The Q&A Archives: Mexican Key Lime Tree Not Fruiting

Question: My key lime tree is planted in a pot on my patio. It's about 3-4 feet tall. I have had it for 2 years and it has hardly grown at all and has not grown any fruit. It did flower only on one side of the tree this year, but the flowers are drying up, dropping off. and not turning into fruit. I do use a fertilizer. I have checked for insects and don't see any. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: Citrus often takes several years or more to produce fruit, so the fact that your lime isn't producing fruit doesn't bother me so much as that fact that the tree itself isn't growing. How much sunlight does it receive on your patio? Citrus do need full sun, at least 6-8 hours per day. How often do you fertilize, and what type of fertilizer do you use? If possible, find a product formulated for citrus and follow package instructions. Citrus are heavy feeders and since it's in a container, the roots can't spread out into the ground to seek more nutrients. Citrus are also fussy about soil moisture. Don't let it dry out. Water when the top inch or two of soil is dry. A layer of organic mulch on top of the soil will help maintain soil moisture. Limes are also some of the most frost-tender citrus. Are you moving it indoors during winter, as your temperatures would be too cold for it. Is the plant rootbound in its pot, or is there room for it to grow? Are roots coming out of the drainage holes? Was it transplanted after you purchased it into fresh soil and the next size larger pot? I hope these ideas will help you figure out what's happening with your lime tree. Good luck!

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