How to Feed and Care for Kaffir Lime Trees


Kaffir lime trees (Citrus hystrix) are small evergreen fruiting trees that originate from Indonesia. Kaffir lime trees grow up to only 10 feet tall at most, making them popular potted citrus trees that can be grown indoors in any climate. Kaffir limes bloom year-round and produce fruits that are used in many different types of dishes. The fruit rinds in particular are used as flavoring in Thai cuisine, and the leaves are also used as ingredients in dishes like green curry. When grown indoors in containers, Kaffir lime trees are usually kept at 5 to 6 feet tall or smaller.

Step 1

Keep your Kaffir lime tree in full to partial sunlight. Maintain normal to warm indoor air temperatures around the Kaffir lime, and bring the tree indoors when frosts or freezing temperatures threaten.

Step 2

Water your Kaffir lime tree two to three times per week to keep the soil evenly and constantly moistened. Provide water to the potting soil until the water drains freely from the bottom of the pot.

Step 3

Feed your Kaffir lime tree once each month with a balanced liquid fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 NPK formula. Follow the dosage directions on the label.

Step 4

Prune your Kaffir lime tree once each year in early spring, right after new growth begins. Prune away any weakened, damaged, dead or crowded stems. You can also trim the tree at this time to keep it the proper size for its container.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid planting your Kaffir lime tree outdoors, unless you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 and 10, where winter temperatures rarely drop down to or below freezing. If you can plant the Kaffir lime outdoors, protect the tree when frosts or freezes threaten by covering the tree with a blanket and spreading a 4- to 6-inch-thick layer of mulch on the ground around the tree. Keep the mulch away from the trunk, however.

Things You'll Need

  • Balanced liquid fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Planter pot
  • Peat moss
  • Loam or garden soil
  • Coarse sand
  • Blanket and mulch (optional)


  • Plant of the Week: Citrus hystrix -- Kaffir Lime

Who Can Help

  • Thai Food & Travel: Kaffir Lime Care -- Protection in Winter
Keywords: Kaffir lime trees, lime tree care, grow Kaffir limes, Citrus hystrix

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.