Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 30th 2017 Contents PAYING $5 for a lime is ridiculous but that's the
nature of demand and supply. This series seeks
to encourage readers to become aware and
educated as to the possibilities of growing
some crops at home...and saving money in these tough
For those of us who have limited space where we live, it
is still possible to successfully harvest fruit from a tree
grown in a pot/container. Keep in mind however that
fruit trees grown in containers will be under more stress
and therefore require additional attention, will produce a
smaller crop of fruits and should be re-potted once every
Here are some major considerations when planning to
grow a lime tree in a container.
Choose a Suitable Variety of Lime Tree
The most common lime variety is West Indian Lime
which is robust and a prolific bearer; another is a hybrid
between a W. I. Lime and a Kumquat, know as a
Limequat. This variety produces a small and manageable
tree but if this variety is not available then use the W. I.
Note that lime trees grown from seed will not produce
fruit until 3 to 6 years after germination while grafted
lime trees will fruit within 2-3 years.
Generally lime trees produce flowers throughout the
year with a mix of large fruiting periods and smaller
Container grown lime trees, like all the citrus trees,
require lots of sun and moist, well-draining soil. Choose a
location for the container with at least eight hours of
As a general rule, a citrus tree should be re-potted into a
container that's at least twice as large as the nursery
pot it came in. A 20-inch-diameter container is
recommended for long-term growth. With any container,
depth is important as it will support a strong root
system and keep your tree from toppling over as it
grows. Since citrus trees need high humidity, place the
plant over a pebble tray or mist daily and maintain a
consistent watering schedule lest the lime tree loses
1.As with all citrus species, lime trees do not like wet
feet so soil mixture should be free-draining with
limited compaction. You may use a commercial bought
potting soil; alternatively a mix of equal parts of sharp
sand, well-rotted manure and soil is recommended. First,
fill the container about 2 inches deep with 2 inch- sized
gravel or broken pieces of clay (from old/broken)pots.
Then fill container halfway with soil mix.
2.Remove tree from the nursery bag and gently
loosen the bottom of the root ball. Trim off any dead
roots and detangle any circling roots so their growth
won't be impeded in their new environment. Set the tree
inside the container to check the planting depth; the top
of the root ball should fall about 3 inches below the rim
of the container. Backfill the container with more soil mix
until the roots are just below the surface.
3.Water slowly and thoroughly, making sure the soil
mix is well saturated and the water is freely draining
out the bottom. Mulch the container with a 2-inch layer
of mulch/gravel keeping it a couple of inches away from
the plant stem.
4.Water is of primary importance to your potted lime
tree. Allow the upper inch of the soil to dry out
before watering. Overwatering can become an issue, but
don't let the tree dry out completely. Water deeply every
Caring For Your lime Tree
Fertilize the lime tree once a month from with a
complete granular fertilizer, high in nitrogen and
phosphorus. Hand spread the fertilizer around the base
of the tree, following product recommendations.
Nitrogen will promote healthy green growth, while
phosphorus will encourage flower production, forcing the
tree to bloom on time. Start feeding your tree about a
month after planting.
Prune any suckers (new shoots) that appear below the
graft. You can also prune any errant branches to
maintain balance or a desired shape.
Keep an eye out for pests, like aphids and scale, on the
lime leaves. Insecticidal soap will control the aphids and
horticultural oil will take care of the scale, both of which
support the growth of sooty mould.
This series is written in collaboration with Cynthra
Persad, retired Director of Research, Ministry of
By Nasser Khan
16 • CARE MAGAZINE
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