Australian Finger Lime Tree

Growing Zones in Ground: 8 - 11 / in Pots: 4 - 11

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Description

Native to the rugged coastal areas of Australia, the Australian Finger Lime Tree is a small, shrubby citrus tree that produces heavy yields of elongated fruit filled with juicy crystal-like pulp. They are easy to prune and maintain, and only reach a size of about 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide. As such, they are perfect for a small garden or a container on a patio or deck. They are slow growing, like full sun, and can also take low temperatures.

Australian Finger Lime Trees can be grown outside in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 to 11, and inside in a container in Zones 4 to 11. The unique finger-shaped limes are resistant to pests such as birds and deer, and the hardy trees thrive in harsh conditions. The fruit is used in beverages, seafood dishes, and by gourmet chefs in many treats. Australian Finger Lime Trees are self-fertile, and can survive temperature drops as low as 32 degrees F.

Citrus Tree Care

Australian Finger Lime Trees come from the coastal areas of Australia where the climate can range from hot and dry to rainy and cool. These extreme conditions have created a unique citrus variety that can be grown in many locations with little care. The compact size and durable form of the Australian Finger Lime Tree resists damage from wind and storms, and can even take brief frost.

Choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun per day if possible, and be sure the soil drains well. Add perlite to the ground when planting to help young roots thrive and never let the Australian Finger Lime Tree remain in standing water. Avoid planting on ditch banks or lake shores that are prone to flooding or soggy conditions.

Fruit & Harvesting

Australian Finger Limes are narrow, oval-shaped, and the rough skin protects an interior made up of small, tender vesicles that burst with citrusy juice when eaten. This unusual form has given Australian Finger Limes the nickname “Citrus Caviar.” The tiny juice pods are used as a topping for such things as salads, oysters, fish, and other seafood or poultry dishes. Australian Finger Limes are also popular ingredients in ice cream, refreshing cocktails, and other drinks.

Australian Finger Lime Trees bloom fragrant white flowers in spring and the fruit ripens from May through June in most areas. Ripe Finger Limes will be deep green, will yield slightly when squeezed, and the juicy vesicles will burst forth when the skin is cut into. The small shrubby trees can produce fruit in their first year.

Growing Zones

Advice

While Australian Finger Lime Trees can tolerate short periods of freezing temperatures, if your area has consistent temperatures below 40 degrees in winter it is best to plant your tree in a container and bring it in for the colder months. In early spring after all chance of frost, place the potted tree outside where it can get as much daily sunlight as possible. Mist the leaves with water periodically when indoors, and allow for full drainage when watering.

If you are growing an Australian Finger Lime Tree in a container and moving it in and out each season, it will be normal for the tree to shed some of its leaves. New leaves will grow to replace fallen ones, and the tree will continue to thrive. Leaves may also fall from over watering or poorly drained soil. Be sure the container has holes for drainage, and only water when the top inch or two of soil has dried.

FAQS

How do you eat an Australian Finger Lime?

Australian Finger Limes grow narrow oval limes with an interior of small juicy vesicles that look like miniature seeds. The pods are eaten as a topping, garnish, or as an ingredient in desserts, drinks, and marinades.

Do you need to fertilize an Australian Finger Lime Tree ?

Australian Finger Limes grow like other citrus trees and you can fertilize them in the same way and with the same kind of fertilizer. They are smaller, and as such, need less feeding to produce fruit.

Do I need to grow more than one Australian Finger Lime Tree to get fruit?

Australian Finger Lime Trees are self-fertile and can grow fruit without a pollinator tree. But since they are small and can be grown in a hedge or a container, it is easy to grow more than one and increase their already heavy yields.

Are Australian Finger Lime Trees really from Australia?

Yes, the Australian Finger Lime Tree is native to the coastal areas of Australia. They are suited to harsh conditions and require very little care to grow and produce fruit.

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