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CITRUS aurantiifolia

Image of Citrus aurantiifolia

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Rutaceae

Botanical Name

CITRUS aurantiifolia

Plant Common Name

Lime, Mexican Lime

General Description

Lime is a small, dense, bushy, spiny, evergreen shrub native to Southeast Asia and India. Gardeners typically prune it to create a more traditional tree habit. It bears large, waxy, slightly fragrant flowers primarily from spring to fall, often occurring just after a rainy period. Later, the fertlized flowers become rounded, very acidic green fruits that will mature to yellow. The leaves are deep green and typically have thorns at their bases. Crush the foliage and a pleasant aroma permeates. It has several spineless cultivars.

Perhaps the most cold sensitive citrus, lime prefers abundant sunlight and moist, well-drained soil. Any temperature below freezing causes significant leaf damage and branch dieback. As a container plant, it likes a soil-based potting mix and full light with protection from hot afternoon sun. It can be grown for its fruit or used as a small specimen tree, hedge, shrub, or container plant.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Fruit

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-15' / 1.8m - 4.6m

  • Width

    8'-12' / 2.4m - 3.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia, India

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray Green, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No