Tahitian limes are a special sort of lime tree because they are the result of cross pollination between limes and lemons. They were specifically cross pollinated, and therefore do not occur naturally in the wild. Seed from a Tahitian lime (Citrus x latifolia) will not breed true if planted. However, if you would like to grow a Tahitian lime, they can be propagated from cuttings. Since they are frequently pruned to help them produce better or to shape them as an ornamental, nothing is simpler than to take a few of those trimmings and plant them or graft them onto a sturdy lime or lemon rootstock.
Why Grow Tahitian Limes?
There are multiple reasons why you might grow Tahitian limes rather than some other variety of lime tree. Tahitian limes are milder in flavor than, for example Key Limes.
They are moderately cold hardy, surviving temperatures down to -28 degrees Fahrenheit or -3 degrees Celsius. They will not be happy trees at these temperatures, and cannot endure many days in a row in chilly conditions, but they are true survivors when compared to many other citrus fruit varieties.
In addition, Tahitian Limes are ever bearers. This means that under clement conditions, they will have fruit, flowers, and glossy green leaves throughout the year. As a result, you can enjoy the fragrant scent of the blossoms while sipping glass of freshly squeezed limeade and relaxing beneath the shade of your Citrus x latifolia.
Placed in a large GRC planter, Tahitian limes are an excellent patio or greenhouse tree. They are moderately sized, easy to train into topiary shapes, and require only the most basic care. They do like well-drained soil, as is typical of tropical plants. Since glass reinforced concrete pots do not breathe in the same way as terracotta or clay pots, it is important to make sure that the drain holes in the pot remain unobstructed.
Citrus x latifolia, also known as Bearss limes, are relatively hardy. However, they are susceptible to the same sorts of pests as other citrus plants, including xylella. Xylella is believed to have originated in South America, where it causes problems with coffee plants. It can also be found in the southwestern part of the United States. For this reason, (among others) if you are traveling across the US, some states will stop you at the border and insist that all fresh fruits and plants be left behind.
There is no known means of curing Xylella, which is a specific sort of disease that feeds on the capillary system that transmits moisture and nutrients from the roots to other parts of the trees. It is spread from plant to plant by leafhoppers, who feed on the damaged portions of the plant. Prevention includes destroying infected plants and controlling leaf hoppers by keeping grass mowed beneath fruit trees, and similar simple measures.
Plants that are shipped internationally are carefully monitored for Xylella infection.
Safety in Locally Grown Plants
Fortunately, we grow our own Tahitian Limes. We are a fully licensed nursery, and even manage growing and selling certain endangered or threatened species such as glauca grass trees. We take great pride in our beautiful trees, and can assure you that they are healthy and ready to place in your greenhouse, patio, or lawn area.
More than that, we know that if this is your first lime tree, especially if you are a novice grower, you might have questions about how to maintain and generally care for your Tahitian lime tree. We are always happy to support our customers by answering questions about your trees.
What do I do with my bumper crop of limes?
You have your lime tree, and it has produced more limes than you can possibly hope to make into limeade. What can you do with the rest?
Limes lend flavorful zest to a variety of different recipes. Tahitian limes can be used as a substitute for key limes in key lime pie. Convert your favorite lemon cake or cookie recipe to lime cake or cookies by grating a little of the lime rind, and adding it and lime juice instead of lemon.
Lime or lemon rinds are perfect for cleaning copper pots or copper fixtures. Bruise the peel a little, then rub the copper and watch all that green verdigris nearly melt away.
Limes and Health
As you might imagine since they are a citrus fruit, limes of all sorts are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Limes have a decent shelf life, and were therefore one of the staples taken on sailing ships to help prevent scurvy, a common disease among sailors in the days of lengthy sea voyages.
While modern humans are unlikely spend two or three months at sea, limes and limeade are a tasty way to improve modern diets. Not only do they taste great in drinks or deserts, lime juice is also an excellent way to perk up fish.
Tahitian limes, Citrus x latifolia, are a gardener cross-pollinated hybrid. To get a Tahitian lime, you need to graft it or start it from a cutting. They are one of the most cold-hardy citrus fruits, and can be used in any recipe calling for limes, and even some of those that request lemons. Tahitian limes are an everbearing plant that is easy to grow, either in your backyard or in a container.