Key Lime Tree, also known as Mexican lime, is a shrub that has a rounded or curved canopy with slender branches and medium thorns. The Key lime tree produces tiny white flowers that bloom in spring and emit a soft fragrance. The small round fruits of the Key lime tree and Dwarf Key lime tree are about 1-2 inches and offer higher acidity compared to other citrus fruits. Being a citrus cultivar, it is vulnerable to cold temperatures when left without protection. Hard frost can lead to serious damage to the Key Lime Tree.
If you are wondering if you can grow Key Lime trees indoors, the answer is yes you can grow this vigorous tree indoors. They typically grow to 12 feet high while a dwarf type grows to about 6 feet tall. You can grow Key Limes in a pot or a container so long as it has good water drainage system. Planting a Key lime tree in a pot will allow you to grow standard-sized, flavorful Key Limes. However, trees planted in a container, won’t produce the same amount of fruits that trees planted in the ground will.
How to care for a pot grown Key lime tree?
- Key lime trees can adapt to any type of soil, but the best soil for this kind of tree is sandy loam potting soil that contains organic matter that can help the tree grow.
- You have to select a pot or container that will allow the roots to spread to the surface level. Keep in mind that citrus trees have wide and strong roots that gather moisture. A good water drainage system is also required since citrus trees do not like damp surroundings.
- Choosing a location for your indoor Key lime tree is important. You have to position the tree where it can get 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day.
- Before watering the tree, stick your index finger 2-3 inches into the soil to check if it has dried out. If the soil is dry to your touch, it is time to water the tree. If the soil is still wet, then postpone watering for another 2 days. As the tree matures you can water your tree once a week or as needed. You should also consider checking the foliage before you water your tree. If you spot leaves that are starting to yellow or curl, it could be a sign that you are over-watering your tree.
- Indoor citrus trees need more fertilizer than trees growing in the ground because they have a limited space for roots. The amount of fertilizer will depend on the maturity or age of the trees. For mature Key Lime trees fertilizing should be done 3 times per year: once in late summer, once during fall or winter, and once in early spring.
- Trim the branches that appear under the graft union of the tree because the nutrients will divide instead of just going into the main trunk. Prune your indoor citrus tree after winter, and before new growth appears.
- The harvest time for the Key Lime fruit is about 5 to 6 months after the spring bloom.
The Dwarf Key lime tree has a similar appearance to the Mexican Key lime tree or Key lime tree. The only difference between the standard and dwarf varieties is the height of the trees, but blooms and fruit size and fruit flavor are the same.
If you want to include Meyer Lemons in your harvest you may want to grow a Citrus cocktail tree, which is a 2-in-1 fruit tree which will give you two different citrus fruits (Key Limes and Meyer Lemons) on one tree.