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Plant Informational Database

Key Lime

Citrus aurantifolia

a.k.a. Mexican Lime, West Indian Lime

A small lime, ripening to yellow, although often used when green. The Key Lime tends to be more aromatic in flavor and scent than other limes. Flavor is excellent and is used to make Key Lime Pie.

Seed Availability

Seeds are now available at our seed store.

Description

A small tree, generally to 10-20ft. Fruits ripen about 5-6 months following flowering. In California, flowers are produced during spring-summer.

Hardiness

The Key Lime is more cold sensitive than most of its relatives, and tends to be injured or killed with temperatures below 32F.

Growing Environment

It isn't too picky about soils and adapts fairly well to sandy soils. Keep trees well drained, extensive periods of flooding can kill the tree. Grow in full sun, trees need quite a bit of heat to set quality fruit.

Propagation

By seeds. Also by grafting, with which trees tend to produce fruit a bit faster (3-4 years, vs. 4-7 for seedlings). Note on seeds: Seeds are harvested fresh, but to successfully germinate citrus seeds, a constant soil temperature at 75-85F is a must. Water moderately, only when the surface begins to dry. Overwatering can lead to rot. Sprout in shade, greenhouse or filtered sun.

Uses

Fruits are commonly used in beverages and as an ingredient in desserts (Key Lime Pie for example). The fruits can be used just like any other limes.

Native Range

Native to southeast Asia. Was cultivated for centuries throughout Asia and the Middle East.

Related Species

Rutaceae  
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Citrus articulata
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Citrus aurantifolia
Key Lime
Citrus aurantium ssp bergamia
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Citrus australis
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Citrus paradisi x Citrus reticulata
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