Lime trees are among the foremost cold-sensitive of all citrus trees, growing outdoors only in warm, mild climates. But, you don’t need to live south of zone 9 to grow lime trees indoors. If you’ve got a sunny window with southern exposure, you’ll grow lime trees indoors regardless of what proportion snow piles up outside.
Lime trees, with their glossy leaves and fragrant flowers, are gorgeous in their title, but if you’ll bring a lime tree to reap, such a lot the higher. Lime trees typically need a minimum of 3 to 4 years in touch fruit, counting on the dimensions of your tree at purchase. They also need ideal growing conditions, including many sunlight, adequate moisture, and well-draining soil. Trees moved outside for the summer are presumably in touch fruit. Once the limes appear, they’ll take several months to mature on the tree. they are doing not ripen off the tree but are often picked once they are sweet enough.
PLANTING AND CARING FOR LIME TREES
The first step in growing lime trees is in tree selection. choose a dwarf variety for indoor growing. Dwarf trees are grafted onto a dwarf rootstock, therefore, the trees stay under 10 feet tall. Some grow but 8 feet tall. Buy lime trees through a reputable nursery – preferably one that gives a guarantee on its trees. Lime trees are vulnerable to some root diseases which will be contracted within the nursery. Starting with clean, healthy stock is completely critical.
Plant the lime tree during a plastic, ceramic, or clay pot that’s slightly larger than the basis ball of the tree. confirm the pot has many drainage holes. If you would like to maneuver the tree outdoors within the summer, consider choosing a pot with casters so you’ll easily wheel the tree about.
Fill the pot partly with a light-weight, loamy potting soil. The potting soil should be somewhat sandy and well-draining. When possible, use a potting soil made specifically for citrus trees. Gently place the rootball within the pot and continue filling it with soil. Tamp the soil down lightly and water until the soil feels moist to the touch.
Lime trees, like all citrus trees, need a minimum of 6 to eight hours of bright sunlight daily. Place your lime tree during a sunny window. During the winter, you’ll get to supplement the natural sunlight with a grow light, especially if the leaves drop or turn pale green. Keep lime trees at temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature of 65 F is right. Sudden changes in temperature can harm the tree, so don’t place it near heaters, radiators, or exterior doors.
During the summer, you’ll move the lime tree outdoors. Wait until the last expected frost then gradually move the tree outdoors, bringing it inside in the dark until it acclimates. Keep the tree on a patio or terrace during a protected area that gets full sun. Reverse this process within the fall – gradually bringing the tree indoors. it’s going to lose a couple of leaves because it makes the transition from indoors to outdoors, but if you acclimate it slowly, it won’t experience an excessive amount of shock.
Water the lime tree only enough to stay the soil slightly moist. Soggy soils promote fungal growth and plant disease, so allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering. Lime trees appreciate humid surroundings so place the tree near a humidifier or mist its leaves with a sprig bottle. this is often especially important during the winter when the air is especially dry.
Fertilize lime trees every three weeks from spring to summer with a citrus fertilizer or one made for tomatoes or vegetables. Fertilize at a rate of two tablespoons per tree, or consistent with package directions. During the autumn and winter, fertilize every six weeks. Lime trees are susceptible to micronutrient deficiencies, like iron and magnesium. Apply a micronutrient fertilizer each spring.
Lime trees don’t need the extensive pruning of orchard fruits, but you’ll prune them occasionally to get rid of deadwood or branches that rub against one another. you’ll also prune to regulate the tree’s size.
LIME POTENTIAL PESTS AND PROBLEMS
Disease problems are usually associated with moisture levels and include plant disease and fungal diseases. Provide well-drained soil and don’t overwater to scale back these issues. Aphids, leafhoppers, mites, and scale all afflict lime trees. Before you bring a lime tree indoors for the winter, spray it with warm, slightly soapy water to dispatch any insects. If insect pests become a drag, treat them with insecticidal oil or soap.
LIME VARIETIES WORTH TRYING
The most important consideration is to get a disease-resistant variety that will stay small.
‘Persian’ limes (also called ‘Bearss’) are a favorite choice. they’re a disease-resistant, naturally dwarf cultivar.
‘Eustis’ limequats are a cross between a lime and a kumquat. they need the flavor of limes and are more cold-tolerant.