Backhousia Species, Lemon Ironwood, Lemon-Scented Myrtle, Sweet Verbena Tree

Backhousia citriodora

Family: Myrtaceae (mir-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Backhousia (bak-HOW-zee-uh) (Info)
Species: citriodora (sit-ree-oh-DOR-uh) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Hawthorne, California

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 30, 2013, mattsupi from kuala lumpur,
Malaysia wrote:

hi... i'm interested to plant this tree. Could anyone can advise me that this plant can be life at tropical weather, where by i'm stay at Malaysia, where is one of the south east asia country.


On Oct 16, 2009, Lola111 from Brisbane,
Australia wrote:

we have just had 42 backhousia citriodora 300mm plants delivered ready to plant a 32m screening hedge along a boundary in Clayfield. I just love the scent of the crushed leaves and the added bonus of being able to use them in cooking and to repel the mosquitos which are just starting to reappear. Our new plants have bushy heads but are a bit thin down below - should we prune soon after planting to promote lower growth? Our soil here is obviously "clay-ey" but we will be mixing it with good quality topsoil and mulching....any other tips?


On Feb 16, 2006, melangemerchant from Adelaide,
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

I can only add to what has been said above. A superb Australian native shrub or small tree. Doesn't like drought conditions, during summer I water mine very regularly. As for uses, I use the leaves in a great many things such as SE Asian curries/soups/marinades, in place of lemongrass or lemon zest. I use some dried leaves ground up with pepper in crumbing for fish fillets, seafood or schnitzel. It also works well in Moroccan style dishes.


On Jan 14, 2005, Herbynoel from Brisbane,
Australia wrote:

This would have to be one of Australias best small trees for the suburban garden.
The aromatic foliage alone is alureing, but when the fluffy flowers arrive in Nov / Dec it is rearly a show stopper!
The leaves are commonly used in "bush tucker"food and are lovely used in Ice-cream or sorbets.Very refreashing on a hot summers day.
Maximun height to approx 5 metres in a conical shape.
Not too much pruning is required.


On Jan 13, 2005, mertyl from Brisbane,
Australia wrote:

I love this tree and so do the birds,bees and especially butterfly's. The old fallen leaves smell richly of lemon as you mow around the tree and the whole tree smells magnificent. It has a nice round compact shape and looks lovely when in bloom.