How to Plant a Mexican Lime Tree


Limes provide robust flavor for foods and drinks. Growing your own lime tree allows you to enjoy these tasty treats fresh off the tree. Mexican lime (or Key lime, as it is often called) grow short, bushy trees, and the most fruitful ones include thorns. Providing the best growing conditions and properly planting a Mexican lime tree ensures it will not only survive but began producing fruit in the third season. Start with a healthy young lime tree obtained from a reputable nursery.

Step 1

Select a location for the Mexican lime tree that provides full sun and offers well-draining soil. Pick a spot with 15 to 25 feet of space on all sides.

Step 2

Clear an area at least 3 feet in diameter of all foliage. Keep this region free of all weeds by cultivating the top layer with a hoe or hand-pulling any weeds that emerge.

Step 3

Dig a hole wider than the container holding the lime tree, but at the same depth. Use a rake to loosen the soil around the sides and bottom to allow the roots to spread without difficulty.

Step 4

Remove the Mexican lime tree from its container. Rinse 1 to 2 inches of the growing medium off of the root ball to expose the roots.

Step 5

Place the tree in the hole, spreading the roots out. Check the height of the lime tree in the hole and adjust the soil level, if needed. The planted tree needs to sit a little higher than it did in container to allow for soil settling.

Step 6

Shovel in the removed soil until the hole is half-full. Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain. This removes air from the soil and compacts it around the roots.

Step 7

Fill the rest of the hole with dirt, covering the top of the root ball with at least 1 inch of soil.

Step 8

Create mounds of dirt several inches high and wide to form a circle around the planting hole of the tree. Fill the water ring with water.

Step 9

Check for any leaks and verify the root ball is not exposed. Add more soil around the tree or to the water basin walls, as needed.

Step 10

Add enough water to fill the watering ring every 2 days for 2 weeks. Supply water weekly to the lime tree, until the mound disintegrates into the soil naturally.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Hoe


  • Texas A&M University Extension: Home Fruit Production-Limes
  • Citrus Tree Care: Planting a Citrus Tree
  • Desert-Tropicals: Key Lime, Mexican Lime

Who Can Help

  • Citrus Tree Care: Lime Trees
  • Purdue University Extension: Mexican Lime
  • Food Reference: Key Limes
Keywords: growing lime tree, Key lime, planting a Mexican lime

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published in Southwest, Intel, TravelChannel, AmericanAirlines, Poker4Amateurs, AOL, CityGuides, Yahoo, GardenGuides and more. Dilov-Schultheis is an electronics media specialist and has a degree in Accounting.