How to Plant a Lime Tree


Lime trees make wonderful and fruitful additions to any back yard providing that the climate is right. Most varieties of lime tree can only survive in semitropical, tropical or subtropical climates, which translates to USDA growing zones 8 and higher. If your area experiences temperatures under 50 degrees Fahrenheit for a prolonged period of time, consider opting for another variety of fruit tree.

Step 1

Choose the right spot for your lime tree. It will need at least four hours of direct sunlight a day, and western and southern exposures are optimal. If mild frost or sudden dips in temperature are a concern, offer your lime tree some protection. Plant it near a wall, fence or next to the house.

Step 2

Check your soil's drainage rate. If your lime tree's roots remain wet for too long, it will die. Dig the hole in the spot you have picked for your lime tree. It should be twice as wide as your lime tree's current container (at least 3 feet in diameter) and just as deep. Then, fill the hole with water. If the water is still in the hole the next day, you have poor soil drainage. To help fix the problem, dig your hole at least two feet deeper.

Step 3

Remove any surrounding grass. The grass should be removed in a circle that centers around your planting hole and is 6 to 10 feet wider in diameter.

Step 4

Prepare the excavated soil. If your existing soil does not drain well, then you will need to replace the removed soil with a well-draining soil such as one that contains vermiculite. Mix the removed soil (or the equivalent amount of purchased soil) with an equal amount of compost.

Step 5

Remove the tree from its container. To help your lime tree establish itself, wash an inch of growing material all around the root ball immediately before planting. This will put the tree's roots in direct contact with the soil.

Step 6

Plant the tree. You will want the top of the root ball of the tree to sit at least 3 inches above the soil surrounding the planting hole. The more poorly your soil drains, the higher you will want the root crown to sit above the soil surrounding your hole. Accomplish this by adding your soil/compost mixture in a mound at the bottom of the hole until the top of the root ball reaches the desired height when you place it in the hole.

Step 7

Refill the hole. As you fill the hole with soil/compost mixture, water or tamp the soil with your foot every few inches or so. Air pockets in the soil will kill your lime tree so you must be careful to eliminate them. Your soil/compost mill should reach the top of the lime tree's root ball, but it should not cover its root crown (where the trunk meets the roots).

Step 8

Water the tree well.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Well-draining soil


  • How to Grow Healthy Citrus Trees
  • Sunkist: How to Grow Citrus Trees
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Home Fruit Production
Keywords: plant lime tree, transplant lime tree, planting lime tree

About this Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.