Southern Living

Thornless Key Lime Tree

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Once a weekFull sunDeer resistantSpring
 

 

  • Flavorful Fruit: The Key Lime tree yields small, round limes that pack an intense tart flavor, perfect for culinary uses from desserts to cocktails.
  • Aromatic Blooms: The tree showcases fragrant white flowers during bloom season, which not only enhances its ornamental value but also attracts pollinators.
  • Perfect for Containers: Especially suited for container growth, this tree can be cultivated indoors or on patios in colder regions, offering flexibility in planting options.
  • *We cannot guarantee the Key Lime Tree you receive will already be bearing fruit. This depends on the season and the overall growth pattern of the tree.
 

More Details

The Key Lime tree, scientifically known as Citrus × aurantiifolia, is a treasured citrus plant known for its small, juicy limes that are bursting with flavor. This tree is celebrated for its fragrant flowers and bright green fruit that are essential ingredients in many dishes, especially the famous Key Lime Pie. With proper care, the Key Lime tree thrives in a variety of climates and offers abundant harvests annually, making it a prime choice for gardeners wanting to introduce a zest of tropical flair to their orchards or patios.

Growth rate: Moderate growth rate; reaches mature height of 6-13 feet and a width of 6-8 feet when planted in-ground. Smaller if container-grown.

Sizing: Our fruit and citrus trees are primarily utilized as outdoor patio or indoor plants and are potted. Accordingly, we measure our fruit and citrus trees from the bottom of the pot to the top of the tree for accuracy.

Please note: Images on our website depict plants and trees at full maturity to showcase their expected grown characteristics. These images are illustrative examples only and do not represent the size of plants or trees upon delivery.

Pruning: Regularly prune the Key Lime tree to maintain its shape, promote better air circulation, and facilitate fruit production. Remove dead or diseased branches and any suckers that emerge from the base.

Fertilization: Apply a balanced citrus fertilizer in spring, summer, and early fall to support growth and fruit production. Ensure the fertilizer includes micronutrients, especially zinc, manganese, and iron.

Winter Protection: In regions where cold spells are possible, provide protection using frost cloths or by moving container-grown trees indoors. Ensure the tree is away from direct heating sources when indoors.


In-ground planting: Select a sunny location with well-draining soil. Dig a hole that is twice the width and the same depth as the tree's root ball. Place the Key Lime tree in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Refill the hole, gently patting down the soil to eliminate air pockets. Water thoroughly after planting. For the initial weeks, monitor the soil moisture to ensure consistent hydration, helping the tree establish its roots.

Container planting: Choose a spacious container (18-24 inches in diameter) with good drainage. Use a citrus-specific, well-draining potting mix, filling the container partway. Gently position the Key Lime tree so the top of its root ball sits an inch below the pot's rim, then add soil around it, pressing lightly. Water thoroughly until excess drains out and place in a location with 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Monitor moisture to keep the soil consistently damp but not waterlogged. Feed with a balanced, slow-release citrus fertilizer as per label instructions and consider repotting or refreshing the soil every 2-3 years.

The Key Lime tree flourishes under full sun, promoting vigorous growth and a bountiful fruit yield. Maintaining consistent soil moisture is crucial, especially during dry conditions. Ensure regular watering while preventing waterlogged conditions, which can harm the tree's roots.

We process and ship your order as quickly as possible, typically within 1-3 business days. You will receive a shipping confirmation with tracking information once your item(s) ship.

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!

In cases of extreme cold or hot weather, we may temporarily delay shipping to ensure the well-being of your plants. Our primary focus is on delivering healthy and thriving plants to you. Rest assured, we'll make every effort to notify you of any delays promptly.

Please allow additional ship times during inclement weather and sale periods. We do not process or ship orders on the weekend or U.S. Holidays. Simply Trees is not responsible for delays due to carriers, local disruptions, or weather.

See how we pack your plants!

Learn more about our Shipping Policy

At Simply Trees, we're committed to your satisfaction. If your plants arrive considerably damaged or sustained damage beyond the point of recovery, please contact us within five days at sales@simplytrees.store with clear photos for assistance. Our 30-day guarantee covers issues after planting, subject to our terms and conditions. We can't cover plants in the wrong climate or with inadequate care, but we're here to help in other situations. For a detailed understanding of our 30-day guarantee and how we ensure a fair process, click here to learn more.

USDA GROW ZONE:

Zones 9-11

The Key Lime tree is ideally suited for USDA Grow Zones 9-11. These areas typically experience warmer climates without severe freezes. The tree is sensitive to frost but is adaptable enough to flourish in these zones with protection during occasional cold snaps. In colder regions, container growth allows for mobility, ensuring the tree can be moved indoors during cooler months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Key Lime trees typically reach a height of 6 to 12 feet and a spread of 6 to 10 feet when fully mature. However, the actual size of a Key Lime tree can vary depending on factors such as growing conditions, care practices, and pruning. With proper care and maintenance, including regular pruning to control size and shape, Key Lime trees can be kept smaller and more manageable for home gardens or container planting.

Key Lime trees are moderate growers, typically reaching a height of 6 to 12 feet and a spread of 6 to 10 feet over several years. The growth rate can vary depending on various factors such as climate, soil conditions, and care practices. Under optimal growing conditions with adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients, Key Lime trees can grow relatively quickly, producing new foliage and branches each year. However, growth rates may slow down in less favorable conditions or during periods of dormancy. Regular pruning and fertilization can also promote healthy growth and help maintain an attractive shape for the tree.

The best place to plant a Key Lime tree is in a location that receives plenty of sunlight. Key Lime trees thrive in full sun, so choose a spot in your garden or yard that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Additionally, make sure the location has well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging, as Key Lime trees are sensitive to waterlogged conditions. Planting in a sheltered area, protected from strong winds, can also help promote healthy growth and fruit production. If you're growing the Key Lime tree in a container, place it in a sunny spot on a patio or balcony where it can receive ample sunlight throughout the day.

The time it takes for a Key Lime tree to bear fruit can vary depending on several factors, including the tree's age, health, growing conditions, and variety. In general, Key Lime trees typically start producing fruit within 2 to 3 years after planting, although it can sometimes take longer. Proper care, including adequate sunlight, watering, fertilization, and protection from pests and diseases, can help promote earlier fruiting. Additionally, grafted trees tend to produce fruit more quickly than those grown from seed.

Key Lime trees are self-pollinating, meaning they don't require another tree for pollination to produce fruit. Therefore, you typically don't need to plant multiple Key Lime trees to ensure fruit set. However, having more than one tree can increase cross-pollination opportunities, potentially leading to higher fruit yields. Additionally, having multiple trees can provide aesthetic benefits and increase the chances of having a continuous harvest throughout the fruiting season. Ultimately, whether you choose to plant one or multiple Key Lime trees depends on your preferences, available space, and desired fruit yield.

Key Lime trees typically produce fruit once or twice a year, depending on various factors such as climate, growing conditions, and tree health. In optimal conditions, they may bear fruit continuously throughout the year, with the main fruiting periods occurring in late winter to early spring and again in late summer to early fall. However, the exact frequency of fruit production can vary. It's essential to provide proper care, including adequate sunlight, water, nutrients, and protection from pests and diseases, to encourage consistent fruiting.

Key Lime trees are sensitive to cold temperatures and cannot tolerate frost. They thrive in warm, tropical to subtropical climates and prefer temperatures between 70°F to 100°F (21°C to 38°C).

While mature Key Lime trees can withstand brief periods of temperatures slightly below freezing (down to about 28°F to 32°F or -2°C to 0°C) for short durations, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures or frost can damage or kill the tree.

To protect Key Lime trees from cold snaps or frost, it's advisable to take preventive measures such as covering the tree with frost cloth, providing supplemental heat with outdoor heaters, or moving potted trees indoors during cold weather. Additionally, planting Key Lime trees in sheltered locations or microclimates can help mitigate the effects of cold weather.

A Key Lime tree producing many flowers but no fruit could be experiencing a few different issues:

Lack of Pollination: Sometimes, even if a tree has many flowers, inadequate pollination can lead to poor fruit set. This might occur due to a lack of pollinators like bees or because the flowers aren't being adequately fertilized.

Environmental Conditions: Factors such as temperature extremes, humidity levels, or improper watering can affect the tree's ability to set fruit. Key limes prefer warm, sunny conditions and consistent moisture, particularly during the flowering and fruiting period.

Nutrient Deficiencies: A lack of essential nutrients, particularly phosphorus and potassium, can impact fruit development. Ensure your tree is receiving appropriate fertilization with a balanced citrus fertilizer.

Pruning Practices: Improper pruning, such as removing too many flower buds or branches, can interfere with fruit production. Ensure you're following recommended pruning guidelines for citrus trees.

Varietal Factors: Some Key Lime varieties may naturally have lower fruit set rates than others. If you suspect this might be the case, consider consulting with a local horticulturist or extension service to determine if there are better-suited cultivars for your growing conditions.

To address the issue, you may need to assess each of these factors and make adjustments accordingly. Ensuring proper pollination, providing optimal growing conditions, fertilizing appropriately, and pruning correctly can help improve fruit set in your Key Lime tree.

Key limes typically take about 3 to 4 months to ripen after the flowers have been pollinated. The exact timing can vary depending on factors such as climate, growing conditions, and specific cultivar. Generally, key limes are ready for harvest when they turn pale yellow and develop a slightly soft texture. However, they can be harvested earlier if you prefer a more tart flavor, or left on the tree longer for a sweeter taste. It's essential to monitor the fruits closely and harvest them when they reach the desired size, color, and taste.

For Key Lime trees, it's best to use a fertilizer specifically formulated for citrus trees. Look for a fertilizer labeled for citrus or fruit trees, preferably one with a balanced N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio, along with micronutrients like iron, zinc, and magnesium. These nutrients support healthy growth, fruit production, and overall plant vigor. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and frequency, typically applied during the growing season from spring to early fall. Additionally, consider using organic fertilizers or slow-release formulations for sustainable, long-term soil health.

Our Process

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!