Best type of Lime Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Cape Coral, Fl
Question by shymansky200
March 23, 2010
I want to plant a lime tree in my yard. I am would like to know the your recommendation as to the type of lime tree that would best thrive and produce in SW FL, such as persian, key lime, etc. Also the best practices on planting a lime tree for optimal results. Finally how long does it take to produce fruit?


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Answer from NGA
March 23, 2010

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There are only two types of limes that I would consider growing: Key lime (Citrus aurantifolia), a.k.a. Mexican Lime, Indian Lime, West Indian Lime. This is the one that is about the size of an English walnut or even a bit smaller, has numerous seeds, is yellow when ripe, and which has the most sour juice of any citrus. Everything about the tree is small and compact -- small leaves, small flowers, small fruit, small (but evil) thorns, and the smallest mature tree size of all the true citrus. If you like the "real" Key Lime Pie flavor or your margaritas with a real bite, this is it.

'Tahiti' (a.k.a. Persian, 'Bearss') limes, Citrus latifolia (or better, Citrus x 'Tahiti', since it is definitely a hybrid, not a species in its own right). This is the one that is shaped rather like a lemon and is nearly as large as a lemon, always sold bright green (fully mature ones do turn yellow, but the flavor changes at that point). Much larger trees, less thorny (so easier to pick), almost totally seedless, and quite sour but NOT with the bitter aftertaste. Most commercial "lime" flavored products are made with this lime. Trees are average size for citrus, much larger than Key lime trees (assuming the same root system).

To get your new tree off to a good start, dig the planting hole just as deep and slightly wider than the container it is growing in. Set the rootmass into the planting hole and backfill around the plant, gently tamping down the soil as you go.  Water thoroughly to allow the soil to settle. Then form a water basin by mounding up a few inches of soil and use the water basin to water the tree. Simply fill it up with water, allow to drain, then fill it a second time. Once a week should be all your new tree will need.

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