a specimen or mass planted in the landscape. It is also beautiful in containers. Lemon myrtle can be used fresh or dried in cooking and has a strong lemon scent.

Here is some guidance for you to make sure it’s healthy and growing beautifully:


The Lemon Myrtle Tree is a hardy tree that can withstand long periods of drought; however, it will produce more leaves and be more fragrant if given a deep watering once a week. Using a hose or watering can saturate the ground around the tree’s base to water your tree. Be sure not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.


Lemon myrtle trees respond well to pruning and can be trimmed to shape or size. To encourage dense growth, prune young trees regularly. Established lemon myrtle trees can be lightly pruned annually to remove any straggly change. Wait until the tree is dormant in winter for a more substantial prune.


Lemon myrtle trees are native to Australia and can grow up to 20 metres tall. The leaves of the lemon myrtle tree are used to make an essential oil with a strong lemon scent. Lemon myrtle oil is used in perfumes, soaps and candles and has antiseptic and antifungal properties.

Lemon-scented myrtle trees need well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. They tolerate various soil types but prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Lemon myrtle trees should be fertilized twice a year, in spring and autumn, with native plant fertilizer.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Tree

How fast does lemon-scented myrtle grow?

Myrtle overgrows, reaching a height of 3 to 4 meters in 3 years. The plant has a dense, upright form with small, glossy leaves and clusters of white flowers that perfume the air with their refreshing lemon scent. Myrtle can be grown in full sun or part shade and is drought tolerant.

What does lemon myrtle smell like?

Lemon myrtle smells like lemons, limes, oranges and (surprisingly) apples. It also has a minty/eucalyptus-like note that is quite refreshing.
The leaves of the lemon myrtle tree are used to make a steam-distilled essential oil. The oil is used in aromatherapy and is also added to soap, shampoo, body lotion and other beauty products. Lemon myrtle oil has a clean, lemony scent that is very refreshing. It is said to be uplifting and energizing, and it is often used to help relieve stress and anxiety.

What is lemon myrtle good for?

The lemon-scented myrtle tree is an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamin C. It also contains antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a beneficial herb for detoxing and cleansing the body. Additionally, lemon myrtle has calming effects on the nervous system and can help relieve stress and tension headaches.

Is lemon-scented myrtle edible?

Yes! The lemon-scented myrtle tree is a delicious and nutritious wild edible used in teas, salads, or cooked dishes. It has a slightly sour but sweet taste with a citrusy aroma.
Myrtle is a versatile plant that can be eaten fresh or dried. It contains antioxidants, vitamin C, and minerals like potassium and magnesium. Myrtle also contains essential oils that have health-promoting properties. For example, the oil from lemon-scented myrtle has been shown to inhibit the growth of strains of bacteria that can cause food spoilage.

Are lemon myrtle roots invasive?

No. The lemon-scented myrtle tree is a versatile, hardy and frost-tolerant rainforest shrub that can be grown in most soil types, provided they are well drained. It will grow to a height of 3 metres and has white flowers that appear in spring.
The leaves and essential oil of lemon myrtle have a potent lemony aroma and are used as a flavouring agent in food, cosmetics and health products. The oil is also expressed from fresh or dried fruits and is used as an insect repellent. Lemon myrtle is non-invasive, does not sucker from the base and does not form root runners.

Can you make tea from lemon myrtle flowers?

Yes! You can make a delicious tea from lemon-scented myrtle tree flowers by blooming the fresh flowers and steeping them in hot water.
Lemon myrtle, or Backhousia citriodora, is a native Australian tree related to the lemon tree. The leaves of the lemon myrtle tree have a strong lemony scent and are used to make essential oil, tea, and aromatherapy products. Lemon myrtle tea is high in antioxidants and has a refreshing citrusy flavour. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, making it a delicious alternative to regular black tea.

Does lemon myrtle repel mosquitoes?

There is some anecdotal evidence that lemon-scented myrtle tree may repel mosquitoes, but no scientific evidence supports this claim. Mosquitoes attract several factors, including body heat, carbon dioxide, and certain plant smells. Lemon-scented myrtle tree may mask some of these attractants, but it’s unlikely it would effectively repel mosquitoes.

Is lemon myrtle poisonous?

The lemon-scented myrtle tree (Backhousia citriodora) is a plant that is native to Australia. The leaves and oil of the plant are used to flavour food, and the oil is also used as a natural insecticide.
Although lemon-scented myrtle tree is not poisonous, it can cause some people skin irritation or an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include skin rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, or shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms after using lemon myrtle oil, stop using the oil and seek medical attention.

Is lemon myrtle slow growing?

A lemon-scented myrtle tree is a slow-growing evergreen shrub or small tree reaching about 12 feet. It grows best in full sun or partial shade and prefers moist, well-drained soil.
It is drought tolerant once established, but regular watering will produce the best results. Prune as needed to maintain the desired shape. Lemon myrtle makes an attractive addition to a home landscape and can be used as a hedge or screen.

How many types of lemon myrtle are there?

There are approximately six types of the lemon-scented myrtle tree, but the most popular type is the broad-leaved lemon myrtle. This type has a smooth leaf blade about 7-15 cm long and 1.5-4 cm wide. The other types of lemon myrtle have narrower leaves and are not as commonly found.

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