How to Plant Limes


The lime is a citrus fruit used mainly in cooking and to flavor one of the world's most-loved cocktails -- the margarita. Also known as the Persian lime and Tahiti lime, the tree that bears the fruit can grow to 20 feet tall. Lime trees need lots of sun and close attention to the moisture of the soil; don't allow water to pool at the base of the tree. Most suited to tropical climates, the lime tree will die when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, most of the limes in our grocery stores are imported from Mexico. Lime trees are recommended for USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11.

Step 1

Test the soil in the planting area to determine how well it drains. The American Horticultural Society suggests this method: Dig a hole, 4 inches deep. Place the 46-oz. can in the hole, packing the soil around it. Fill the can with water. Check the water level in one hour and, if the water level has dropped 2 inches, you won't need to amend the soil. If it drops more or less than 2 inches, amend it.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot in which the lime tree sits. When planted, the top of the rootball should be just slightly above the soil level.

Step 3

Remove the tree from the pot and, with the hose on low, very gently wash the soil from the rootball.

Step 4

Place the tree in the hole, backfill halfway and water well. Backfill the remainder of the way, packing the soil to remove any air pockets, and mounding the soil around the top of the rootball. When backfilling, it's very important that no air pockets remain around the rootball, so get the soil packed in around the tree's roots.

Step 5

Water the lime tree every other day for the first month it is in the ground, then decrease the watering interval to every 10 days. If the weather is very hot and dry, you may need to water more frequently to maintain a moist, but never soggy, soil.

Things You'll Need

  • 46 oz. can with the top and bottom removed
  • Water
  • Sand, if needed
  • Peat moss, if needed
  • Organic compost, if needed
  • Hose
  • Shovel


  • Texas A&M University
  • American Horticultural Society

Who Can Help

  • Purdue University
Keywords: persian lime tree, tahiti lime tree, planting a lime tree

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.