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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 not available for the Key Lime. Please visit our seed store to view current selections. Seeds were last available in June 2019.


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


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.


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.


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

Aegle marmelos
Bael Fruit
Balsamocitrus dawei
Uganda Powder Flask
Casimiroa edulis
White Sapote
Casimiroa tetrameria
Wooly Leaved Sapote
Citrus articulata
West African Cherry Orange
Citrus aurantifolia
Key Lime
Citrus aurantium ssp bergamia
Citrus australis
Australian Round Lime
Citrus garrowayi
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Citrus hystrix
Kaffir Lime
Citrus inodora
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Citrus medica var. Etrog
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Citrus mitis
Citrus paradisi x Citrus reticulata
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Citrus sinensis
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