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Citrus x aurantiifolia

Citrus x aurantiifolia
First-year buds in mid-June...
Key lime; mexican lime
...soon followed by congested flower clusters...
Citrus x aurantiifolia
...and bulbous-barrel-shaped limelets

Common name Key lime; mexican lime
Family rutaceae
Life cycle tree (Z10)
Flowers white (early spring)
Size 10-15'
Light sun

We're hoping for some very mild winters, because limes aren't reliably hardy even in the Houston area. The plant tag says hardy to 32F; with some efforts to offer protection it can probably weather somewhat colder nights. The first year in our garden was promising, with mini-limes apparently developing after a flush of bloom – but they never turned into larger fruit. A subsequent hard freeze killed the top growth, but growth returned vigorously from the lower trunk in the following year. We had to wait another two years for real fruit development though.

Key lime; mexican lime
Full-size limes developing, October 2020
Citrus x aurantiifolia
Leaves curled and browning from leaf miner damage

In its first year in our garden, our lime tree was continuously under attack from citrus leaf miners, small boring moth caterpillars that disfigure its leaves. From what I've read, this happens mostly to new leaves, and is unlikely to damage the tree in the long run. The tree put on decent growth despite the onslaught from the miners, so I hope it is mostly unscathed by the pest next year.

Key lime; mexican lime
Despite our best efforts to protect it, the top growth of our tree was killed outright in a harsh January freeze.
Citrus x aurantiifolia
When growth emerged from near the base, I feared it was just the rootstock – but by mid-March, it was clear that some of the lime itself had survived: there were trifoliate leaves coming from just below the graft union (removed before photo), and entire leaves from just above.

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: back fence border

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Last modified: October 25, 2020
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