The kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) is commonly used in Asian and Mexican cuisine, namely the fragrant leaves and rind, which are added chopped and grated to various dishes. Kaffir limes grow best as container plants, making it the perfect tree for growing at home. This small evergreen tree can grow up to 12 feet tall and stays bushy and compact, with dark green leaves, fragrant white flowers and small wrinkle-skinned limes. A relatively carefree tree, the kaffir lime makes an attractive addition to any home.
Grow your kaffir lime tree in a container that is about twice the size of the root ball. Kaffir lime trees grow better when root bound. Replant every two to three years, using a container that is one size larger than the previous one.
Use well-draining soil and make sure the container has drainage holes so the roots do not become waterlogged, which can cause root rot. Mixing in a handful of compost before planting the kaffir lime tree makes sure the soil is well-draining.
Place the container in a sunny location, such as in front of a south-facing window. The tree can be placed outside on a sunny patio during the summer months. Bring it in during the evening if the temperatures drop below 50 degrees F, and do not leave outside from the fall through spring.
Water the lime tree two to three times weekly or as needed with a watering can, letting the soil dry out down a few inches before watering again. Too little water can cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off.
Provide plenty of humidity by misting the tree a couple times a week and providing warm conditions of at least 60 degrees F or higher. Setting the container on a pebble-lined tray filled halfway with water can also provide enough humidity for the tree.
Fertilize your kaffir lime tree with a balanced citrus food, such as 10-10-10, twice a year, once in early spring and again in late summer. Use a slow-release fertilizer for best results and follow the directions on the package.
Cut off the top 2 to 3 inches of the tree in the first year of growth. This encourages a bushy growth and keeps the tree from getting too tall.