How to Care for a Kaffir Lime Tree
Are you growing a Kaffir lime tree at your home? Learn how to care for a Kaffir lime tree below!
Are you fond of Asian cuisine? If so, then you'll love the Kaffir lime tree.
The leaves are a key ingredient in Thai cooking such as curry and coconut-based dishes. It's also used in other Southeast-Asian cuisines because of their intense citrus aroma.
Because of the pleasant smell, you can dry the leaves and turn it into potpourri. The leaves are also rich in essential oils which you can extract by DIY methods.
Just having the plant present will fill any room with an enjoyable scent. Added to the fact that these plants have a unique look and are resilient, they're one of the best houseplants to own and care for.
While the Kaffir lime can survive in less-than-ideal conditions, you still need to do specific things for optimal growth. Read on.
The Kaffir Lime Tree Loves Sunlight
Like other citrus trees, the Kaffir grows best in a subtropical climate. This means warm weather and plenty of sunlight.
Ideally, you want them to be exposed to sunlight for eight to twelve hours. You'll rarely find a spot in your home with that much natural light so just put them near a sunny window. If needed, you can supplement with fluorescent plant lights.
During the summer, you can move the Kaffir outside if you wish. However, make the transition gradual. Expose the plant to more sun bit by bit each day.
When the weather starts getting cold, carry the Kaffir tree back inside your home. Freezing temperatures are fatal for the warm-loving citrus trees.
Don't Go Loco with H2O
The Kaffir tree prefers moist but well-drained soil. You can water thoroughly if you notice that the surface of the soil has become dry. But you should allow the compost to dry out some between watering sessions, especially during winter.
You don't want the soil to become too wet and soggy. Kaffirs are prone to root rot.
During dry weather, you should mist the leaves to increase the humidity around them. Another method to increase the humidity is to put a garden saucer under the pot which holds the tree.
Groom for the Best Look
Pruning is an important part in the care of this citrus tree. Pruning encourages branching and also helps you maintain its small stature.
The method used is to cut at a 45-degree angle above the leaf node. Try to remove damaged branches to maintain a healthy plant.
Pollination Isn't a Priority
Unlike the leaves, the fruit of the Kaffir lime has limited use because of its minuscule juice production. The fruit is not the focus of growing a Kaffir lime tree.
The fruit does have some use in cleaning and hair conditioning. If you want to stimulate fruit production, pollination has to be done by hand if you're growing a Kaffir tree indoors. You can do this by using a dry paintbrush that you can dab on each flower.
Keep Pests Away
Kaffir trees are usually tough vs common pests but can become susceptible to mites or scales. This usually happens when the plant is exposed to other plants with infestation when you bring them outside.
As always, vigilance is key. You want to do regular inspections for insects and remove affected parts as necessary. If the damage is extensive, you can try a DIY organic insect spray or resort to using a commercial insecticide.
Care for Some Kaffir?
The Kaffir lime tree is a very interesting plant and it's well worth it to know how to take care of it properly. With this knowledge, you'll have plenty of leaves to use on your favorite Asian dishes.
Learn more about the Kaffir lime and tree in our previous article about Kaffir lime and tree history, drinks, and characteristics.
If you think the Kaffir is cool, we have articles on other amazing members of the citrus family, like the Meyer lemon and the Persian lime, that you're gonna love.
Keep visiting our blog for everything citrus!