Close this search box.

Citrus Cultivars – region by region

Citrus cultivars - a ripe orange hanging on a branch

It’s All About The Rootstock

Countless backyards all over Australia are lucky enough to have a lemon or orange tree tucked away in a corner somewhere, thriving whilst other plants bloom and wither and fruiting year after year.

It may come as a surprise to learn that despite the vast range of climates and condition to be found across our country, there is great similarity in the citrus cultivars grown from Hobart all the way up to Darwin. This is because of the rootstocks that are used. So a ‘Marsh’s Seedless’ grapefruit can be found from the tip of Tassie to the far reaches of The Top End, but they would be sold as budded to different rootstocks for the contrasting environments.

Anyone who gardens north of Capricorn Line will tell you that their task is harder that those in the south and it’s true that many Australian gardening books and essays spend little time on the challenges of growing in the more tropical climes. But whilst it may be more difficult to raise certain plants, there are plenty of citrus cultivars that thrive in the north. Indeed, there are plenty of commercial growers running successful businesses in areas as far north as Bees Creek and Humpty Doo in the North Territory.

Of course, it’s not just any old random lemon, but selected citrus cultivars on rootstocks suited to the local conditions.

As with roses, you cannot buy a rose bush when you are on holiday in South Australia and expect it to flourish when you pop in in your back garden in Queensland. There are at least four rootstocks used for roses and how successful they prove to be depends on the soil type and pH reaction. It is exactly the same with citrus cultivars. It’s virtually pointless to plant a ‘Ruby’ grapefruit on a ‘Rough Lemon’ rootstock up in Townsville, Qld. Although the ‘Ruby’ grapefruit is a sound choice for propagating in the tropics, if it’s planted on ‘Rough Lemon’ rootstock it will generally fail. This is because ‘Rough Lemon’ is usually used as a rootstock for alkaline, clay soils such as those found in the south. Uo in the tropics, the ‘Trifoliata’ rootstock is more appropriate for both the home gardener and commercial grower.

For a more detailed understanding of rootstocks, please see here.

Citrus Cultivars

This list of recommended citrus cultivars shows those that are grown in the region specified and have done well.

There are probably many others that would also thrive if they were grown on the correct rootstock.

Citrus Cultivars – Tropical Regions

This includes the Top End NT, Far North Queensland as far south as Rockhampton, QLD and The Kimberley WA:

  • Kaffir lime
  • Mount White lime – Microcitrus garrowayae
  • Red pummelo
  • Ruby grapefruit
  • Russell River lime – Microcitrus inodora
  • Tahitian lime
  • Tropical lemon
  • Tropical mandarin
  • West Indian lime

Please read this is if lemon cultivars are of particular interest to you.

Citrus Cultivars – Sub-Tropical & Inland

This includes areas with occasional frosts, like Carnavon, WA and Mundubbera Qld:

  • Ellendale mandarin
  • Honey Murcott mandarin
  • Pappas Pink grapefruit
  • Red navel
  • Ruby grapefruit
  • Tahitian lime
  • West Indian lime

Citrus cultivars - green limes on the branch of a citrus tree.

Citrus Cultivars – Inland with Mild Frosts

This includes regions such as Sunraysia, Vic, the Riverland SA, Tree Tea to Tennant Creek NT, Gin Gin, Chittering Valley & the Harvey Irrigation area in WA, and the MIA and Griffith in NSW:

  • Ellendale mandarin
  • Elsie de Bos lime
  • Emperor mandarin
  • Eureka lemon
  • Hickson mandarin
  • Imperial mandarin
  • Lane’s Late Navel orange
  • Marsh Seedless grapefruit
  • Minneola tangelo
  • Nagami kumquat
  • Pink Flesh grapefruit
  • Valencia orange

For information about citron, see here.

Citrus Cultivars – East Coast & Frost Free

This region runs form Wollongong NSW to Noosa Qld:

  • Eureka lemon
  • Fremont mandarin
  • Glen Retreat mandarin
  • Hickson mandarin
  • Lemonade
  • Native Finger Lime – Microcitrus australasica
  • Tahitian lime

Please read here if you have a particular interest in popular lemon varieties.

Citrus Cultivars – Coastal & Windy

This covers areas such as Adelaide and the central regions of SA, Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula in Vic and settled areas of Tasmania:

  • Kumquats and calamondin in pots
  • Lisbon lemon
  • Maltese Blood Orange
  • Marsh’s Seedless grapefruit
  • Meyer lemon
  • Minneola tangelo
  • Rangpur lime
  • Wheenie grapefruit

Citrus Cultivars – Inland with Heavy Frosts

This includes Alice Springs NT, Marla SA, Broken Hill NSW and Kalgoorlie WA:

  • Australian Desert Lime – Eremocitrus glauca
  • Calamondin in pots
  • Lisbon lemon
  • Minneola tangelo


Growing Citrus – An Introduction

Citrus Cultivars and Selection

Citrus Leafminer

Feeding Citrus Trees

Pruning Citrus Trees

Citrus – The Soil

Citrus – Planting a Citrus Orchard

Native Citrus

Citrus Harvesting

Storing Citrus Fruits

Popular Tips and Guides

Home Gardening Articles