When you think of lemon trees, chances are you immediately picture the stand-out yellow fruit. But there’s so much more to these plants than their bright yellow lemons! Ornamental lemon trees produce a range of fruit as well as other intriguing ornamental features on their branches.
In general, you can eat ornamental lemon tree fruit. They are typically not poisonous. However, it’s always best to check with the nursery or greenhouse when you’re buying your ornamental lemon tree to know for sure whether or not it’s edible.
Outside of their obvious beauty and fragrant scent, what about these leaves and other parts of an ornamental lemon tree are safe to eat? Are there any potential risks associated with consuming the fruits or other parts of this tree? Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value and safety of eating an ornamental lemon tree.
Can You Eat the Lemons from an Ornamental Tree?
Ornamental lemon trees are varieties of citrus plants that are grown purely for their visually pleasing qualities rather than their juicing potential. Although they will not produce juice, these plants have smaller, less acidic fruits than regular lemons, which can still be eaten raw or used in cooking as you would a regular lemon.
You can eat the fruit of an ornamental lemon tree, but don’t expect a lot of lemons per tree. These plants were developed specifically for their looks, and their smaller, less acidic fruits reflect this.
These plants were developed specifically for their looks, which means the fruit is small and therefore not very useful for juicing or cooking. You won’t find them in your local grocery store unless you specifically search for them as an ornamental plant.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Eating Ornamental Lemons?
While ornamental lemon trees are certainly beautiful plants, they aren’t cultivated for their fruit. As such, they aren’t grown the same way as regular lemon trees. Because the fruit isn’t grown for its juicing potential, it’s unlikely that the soil is rich in nutrients and minerals.
Ornamental lemon trees are known to be high in limonin, which is thought to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It’s unlikely that you’ll ingest enough of this chemical to notice any negative health effects, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
Why Have an Ornamental Lemon Tree
First, let’s start by clarifying exactly what an ornamental lemon tree is. Ornamental lemon trees are, of course, lemon trees. So what makes them “ornamental,” exactly?
Ornamental lemon trees are citrus trees that have been bred to have certain aesthetic features. They’re strictly for looks, hence the ornamental label. While they do produce fruit, growing lemons is not their main purpose.
The goal of breeding ornamental trees is to create different species and varieties that are both beautiful to look at and safe to have around indoor environments. The ornamental lemon tree is bred to have decorative, non-edible leaves and branches, as well as fruit that has low-odor and low-sugar content.
The low-sugar and low-odor of ornamental lemons help to ensure that they do not contribute to indoor air pollution and are safe to be around when there are pets or small children in the household.
Nutrition And Health Benefits of Ornamental Lemons
As we’ve established, ornamental lemons do not have the same high sugar content as regular lemons. Their ornamental status also means that these plants do not have the same nutritional value as regular lemons. While regular lemons are a source of Vitamin C, Ornamental Lemons do not contain any Vitamin C.
Ornamental lemons do, however, have other benefits. They are low-calorie, low-sugar food items that are high in fiber. Ornamental lemons are also rich in potassium, which is a mineral that is important for regulating blood pressure and heart health.
How to Grow an Ornamental Lemon Tree
Growing an ornamental lemon tree is actually quite easy. Start with a rooted cutting of a healthy ornamental lemon tree. Cuttings are the easiest way to start a new ornamental lemon tree. Simply put the cutting in a pot with some soil, add water, and wait for it to take root.
While you can start your tree indoors, it will do best in a container that can be placed outdoors during the warmer months and brought back indoors during the winter months. If you decide to plant your new tree outdoors, place it in a warm, sunny spot.
Follow these steps to grow a healthy ornamental lemon tree:
- Place it near a window that receives a lot of sunlight
- Water your tree regularly
- Fertilize your tree about once a month to keep it growing strong and healthy.
When your tree is old enough to start producing fruit, you can cut off the flowers to encourage healthy growth and more flowers.
Ornamental lemon trees produce beautiful, decorative leaves and branches as well as ornamental fruit. While ornamental lemons are not safe to consume, they do produce ornamental fruit that is low in sugar and has a low odor. Regular lemons, on the other hand, produce high-sugar, high-odor fruit that is safe to consume.
Regular lemons have edible fruit bred to have high nutritional value, including high levels of Vitamin C. If you have an ornamental lemon tree in your home, feel free to enjoy its decorative leaves and fruit. Just remember that the ornamental lemons are not safe to eat.