I love cooking with Persian limes (these are a common cultivar in Australia) just as much as I do sharing limes from the tree in my kitchen garden. No one in Perth will turn down the offer of a bag of limes, they are that prized.
Fresh lime juice, zest and leaves are essential to southeast asian cooking so I will always grow them and their Kaffir lime cousins. I believe my friend Ben has a key lime tree that produces lovely yellow fruit for eating and pickling.
There is even a lime tree in my driveway that is constantly being cross pollinated with an adjacent lemon tree. It makes for fruit that are magically different again, thank you bees.
Here is what I have learned about lime trees (in fact most citrus).
- You can’t over prune them. I keep them low to keep the fruit accessible.
- Feed them 3 times a year only (this might take some will power) with way more than you think you need of dynamic lifter (blood and bone) and a complete citrus fertiliser. Spread it to the edge of the canopy line, keeping it away from the trunk somewhat and water in well. I don’t bother mixing it into the soil.
- Water them daily during the hot months. Just like on a Passionfruit vine, outwardly nice looking fruit might be dry inside if you don’t. Worse still, you might get lots of flowers that then drop off and this is heart breaking to watch.
- Pee on the surrounding soil (some wives’ tales are true) for soil acidity.
- Keep the soil slightly acidic if the tree is not naturally doing this (dropping leaves and fruit that compost naturally). You could use some burnt wood ash if you are still worried but the slowly slowly natural approach is better in my opinion.
Oh and it doesn’t hurt to inherit an awesome tree :).
- see more lime posts here
- see more citrus posts here
- See citrus preserving ideas here
- go to all ingredients
- see a work in progress map of edible plant species here