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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Lime tree produces aromatic oval leaves

By Staff | Dec 2, 2015

A lime tree, which varies in height, can reach 15 feet tall once mature. PHOTO BY ANITA FORCE MARSHAL

Plant Subject: Lime Tree (Citrus spp.)

First impression: Rich dark green smooth oval fruit dripping from a large tree. The flowers before the fruit are tiny pinkish-cream fragrant flowers. Who would have guessed they would produce this mouth watering juicy fruit? You can touch, but don’t pick our precious limes’ adorning our sweet smelling trees at the Botanical Gardens of the Sanibel Moorings.

Upon further investigation: Our lime trees are attractive, dense, and naturally shaped. They vary in height, but can reach 15 feet high with maturity. Evergreen and fragrant, the shiny leathery, oval leaves are aromatic when crushed. The flowers are fragrant, but small and are creamy white with tinges of pinks and purples. It’s always a joy to see those flowers because tiny fruits are to follow within months.

An important tip for success is never mulch around citrus trees. Mulch can be place from the drip line outward, but never inward. Citrus trees are prone to fungus and mulch can encourage that. Weeds and sod should also be removed from around the root area. Copper fungicide should be applied two to three times per year to help your citrus combat most fungal diseases.

Most citrus have a natural shape and don’t require pruning unless they need to be shaped lightly or suckers removed. Remember, your plants, whether exotic or native, need initial attentive care for a healthy beginning. Plant in a hole dug a little larger than the root ball. The most common planting error is placing your new addition too deep. Always plant to the level your plant was in the container or higher. Once planted, I like to loosen the dirt around the hole gently with my shovel. This will allow water to seep around your new plant and invite the roots to grown out. Watering is essential to establish your newbie. Newly planted landscape need daily watering for approximately two to three weeks.

Limes are a mainstay for so many of our tropical drinks. Nothing cools us off faster than frosty fresh fruit libations. Most citrus trees are nonnative species and originally hail from Southeast Asia. Limes like our tropical seasonal temperature and can be flowering and fruiting all year round. What a great garden addition, to be able to reach outside your door and pick your next fresh fruit, now that’s what Florida is all about!

Pros:

Fruit at your fingertips

Attractive when fruiting or non fruiting

Can make a whole lotta money selling limes

Cons:

Daily clean up dried fruit when not picked

Nonnative status

Prone to many diseases

Neighbors may be stealing fruit when you’re not looking

You got the lime now you need the coconut

Conclusion: The best place for any lime is in your blender to quench the thirst you get laying in the sun on the beach. You got to see, this fruit tree soon to be dripping bright green in our paradise garden location.

Don’t wanna miss this fruiter!