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4 Fastest Growing Lemon Trees That Bear Fruit Quickly (1st Year)

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Home » Fruit Trees » 4 Fastest Growing Lemon Trees That Bear Fruit Quickly (1st Year)

Lemon trees sure are worth the squeeze!

They grow fairly quickly and fruit reliably when planted in the right location.

These are the lemon trees that bear fruit the fastest, which means you get to enjoy lemon meringue pie in less time!

1. Meyer – Citrus × meyeri ‘Improved’

Meyer lemon trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Starkbro’s & Fast-Growing-Trees.

I was gifted a dwarf Meyer lemon and it’s poor little branches were full of fruit when I received it! Although I think that this did slow down the development of the tree, it has been a reliable fruiter ever since.

The Meyer lemon tree is a unique citrus that blends the flavors of traditional lemon and sweet orange, offering a versatile fruit with a thin skin, ideal for culinary uses.

This tree is remarkably cold and heat tolerant, making it suitable for a wide range of climates. It can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 8-11 and as a patio plant in zones 4-11, reaching up to 8 feet in height.

The Meyer lemon tree is self-fertile, and can bear fruit in the first year after planting, with an enhanced yield when paired with another Meyer Lemon Tree.

Its manageable size, coupled with the absence of chill hour requirements, make it an excellent choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 8-11 outdoors, 4-11 patio
  • Mature Tree Size: 8 ft tall, 4-6 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: None Required
  • Self Fertile: Yes. Planting another Meyer lemon tree will increase harvest.

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Fast-Growing-Trees, Nature Hills, My Perfect Plants or Starkbro’s

2. Eureka – Citrus x limon ‘Eureka’

Eureka lemon trees can bear fruit in 1 to 2 years after planting according to Starkbro’s.

I inherited my Eureka lemon from a friend who had had it growing in a container in their backyard. It had not yet fruited, but was not living its best life in a relatively shaded position and quite a small pot. Within 2 years of planting out into the ground, it had doubled in size and it consistently produces way more fruit than we can use.

The Eureka lemon tree is a staple for home gardens, offering a year-round bounty of large, juicy lemons with very few seeds.

The fruit is known for its sour and tangy flavor, making it a favorite for culinary use, from cooking and baking to cocktails and lemonade.

This tree is not only productive but also an attractive landscape addition with its bronze-purple new growth.

Ideal for container growing in cooler regions, the Eureka lemon tree is nearly thornless, self-fertile, and somewhat cold-sensitive, thriving in USDA zones 9-10 outdoors and 4-10 on patios.

With proper care, you can enjoy fresh, tangy lemons from your very own tree.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 9-10 Outdoors, 4-10 Patio
  • Mature Tree Size: 10-20 ft tall, 6-8 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: 1-2 years
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: None Required
  • Self Fertile: Yes

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Nature Hills or Starkbro’s

3. Variegated Pink Eureka – Citrus limon ‘Eureka Variegated Pink’

Variegated Pink Eureka lemon trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

The Pink Variegated Eureka lemon tree stands out with its unique ability to produce juicy, pink lemons within just a year of planting.

This dwarf-sized tree is perfect for both garden and container growing, thanks to its drought tolerance and adaptability to various soils.

Free from common pests and diseases, it offers a low-maintenance route to abundant lemon harvests.

Its vibrant fruit and variegated foliage also make it an attractive ornamental plant.

For colder climates, it can be easily moved indoors to enjoy its bountiful produce year-round.

While self-fertile, adding an additional tree can boost your harvest, ensuring a plentiful supply of these exotic lemons.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 8-11 Outdoors, 4-11 Patio
  • Mature Tree Size: 8 ft tall, 6-8 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st Year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: None Required
  • Self Fertile: Yes

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Fast-Growing-Trees, Nature Hills or Starkbro’s

4. Harvey – Citrus limon ‘Harvey’

Harvey lemon trees can bear fruit in their 1st year after planting according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

The Harvey lemon tree has exceptional cold hardiness, making it an ideal choice for gardeners in cooler climates who crave home-grown lemons.

Unlike other lemon varieties, the Harvey lemon can withstand temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and some gardeners have reported it surviving dips to 15-16 degrees.

This tree not only offers culinary versatility with its nearly seedless, high juice content fruit but also stands up against common lemon tree diseases.

Whether planted in the ground or a container, the Harvey lemon thrives in full sun and well-drained soil.

With its compact size when pruned, it fits perfectly in various garden spaces and patios, bringing a touch of the Mediterranean to colder regions.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 8-11 Outside, 4-11 Patio
  • Mature Tree Size: 12-4 ft tall unpruned, 8-10 ft wide
  • Time to Bear First Fruit: Can Fruit 1st year
  • Avg Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Chill Hours: None Required
  • Self Fertile: Yes

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Fast-Growing-Trees

Comparing the Fastest Bearing Lemon Trees

Lemon Tree VarietyUSDA Growing ZonesMature Tree SizeTime to Bear First FruitAvg Growth RateSelf Fertile
Meyer8-11 outdoors, 4-11 patio8 ft tall, 4-6 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerateYes
Eureka9-10 Outdoors, 4-10 Patio10-20 ft tall, 6-8 ft wide1-2 yearsModerateYes
Variegated Pink Eureka8-11 Outdoors, 4-11 Patio8 ft tall, 6-8 ft wideCan Fruit 1st YearModerateYes
Harvey8-11 Outside, 4-11 Patio12-14 ft tall unpruned, 8-10 ft wideCan Fruit 1st yearModerateYes
*Growth rates are approximations; actual performance varies with climate, soil, and care.

A Note on Lemon Tree Growth Rates

Please keep in mind that the time to fruit estimates given in this article should be viewed as general guidelines. The actual rate of growth and the period until fruiting can significantly fluctuate, affected by elements such as your climate, soil and care practices.

Lemon trees can be propagated using various methods, however grafting is often chosen for its ability to produce specific lemon varieties more reliably and to achieve earlier fruiting times.

Opting for a grafted lemon tree from a nursery is usually the quickest way to start enjoying lemons from your own tree.

Given the diverse range of propagation techniques available through both online and physical nurseries, the timeframe for a tree to produce its first fruit can vary widely from one provider to the next.

Why Lemon Tree Size Matters

Nurseries provide a variety of lemon tree sizes for sale.

Typically, smaller trees come at a lower cost, while larger ones have progressed further in their growth and are closer to the fruit-bearing stage.

If you are eager to see lemon production in the short term, selecting a grafted or more mature tree may be the best strategy.

For instance, Fast-Growing-Trees lists the Meyer lemon tree in various sizes: 1-2 ft, 2-3 ft, 3-4 ft, 4-5 ft, 5-6 ft in height.

For those looking to harvest lemons in the least amount of time, the 5-6 ft option would be the best option, according to Fast-Growing-Trees.

It’s crucial to verify the size of the tree at the nursery to make sure it fits the space in your garden or orchard and meets your growing requirements.

Chill Hours

Lemon trees are uniquely adapted to warm climates and don’t need any chill hours, those cool temps between 35°F and 45°F, to bear fruit.

This trait sets them apart from many other fruit trees, which require a certain amount of cold exposure to trigger blooming and fruit production.

As a result, lemon trees can flourish and produce fruit year-round in regions with mild winters, making them an excellent choice for gardeners in warmer climates seeking reliable fruit production without the need for a cold winter period.

Why Pollination Matters

Many lemon varieties are self-fertile, meaning they have the ability to pollinate themselves or other trees of the same type.

Planting several lemon trees can markedly improve pollination and fruit production via cross-pollination.

This process entails the transfer of pollen from the flowers of one lemon tree to another.

Cross-pollination not only boosts the number of fruits but also enhances their size and quality offering a more dependable and plentiful yield.

Other Fast Growing & Bearing Fruit Trees

Interested in diversifying your home orchard beyond the traditional lemon trees?

Take a peek into our detailed guides on a variety of fruit trees known for their rapid growth and quick start in fruit production.

Explore the possibilities with pear, cherry, apple, apricot and fig trees to find out which varieties have the fastest growth and earliest fruit-bearing capabilities.

Happy planting!

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Fern Berg - Founder

Expert Gardener & Horticulturist in Training

Fern has planted and currently cares for over 100 different native and exotic fruit, nut, and ornamental trees. She also cultivates an extensive vegetable garden, several flower gardens and cares for an ever-growing happy family of indoor plants. Fern has a special interest in biodynamic farming, food production and closed loop agriculture. Fern founded Tree Vitalize to help guide others with an interest in tree planting, identification and care.