Citrus x junos, a lovely fruit-bearing species commonly known as the Yuzu tree, is a citrus tree that is worth adding to your green family if you are a big admirer of aromatic plants. Member of the popular Citrus genus, this plant will enchant your senses and even give you some extra help in the kitchen. The best part is that the Yuzu tree demands almost nothing in return, so you will have it by your side with minimal effort.
The Yuzu tree can be a spectacular ornamental companion in both indoor and outdoor settings. It will look great anywhere you decide to put it, whether it is in the garden, a container, on a terrace, or on a balcony. And to make things easier in the garden, make sure you plant your Yuzu tree near other plants that require similar levels of love and attention.
Ideal companions for the Yuzu tree include Alfalfa, Borage, Common yarrow, French marigold, or Lemon balm. Small flowering annual plants such as lobelias and pansies also make good companions for outdoor Yuzus and so do shallow-rooted herbs. If you are a big fan of aromatics, you can plant oregano, marjoram, and thyme near your Yuzu tree.
Keep reading our guide to find out more juicy secrets about Citrus x junos a.k.a. the Yuzu tree!
|Botanical Name||Citrus x Junos|
|Common Name||Yuzu, Japanese Citron|
|Plant Type||Citrus tree|
|Mature Size||up to 7 meters (23 feet) tall and cm 4 meters (13 feet) wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Moist, well-drained, loamy, sandy|
|Soil pH||Acid, Neutral|
|Flower Color||Light yellow, deep yellow|
|Hardiness Zones||7a-9b (USDA)|
|Native Area||Eastern Asia|
About Yuzu Tree
- The Yuzu tree has been in cultivation mostly throughout East Asia. However, it has appeared recently in various other regions worldwide, such as New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy, and Spain.
- It is commonly believed that this hybrid tree originated in central China, in the Yangtze River region, and it was brought to the U.S. in 1914 by explorer Frank Meyer. The two plants involved in the hybridization process would be the Ichang papeda (Citrus cavaleriei) and a sour mandarin known as Mangshanyeju (Citrus reticulata var. austera).
- Other than regular watering, the Yuzu tree does not have many requests from its owner. It is a low-maintenance plant, thriving with plenty of sunlight, slightly warmer temperatures, well-draining, and organic-rich soils.
- Very often, folks use Mulberry, Jujube, or Yuzu wood to make the body of the taepyeongso, a traditional robe in Korean culture.
- Although people rarely eat Yuzu as a fruit, it is a still highly common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. The most popular parts of this fruit are the juice and the aromatic zest, having similar uses to those of lemons in other cuisines.
- The Yuzu fruits come along with a tart and fragrant flavour. Some describe its flavour as being similar to that of grapefruits, but also featuring overtones of mandarins.
- In Japan and Korea, Yuzu makes for a great ingredient in different parts of their cuisine. The fruits are often used to make wines, liquors, syrups, teas, puddings, miso soups, salads, sauces, vinegar, bread, cakes, and marmalade.
- Yuzu fruits are low in calories but highly nutritious and contain high amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Thiamine, Vitamin B6, and B5 and powerful antioxidants like flavonoids carotenoids, and limonoids.
- With its characteristically strong aroma, the oil from the Yuzu fruit’s skin is a well-known fragrance around the world, especially in its areas of origin. There are even Yuzu baths, with some people saying that they are excellent to relax the mind, warm the body, protect against colds, and treat skin roughness.
- Some people like to use the Yuzu aroma for its therapeutic effects which are quite similar to those associated with the lavender plant. A limited number of studies conducted on rats have shown that the Yuzu may potentially be useful in preventing cognitive dysfunction.
- There is an interesting Japanese tradition that includes the Yuzu and takes place during the Winter solstice (Toji). This tradition consists of taking a Yuzu bath and it dates back to the eighteenth century some people still respect it today. For a successfully Yuzu bath, the Japanese use half yuzus that float in warm bath water. This tradition is associated with good fortune, good health, relaxation of the mind, and protection against unpleasant seasonal health problems like colds and dry skin.
- Nowadays, no one can bring Yuzu trees or Yuzu fruits into the United States. This is a measure meant to prevent the spread of various contagious diseases of this plant among other domestic crops.
- The Yuzu tree has dangerous thorns that can hurt anyone who gets in contact with them. Moreover, its citrus oil can be pretty toxic to cats and dogs, so you might want to keep your furry companions away from this tree.
Yuzu Tree Features: An Overview
- The Yuzu tree has a pretty slow growth pace. It typically requires about 10 years to bear fruits. In case you want a specimen in your collection to fruit a bit faster, you can graft it onto Citrus trifoliata.
- This buddy grows into an upright shrub or small tree. From one tree to another, a mature species can reach about 6 to 8 feet (1.8-2.4 m) in both height and width. In its natural habitat, the tree will go up to 18 feet (5.4 m) tall.
- The Yuzu tree may feature big thorns. Its numerous leaves contain large, heavily scented, leaf-like petioles that look very similar to those of Ichang papeda and Makrut lime (Citrus hystrix).
- The fruits of Yuzu trees resemble small grapefruits that have uneven skin. Depending on the degree of ripeness, the fruits can be either yellow or green. They are very aromatic and turn from green to bright yellow as they ripen. The Yuzu fruits are quite delicate, so the farmers must carefully harvest them by hand to avoid damage.
- The yuzu fruit does not have a lot of pulp and it contains many inedible seeds (usually more than 20 seeds per fruit). The pulp of the Yuzu fruit is sour and acidic and most people describe it as tasting like a combination between a grapefruit and a mild lemon, lime or orange.
- Yuzu fruits usually measure between 2.2 and 3 inches (5.5-7.5 cm) in diameter. Yet, some fruits can reach the size of a regular grapefruit – 4 inches (10 cm) or even larger.
- Generally, the season of Yuzu is quite short lasting just from the beginning of August to the end of Autumn.
Growing Yuzu Tree
The Yuzu tree will have a wonderful time in your home or garden as long as you pay attention to its few needs. But the great thing about this citrus tree is the fact that it is as easy-going as it can be and you can even ignore yours occasionally without coming back to an unhealthy or dead plant. Now it is time to get more familiar with the nature of a Yuzu tree!
When it comes to lighting, things are pretty much straightforward. The Yuzu tree will feel at home if you keep it in a spot where it can get lots of sunlight. We recommend you provide your tree with at least eight hours of bright and direct light each day. In case you do not have enough sunlight exposure during the winter months, you can place your Yuzu tree under artificial growing lights to get the job done.
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The Yuzu tree is not as sensitive as its citrusy relatives regarding temperature tolerance. This friendly plant is cold-hardy thanks to its Ichang papeda ancestry, withstanding winter temperatures that drop as low as 16 °F (-9 °C). However, it will still require warm average temperatures to grow healthy and happy. The ideal daily temperature range for a Yuzu tree is generally between 59 and 68 °F (15-20 °C).
Like most species of trees and citrus trees in general, this buddy is susceptible to several pest infestations. These include aphids, flies, mites, caterpillars, snails, and thrips. Luckily, you can avoid some of these many issues by placing traps around your Yuzu tree. And if your plant already struggles with an infestation, you can apply neem oil to it until the problem disappears.
Planting Yuzu Tree
The perfect growing medium for a Yuzu tree is generally light soil that features very good drainage and lots of organic matter. It will tolerate and grow just fine in alkaline substrates, but it is best to plant yours in acidic ones with a pH level between 4.0 and 6.0.
In terms of fertilizing, the Yuzu tree will demand your attention regularly but not frequently. During the warmer seasons, from spring through late summer, you should feed this tree once every six weeks. From autumn to winter, on the other hand, you can ease back to fertilizing once every two to three months. Make sure you feed your Yuzu tree with a citrus-specific fertilizer or compost.
Since Yuzu trees usually grow at a slow pace, you will not have to repot yours very often if you grow it in a container. This plant can stay in the same growing medium for a long time, as it will not outgrow the pot rapidly. Yet, your tree will benefit from a change of soil with a fresh one once every two years or so. And when it becomes too big for its current pot, you can transplant it into a new, one-size larger one.
Pruning your Yuzu tree will help you keep it in the desired size or shape, but also make more room for new, healthy growth. If this sounds appealing to you, keep in mind that you can prune your tree only during its active growing period, from spring to summer.
Watering Yuzu Tree
In general, the frequency of watering your Yuzu tree must be moderate once it reaches maturity. Young specimens need regular drinks to grow properly and settle in their new environment much faster. In the first two years, you will have to water your new Yuzu tree once or twice a week. After this period, it becomes relatively tolerant of drought for short periods.
If you want to avoid issues like fungal infections or root rot, you can adopt a watering routine that suits your tree’s preferences best. First things first, checking the growing medium of your plant before watering it is mandatory. When the top 3 to 6 inches (7.5-15 cm) of soil feel dry to the touch, this is the time you need to water your Yuzu tree.
Propagating Yuzu Tree
As we already know, the Yuzu tree is a fruit-bearing species, giving us one of the most popular propagation materials – seeds. If your plant has blessed you with fruits, you can collect the seeds from them to sow in fresh soil. Before planting the seeds, you will have to wash them thoroughly right away, dry them with a cloth or towel, and then soak them in water for at least a day. The soaking part will give your seeds a better chance to germinate.
Next, sow the seeds in moist well-draining, organically-rich soil at a distance of 4 to 5 inches (10-12.5 cm). Move the pot to a warm, well-lit location. You should start the watering process when germination occurs to keep the seedlings constantly damp. You can leave the seedlings where they are or transplant each in its permanent, individual spot.
Another easy propagation technique is grafting cuttings and, rest assured, you will also have lots of fun on the way. For this method, you will need a mature Yuzu tree. This process consists of uniting a scion that bears superior fruits with a rootstock that produces superior roots. You can hold the rootstock and scion closely together using a rubber band during the healing of each graft.
Before planting the grafts, we suggest you dip them in a powdered rooting hormone for better and faster results. Plant the Yuzu grafts in a well-draining rooting medium and keep the substrate constantly moist. The grafts will root successfully if you keep them in a spot that provides bright, direct light, and warm temperatures overall. If this method looks difficult, you can always use simple Yuzu stem cuttings and repeat the same steps.
Marvellous, low-maintenance, and easy to propagate – a mix that every gardener secretly desires in its plant companions. As a plus, the Yuzu tree bears aromatic, citrusy fruits that can bring almost any dish to the highest level or that you can add to your bath water. The Yuzu is a joy to have around thanks to its attractive and pleasant-smelling foliage, delicate blooms, and versatile fruit.
The time spent waiting for a Yuzu tree to bear fruits is worth all the effort and, as we’ve mentioned, caring for this citrus tree is not difficult at all. You can grow Yuzu trees both indoors and outdoors, depending on your climate, of course. If you love citrus trees, you will surely befriend the Yuzu quickly and you won’t have any issues growing and caring for it.
In other words, if you don’t already have one, you should start considering adding a Yuzu tree to your plant family because you have no good reason not to!
Are you growing Yuzu trees? Let us know in the comments!