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The complete variegated lemon tree care guide

Love the look of a pink lemon tree? I sure love mine! Here’s everything you need to know about variegated lemon tree care!

I did a lot of great things in 2020 and one of them was join my local plant swap group.

That group has led me to a lot of plants – some free, and some paid.

It was through this group that I was introduced to a woman who was moving out of state and had to sell or giveaway all of her large plants.

I went over to her yard and checked out what she was selling and was so excited to discover and learn about (and buy!) her variegated lemon tree.

The Citrus limon ‘Eureka Variegated Pink’ is also known as:

  • Zebra lemons
  • Striped lemons
  • Pink lemonade tree
  • Variegated eureka lemon
potted variegated lemon tree

What is a variegated lemon tree?

These lemon trees are just a fun twist on your average lemon tree!

  • The lemons are round instead of oval
  • Pink fleshed striped fruit – the fruit is green and yellow striped with pink fruit inside
  • The juice is clear
  • The flower buds are fuchsia with white flowers
  • Variegated foliage – the leaves are dark green with gorgeous creamy white variegation marbling
buds on a variegated lemon tree

Where do variegated lemon trees come from?

98% of the lemons grown in the United States are Eureka lemons. Variegated lemons were actually discovered growing on certain Eureka lemon fruit trees in 1930. They were able to crossbreed and propagate those trees to create dedicated variegated lemon trees!

On the other hand, Meyer lemons are a cross breed between lemons and mandarin oranges! So, they are not the same at all.

How big do variegated lemon trees get?

Variegated lemon trees grow to be 12 to 15 feet tall AND wide!

How fast do variegated lemon trees grow?

These trees grow fairly quickly, with new growth all the time! Mine even grows in the winter when it is supposed to be dormant.

baby lemons on a variegated lemon tree

How long does it take for a variegated pink lemon tree to produce fruit?

One thing that is great about these trees is that they can produce fruit their very first year! This makes them a very satisfying addition to your garden.

Do variegated pink lemon trees have thorns?

Yes, these trees have big, thick, sharp thorns. Trust me, they hurt!

Do pink lemons taste different?

Fun fact – pink lemons actually have clear juice – no pink lemonade here! The juice is sweeter and much less sour than typical lemon juice.

variegated lemon tree bloom

Where can you buy a variegated lemon tree?

I have seen variegated lemon trees for sale at Lowes, Home Depot, and specialty plant stores. When they have them, it is brief. Don’t hesitate and don’t wait around – they usually do not restock! Impulse buy!

I actually bought my tree on facebook marketplace from someone who was moving out of state and couldn’t take their plants. Sad for them, rad for me!


How do you take care of a variegated lemon tree?

Do lemon trees need direct sunlight?

Yes, these trees need at least 4-8 hours of full sun each day!

Do lemon trees need full sun?

Yes – these trees can take and want to take full sun!

How much water does a variegated lemon tree need?

Newly planted lemon trees should be watered every 2-3 days. Once they are established, water them every 10 days.

leaves on a variegated lemon tree

Can you keep a variegated lemon tree in a pot?

Yes! These are great container plants. If you live somewhere cooler, choose a pot with wheels so you can roll it indoors in the cooler weather.

Look for a pot that is at least 16 inches across with good drainage so it has plenty of space for the root system to grow.

What kind of soil do pink eureka lemon trees need?

These plants need well-draining soil. They do well with sandy soil!

variegated lemon tree with baby trees

Can variegated lemon trees go outdoors?

These trees are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness growing zones 9 through 11 and can be planted in the ground. Anywhere colder and they will need to come inside for the winter.

I am right on the border of too cold/just right for these trees. Generally, people here cover citrus trees with bedsheets on nights it will freeze.

If you have smaller baby plants or rooted cuttings, it’s best to bring them in for winter.

When do variegated eureka lemon trees flower and bear fruit?

Typically, these trees bloom in the spring and the fruit is ready to pick in the fall!

How do you know when variegated lemons are ripe?

Typically, these lemons will loose their stripes when they are ripe and ready to pick!

Do you need more than one variegated lemon tree to make fruit?

No, these plants self-fertilize – meaning you can get lemons with just one variegated lemon tree! I only have one!

close up of variegated lemon tree leaves

Common problems with a variegated lemon tree

Why are leaves falling from lemon tree?

A big reason that these trees drop their leaves is mites. You will need to use an insecticide to get rid of them.

If the dropped leaves look moldy, it might be scale. They can usually be hosed and wiped off.

Finally, it could be root rot. This means it is not in well draining soil and the roots are rotting, causing leaves to drop.

Why is my variegated lemon tree not producing lemons?

The main reason that these trees do not produce is not enough light. They really need many hours of direct hot sun to grow the lemons!

Do lemon trees lose their leaves in winter?

These trees are not deciduous so they will keep their green leaves all year round!

how to propagate variegated lemon tree

How to propagate a variegated lemon tree

I have taken quite a few cuttings from my variegated lemon tree. I am trying to prune it to be more “tree-like” with a raised canopy, so any branches that grow lower, I cut off.

  1. I like to let the branches grow to be 6 to 12 inches in length. Then, cut them off.
  2. Remove leaves from the lower half.
  3. Dip the end in rooting hormone.
  4. Place in a pot of moist soil
  5. Cover loosely with a plastic bag
  6. Roots take 1-3 months to fully form
  7. Once rooted (you will tug the cutting and it won’t come out, it’s rooted in place) treat as you would a parent plant.

Read my complete guide to propagating variegated lemon trees!

variegated lemon tree cutting

I have about a 50% success rate with cuttings rooting – some just never grow roots. Take a few cuttings for the best success!

Any more questions about the variegated lemon tree?

Thanks for reading!

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