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Persian Lime Care: Growing Your Own Tahitian Lime Tree

Growing a Persian (Tahitian) Lime Tree

Persian (Tahitian) lime trees can grow up to 20 feet tall. Find out more about Persian lime care and how to grow your own healthy and abundant Tahiti lime tree.

While certain fruits including citrus fruit can be found and grown in different parts of the globe, each region tends to have its own variety. The weather and soil conditions dictate differences in both the plant itself and the fruit it bears.

For instance, there are over 20 different species of lime! If you're wanting to grow your own lime tree, it's important to know how to tend your exact variety to help it thrive and produce the best fruit. Keep reading to learn about the Persian or Tahitian lime, and how to keep this particular citrus tree happy.

Tahitian Lime Trees

The Persian (Tahitian) lime tree, is a bit of a mystery in origin. Some testing indicates it hails from Southeast Asia via India and China, but wherever its initial origins, it was first found growing in the US in a California garden.

Shortly thereafter it was brought to and cultivated in Florida, where it was grown for commercial use for quite some time. Today it's grown extensively in Mexico, some Central American countries and other subtropical countries like Egypt and Israel for commercial export.

Larger than other lime varieties, with year-round yields and juicy fruit with a perfect tart flavor, the Persian lime is one of the most popular in the world.

You can grow this versatile plant at your own home and enjoy the fruits of your labor no matter where you live if you know how to do it right.

Persian Limes in Containers

With a few varieties excluding, most citrus fruit needs a subtropical climate to thrive. In the US, this means growing zones south of nine. 

However, even if you live in an area where the snow takes over half of the year, you can still grow and enjoy fresh Persian limes as long as you have a window with good Southern exposure and know-how to care for your tree in a container.

Make sure the tree you purchase is in disease-free condition and isn't planted in a pot too small for it, where the roots have been constricted. Check out our resource page on citrus tree planting. For example, the container should be between 2 to 25 gallons in size and taller than the roots of the tree.

Even with a southern facing window, you may not get enough sun exposure to give your lime tree the 6-8 hours of hot sun they prefer. A grow light is a must for most citrus trees and fruit grown indoors.

Care and Maintenance

Indoors or outdoors, the Tahitian lime prefers sandy, well-draining soil. A potting soil specifically for citrus trees is best, but a mix of commercial potting soil, peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite will also work. 

Don't plant your tree in soil that stays wet for long periods of time.

When planting a new tree, whether in a container or outdoors, dig a hole large enough for the roots to spread out, and bury it to the crown of the roots. Water well and keep watered regularly until established.

Every several months for the first year, especially for indoor trees, add a fertilizer mix for citrus trees to add essential soil nutrients. Your tree will blossom in February to April, and you'll be eating your own homegrown limes in no time!

Interested in trying some Persian (Tahiti) lime fruit or grow your own Persian (Tahiti) lime tree? US Citrus has you covered. Be sure to browse the rest of our citrus fruit and citrus tree collections as well, delivered straight to your door!

More Articles Related to Persian Lime Trees:

Eight Steps to Growing Persian Lime Trees in Containers

Eight Steps to Growing Persian Lime Trees in Containers

This citrus fruit is our specialty and the gold standard for use in cocktail drinks and cuisine! The Persian lime tree grows vigorously, producing fruit that are around 2-2.5 inches in diameter. It is also known as the Tahiti or Bearss Lime.

About the Persian Lime

Here's some detailed information about the Persian lime fruit and tree:

The Persian Lime Fruit

  • A seedless and very juicy citrus fruit with an excellent tart flavor
  • The Persian lime has a thin, smooth rind, and the seedless flesh is pale greenish- yellow, acidic, juicy and finely-textured
  • Healthy limes the size of lemons
  • Stronger resistance to cold compared to other lime trees
  • The gold-standard lime for cocktail drinks and Mexican food
  • Year-round fruit production, but most fruit in winter
  • Limes of this variety bear fruit almost all year, and generally reach maturity in late autumn to early winter
  • The Persian lime is the most versatile and popular lime in the world!

The Persian Lime Tree

  • The coldest hardy tree of all limes
  • Year-round harvest for a consistent supply of fruit
  • handsome small tree with dark green leaves, some thorns, but less so than Mexican limes

Where Will Persian Limes Grow? 

With proper citrus tree care, Persian limes will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States where citrus can be planted into the ground are limited to California, Arizona, South Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

If you do not live in those regions, we do not recommend planting Persian limes in the ground. However, we consider this a good thing, because it's going to make your citrus growing a lot easier.

Growing Persian Limes Outside of Growing Zones

So how do you grow Persian Limes outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting your tree in a container. You can use a plastic barrel, a wooden planter, a nice decorative pot, or really any sort of container that has adequate holes on the bottom for drainage.

Another option, which we recommend, is the use of fabric smart pots. While they do not have holes, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.

The Planting Process for Growing Persian Lime Trees in Pots

The actual planting process of growing Persian lime trees in pots is very straightforward, with standardized use of potting soil and watering and fertilizing schedules.

You can keep any citrus tree pruned back, but the Persian lime is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, but it will still produce an abundant harvest.

Step 1: Container for Persian Lime Trees

The key to an appropriate container is having sufficient drainage through the material by either being some sort of mesh cloth (SmartPots) or having a few holes on the bottom of your planter.

Secondly, the size of the pot should be at least 5 gallons, with our favorite size recommendation being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move by only one person. 

Step 2: Soil for Persian Lime Trees

Choosing soil for your Persian lime trees is simple. You can use any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil to use for container growing. This is advantageous because even if you lived in a citrus growing region, you would have to take into consideration the type of soil.

For example, US Citrus is based in the Rio Grande Valley, and we have a wonderful sandy loam type soil which drains very well. Other types of soil such as different types of clay soils especially with limestone mixed in will have a very difficult time draining and will adversely affect the root health of your tree.

With a standard potting soil for your container gardening, you do not need to worry about any of these factors. You also don't have to worry about the pH balance of the soil. We have just removed a large part of the headache of growing citrus by having all customers grow their citrus in containers and using any standard potting soil which is available at your local nursery garden center supply store.

Step 3: Watering for Persian Lime Trees

Watering is crucial, typically when citrus is planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Persian lime trees planted in the ground prefer to have their roots a bit on the dry side. We have found that if there is proper drainage in container gardening it is difficult to overwater citrus trees.

See our watering schedule for our citrus trees based on their size and the outside conditions.

The best way to figure out how much water your citrus tree needs is to actually look at the tree. If the leaves are wilted and dry, your tree needs more water. After watering, the tree’s leaves should perk up.

Overwatering Your Potted Persian Lime Tree

Overwatering is a possibility and we find that this especially happens when the trees are indoor and there's a garden saucer used underneath the pot. When there's a garden saucer there is impeded drainage, which is helpful while you're on vacation and cannot water your tree for a week, or when you have your trees indoors to prevent water seeping onto the floors and causing damage.

However, if trees are over-watered, the plant leaves will wilt and may turn a bit yellow and look sad. Watering more will only adversely affect the plant since the conditions that caused the yellow and sad looking plant had not been remediated. 

Giving your tree a break by taking it outside if possible or letting the soil drain without a garden saucer in the bathtub for a day is a good solution. Afterward, you can adjust your watering schedule appropriately. Our watering schedule also has a section for indoor planting.

Step 4: Fertilizer for Persian Lime Trees

Your Persian lime tree will need both macro and micronutrients, just like a human. The macronutrients that all plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. You have likely seen fertilizers and soil which state three numbers together, this is the N – P – K system which shows the concentration and relative amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium respectively.

These machinations are very important for the color of the leaves, development of the root system, proper flowering, fruiting, and taste of the fruit respectively and appropriate photosynthesis and growth of the trunk of the tree in general. See our blog article on nutrition for more information.

Micronutrients are also very important - think of these as vitamins for humans. They are needed in much smaller quantities and plants can have characteristic symptoms if they have a micronutrient deficiency. We will detail out micronutrients and symptoms of deficiencies in later articles.

However, our promise to you is that we make this simple. Between regular potting soil and the fertilizer we recommend, you will have all the macronutrients and micronutrients that your tree needs and a simple fertilizing schedule for easy and effective fertilizing when you get your tree and for every February, May, and August. See our fertilizer schedule below for amounts that we recommend.

Fertilizer Schedule

Ounces to use every Feb, May, and Aug

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3+

 

 

 

Miracle-Gro for Citrus, Avocado and Mango (13-7-13)

5

7

9

 Espoma Citrus (5-2-6)

10

14

18

Step 5: Sunlight for Persian Lime Trees 

Sunlight is crucial to Persian Lime trees, especially because it is a tropical plant. In most areas of the United States, you want to maximize sunlight with full sun exposure. If you are planting indoors, make sure that it has full sun next to the window, but we would also recommend having a grow light.

Persian Limes does best when it has at least six hours of sunlight a day. If the temperature is consistently above 90° especially for younger trees, there may be some wilting of the leaves. This wilting will reverse however and at this point, it would be advantageous to keep your tree by elementary and partial shade. 

Step 6: Winter Protection for Persian Lime Trees

We recommend that under freezing temperatures, you move your Persian lime tree into a warmer area such as a garage or indoors for the entire winter. At this point, you can utilize grow lights for continued growth.

There is nothing more frustrating than losing years of work and future decades of fruit than losing your citrus tree to a freak cold-snap which occurred while you were vacationing out of town! Persian Limes can die with exposure to temperatures in the teens for even up to 12 hours. 

Persian limes are more cold hardy than key limes or Mexican limes. 

Step 7: Where Do I Buy My Persian Lime Tree?

First of all, if you live in the states of California, Arizona, Louisiana, or Florida, you will need to purchase your Persian lime tree locally as citrus cannot be imported into your state because of USDA regulations.

Otherwise, go to uscitrus.com and buy your tree today!

Step 8: Harvesting Your Persian Limes

This harvest season is year round! The fruit takes 4-6 months to become large and ripen and the fruit will become a little soft and slightly yellow.