Do you love hanging plants? If so, you’re not alone – many gardeners are diving into the world of vertical gardening with all its many advantages, which include making gardening easier on your back, serving as an attractive screen or divider, maximizing a small gardening space, and just plain looking amazing! And these days, people are taking hanging baskets a step further by going beyond ornamentals to include edible plants like strawberries, tomatoes, peppers and limes.
Wait…did we just say “limes” and “hanging baskets” in the same sentence? We sure did…you may not have realized it, but many citrus trees actually do quite well in containers, and that includes many types of lime. Some even do well in hanging baskets (like Citrus.com’s own Dwarf Persian Lime Hanging Basket or Dwarf Key Limequat Hanging Basket. (If you want to save even more space, go for a Cocktail Tree from Citrus.com, which lets you grow two (lemon lime) fruits side-by-side in the same pot!)
Growing a Lime Tree in a Planter
You don’t have to reside in the Sunbelt to grow limes! Varieties of dwarf lime tree are well suited to containers, allowing gardeners everywhere to enjoy the benefits of homegrown limes (including glossy evergreen foliage, lovely floral fragrance, and the ultimate payoff of fresh fruit from your tree). But just like their in-ground counterparts, where you keep your lime tree matters. Here are three good tips:
- Go for sun. Lime trees need about eight hours of sunlight daily. If you’re keeping your potted lime on the patio, pick a southern spot out of the wind (which can dry the plant out). If you want to keep your lime tree indoors but don’t have a sufficiently sunny spot, supplement with a full-spectrum grow light.
- Beware of cold. Limes trees don’t like cold weather and must be protected or moved indoors when the mercury drops. If you garden in a relatively mild climate, it may be possible to leave your tree outdoors most of the year, covering it with an old blanket or moving it to a protected location for short periods as needed. Otherwise, bring the container inside for the winter.
- Pick the right container. Non-porous materials such as plastic or polypropylene are good choices. They retain moisture and are lightweight, making it easier to move pots indoors and out. The porosity of unglazed ceramic, terra cotta and wood containers requires extra diligence in monitoring soil moisture to make sure your lemon lime plant doesn’t dry out, plus they’re heavier to move. Stay away from black plastic nursery pots, which absorb and retain heat from the sun, creating triple-digit soil temperatures that “cook” roots. Make sure the pots you wind up going with have multiple drainage holes.
Looking for a Lime Tree for Sale?
Does it come as a surprise to you that you have a choice of dwarf lime varieties? Well, you do – which is great news because you can select the kind of lime plant that will do best in your growing environment as well as one that produces the type of limes you want! Here are some winners:
- Persian lime tree. The bearss lime is an attractive plant that grows fast, puts out sweet-smelling flowers in the spring, and produces lots of seedless limes. Also known as the Persian lime, this plant’s dwarf variety is especially suited to hanging baskets, which make it ideal for households with pets that show more interest in your plants than perhaps they should! If you’re wondering can dogs have limes, the fruit isn’t poisonous to them. But they may experience a rather upset stomach, so if your dog is one that likes to eat strange things, keeping your lime tree out of reach is a wise idea.
- Kaffir lime tree. This Asian variety of dwarf lime has distinctive double leaves and produces a round, bumpy-skinned fruit that’s excellent in Asian dishes. Because it’s hardier than other varieties, the kaffir lime is a good choice if you want to split your potted lime tree’s time between indoors and out (you’ll still want to move it indoors when freezing temps are predicted, however).
- Key lime tree. Best known for the unique flavor they lend to their namesake pie, Key limes are a popular choice with gourmets. The difference between lime and Key lime is that Key lime is smaller and seedier vs. lime because it is a hybrid fruit. The Key lime tree (also know as the Mexican lime tree) comes in an attractive dwarf variety that’s bushy and produces fragrant blossoms and small, potent limes at varying times throughout the year.
- Australian finger lime tree. The finger lime has been described as a sort of “lime caviar,” and you’ll understand why the moment you cut into it. The finger lime tree produces long, thin fruits with tangy, globular vesicles. Finger lime trees are a semi-dwarf variety, so it’s probably best to skip the hanging basket and go for a larger container with casters if you’re looking to grow it indoors.