There’s something very luxurious about having your own lime tree. Given enough sun and water this handsome tree will produce lots of bright green, edible fruit. White flowers, which smell wonderful, will start to appear in spring, followed by fruit, which should be ready to pick at the end of summer.
Lime trees grow in hot countries around the world, so like bright, warm conditions. In summer, put yours in the sunniest spot you have. It likes a lot of water. If it’s allowed to dry out the fruit will be much smaller. If the weather gets very hot you may need to water it every couple of days but once or twice a week will usually be fine. Make sure excess water can drain freely from the bottom of the pot.
Although it loves sun, this is a surprisingly tough plant. It can cope in temperatures just below freezing, but in winter it’s best to move it somewhere warmer. Inside your house, near a window, is great. If you have a greenhouse, even better. It will need very little water in winter. Just enough to keep the soil lightly moist.
Fruit can take about six months to ripen fully, but you don’t have to wait that long. A fully ripe lime will be light yellow and almost sweet. The sharp, green limes we’re all used to are actually under-ripe, so feel free to pick them when they’re still green but nice and plump.
Depending on the time of year, your tree may arrive without fruit, but if you give it enough warmth and sun it should flower and fruit from spring.
Did you know?
About 19.4 million tons of limes are consumed around the world every year.