The Q&A Archives: Key Lime

Question: When I pulled up the plant #, all I received was planting instructions. However, of course I wanted more, care, flowering, etc. Do not know anything about this tree/plant, however incouraged by the helpers @my Home Depot Store you could help me? PLEASE!!!

Answer: I will do my best to answer all your questions! Mexican lime is also known as key lime and West Indian lime. It originated in Asia, was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa by Arab traders and was brought to the Americas during the early sixteenth century by Spanish and Portugese explorers. It became naturalized in the West Indies, south Florida and some Caribbean countries.

The tree is somewhat small and bushy, with slender branches, having short spines (thorns). A thornless selection is somewhat more desirable but less productive. The fruit is small, rarely achieving 2 inches in size, round to oval in shape, and contains a moderate number of seeds. The rind is thin and yellow at full maturity, while the juice is faintly greenish yellow, highly acid and has the distinctive lime aroma.

Plant your tree in full sunshine, placing it at the same soil level as it was growing in the nursery container. Watering should be slow and thorough; probably every couple of weeks would suffice. Nutrition is important; use a fertilizer formulated for citrus trees and apply in amounts and with the frequency as suggested on the label.

Lawngrass should be kept back about a foot from the canopy of the tree. Other than cold damage, no pruning should be necessary, as the lime tree will develop its natural shape without pruning. While mulching is not recommended for citrus trees, if you must mulch, keep the mulch at least one foot away from the tree trunk.

Lime trees tend to set flowers continuously throughout the year and will typically begin to flower 2-3 years after planting in the landscape.

Best wishes with your new tree!

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