Located in the hills surrounding Byron Bay and Nimbin on the North Coast of New South Wales is one of the largest Lemon Myrtle plantations in Australia. It takes several years for a Lemon Myrtle plant to become mature enough to start producing commercial grades of foliage. Leaves can be dried and transformed into spice or distilled to produce oil. Oil from the leaves is the main component that makes Australian Rainforest Product's Lemon Myrtle Soap one of the highest quality native items on the market today.
Did you know: Many of the product photos were shot on location on the farm. This farm also generated much of the raw lemon myrtle that features in the products listed on www.lemonmyrtle.com.au.
Natural stands of Lemon Myrtle are confined to the subtropical and tropical coastal rainforest areas in Queensland, however Lemon Myrtle is well suited to grow in the Northern Rivers area in a variety of soils. Prized for its ornamental beauty, with its dense canopy of dull to glossy green foliage and a profusion of cream to white flowers in summer, it’s foliage holds a strong lemon aroma.
Crushing the leaves releases the volatile citral oils, which give the lemon flavour and fragrance and they can be used where a lemon flavour is desired. The tree grows up to 10 m in a domestic garden, but responds well to pruning and can be grown in containers. It is best planted in a sunny position, sheltered from frost and wind, especially when young. Mature trees in a sheltered position have survived frost to –8° C. It thrives in acid to neutral rich moist organic soils, but will tolerate sandy or heavier textured soils.
Seeds of Lemon Myrtle have a low germination rate (0-4%) and vegetative propagation by rooted cuttings appears to be the most effective way of producing planting stock for ornamental or commercial plantations. Trees grown from seed have an initial sprawling nature with a low branching habit. Branches touching the ground will easily take roots, these can be severed and transplanted. Tip cuttings are best taken in November for artificial propagation. Roots will develop more easily if the bases of the cuttings are dipped into a semi hardwood rooting hormone. Not all Lemon Myrtle cuttings strike easily. As more plants are coming into cultivation these plants are becoming more readily available.