Limes are a tart, juicy citrus fruit that you can use in many recipes and as a garnish for beverages. Choose from several different varieties of limes, such as key lime, Bearss seedless, Tahitian, kaffir, calamondin and others. The growing instructions for all varieties are much the same, although some varieties of lime, like the calamondin, are more sensitive to frost and cold weather than others. All limes require very good drainage, and most are frost tender. They perform well in large pots or other containers, so if you grow them in a movable container, you can move them indoors in the winter.
Purchase a lime tree from your nursery because starting one from seed will take much longer to produce fruit. Also, when you purchase a tree, you will know the exact variety.
Choose an area in your garden that receives full sun and has good drainage. Avoid areas where you have noticed standing water after a rain. Then dig in one shovelful of compost into your planting area. Dig a hole for your lime tree that is slightly larger than the root ball of the plant and then set your tree into the hole and backfill with the soil/compost you dug out. Be sure not to plant your tree in a depression in the ground because this can cause the roots to rot.
Plant your lime tree in a large container if you wish. Spread a 1-inch layer of gravel or pebbles in the bottom to give it good drainage and then fill the container about half full with potting soil. Take your tree out of its nursery pot and place it in the container, taking care not to bury it past the beginning of the trunk, just above the roots.
Water your lime tree once a week during summer, but check to make sure that the soil has dried out slightly between waterings. Winter rains should be sufficient to keep it moist during its dormant season.
Fertilize with a plant food designed for citrus trees four times a year: twice in spring and twice in summer, evenly spaced to about six weeks apart. Do not fertilize during the winter.
Provide protection from frost by building a frost frame over your tree or move your container-planted tree under cover at the end of fall.