The UK climate may not be the most suitable for lime trees but this doesn’t mean they won’t do well here with some care. Lime trees can thrive in UK gardens along with orange trees and lemon trees if they are tended to throughout the year. They do best in pots so they can be moved indoors during cold spells and the potted lime trees look spectacular in any garden or balcony. The luscious green heart-shaped leaves are followed in the early summer by white and yellow flowers. Fruit often appears together with the flowers like other citrus tree types.
About Lime Trees
Lime trees have a pleasant honey aroma emitting from the blooming flowers. Limes and their leaves can be enjoyed in teas, salads, cold drinks, and puddings such as key lime pie. The fruit has many health benefits too – full of vitamins and have been proven to lower blood pressure.
Limes can stay on the tree until ready to be picked and don’t always follow a typical season due to our climate. In pots, they typically grow no higher than 1.5 metres in height. Although native to India and Malaysia they can be a great addition to any fruit garden here in the UK.
How To Grow Lime Trees
The rewards you gain from a lime tree are well worth the effort you need to make during the year. By carrying out annual care on your lime tree you will have a very pretty, fruit-bearing tree. Like many citrus fruit, they don’t tolerate low temperatures very well. That means you may need to provide winter protection, or bring them indoors to protect them during the colder months. Most people who grow limes in the UK plant them in pots.
When To Plant Lime Trees
Your potted lime tree can go in your garden in a sunny location no earlier than June time. It can remain outdoors until the start of September when it must come indoors, somewhere warm but not next to direct heat.
Where To Position Lime Trees
Lime trees need some shelter as they aren’t the hardiest of plants and they also need a good amount of sunshine. You will need to keep an eye on any temperature drops – have some fleece at the ready. They need well-drained soil and do not like too much moisture.
How To Prune Lime Trees
Citrus plants do not need much pruning so this might be welcome news if you are an amateur gardener. Around February is the best time to thin your tree out and you can cut very long branches back to encourage new growth. You may get water shoots on your lime tree as it matures and they can be removed as and when required. Thinning out the fruit might be required so that the tree branches can cope with the supply.
When To Harvest Limes
Citrus fruit doesn’t follow an exact seasonal cycle so you can find fruit and flowers growing on the tree at the same time. You can harvest the limes when they are fully grown, deep green in colour and feel ready to be picked. They can remain on the tree until you need them.
How to Grow A Lime Tree From Seed?
It’s important to know that although growing limes from seeds can be successful, it won’t produce identical limes. The results can often be very different but you can still get good results. You will need to rinse the seeds off well to get rid of any excess fruit and then you can pot straight into a container about half an inch deep. You should then wrap the continued in a plastic bag. Make sure you create good drainage as they won’t fare well if too wet. Keep them in a sunny location for a few weeks until germination occurs. Once your seedlings are a minimum height of 6 inches you can pot them individually and pop outdoors once it’s summer.
Lime Tree FAQ’s
By the time you’ve read our handy FAQs, you should know all you need to know about planting limes trees in your garden!
Potted garden lime trees grow to a modest height and end up standing at between 3 and 4 feet high.
You can expect to get fruit on your lime tree after two to three years. They grow at a moderate pace but regular pruning will keep yours at a respectable height and shape.
You can increase your fruit yield by hand pollinating your lime tree using a small paintbrush or cotton bud. You need to collect pollen from the anthers (male) and transfer it to the stigma (female). The pollen needs to be mature for this process to be successful.
You only need one lime tree to produce fruit because lime trees have male parts (anthers) and female parts (stigma).
You can successfully grow lime trees in the UK but it’s important to give them added protection during the winter such as indoor care.
Ideally, lime trees should be pot-grown so they can come indoors to avoid frosts. They do well in greenhouses or conservatories over the winter as long as they are away from direct central heating. If yours is planted correctly into the ground then fleece or horticultural blankets can be used.