The juice of Key Lime (Citrus aurantiifolia) gives a sparkling tang to pies as well as Mediterranean, Mexican, and Asian recipes (it will also spruce up any drink from ice-cold water to something stiffer). Although many people associate the Key Lime with Key West, Florida, it is native to Malaysia and is now grown all over the world in warm climates. The tree is fairly vigorous, somewhat bushy in habit, and has sharp thorns on its branches. The fruit is small and round, with a very thin, smooth rind that turns from dark green to greenish yellow or yellow when ripe. The flesh is also light greenish yellow and very juicy. Key Lime pie that looks green, not yellow, has been artificially colored. Mature plants produce fruit in August and September.
Our high-quality Citrus plants make it possible for gardeners and cooks in all regions of the country to grow these specialty Citrus trees outdoors on the deck or patio during the summer and indoors over the winter. Gardeners in Zone 10 can expect them to reach 6–10′ tall when planted in the ground. Elsewhere in the country, citrus should be grown in containers and will stay smaller, eventually reaching 4–5′. In cold climates, containers may be moved outside during summer to a sunny spot protected from the wind, then brought back indoors before frost.
WEATHER PERMITTING - Working with Mother Nature
In our business, we work closely with Mother Nature. In the colder months when we stipulate that an item is shipped “weather permitting”, that means temperatures outside our shipping facility in northwestern Connecticut and along the shipping route must be warm enough for tender plants to survive in unheated delivery trucks. Our practice of waiting for windows of milder weather may result in the occasional delay, but our customers tend to appreciate the care we take to make certain their plants arrive in the very best possible condition. Questions? Don’t hesitate to call our customer service staff at 1-800-411-6159.
HOW PLANTS ARE SHIPPED
The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship these perennials and annuals in 1 pint pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting, but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience. We ship bulbs as dormant, bare bulbs, sometimes with some wood shavings or moss. Shrubs, Roses, vines, and other woody plants may be shipped bareroot or in pots. The size of the pot is noted in the quick facts for each item.
WHEN WE SHIP
We ship our bulbs and plants at the right time for planting in your area, except as noted, with orders dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis by climate zone. Estimated dates for shipping are indicated in the Shipping Details box for each item. Please refer to the Shipping Details box to determine the earliest shipping time. Unless you specify otherwise, fertilizers, tools, and other non-plant items are shipped with your plants or bulbs. Please supply a street address for delivery. Kindly contact us with two weeks notice, if you'll be away at expected time of delivery.
We guarantee to ship plants that are in prime condition for growing. If your order is damaged or fails to meet your expectations, we will cheerfully replace or refund it. Please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-503-9624 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your order number or customer number when contacting us.
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Megan from Wellesley, Massachusetts
This plant produces a plentiful amount of limes each year. It does require some fertilizing once or twice a year. It is very happy to summer outside on a sunny deck. I bring it in just before the first frost up here in New England. It seems to do well in a south facing window during the winter months. The flowers are very fragrant and it looks like we are going to have a bumper crop of limes this year.
The leaves of Citrus hystrix are best used fresh, but they can also be stored in the freezer in resealable plastic bags. Use the leaves in sauces, stews, and marinades, adding whole leaves early in the process and removing them before serving the dish. The rind of the Lime Leaf fruit, rather than the flesh or juice, is also used in cooking. It has the same flavor found in the leaves. Simply zest the rind, and add it to dishes. For specific recipes, look in Indonesian, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Thai cookbooks. Another common name for Lime Leaf is Kaffir Lime.
In most of the United States, these plants must be grown indoors, at least during the winter. Fortunately, their rootstock will keep them a manageable size (to no more than 4-5ft in a container), so they can summer on the patio and spend the winter in a greenhouse, an enclosed porch, or near a sunny, south-facing window. Move the plant outdoors in late spring if you'd like, but wait until the weather is warm and settled.
Gardeners in Zone 10 and warmer can grow Lime Leaf outdoors. Set the pot outdoors in a sheltered, lightly shaded spot, increasing the exposure to sun and wind each day. Check the moisture of the potting mix and water thoroughly if it's dry. At the end of one week (give or take a day or two), your plant will be ready to go in the ground. Choose a spot for your plant that receives full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun each day) and is protected from drying winds. Planted in the ground, our Citrus will grow approximately 8ft tall.
Whether in the ground or in a container, Citrus need steady moisture. Water when the soil is dry to an inch deep. Don't let the tree dry out. If it does dry out, there's a good chance it will drop leaves, fruit, or both. If excessive drying is due to wind outside, move the tree to a more sheltered location. Mulch with bark chips or gravel around the base of the tree (keep it back a few inches from the trunk) to conserve moisture.
Citrus are also heavy feeders: Feed lightly all year long, with a fertilizer that has an N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) ratio of 3-1-1 plus micronutrients, including zinc, iron, and manganese. Miracid (30-10-10), which is widely available, works well (refer to the manufacturer's instructions for concentration). Leaf yellowing generally indicates insufficient fertilizer or poor drainage.
Prune Citrus at any time of the year except winter. Pinch growing tips and cut back leggy branches to help a spindly tree fill out. Suckers (shoots growing from below the graft or emerging from the soil) should be cut back as soon as they're noticed.