This small member of our well-known citrus family has a long history in its sub- tropical home of origin. Prized for its intense, concentrated sweet lime flavor and culinary applications, these citrus jewels can be sliced and used as garnish for cocktails, collected to make the Infamous Key Lime Pie, grated over dishes or eaten right off the tree.
The white flowers are most notable for their creamy, delicate, tropical fragrance. This small- scale orchard replica will delight for many years to come. Use the general guidelines below as a point of reference.
Citrus grows best between 55° and 85° F. Indoor temperatures averaging 65° are conducive to growth if light is adequate.
As bright as possible but avoid excess heat, this will dry out the soil too quickly. In the landscape they enjoy full sun. A location that provides morning sun or filtered light throughout the day is ideal. Generally, the larger the container, the slower it will dry out. When grown indoors tree should be kept a minimum of 24” from windows as they will act as a magnifying glass and burn the leaves.
Water as needed to keep soil moist, not wet. Watering frequency varies with location and climate. A well balanced liquid fertilizer should be used with every 2nd or 3rd watering and is important to the health of your tree. Vital nutrients are flushed from the soil with each watering and need to be replenished. Citrus in general are heavy feeders, especially iron, manganese and zinc. Your local nursery should have an adequate liquid feed available. Yellowing leaves indicate lack of fertilizer or overwatering.
Prune to shape as you desire, keeping in mind the small- scale size of the plant and its container. Flowers will appear from small shoots that originate where the leaves meet the stem. Flowers sporadically throughout the year, heaviest in the spring. If too much new growth is produced at the branch tips, don’t be shy about cutting it back to a lower position to shorten the trees height as it begins to re-grow.
Planting in a larger container is the easiest way to keep the plant healthy. Remove the tree from its pot every 1-2 years and remove about 1/3 of the roots. Re-pot with a blended potting soil. This will encourage new roots and keep it growing happily.
Keep the tree from cold extreme temperatures in a bright location through the winter. Depending on your location, you could leave it outside in a frost free area or in a bright, warm room if freezing temperatures occur. Heated rooms may need additional humidity to help the leaves stay lush. As old leaves fall off, fertilize regularly to create new growth and keep the tree productive.