How to Plant, Size and Space Lime Trees


Citrus trees are a must-grow item for gardeners in temperate climates, with limes topping the list for their tart, tangy juiciness that you can turn into wonderful dishes like Key lime pie. Whether you choose the classic Key lime, the seedless Bearss, the exotic kaffir, or the tropical calamondin, the basics for growing all limes are the same. Make certain that your planting area has very good drainage. You might need to build a raised bed into which you place plenty of compost and other organic materials.

Step 1

Visit your neighborhood nursery to learn which lime trees they have for sale. Purchase a bare root tree that your nursery recommends for your climate zone.

Step 2

Determine how large your lime tree will grow so you can plan where to plant it. For example, the calamondin lime grows quite tall, to 15 or 20 feet. If there are plants nearby that you don't want to grow in its shade, consider planting your lime tree farther away. The Bearss lime tree and some other varieties can spread to 10 feet or more, so be sure to plan for your tree's mature size when you are planning your planting area.

Step 3

Allow 10 to 15 feet between all types of lime trees and other trees and buildings. If you are planting multiple trees in an orchard setting, use this spacing and also plant your rows to sit 20 to 25 feet apart.

Step 4

Dig a one-gallon bucket of compost and/or other organic matter, such as fallen leaves, into your planting area. Lime trees need sun all day and soil that has good drainage. Then dig a hole that is a little wider and deeper than the root system of your tree.

Step 5

Set your tree into the hole and fill it up with the soil you dug out. Firm the soil with your foot and then water the area well.

Tips and Warnings

  • Limes are typically sensitive to frost, so if your area receives more than light winter frosts, be sure to protect your tree with a frost frame, clear plastic or a tarp. Arrange your protective cover so it does not touch the tree, if possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Young lime tree
  • Sunny area with good drainage
  • Compost
  • Shovel


  • Texas Citrus: Caring for Citrus Trees
  • National Gardening Association: Plant Care Guides--Citrus
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Growing 'Tahiti' Limes in the Home Landscape

Who Can Help

  • Four Winds Growers: Order Citrus Trees and Related Items Online
Keywords: limes growing, citrus gardening, planting fruit

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.