How to Culture a Dwarf Lime Tree


Dwarf lime trees can be grown outdoors in USDA planting zones 9 through 11 or can be grown in containers and brought inside for the winter in colder climates. The most common types of dwarf lime trees are the Bearss dwarf lime and the Mexican dwarf lime. These trees should be kept between 6 to 9 feet tall although left unpruned will grow much taller. Lime tree leaves and flowers give off a fresh citrus scent that will fill a room or keep your patio smelling fresh all year.

Step 1

Choose a location that has full sun, is a higher area of the landscape and soil that drains well. Lime trees with roots that stand in water will not survive. If you do not have an area that drains well, create a mound or raised bed for your tree.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice the width of the nursery container and the same depth as the container. Clean the dug-out soil of all grass, weeds and debris.

Step 3

Add 1 part compost to 3 parts soil only if your soil is mostly sand. Good soils do not require any amendments.

Step 4

Carefully remove the lime tree from the container and gently rinse the growing medium from the roots. Place the tree in the planting hole and cover the roots halfway with the dug-out soil. Water the root system generously to settle the soil around the roots.

Step 5

Continue to fill the planting hole until the soil is level with the surrounding ground. Hand tamp the soil down firmly and water again. If the soil has settled, add more to bring it level again.

Step 6

Build a water ring around the trunk of the tree at least 2 feet across and 5 inches high. Fill the ring with water every three days for the first two weeks. Water once a week for the next two months and by then the water ring should have collapsed back to soil level. Irrigation should only be needed every other week except during dry, hot or windy periods or your soil is all sand, from this time on.

Step 7

Hand-pick weeds from inside the water ring. Lime trees do not compete well with weeds for water and nutrition. Once the ring is gone, cover the trunk from the ground to the first limbs with a heavy duty aluminum foil and treat the ground with a contact herbicide. Follow the manufacturer's directions as to how much and how to apply.

Step 8

Apply a slow-release citrus tree fertilizer once you see new growth on the lime tree. Follow the manufacturer's directions on how much and how often to use according to the size and age of the tree.

Step 9

Prune dead or damaged limbs at any time of year. Lime trees do not normally need pruning, however to keep the tree as small or compact as you like, prune to shape in late winter or early spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Contact herbicide
  • Citrus tree fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Texas A&M University: Home Fruit Production-Limes
  • University of Florida Extension: Growing Citrus in Containers
  • Purdue University: Tahiti Lime

Who Can Help

  • Oregon State University: How to Grow a Potted Tree on Your Patio or Porch
Keywords: dwarf lime trees, growing dwarf trees, dwarf citrus care

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.