The ‘Mite-y’ Lemon


Eureka lemon trees are notorious for producing freakishly shaped lemons – especially along cooler coastal climates (like ours in the Bay Area).  

Personally, I like the occasional odd-ball that my tree kicks out – and so do kids.  But if more and more of your lemons are turning out like this, you may want to take some action.

What causes this?  It’s a little bud mite which sucks the sap from the lemon flower, causing the poor flower to have a deformed ovary.

The result is freaky looking lemons.GreenBar

If you have lemons like these, don’t worry as it’s rarely life-threatening for your tree.  And you don’t have to use heavy-artillery (aka: chemicals) to get rid of these guys, either.  There are lots of naturally occurring predatory mites which will take care of most of the problem. I don’t use any sprays on my tree and only get a handful of these lemons each year.

If you have a more severe infestation, you can spray the tree with a ‘summer oil’ (sold at most nurseries) which causes minimal harm to the beneficial mites, while killing the bud mites.  Some of these types of oils contain petroleum products, but there’s more and more available which are vegetable oil-based, which work just as well.

But if you have just a few of these misfits, and you have kids, you might consider keeping these lemons as it can be quite entertaining to make ‘artwork’ out of them!   

Take a peek at what my daughter created:




A little canaryGreenBar




A Tim Burton characterGreenBar



And a scary little hand.


The point is, don’t be so quick to throw away this misshapen fruit.

When it’s raining outside, and the kids are bored, it can be the perfect outlet for your budding little artist!GreenBar


Enjoyed this article?  Please share it with others: 

Please leave a comment below


  • My neighbor has maybe two on his tree this year…first time I have ever noticed them, very weird.
    Also, a mite is not an insect. It has four legs, so it is more closely related to spiders. Insects have six legs.

  • Yikes- Those poor lemons. I sure hope that mite never gets into my Meyer lemons. That would be a sad day.

  • I loved the pictures of your garden on The Gardeners Roundtable site. My favorite gardening magazine is Fine Gardening.

    Even though I design for friends and family, I am not a professional garden designer. I will certainly enjoy your website.

  • OMG- those are freakishly cool! I’ve never gotten a “special” lemon before, I feel left out!

  • I think Christina is talking about the Buddha’s Hand citrus. They’re so pretty, but not really edible like the Meyer’s. I like yours, Rebecca- it’s best of both worlds!

  • What a great post! I love your natural solution and how you embrace these “Charlie Brown” lemons. Go Rebecca!

    • That WOULD be a good book, wouldn’t it? Teach the kids at a young age to have a sense of humor with life….”kinda like when life gives you lemons for lemons…”

  • Isn’t that how that Asian Citrus became famous- I think it’s Vietnamese? A lemon that looks like it’s a hand? You should look that one up, maybe you have a “sport”!!

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to my blog

Upcoming Speaking Events

February 12,
February 26,
February 27,
February 28,
February 28,
March 20,
May 28

Don’t Snub the Shrub!

Merced Garden Club

Merced, CA

Topic:  TBD

Woodinville Garden Club

Woodinville, WA

When to Break the Rules
(and how to get away with it!)

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Seattle, WA

Container Wars!

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Seattle, WA

The 7 Sins of Garden Design

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Seattle, WA

Don’t Snub the Shrub!

Montelindo Garden Club

Lafayette, CA

Topic: TBD

Piedmont Hoe & Hope
Garden Club

Harmony in the Garden is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to
provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and other affiliate marketing companies.

Scroll to Top