Lemon-scented Myrtle

Lemon-scented Myrtle

Lemon-scented Myrtle


Common NameLemon-scented Myrtle
Botanical NameBackhousia citriodora
Country/ place of originAustralia, Central east coast – QLD rainforest
Plant overviewThis large shrub to small tree has a short trunk with spreading branches that form a dense rounded crown. It has lemon scented glossy green lanced-shaped leaves and the creamy-white fragrant bell-shaped flowers appear in a cluster in spring.

The Lemon Scented Myrtle is grown for its fragrant foliage and its flowers. It is planted in parks and gardens as a lawn specimen for shade or used along borders for screening. It can be pruned to form a hedge or maintained as a shrub.

Life expectancyPerennial – unknown number of years
Growth rateFast
Annual average rainfall800mm+, although consistent watering is more important than reaching annual rainfall amount
Shape/ growth habitSmall dome/ mallee shape
Height and spreadIn native rainforest habitat 5-18mH x 8mW. In southern states it grows up to around 8 metres high  and 3m wide in general.
Trunk diameterUnknown – estimate 200-400mm
Foliage typeEvergreen
Preferred soil typeWell drained fertile, humus rich sandy to loamy moist soil, acidic, pH 5.5-7.5
Year until first fruitN/A
Productive lifespanLifespan of tree, as it is the leaves that are used
Productive seasonAll year round as it is an evergreen tree, therefore always in leaf and the leaf is the productive part
Water useMedium
TolerancesModerate frost tolerance, pollution, 2nd line salt
Pests and diseasesNo major pest or disease problem, powdery mildew
Wildlife attractingBees, nectar eating birds, butterflies
DisadvantagesDrought tender, slightly frost tender when young
Special requirementsFeed with blood and bone after flowering when young, mulch and keep moist during summer. Plant in a frost-free environment when young or create a microclimate near an east facing wall.
PropagationSow fresh seed during spring and maintain a temperature of 16 to 18 C (61 to 64 F). Take semi-hardwood cuttings during late summer.
Recommended usesLemon myrtle leaves are used fresh or dried as a culinary herb and tea, and dried as a spice. The fresh leaves can also be steam distilled to produce lemon myrtle essential oil, which is used as a food-flavouring agent in sweet and savoury applications. As a leaf product, it can be used instead of lemon grass in cooking, and in leaf or oil form it is popular in curries, pasta, cheesecakes, ice-cream, breads, dressings, sauces, drinks and syrups. It is also used as a street tree and for erosion control.


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About The Author

Tammy Rogers

I study 3 days per week in my second year of a Diploma in Horticulture. I work two+ days a week doing garden maintenance and some garden design. And I raise my two beautiful boys 24/7.

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