The Best Lime Trees for Eating

No matter what lime tree you choose to grow, all lime trees tend to be sensitive to cold and must be protected from even the lightest of frosts. If you live in a colder climate, one of the best ways to grow juicy, tasty limes means growing dwarf varieties in containers. This way, you can grow them indoors or more easily protect them from the cold if grown outdoors. If you live in warm climates like Texas, Florida and southern California, you can plant lime trees right in your garden, and after a few years, enjoy the delicious fruit.

Bearss Seedless Lime

This lime tree grows better in cooler areas than other lime trees, making it a more suitable choice for areas outside of states in the deep south. Also known as the Persian lime or Tahitian lime, this fast-growing tree sports white blossoms and seedless fruits that eventually reach 2 1/2 inches in diameter. You can also grow this lime tree in a container. This lime's juicy fruit works perfectly in cocktails as well as key lime pie.

Key Lime

One of the smallest limes available, key limes have a bitter tartness perfect for adding to other foods such as key lime pie. In fact, some bakers don't even bake key lime pies, preferring to let the acid in the limes cook the pie itself. Key lime trees, also known as Mexican lime trees, feature beautiful deep green foliage and fragrant flowers, but watch out for the thorns as the tree is covered with them. If you prefer to grow a key lime in a container, look for a dwarf key lime tree.

Kaffir Lime

Native to Indonesia, this lime tree's fruit and leaves remain a popular ingredient used in Thai cooking. Suited for container gardens, the fruit appears a bit bumpy while the bush features lots of thorns and fragrant green leaves. The limes from this tree produce a strong fragrance--give a room in your house a refreshing smell by making a small scratch in one of these limes and let it release its beautiful smell. The limes from this tree work well in cocktails.

Dwarf Sweet Lime

Similar in shape to the bumpy Kaffir lime, some people cut the stem off of a ripe sweet lime, pierce the fruit, and suck the juice out of it. This lime tree features fragrant starry flowers and fruits with greenish-yellow skins. Perfect for container gardens, mature dwarf sweet lime trees can reach up to eight feet tall and five to eight feet wide, but can be pruned to fit your container. The fruits tend to ripen in the winter, making it important to bring the plant inside before your area's first frost.

Keywords: Lime trees for eating, Kaffir limes, Key limes, Bearss limes

About this Author

Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist, speaker and writer whose articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business," "The Mortgage Press," "Seattle: 150 Years of Progress," "Destination Issaquah," and "Northwest," among others. Wagner holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Eastern Illinois University.