Lime trees grow in warm climates and are cold sensitive. It is possible to grow dwarf variety in greenhouse conditions. The tree produces fragrant flowers, glossy leaves and small fruits.
India is the largest producer of lime, lemon with other top contenders in China, Mexico, Indonesia and Australia. The world’s production was estimated at 17 million tons in 2016 and it takes 4 years to bear fruit at full maturity. Ideal conditions include 8 hours sun, well-drained soil and adequate moisture.
Lime tree is a hybrid fruit that is round and contains acidic juice vesicles. The fruit is produced from the pomelo and mandarin orange and has many varieties. The tree can grow over 10 feet and dwarf species less than 8 feet.
Species of Lime Citrus Tree
Lime are usually hybrid trees that bear small round green fruits. The fruits have unique aroma, sour acidic taste. Some species are Persian lime, wild lime, key lime, kaffir lime.
More are Musk lime, Limequate, Sweet lime, Rangour, blood lime, Australian finger lime. Rangpur is extremely acidic while Calamondin has a very small lime with thin skin. Australian desert is ideal for marmalade while Kaffir has a warty skin texture, rich in lime oil.
Species of Lime
- Persian lime
- Wild lime
- Key lime
- Kaffir lime
- Musk lime
- Sweet lime
- Blood lime
- Australian finger lime
- Australian desert
Health Benefits of Lime
Lime has an acidic sour juice good source of phosphorous, potassium, sodium, iron, calcium, copper. It is rich in dietary fiber, flavonol glycosides and antioxidants.
Lime juice on scalp is a good hair care remedy. It also has antibiotic, antimicrobial, antibacterial applications. It used in the treatment of gout, ulcers, reduces fever, treat arthritis.
The flavonol glycosides in lime defends against cholera infection while the oil or balm is used to treat respiratory disorders. Other benefits are healing peptic ulcer, relieves constipation and manages diabetes.
It is used to treat scurvy, prevent gum bleeding, aids digestion. It has skin care applications, increase iron absorption, prevents kidney stone and boosts a person’s immunity. Essential oils found in lime aids weight loss while soluble fiber help prevent heart disease.
Health Benefits of Lime
- Good hair care remedy
- Treatment of gout, ulcers
- reduces fever
- treat arthritis
- defends against cholera infection
- used to treat respiratory disorders
- Healing peptic ulcer
- relieves constipation
- manages diabetes
- used to treat scurvy
- prevent gum bleeding
- aids digestion
- skin care applications
- increase iron absorption
- prevents kidney stone
- boosts a person’s immunity
- aids weight loss
- help prevent heart disease
Uses of Lime
The fruit has some side effects such as food or skin related allergies. Some people on consumption experience migraine, erosion of teeth enamel.
Lime is used as a cleansing agent in beverages and cosmetic products. Other applications includes culinary and medicinal uses. They are found in essential oils, aromatherapy, cocktails and perfumes and cleaning products.
Uses of Lime
- cleansing agent
- used in beverages
- Cosmetic products
- Culinary uses
- Medicinal uses
- found in essential oils
- cleaning products
Pests and Diseases
Soggy soil encourages fungal growth in the roots and the tree is cold sensitive. The tree experiences root rot, pest problems.
Growing Lime from Seed
Large commercial farms purchase stock from nurseries or use grafting. However citrus seeds especially lime can be grown from seeds. It takes a long period to attain full maturity or produce fruits from seeds.
The type of seed can be hybrid or polyembryonic. Wash the seeds and allow dry for three days. Then select a pot with good water drainage. Place the seed in a plastic bag with some soil or directly in potted soil.
Plant the seed ½ inch deep in well-drained soil. Place the pot in strategic location to receive sun and wet to keep soil moist. It takes a few weeks for germination. Then separate 7 inch sprouts to individual containers. Lime trees are cold sensitive so make proper provisions for artificial heat during winter.
Planting Lime Trees
Approach a reputable nursery to buy the lime tree. Make sure the plants are healthy and the seller offers some guarantee. Greenhouses should consider purchasing the dwarf verity that grows less than 8.5 feet at full maturity.
Proper tree selection is important to the success or failure of the venture. Choose either a ceramic, plastic or clay pot slightly larger than the trees rootball. The pot should have drainage holes and moveable or placed for adequate sunlight.
The next step is to fill with potting soil sandy-loamy soil mix ideal for lime trees. Carefully place the rootball in the pot and cover with soil. Tap down lightly and immediately water the plant.
Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Make sure the position you choose provides at least 6 to 8 hours of sun. Without adequate sunlight the leaves turn pale green therefore supplement sunlight with grow light during winter season. For optimum growth ideal temperature is 65 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make sure the soil is slightly moist but not waterlogged. Before watering allow the soil dry out the add water, soggy soil promotes fungi to manifest on roots. Use a citrus fertilizer every three weeks at a rate of 2 tablespoons per tree.
Use micronutrient fertilizer to increase magnesium, iron in the tree. The fertilizer requirement during winter is less and apply every two months. Prune the tree only when required to remove uneven branches or deadwood.