Key Lime Tree

A key lime tree (Citrus aurantiifoliais) makes a perfect addition to your indoor space, balcony, or patio.

It is a fruit-bearing ornamental plant with lush evergreen leaves and aromatic flowers that sweeten the air. 

The tree needs a warm humid climate to grow outdoors, but will do well indoors in a sunny location.

The leaves are dark green on the upper surface and paler underneath with spines along the branches. Flowers are white and can be tinged with purple.

If your container plant is not self-pollinating, you can hand pollinate it by spreading the pollen around the inside of each flower with a paintbrush. This is crucial for better fruit production. When plant is outdoors this process is easily done by the bees.

The tart fruit is small, between one and two inches in diameter with a thin peel. Fruit is ripe and ready for your favorite recipes when it turns pale yellow.

Growing Key Limes in Containers

potted key lime tree near window

You can successfully grow your own dwarf  citrus tree in any growing zone so long as it is kept well drained and away from the cold.

Potted  lime trees with their smaller size have the added convenience of being mobile in times of inclement weather.

If you have a sunny room to winter your tree, you will discover growing key limes are really easy. In addition to the beauty and fragrance, you will have fruit all year long with little work.

Planting Tip:  After purchasing a tree, Remove it from the nursery pot and carefully shake away excess soil and potting mixture. Place the root ball in your container and fill in with soil until the roots are barely covered.

How to Care for a Dwarf Key Lime Tree

Light:   Preferably these plants need 12 hours of good bright sunlight; however,  they will survive on five.  Place your tree in a sunny location in your home or garden.  Southern-exposed areas and rooms that receive at least 6 hours of sunlight are ideal. If your light is insufficient, get an artificial light or a grow light to enhance your plants.

Water:  Water thoroughly until you see water dripping from the bottom. Continue watering the tree any time the soil is nearly dry, but do not let the soil dry out completely.

Humidity:   Mist the leaves of your tree daily with tepid water.

Temperature:  The tree does best in an environment of 70° F during the day with no lower than 55°F overnight. If the temperature drops below 55 degrees F, bring your key lime indoors.
Soil:  Make sure that your tree  is planted in acidic (peat moss-based) soil that has plenty of drainage. The hole should be just large enough to fit the root ball of your tree. It does not like to be kept in standing water so make sure that any excess drains out.

Fertilize:    Use a slow-release fertilizer specially made for citrus trees. They are preferable to quick-release formulations.

Harvesting:  When fruit start to appear, make sure and remove half of them. They usually appear in clusters of five or six, and once half of the cluster is gone, the remaining limes will continue to flourish leaving you with tastier and juicer fruits to enjoy.