Indoors vs Outdoors: Where Should You Grow a Key Lime Tree?
Should you grow your key lime tree indoors or outdoors? Where are key limes grown for the most delicious fruit and bountiful harvest? Read below to find out!
In the late 1700s, limes were given to British naval soldiers to prevent the onset of scurvy. This little fruit grew in the British West Indian Colonies, which made it easily harvested and popular among the soldiers.
Today, scurvy isn't a threat, so our limes are mostly used for cooking, their lime juice, drink mixing, and ornamentation. If you love limes and want to take advantage of their health benefits, you may want to grow your own tree and have this sour little fruit easily within reach.
But this leads you to the question, where are key limes grown? Taking a lesson from our history books, limes are a tropical fruit that needs lots of heat and sun. Read this guide and learn how you can grow your own thornless key lime tree.
Where Are Key Limes Grown?
Limes are a tropical citrus fruit, so they're naturally found growing in warmer climates. You'll find varieties of lime in the Middle East, North Africa, West Indies, Spain, Mexico, and Florida.
When it comes to the key lime variety, you'll find them in Mexico and the Florida Keys.
Growing Your Key Lime Tree Outdoors
For the most delicious fruit and the most bountiful harvest, you should grow your lime tree outdoors. This is where the tree can get full sun. The catch is that the tree is also very sensitive to the cold, so you need to live in US Department of Agriculture zones 10 or 11.
You may be able to push it a bit more north to the 9a or 9b zone, but you'll need to take a bit more care in growing your tree. Plant your tree in a protected area that receives about ten hours of sun per day but will shelter the tree from frost.
Plan to regularly water your tree to avoid the soil from drying out. You should also lay a generous amount of mulch around the base of the tree to help retain the moisture in the ground.
Growing Your Key Lime Tree Indoors
If you don't live in a tropical climate, you can still grow your own key lime tree indoors. You'll just need to practice a bit more key lime tree care.
If you live in a climate that is consistently below 50 degrees in winter, then you live in a climate that's too cold for year-round outside growth. While indoors, you need to recreate the ten hours of sun that the tree would have gotten outside. You can set up a full spectrum grow light, as light coming in through a window will not be adequate.
Keep your tree in a pot; then you can bring it outside during the warmer summer months. This will help keep your tree healthy.
You also need to be more vigilant about watering your potted lime tree. Make sure the pot has drainage so you don't overwater and rot the roots. Create a watering schedule where you drench the soil one to two times a week.
Start Enjoying Key Limes
Now that you know the answer to "where are key limes grown," you're ready to start growing your own citrus tree. The first step is to determine if you live in a suitable climate. This will help you decide between indoor and outdoor growth.