Lemon Myrtle - Backhousia citriodora

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helenaviolet

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Lemon Myrtle - Backhousia citriodora
« on: January 12, 2013, 09:40:13 AM »


Since there seems to be some interest in Australian plants here at MGS I thought Backhousia citriodora might be of interest. Commonly known as Lemon Myrtle you can believe all the good things you might find when researching this lovely small tree (or large shrub).

Lemon Myrtle is endemic to the subtropical rainforests in Queensland and is cultivated for various commercial reasons; mostly for the production of essential oil, soap and cosmetics. The leaves make an excellent substitute for lemon grass in Asian cooking. Use finely chopped & sprinkled in stir-frys or, in particular, to flavour fish. The strong lemon fragrance is refreshing when the leaves are added to pot pourri or just scattered in bowls around the house. Apart from requiring a little protection from frosts in very cold districts, Lemon Myrtle is easy to grow. A large potted specimen placed near the kitchen door will delight everyone who brushes past the scented foliage.

Here is a photo showing the fluffy creamy white flowers which are an added bonus in summer.  :)

 
I live in Central Victoria, Australia. This is very much a "Mediterranean" climate with long hot summers and cold frosty winters. Citrus grows well here. I am interested in species and cultivars of Viola which will grow in this climate.

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Fleur Pavlidis

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Re: Lemon Myrtle - Backhousia citriodora
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2013, 09:58:07 AM »
If only our nurseries sold lovely plants like this for potted plants on balconies rather than the ubiquitous Yucca!
MGS member, Greece. I garden in Attica, Greece and Mt Goulinas (450m) Central Greece

helenaviolet

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Re: Lemon Myrtle - Backhousia citriodora
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2013, 06:40:34 AM »
Oh Yuccas! They are very popular here in Australia too   :)

I wish I could be more helpful re finding the Lemon Myrtle in Greece. I felt it was worth mentioning here at MGS because, to my surprise, I have found it to be very easy to grow in what I think would be a similar climate to yours. Plant nurseries have their special world wide trade contacts so you could be lucky in ordering one locally. Otherwise search the internet because you might be able to find places which sell the seeds...even on eBay ?! Meanwhile, see if you can get some of the products such as essential oil, handcream, soap or the dried leaves as tea in a specialised herb/organic produce shop.   
I live in Central Victoria, Australia. This is very much a "Mediterranean" climate with long hot summers and cold frosty winters. Citrus grows well here. I am interested in species and cultivars of Viola which will grow in this climate.

David Dickinson

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Re: Lemon Myrtle - Backhousia citriodora
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2013, 11:48:58 PM »
After seeing this plant on the forum I have just bought seeds online at www.rareplants.de. They deliver in Europe and have a large selection of seeds suitable for med climates. There is a small supplement to pay (5 euros) if your order is for less than 20 euros. However, loooking at their list it might be very difficult not to be led astray! There are German, French, Spanish and English language pages.

I have used them before and they have proved to be very reliable. I know that they deliver throughout Europe but a visit to their site will tell you if they deliver elsewhere.

Thanks for sharing this plant with us Helena and wish me luck! :-)
I have a small garden in Rome, Italy. Some open soil, some concrete, some paved. Temperatures in winter occasionally down to 0C. Summer temperatures up to 40C in the shade. There are never watering restrictions but, of course, there is little natural water for much of June, July and August.

helenaviolet

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Re: Lemon Myrtle - Backhousia citriodora
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2013, 02:21:08 PM »
Oh yes good luck David. I am delighted that you have been able to find Lemon Myrtle seeds. From what I can gather they might be slow to germinate with maybe only 30% success rate. I haven't been able to find many instructions but this might help - surface sow at 13-15c ; sprinkle seeds with some propagating mix and keep moist in a dappled sunlight position. The good news is that the seedlings should grow quickly. 
Best wishes  :)
I live in Central Victoria, Australia. This is very much a "Mediterranean" climate with long hot summers and cold frosty winters. Citrus grows well here. I am interested in species and cultivars of Viola which will grow in this climate.

David Dickinson

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Re: Lemon Myrtle - Backhousia citriodora
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2013, 02:40:16 PM »
Thanks for the advice Helena. The seeds should be with me next week just in time for the temperatures you advise :-)
I have a small garden in Rome, Italy. Some open soil, some concrete, some paved. Temperatures in winter occasionally down to 0C. Summer temperatures up to 40C in the shade. There are never watering restrictions but, of course, there is little natural water for much of June, July and August.

Trevor Australis

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Re: Lemon Myrtle - Backhousia citriodora
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 10:39:05 PM »
 :) :) I buy seeds from rare-plants too and have had no difficulty with them being posted to Australia. The only precaution is to check the AQIS - Australian Quarantine Inspection Service website to ensure that what you want to import is permitted. Sniffer dogs at international flight points of entry to Australia are good at sniffing out smuggled/ undeclared seeds and the fines are very high - up to $20,000 so it's smart not to try. Most garden plants are permitted but the AQIS list is easy to use just to make sure. tn
M Land. Arch., B. Sp. Ed. Teacher, traveller and usually climate compatible.