How to Grow Limes
In this article, we share a comprehensive guide to growing limes at home.
Quick Guide Information
Common Name: Lime
Scientific Name: Citrus limon
Plant Type: Tree
Life Span: Long-lived Perennial
Time Till Harvest: 3-5 years
Light Requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Optimum pH: 6.0 - 6.5
Whether you use it in a salsa, on seafood, or to make a refreshing beverage, Limes pack a flavorful burst that can elevate a meal to its next level. They can be grown at home with a little effort and make a lasting contribution to any garden or landscape. That’s because Limes grow into full-sized trees that can live over 50 years and produce thousands of fruits!
While Limes are very similar to Lemons, there is a distinct difference you should consider before planting. Limes are adapted to more tropical climates and are one of the least cold-tolerant citrus. They do best in tropical, subtropical, or temperate climates with mild weather. If you do live in an area with a significant cold season you can find cold-tolerant and frost resistant varieties of Lime to plant.
For most people it is probably best to make a trip to a local nursery and see what sort of lime trees they have for offer. These may be grafted with a selected root-stock that will do best in your region. If for one reason or another your motivated to start them from seed, this can also be done easily. This may be your best option for propagating a local and novel variety. Alternatively, you can also propagate Limes via cutting anytime during the growing season.
+ Simply fold seeds into a moist paper towel and place inside a zip-lock bag that is sealed halfway. Leave for 2-4 weeks in a dark warm place until they germinate.
+ Afterwards, plant in a 1 litre pot and keep the soil moist. Transplant as needed. Once the tree is 1 metre in height you can transplant into the field.
Starting a Cutting
+ During the growing season select a branch or sucker that is healthy, rounded, and free of disease. You want it to be about 50 cm in length. Cut the stem diagonally with a sharp pair of clippers or knife.
+ Place rooting hormone on the tip of the stem and bury halfway in a loose, low nutrient soil mix heavy with coco coir and vermiculite. Place this pot in a shady location away from direct sunlight.
+ Keep moist. Mulch the top of the pot to help reduce evaporation. You can place a plastic bag over the top if necessary to make “greenhouse” like conditions.
+ In about 4-8 weeks roots should be developed and you can transplant as necessary.
Excessive Cold - Cover your plants with a frost blanket in excessively cold climates. A thick layer of mulch can also help keep soil temperatures up.
Rust and Foliar Diseases - Typically caused by excessive moisture. Avoid overhead watering and prune to promote airflow.