Have you ever thought of picking fresh homegrown lime from your lime tree?
Are you worried that you may not grow your indoor lime plants because of inappropriate climate or temperature?
If you are worried about all these ifs and buts, you have come to the right place, as here we will provide you with the ultimate guide to grow your very own lime tree in a container. So, stick with us to earn more.
Although the lime tree has traditionally been the gardeners’ favorite, sunny, tropical zones, you need not worry if you stay cooler and wintry zones. It is absolutely possible to grow the zesty citrus tree indoors in a pot or container. All you need to know is some basic things about citrus plants and tips, and you are good to start your own lime tree potting venture.
Types of Lime Tree suitable for Planting in a Container
Although a sign of exotic, tropical island fruit, the lime tree can be grown in any climate. However, if you are planning to grow this citrus tree indoors, we suggest you choose the suitable tree variety.
That being said, a dwarf variety of this tree is most suitable to be grown indoors, in a pot. Below are some examples of lime tree variants ideal for being grown in a container or pot.
- Palestinian lime
A variant of sweet lime, the Palestinian lime is around milder fruit that can be grown easily in a container.
- Persian lime
This lime variant grows only 10 feet in containers. And you can prune them to arrest their growth further.
- Kaffir lime
Kaffir lime trees are bush-type and can be kept under 10 feet if pruned. This tree bears aromatic leaves that are very popular in Asian cuisines.
- Key lime
Another most suitable type of lime tree to be grown indoors, Key lime trees do not grow more than 6 feet and can be as small as 2 feet. However, this lime-tree variant cannot tolerate cold climates, so you must bring them inside below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mexican lime
Aka West Indian lime, Mexican lime is also a bushy variant. It grows around 15 feet tall and produces strongly acidic fruit.
- Bearss lime
It is one of the most common varieties and bears seedless fruits.
Planting Lime Tree in a Container
Like any other indoor citrus plant, a lime tree also needs warm environments and sunny weather. You can choose to grow your plant from lime seeds or buy lime plants from the nearby nursery. It is effortless to grow your lime tree in a pot or container.
So, let us delve into the steps involved in the process.
Citrus trees need soil that is moist, well-drained, and never soggy. If the soil is too dry or too wet, it may cause problems for the tree. You can use commercial potting mixes for your indoor lime tree. These mixes offer balanced ingredients that help in retaining moisture in the soil.
Also, try to use potting soil, which has the perfect mix of nutrients for your citrus tree. Moreover, while planting, take care of the depth, as these trees need proper air.
Types of Pots
Another crucial thing to know before planting your lime tree in a pot is to decide the best type that is most suitable. We say so because your lime tree inside a container or pot would need enough room to grow and adequately water-drained soil.
The most suitable pot size to plant your tree is twice the size of the root ball of your tree.
Plastic pots can be suitable to grow lime trees indoors, as these trees tend to grow taller and heavier. Although these pots may not be the prettiest, they are most cost-effective. Also, plastic pots are light, which can help you transfer your plants indoors and outdoors, as per the need.
Last but not least, these pots are durable and long-lasting.
If you are searching for good-looking pots, we recommend you go for ceramic pots. Although they are heavier than plastic ones, they retain water better. Also, if you do not need to transfer your lime tree often, ceramic pots are the best to be placed in the verandah or the lobby.
However, you should remember that ceramic pots tend to get cracks in chilly weather. So, if you stay in a cold place, these pots are not recommended.
Much like ceramic pots, wooden pots are also suitable for placing on the outer section of your house. They are eco-friendly and look great. Their drainage system is also sound, and they are long-lasting.
While planting this citrus tree in a container, you must take care of the spacing. In the case of dwarf lime trees, the spacing should be at least 6 to 10 feet. On the other hand, in the case of standard trees, the spacing could be 12 to 25 feet.
When to Plant
The best time to plant your lime tree is in the spring months at a neutral pH. However, you can plant these trees indoors at any time of the year.
Remember to make a hole beneath the pot to ensure proper water drainage and prevent any waterlogging.
Threats to Lime Tree
It is hassle-free to grow lime trees in a container. But like other citrus trees, these are also prone to threats if you do not care for them enough.
You should be careful to check the potential threats in advance to save your lime tree. Some of the common threats include.
Indoor citrus trees attract citrus-loving insects like thrips and spider mites. Other significant lime pests trees include leaf miner, scale, citrus mites, and aphids. These insects and pests can eat away the lime leaves, deform the fruits, cause premature drops, and damage the tree eventually.
Lime trees may not grow if it receives too much chill. So, suppose your weather forecast is predicting cold days with temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In that case, you should bring your lime tree inside.
Too much Water
We have already stated that lime trees require moist and well-drained soil. So, make sure that your pot or container does not log water. Overwatering your trees can also lead to rotten roots, increasing the chances of fungi and stunt growth.
Lime trees need a well-lit area that receives sun rays and warmth. Therefore, these trees need at least 12 hours of sunlight. However, it is essential to ensure your tree doesn’t get less than 6 hours of daylight a day, or else it will not bear fruits and die eventually.
With proper pot, soil, temperature, and watering, indoor lime trees can flourish like any other indoor plant and tree. All you need is to consider the following things to reap the benefits of planting these trees inside your home.
Proper watering is highly essential for lime trees. These trees cannot stand waterlogging, but this should not allow you to keep the pot completely dry. Allow the potting soil to dry for at least 2- 3 inches deep before rewatering them. Also, keep a check if water is draining correctly through the pothole.
Like any citrus tree, these trees also require warm and sunny weather. Limes are native to sunny tropical regions, so ensure your indoor tree receives at least six to eight hours of bright, daily light. Try to place your container in southern or southwest windows to get better results.
However, if you fall short of sufficient sunlight, you can resort to grow lights as well.
Temperature and Climate
The typical home temperature should work fine for lime trees.
The ideal temperature for these trees is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. So, always remember to place your lime tree pot away from drafts or heating and air conditioning ducts. Also, remember to bring them inside before fall frost strikes.
You should continuously fertilize your citrus tree, at a regular interval, over the years. Always remember to fertilize these trees when there is no flower or fruits on them. Nitrogen fertilizers are most suited for these trees. However, you can also choose citrus-specific plant foods such as Pennington Ultragreen Citrus & Avocado Plant Food 10-5-5.
You should limit fertilizing your tree during fall and winter when the plant growth is slow.
Lime trees can grow tall, and to arrest their growth and give them a better shape pruning them is essential. Pruning also promotes bigger and better fruit production. The best season to prune your citrus tree is in spring, before the start of the new growth. While pruning focuses on cutting the lower branches more.
Pest and weed Control
We have already stated above that lime trees can attract insects and pests, ultimately damaging them. So, make sure you check your tree regularly and use pesticides in case of an infestation, especially when you put your pot outside in the summer months.
Your lime tree will outgrow your pot in the first year only. So, thinking of re-potting is wise.
You can re-pot your tree in the spring season. While re-potting, you must ensure that the size of the new pot is twice the size of the current pot or root ball. Also, keep doing it every two to three years until your tree is about 5 years old, when you will no longer need to re-pot it.
After re-potting, make sure to fertilize your soil and water it.
The right time to harvest limes is before they are ripe. The limes should be light green while being harvested.
If your limes look like the picture above and are little soft to touch, it means you can pick them. However, it may be too early to harvest if you find it hard to remove the lime from the tree.
Limes are generally harvested twice a year- in May–June and November–December.
Ans. It is frustrating if your lime tree does not produce fruit. There can be several reasons behind this, like
⦁ Lack of fertilization
⦁ Pest infestation
⦁ Using a fertilizer high in nitrogen but low in phosphorus
⦁ Chilly temperature
⦁ Pruning the buds accidentally.
Ans. Sometimes, premature fruit fall is fine. But if your tree seems to lose a lot of fruits, then chances are high that it is suffering from uneven watering and imbalanced pH. So, maintaining a well-draining water system is essential. Also, you can check the pH level of the soil to ensure the proper pH balance.
Ans. The right time to harvest your limes is when they are still light green and soft to touch. However, if you have difficulty removing limes from the tree, it may be too early to pick them. Also, remember to harvest them before they turn entirely yellow since fully ripped limes can taste bitter.
Ans. Lime trees are heavy feeders. Therefore, the frequency of fertilizing them should be every one to two months during spring and summer. However, this frequency can be decreased to every two to three months in fall and winter.
Remember to use nitrogen-heavy fertilizers with added phosphorus, as the latter is suitable for flowering and fruiting.
Ans. You can expect seedling trees to bear fruits in 3 to 6 years and reach full production in 8 to 10 years. Fruit can be harvested twice a year- in May–June and November–December.
So, here we have listed all the dos and donts of planting lime trees inside your home. The entire process can be hassle-free, fun, and cost-effective.
To sum up everything, we recommend you follow these tips:
- Find a suitable pot or container
- Prepare the soil
- Plant your lime sapling
- Fertilize and water the soil
- Provide the lime tree 12 hours of sunlight
- Check if the tree is infested
- Prune it on time.