Caring for a Lime Tree in a Pot

Lime Tree
Lime Tree (Source: Unsplash)

I still remember those days, getting up early in the morning and plucking the limes out of the lime tree.

The angry face of my mum when she found out I was the one eating most of the limes from the lime tree potted in my garden still comes to my mind whenever I see a Lime tree.

Stealing the limes without my parents noticing was an easy part, but as a result, I was the one put in charge of caring for the lime tree.

During caring for the lime tree, the most sensitive part is balancing the amount of light, temperature, water, humidity, the fertilizer that the Lime tree requires to reach its maximum capacity to produce quality fruits.

Eye pleasing Lime Fruit and Leaves (Source: Pixabay)

It is fascinating to pot a lime tree and place it wherever you like, both indoors or outdoors.

Making the lime juice every day and keeping the body hydrated can improve your immunity system, promotes healthy skin, prevents heart diseases and kidney stones.

Such a wide range of health benefits and the mouth-watering sweet and sour taste of the fruit would make anyone wanting to grow the Lime tree at their sweet home.

Common Problems in a Potted Lime Tree

Several problems may occur while growing Lime trees in a pot. Therefore, it is imperative to identify the problems and their reasons to find a solution properly.

If you carefully observe the plant, it is easy to identify the problems.

The common problems found in a potted lime plant are as mentioned below.

1. Rotting of Roots

The plant may slowly decay, leaves will fall, and trees may die when the root starts to rot.

One of the main reasons for the rotting of roots can be due to overwatering of the plant.

However, direct sunlight may also cause the roots to rot if the roots are unmatured.

2. Vulnerable to Freezing Temperature

Among the citrus family, lime trees are most vulnerable to cold climatic conditions.

The leaves and the branches of the potted Lime trees will get damaged when the temperature reaches 30 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit during winter.

However, if the temperature drops even further to 29 degrees, the damage will be more serious. Potted Lime trees may even die due to excessive cold.

3. Falling of Leaves

The Leaves will slowly start to wither and fall off, which is a clear indication that something is wrong with the plant.

This is generally caused due to overwatering or underwatering of the Lime tree.

Change in temperatures and excessive harsh climate can also cause the leaf loss.

4. Brown and Yellow Leaves

It is straightforward to spot brown and yellow leaves among the green leaves of the Lime tree. Brown or yellow leaves mean that the plant cannot get the proper amount of water it needs.

Also, low humidity and excessive temperature can cause the plant to wither or turn yellow.

Yellow Leaves of the Lime tree (Source: Pixabay)

5. Susceptible to Pests and Insects

It is one of the common problems found in several plants of the citrus family, including the Lime plant.

Several insects and pests such as mealybug, scale insects, Aphids, Red Spider Mites can cause holes, stickiness on leaves, forming brown circles on branches, and webbing.

Pests on the Lime tree (Source: Pixabay)

The appearance of these signs is a clear indication that your Lime tree has a Pest problem.

6. Fungal Diseases

The fungus can infect any part of a Lime Plant. Therefore, they are likely to cause a lot of damage to the plant.

It can cause various diseases such as Sooty mold, Anthracnose, Botrytis, Armillaria, etc., and eventually may stunt, wither, rot, weaken the plant parts.

12 Tips to Take Care of the Lime Tree in a Pot

Growing and taking care of a lime tree out in the open is easy but growing them in pots and containers takes caring for the plant to the next level.

Common Problems in Lime TreeCausesSolution
Falling of LeavesUnder watering of the Lime tree or drainage problemWater the plant properly
Make more drainage holes
Brown leavesOver watering
Low Temperature
Properly water the plant and try to maintain high temperature
Pests and Insects attacksCarelessness in maintaining the plant and under fertilizationSpray with high jet of water or use non toxic Insecticides.
Use insecticidal soaps
Rot RootsExtreme frosty weatherCarry the plant inside or use Frost blankets.
Withering or Discoloration of LeavesOver use of FertilizersUse the organic fertilizers in proper amount once every two months
Stunted appearenceFungal Infectionspray the trees with Liquid Copper Fungicide
Under growth of branches and treesLack of nutrientsUse fertilizers or prune lime tree often
Yellow LeavesUnder watering
Pests and Insects attack
Water the plant frequently
Use organic insecticides and pesticides
Fungal InfectionsDue to fungus namely Alternaria Brown Spot, Pseudocercospera Fruit and Leaf Spot, Black SpotSpray the trees with Liquid Copper Fungicide

Caring for the plant in pots and containers has its benefits and disadvantages. It can turn out to be a tiresome job if you don’t know the proper tips to be followed.

Some of the tips you should keep in mind while taking care of Lime trees are as mentioned below.

1. Choosing Right Variety for the Container

Lime trees can grow as high as 15 to 20 feet; this is why you need dwarf varieties of lime trees to grow in pots and containers.

Pots and containers cannot hold the rootstocks of such tall lime trees.

Lime trees that would not grow taller than 6 to 7 feet would be the best option for pots and containers. some of the varieties of lime trees to grow on pots and containers are:

  • Sweet Limes
  • Bearss Limes
  • Mexican Limes
Lime Varieties kept in a Basket
Lime Varieties kept in a Basket (Source: Pxfuel)

2. Best Location for the Potted Lime Tree

It would be best to find a suitable place to keep the Lime plant which is most favorable according to its nature and properties.

In the case of a lime tree, it adores a hot climate and barely even manages to survive in freezing and frosty weather.

It is essential to place the plant bright area with direct sunlight for at least 6-8 hours a day.

If it is a newly planted young lime tree, keep it in indirect sunlight until its roots mature.

3. Proper Watering Schedule for Potted Lime Tree 

You need to deep water potted lime trees at least once or twice a week. The watering schedule depends a lot on how high the temperature gets during summer.

When the temperature gets too hot during summer, the soil will dry faster than usual. This is why you need to deeply water your lime tree at least once every 2 days.

However, during the winter season, the potted Lime tree stops growing and goes dormant. Therefore, it would be a good idea to water the plant once or twice every 2 weeks.

Overwatering

Overwatering makes the soil and the compost too wet and dry that is not favorable for the proper growth of the lime trees.

The leaves of the lime tree may slowly turn yellow and start to curl with every passing day.

This is a clear indication that you are overwatering your Lime tree and should stop overwatering it instantly.

Underwatering

Underwatering makes the soil too dry and hard, which is unfavorable for the growth of plants root.

As a result, the Lime tree starts to look droopy, crispy, and wilted, ultimately affecting the plant’s growth and development directly.

Keep a close watch on these signs, and if they appear, then it’s time you post more water in your Lime tree.

Make sure to deeply water the plant so that the water would reach the roots of the Lime tree easily. And the plant will come back to its original form in no time.

4. Temperature and Humidity

Unbalanced humidity and temperature might cause the Limetree to stress out, which isn’t normal.

The lime tree can achieve its maximum growth and productivity only if the temperature is hot and the air is humid.

The ideal temperature for the Lime tree is about 55 to 90 degrees F.

It will flourish and bear fruits quickly in this climate. But Lime trees cannot tolerate temperatures 5 to 10 degrees.

So it would be better to take the pots or containers of the Lime tree inside if it gets too cold.

Humid air is also essential for the Lime tree to thrive and flourish rapidly.

More than 50% of humidity is required; so if the air gets too dry. You can place a humidifier nearby your Lime tree, or you can spray the leaves of the Lime tree with water every few days.

5. Soil Type

The lime tree grows best in the lighter and sandy loam soil that is well-drained.

They love to grow slightly acidic soil but always make sure to check the PH value of the soil before potting the lime tree.

The lime tree thrives in soil with a Ph value of 5.5 to 6.5.

The optimum soil temperature for proper root growth of the Lime trees is about 80 to 90 degrees F during spring and summer and 60 to 70 degrees in the fall and winter seasons.

6. Potting Mix for Lime Tree

The soil mix of the Lime tree gets hard over time and loses its nutrients which is essential for Lime trees.

Whenever this happens, it is best to repot the Lemon tree. Or you need to change at least 50% of the soil with the new potting mix of soil.

You can prepare your own potting mix in your home using animal compost, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite on the ratio of 2-1-1-1, which is very beneficial for the growth of Lime trees.

Some of the best potting mixes to grow your Lime tree are

7. Feeding and Fertilization

Lime trees require a hefty amount of nutrients and are thus considered very heavy feeders. Due to this reason, the nutrients on the potted plants deplete very quickly.

To solve this problem, you need to fertilize the plant once every month or once every two months with nitrogen-rich fertilizer to encourage its proper growth.

However, it would be highly beneficial to use 2:1:1 NPK ratio fertilizers for your lime plant.

Besides Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, the Lime tree also need nutrients such as:

  • Calcium
  • magnesium
  • Boron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Sulfur

You can also buy Nitrogen-rich organic fertilizers for the Lime tree on Amazon.

8. Correct Pot for Lime Tree

Proper drainage holes at the bottom of the pot will ensure the proper outflow of water if the Lime tree gets overwatered.

The drainage system at the bottom of the pot also helps the soil from getting too wet, leading to the withering of leaves from excessive water.

A pot with at least 15 to 20-gallon containers and at least an 8-inch diameter would be the best to grow your lime tree. Plastic, terra cotta, or wooden containers would be very suitable for growing your limes.

If you encounter that your pot is staying wet for too long, it might be due to a drainage problem.

Therefore, the pot must have at least 2-3 drainage holes at its bottom to maintain the water outflow, or you can also place a layer of stones at the bottom while planting.

9. Regular Pruning

Pruning your lime tree helps the tree blossom more and provides more productivity of fruits every year. So you need to care for your lime tree, maintain it and prune it more often.

Pruning your Lime tree once or twice a year can improve the lime plant’s health and improve the quality of the fruits.

It would be best if you started pruning from the base of the tree and slowly move upwards.

Remove new shoots, branches growing downwards and inwards, and weak, broken, or damaged branches from the tree.

Healthy Lime
Healthy Lime (Source: Pexels)

10. Repotting Potted Lime Tree

It would be best if you repotted your Lime tree once every 3 to 4 years to obtain quality fruit.

The best time to repot your lime tree is during the spring season before the tree starts active growth.

Repotting your lime tree is essential since it helps to reimburse the lime plant with vital nutrients.

As a result, the roots of the Lime tree will be healthy and accelerates quality fruit production.

So, you should report your Lime tree, which will ultimately enhance its growth and development for generations.

11. Control of Pests and Insects

In Lime trees, Pests and Insects like mealybug, scale insects, Aphids, Red Spider Mites are very common.

They can cause a lot of damage to the plant’s stem, leaves, and roots. This is why you need to control the pests and insects before the situation gets out of hand.

Here are some of the tips on how to deal with such problems on the Lime trees,

12. Care from Fungal Diseases

Fungus is likely to attack Lime trees and eventually stunt, wither, rot and weaken the plant parts.

It causes various fungal diseases such as Sooty mold, Anthracnose, Botrytis, Armillaria, etc., in the Lime tree.

To save the Lime tree from Fungal infections, you need to take care of them and ensure health.

You need to water the plant with a sufficient amount of water and avoid underwatering the plant.

In, addition fertilize the Lime tree every once in a while for its nourishment and make sure your soil drains properly after watering.

Fungal Scab on Rough Lemon
Fungal Scab on Rough Lemon (Source: Flickr)

To treat the fungal infection on Lime trees, you can

  • Spray the trees with Liquid Copper Fungicide. You need to respray the fungicide after 14 days if the fungal infection doesn’t go away.
  • You can also spray with Neem oil.

If the fungal infection on your lime tree gets too worse, there is no cure, and the tree will eventually die.

So, always take a close look at your Lime tree for any initial signs of fungal infection.

Related Article: Common Diseases and Disorders of Leaves and Twigs on Citrus

To know more about Taking care of the lime plant, watch the video

How Long can a Lime Tree Live in a Pot?

Everything depends on how you take care of your lime tree and how healthy the plant actually is?

The typical life span of a lime tree is about 50 years, and it can even grow for a decade if you take proper care of it.

However, potted Lime trees tend to have a shorter life span than those rooted in the earth. Therefore, there is no relevant answer to how long Lime trees will live pots?

If you can save your Lime plant from any significant damage or harm and repot it once every 3 to 4 years, I am sure they will be able to live for longer.

Conclusion

Growing the Lemon tree in a pot while also taking care of it isn’t an easy task like you must have imagined, but it isn’t that hard to make you quit either.

Once you have decided about growing and caring for the Lime plant, hold out your thoughts and follow the above-mentioned tips.

I’m honestly sure that those tips would make your caring for your Lemon tree a whole lot easier and convenient.

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