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How to Grow a Key Lime Tree in a Container

By Lydia Stephens ; Updated September 21, 2017
Grow your own key lime tree on a patio or balcony.
lime tree sprinkled with raindrops after rain image by nerpa11 from Fotolia.com

Key limes are a smaller variety of lime tree well suited for container planting on a patio or balcony. Potted key lime trees have the added convenience of mobility in times of inclement weather and control of size. You can successfully grow your own key lime tree in any growing zone so long as you have a sunny room to winter your tree. Enjoy your key lime tree as an ornamental addition to your house and harvest the tart limes for use in your favorite recipes.

Fill the bottom 2 inches of your container with small stones or pot shards. This will ensure your key lime tree receives adequate drainage. Fill the container with a peat moss-based soil and create a hole just large enough for the root bundle of your tree.

Remove the tree from the nursery pot and carefully shake away excess soil and potting material. Place the root bundle in your container and fill in with soil until the roots are barely covered.

Moisten the container until you see water dripping from the bottom. Continue watering the tree any time the soil is nearly dry, but do not let the soil dry out completely. Mist the leaves of your tree daily.

Place your key lime tree in a sunny location in your home or garden. Southern-exposed areas and rooms that receive at least 6 hours of sunlight are ideal. If the temperature drops below 55 degrees F, bring your key lime indoors.

Fertilize your key lime tree annually by applying a liquid fertilizer diluted according to the manufacturer directions. Choose a fertilizer specially made for citrus trees.

Pollinate your indoor key lime tree by spreading the pollen around the inside of each flower with a paintbrush.


Things You Will Need

  • 10- to 15-gallon container
  • Small stones or pot shards
  • Growing mix heavy in peat moss
  • Spray bottle
  • Liquid fertilizer
  • Paintbrush


  • Select a container made from a light material in case you need to move the tree indoors.
  • Provide your key lime tree with supplemental light indoors by mounting fluorescent lights above your tree.


  • Make sure your container has adequate drainage holes.

About the Author


Lydia Stephens began writing professionally in 2009. She has written online for Nile Guides, SheKnows.com and various other websites and has been published in "Stringing Magazine" and "Xiamen Wave." Stephens played competitive soccer for 19 years, has been weight lifting since 2007 and enjoys running, biking and sailing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Texas.