The lime tree has become increasingly popular in many home gardens with its delightfully vibrant green color, intoxicating fragrance and plentiful fruit. Although it is native to the tropics, with sufficient care and attention, the tree can be grown elsewhere. However, the lime is particularly susceptible to cold, and if you are in a cold area and desire to grow limes, you may have to resort to growing in a greenhouse or probably opt for the key lime tree (which is well adapted to growing indoors). The following are care tips for the lime tree:
As the lime is a native of the tropics, where much rainfall and humidity abound, frequent watering must be part of your lime tree care. However, make sure water doesn't accumulate at the tree base, as bad drainage will encourage root rot and cause the tree to die.
TIP: Karen Thurber, our gardening expert, states: "Lime trees grow best in well-drained, loam soil, with a pH of 6.0-6.5."
If your lime tree is in a container, it is best to relocate it to a greenhouse or indoors during cold, frosty and wintry weather. Protect lime trees from the cold by covering them with an old blanket or plastic until the weather improves. You can also apply water from a sprinkler just hours before the temperatures dip, and leave them there until the weather begins to improve. The water will freeze on the tree and protect the leaves and fruit from damage because of the insulating effect of the ice.
Adequate fertilizers are essential to the health of the lime tree, encouraging good growth, prolific leaf development and promoting a good harvest of lime. Apply manure that is rich in nitrogen at the base of the tree three times per year, once in early spring, summer, then fall.
TIP: Karen also mentions that you should only use composted manure. "Avoid steer and chicken manure as they tend to be high in salts."
Cut off any dead branches to encourage the formation of new and healthy branches. Pruning also helps to keep the tree looking attractive and in good shape and is especially beneficial in maintaining the appearance of the key lime tree, a lovely indoors houseplant.
TIP: Karen suggests that "pruning should be done when the plant is dormant in late winter or early spring."
Fortunately, lime trees do not suffer much from pests and diseases. However, they may be attacked occasionally by leaf miners and aphids. This can be effectively controlled using a good insecticide from your local garden store. If you spot any pests, wash them off using soapy water. A healthy tree is the best defense against afflictions by pests and diseases. Adequate water and fertilizer are your best insurance against pests and diseases. Protecting the tree from extreme sunlight and cold is important, as it makes the tree more resilient. Avoid any injuries to the tree, as this would make it more vulnerable to pest and disease attacks.