The Kaffir lime tree is commonly grown for use in Asian cuisine. While this dwarf citrus tree, reaching up to 5 feet tall, can be grown outdoors in summer, do bring it inside in winter
Kaffir Lime Leaves
The glossy, dark green leaves of the Kaffir lime tree are quite distinctive. Kaffir lime leaves look like two leaves joined together, as one appears to grow from the tip of the other. Kaffir lime leaves are most often used as an essential ingredient for flavoring many Asian dishes such as soups, curries and fish.
They can be used fresh off the tree or from dried leaves. Kaffir lime leaves can also be frozen to retain their freshness. Picking the leaves every few weeks may help encourage growth. Crushing Kaffir lime leaves will release their fragrant oils, which emit an intense citrus aroma.
About Kaffir Limes
Kaffir limes are about the size of Western limes. They are dark green with a bumpy surface. In order for the Kaffir lime tree to produce any limes, be sure to provide plenty of light for flowering.
Because they produce very little juice, the juice and flesh of Kaffir limes is rarely used, but the sour-tasting rind can be finely grated and used for flavoring dishes. Fresh Kaffir limes can be frozen using freezer bags and used as needed.
Kaffir limes have many household uses as well, including cleaning and hair conditioning.
Kaffir Lime Tree Care
Kaffir limes prefer full sun in moist, well-drained soil. If grown indoors, keep near a sunny window. The Kaffir lime tree appreciates water and somewhat humid conditions during the growing season. Keep in mind, however, that this tree is prone to root rot if kept too wet, so allow the soil to dry out somewhat between waterings. Regular misting helps with humidity levels.
Kaffir lime trees are cold sensitive and need to be protected from frost. Therefore, these plants should be brought indoors during winter if they are grown outside. They enjoy indoor temperatures around 60 F. (16 C.) or above, especially during winter months.
Prune the lime tree while young to encourage branching and a more bushy plant.
Citrus trees are superb conservatory or patio trees that love the summer heat and yet like cool winters. They are remarkably easy to grow given the correct conditions.
Planting: Citrus like a slightly acid, porous soil, so we recommend using a soil based compost like Westland Multipurpose compost, and feeding with Miracid food which will keep the soil acidic. Put plenty of drainage material in the base of the pot as citrus resent any form of waterlogging.
Feeding Feed: every week from Spring to the beginning of Autumn. In Winter only feed once a month. Feed some tomato fertilizer occasionally to encourage more blossom. We also now have a special Citrus fertiliser if you wish to use that.
Pollination :If your tree is always indoors the flowers will require pollination. In the absence of flies or bees you should do this regularly when the plants are in flower by using a small child's art brush to dust the pollen from flower to flower.
Pests: Watch for greenfly or scale insect and use an organic insecticide if necessary. Enjoy the fragrance of the flowers!