How to Grow Lime Trees in Pots (10 EASY Tips)

Have you ever wanted to pick a fresh lime off your very own tree?

Did you think it isn’t possible because you live in the wrong climate or don’t have enough space?

I am here to tell you that you can grow lime trees no matter where you live in the world.

Limes

All you need is a pot, a few dollars to spend, and 2 minutes of care a day!

Below, are 10 EASY Tips if you want to learn How to Grow Lime Trees in Pots! These tips will make growing lime trees easy, simple, and cost-effective!


Buy One of these 3 Lime Trees (Tip #1)

When learning how to grow lime trees in pots you must first select the correct type of lime.

If you want the quickest results at the most reasonable price then I recommend buying a lime tree, rather than starting one from seed.

Using seed to grow lime trees is too time-consuming, produces inconsistent fruit, and costs more money than buying a tree.

When purchasing a lime tree to grow in a pot, I typically only recommend three types: Persian, Kaffir, and Key Lime.

Buy a Persian Lime Tree

Persian Lime Tree

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Most lime trees can grow to be almost 20 feet tall and require temperatures well above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

For gardeners in cooler weather and a lack of space, this poses a problem.

Persian Limes solve this problem and are great when learning how to grow lime trees in pots.

Persian Lime trees can grow up to 20 feet tall, but only 10 feet in containers. And they can grow even less with pruning.

This type of lime tree grows in hardy zones 8-11, but if you do not live in this type of warmer climate then you can move your tree indoors in the winter.

Persian Lime Trees are known for producing their fruit quickly, within the first couple years of being planting. Expect fruit every 90 to 120 days of being planted.

And this type of lime is great against insecticide, but you should apply a light bacterial spray to prevent common citrus fungus.

Buy a Kaffir Lime Tree

Kaffir Lime Tree

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Most Kaffir Lime trees do not grow any taller than 10 feet. You can even prune this type of lime tree to be only 5 feet tall.

If you want the most cold-hardy lime tree on the list then you have found it with this tree as it grows from hardy zones 5 to 11.

Like most lime trees, the Kaffir Lime will flower often and produce limes early in its life.

Not only this, but the Kaffir Lime is hardy against disease and bacteria.

Buy Key Lime Trees

Hirt's Key Lime Tree

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Key Limes are the typical fruit you think of when you think of limes.

This is also one of the best fruits to grow in containers as they usually do not grow any taller than 6 feet and be as small as 2 feet

The Key Lime grows in a hardy zone of 7-8 and is the most vulnerable lime tree to cold weather. Because of this, I recommend moving your lime tree indoors when temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Also, the key lime will require the most amount of maintenance, but produces the best tasting limes. This is the type of lime you will want to grow if you want to add flavor to dishes.


Buy the Correct Pot (Tip #2)

gardening pots

Since your lime tree won’t be planted in the ground, your gardening pot is the most essential item you buy!

The reason that it is the most important item that you buy is that it is now that trees home. And if it doesn’t have proper room to grow or enough drainage holes then it can quickly stunt its growth or even die.

Not only do you want to make sure you purchase the correct pot, but also you want to purchase the correct size. This is critical when learning how to grow lime trees in pots.

I recommend purchasing a pot that is twice the size of the pot your Lime tree came in.

If your lime tree didn’t come in a pot then I recommend purchasing a pot that is twice the size of the root ball of your tree. The root ball is the bottom of the tree where all the roots come together.

Buy a Plastic Pot

Depending on what article you have read of mine, you will notice I recommend different types of pots.

Because lime trees can grow to be much larger and heavier than other trees, I typically only recommend one type of pot.

When planting your lime tree, I recommend using a Plastic Pot.

I recommend plastic pots for several reasons. While these pots may not be the prettiest, they are the most cost-effective.

They also have great drainage holes and can retain water very well. They are lightweight which is key for moving the tree in and outside. Finally, these are long-lasting and durable pots.

Buy Ceramic or Wood Pots

While I recommend using plastic pots for your lime trees, I also understand that it may not be for everyone.

If weight is not important or if you want a better-looking pot then I recommend purchasing a ceramic or wood pot.

Wooden pots are great pots if you plan on leaving your lime tree outside all year.

Wooden pots are extremely durable and hold water very well.  Typically, you’ll see gardeners own their wooden pots for 25 years or more!

Ceramic pots are another great pot if you want something that looks really nice. Ceramic pots are also some of the best-draining pots.

The downside of this type of pot though is that it can easily crack in cold weather. If this is a problem all you need to do is move it inside during the winter or cooler nights.


How to Plant Lime Trees in Pots (Tip #3-5)

planting an orange tree

Planting a lime tree is just as easy as planting any other tree in a pot.

One of the most important factors to remember when planting a lime tree is that it is always good to plant it in a container twice its size.

I cannot stress how important this is when learning how to grow lime trees in pots.

Lime trees quickly grow, so it will be a good idea to transplant the tree into another container that is twice the size of your first container.

You will want to do this every two to three years. You should not have to do this more than twice.

First, DO THIS! (Tip #3)

When you first get your lime tree, you will want to fill your new pot about 75% full of potting soil.

Do not use garden soil, raised bed soil, or any other side besides potting soil.

Potting soil has the perfect mix of nutrients for your lime tree. There is a chance other soils can harm and sometimes kill your lime tree.

I personally recommend Miracle-Gro Potting Mixes

For most of the lime trees you buy, they will come without an existing pot.

Since there is no existing pot all you need to do is place it in the center of your new pot. And then fill in the rest of the pot with soil. I recommend not filling it any higher than where the stem meets the soil.

It should be noted that over time the soil will wash away, so you may need to add additional soil if it goes below where the roots connect to the trunk of the tree.

Next, Fertilize & Water (Tip #4)

If you want to have the most success in the quickest way then immediately after you plant your lime tree fertilize it.

There is only one fertilizer I recommend and it is: Organic Citrus Tone

After applying your fertilizer (per the instructions on the package) you will want to water it.

Initially, water your lime tree for approximately 30 seconds until the fertilizer dissolves and the soil is dark brown.

Next, repeat this at least once a week. Typically, you won’t need to water your lime tree more than 2-3 times a week.

Your lime tree needs watering if the soil is a light brown color and dry to the touch.

Feel free to adjust how often and much you water per your own observation.

It should be noted though that if you keep your lime tree inside all year then watering once a week for 30 seconds should suffice.

Sunshine, Sunshine, Sunshine (Tip #5)

When it comes to your lime tree there is no such thing as too much shine.

If you want your tree to grow the fastest and produce the best fruit possible then make sure it receives 8-12 hours of sunlight a day.

When your lime tree is outside this should not be a problem.

If your lime tree is inside I would highly recommend putting it by a window that gets sunlight all day.

It should be noted that in the winter your lime tree obviously will not get as much sunlight as the summer. That is fine. Just make sure the lime tree continues to be in front of a window.


How to Care for Your Lime Tree (Tip #6-9)

caring for limes

While planting your lime tree should be relatively quick and simple, caring for it will take a little more time.

Water Properly (Tip #6)

Like most citrus trees if you want the best results you need to water it properly.

As discussed above, you will want to water your lime tree at least once a week if it is indoors and 2 to 3 times a week if it outside.

In addition, you want to water your tree in the morning or late evening. Watering at these times will help minimize evaporation and leaf burn.


Fertilize Properly (Tip #7)

Like most citrus trees that are planted in pots, it can be beneficial to continuously fertilize it over the years.

I recommend fertilizing your lime tree once a year.

When you fertilize your tree is just as important as how often.

Only fertilize your tree when there are no flowers or fruit on it.

By fertilizing your lime tree when there are no flowers or fruit all the nutrients will go directly towards the trunk and leaf growth.


Prune Away! (Tip #8)

Pruning may seem like a complex task, but I promise it is not.

Pruning your lime tree will help you better shape the tree to fit in the spot, your property, and inside your house when you move it over the winter.

Also, pruning your lime tree will promote more tree growth and this will increase the number of limes you get.

I recommend watching the below video for more information on how to prune limes, lemons, and other citrus trees:


Repot Your Lime Tree (Tip #9)

If there is only one Tip you take advantage of it should be Tip #9 – Repot your Lime Tree.

Your lime tree will outgrow your new pot within the first year. Because of this, you will want to make sure you transplant it into another pot.

As a reminder, it is important to transplant it into a pot that is twice the size of the current pot or root ball.

Typically, I recommend repotting in the spring and doing this every two to three years. After you have had your lime tree for about 5 years you should not need to transplant it again.

Before repotting your tree make sure to water it and the soil in the new pot approximately 30 seconds. You will then need to repot it the same way as you planted it and you are all set.

Once you have transplanted your lime tree make sure to fertilize it and then water it again! Too much water is not a bad thing to help prevent root shock.


How to Harvest Limes (Tip #10)

harvesting limes

Once you have a lime tree fresh off your tree you’ll never want a store-bought one again.

In order to have the freshest taste, you will want to pick your limes at the right time.

If you are reading this post you most likely should know what a lime should look like.

My best suggestion is to pick your lime when it looks like the picture below.

Harvest Lime

But just because your limes look like how do you know it is the perfect time to pick them?

The perfect time to harvest your limes is when they look like the picture above and are just a little bit soft to the touch.

If your limes are firm and do not give when you touch then they are not ready.

If your limes are very soft when you touch them then you know they are overripe.

Finally, if you have a hard time removing the lime from the tree then it is too early to harvest.

Once you determine your limes are ready to harvest all you have to do is gently grab the lime where it meets its stems and twist until it comes off!

Beware of These

By now you should have 10 great tips to growing lime trees in pots.

There are several items you want to beware of when planting and caring for your lime tree.

Cold Weather

If your forecast is calling for weather below 50 degrees Fahrenheit then bring your lime trees in. One of the easiest ways to kill your tree is to leave it in temperatures below 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Too Much Water

While lime trees need a lot of water to grow and produce fruit, too much may not be good.

Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungi that stunt growth and potentially lead to death.

Darkness

As a reminder, your lime needs about 12 hours of sunlight. If it doesn’t get 12 hours of sunlight it is not the end of the world.

If your lime tree gets less than 6 hours of sunlight a day then it will not bear fruit and potentially die.

Soil

This tip is easy. Do not use any soil besides potting soil. Wrong soil will provide incorrect nutrients, poor drainage, and an environment for disease and pests.

Weight

This is often an overlooked item when planting in pots. Don’t make your pot too heavy. When initially planting it, envision what it will look like a few years later with fruit, soil, and water.

If your pot is too heavy to move then think about placing it one spot all year or using a different type of potting mix.


Conclusion

Growing limes in pots is an easy, cost-effective, and fun way to grow limes.

As I talked about above there are 10 EASY Tips to follow. If you can’t follow all of the tips then I recommend these top three:

  1. Purchase the Correct Pot
  2. Purchase a Persian, Kaffir, or Key Lime Trees
  3. Provide your lime tree with 12 hours of sunlight

If you follow these three tips I have no doubt you will have success. And best of all is that it will only take a few minutes every day!

If you enjoyed this article then I highly recommend reading:

How to Grow Lemon Trees in Pots (18 PROVEN Tips)

Ultimate Guide to Starting a Vegetable Garden

10 EASY Tips to Grow Avocado in Pots

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