Tahitian Lime Tree

Tahitian Lime Tree (Citrus x latifolia)

Tahitian Lime Tree 002
Image of a Tahitian Lime Tree
Scientific name: Citrus x latifolia
Common names: Tahitian Lime, Tahiti Lime, Persian Lime, Seedless Lime, Bearss Lime
Synonyms:
  • Citrus x aurantiifolia var. latifolia
  • Citrus x aurantiifolia subsp. latifolia
Genus: Citrus
Did you know? Tahitian Lime Trees do not grow naturally in the wild, they have a cultivated origin.
Uses: Lime peel is the source of Lime essential oil. It is used for scenting a variety of cosmetic products but, it is most valued for its therapeutic uses.

Lime oil is frequently used in natural cleaning products as a degreaser; it is also anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial therefore making it an excellent disinfectant.

The Tahitian Lime Tree is a medium sized, rather showy tree which can easily be trained to produce stunning specimens that really stand out on the patio! Easy to grow and care for, they can be grown either in a container or in the ground. They make great plants for hedging, espalier training or as specimen trees.

The Tahitian Lime Tree produces lime green citrus fruits also known as Persian or Bearss limes. The tree will produce fruit in its first year after planting and fruit production will increase every year. Proper maintenance is key to supporting and encouraging plant health for a productive citrus harvest.

The Tahitian Lime Tree is considered to be the best choice of Lime due to it being more cold tolerant than other species. It is easy to grow, generally pest and disease free, and it has larger, seedless fruits that have a less acidic flavour than the Key Lime.

The glossy, evergreen foliage looks great all year round and provides a wonderful backdrop for the fragrant, white flowers and edible green fruits. As an ‘everbearing’ plant this tree can provide you with fruit and flowers throughout the year. The fruits can be left on the tree so there will always be a lime ready to pick and use in your drink! They have the strongest, classic lime flavour when green but they are at their juiciest when left to ripen to yellow.

We have a wide range of Tahitian Lime Trees to suit all budgets and sites. We have specimens with the natural spreading habit or, you could choose one that has been pruned into a truly designer tree. You could even choose a bushy plant that you can train yourself – we would be happy to advise you on how to do this.

It is important to note that we do not import any of our Tahitian Lime Trees, all our stock has been propagated, and grown on site. Lime Trees that are grown in Europe and exported around the world are being closely monitored and controlled as they are considered to be a potential host plant for a devastating disease called Xylella.  When you purchase a tree from us you can rest assured that there is no risk of introducing Xylella to your garden.

Looking for a Tahitian Lime Tree? Click here.

Tahitian Lime Tree: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I grow a Tahitian Lime Tree where I live?

It is hardy throughout most areas of Australia so can be grown outside all year round. If you live in an area that does experience frost it is best to plant your tree in a container so that it may be transferred indoors over winter.

Continue reading about Tahitian Lime Tree care.

How can I propagate a Tahitian Lime Tree?

Tahitian Lime Trees are a Citrus of hybrid origin; a Cross between a Key Lime (Citrus x aurantiifolia) and a Lemon (Citrus limon). This means that they will not come true if grown from seed. The only way to propagate a true Tahitian Lime Tree is by semi-hardwood cuttings, grafting or air-layering.

Continue reading about Tahitian Lime Tree propagation.

Where can I buy a Tahitian Lime Tree?

We are one of the leading suppliers of Tahitian Lime Trees in Australia. We are fully licensed by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to sustainably harvest several species and we are proud to say that we have one of the largest ranges of Tahitian Lime Trees.

Click here to get a quote.

What other uses do Tahitian Lime Trees have?

Tahitian Lime peel is the source of Lime essential oil. It has a fragrance that is used for scenting a variety of cosmetic products and its many therapeutic uses. Tahitian Lime oil is frequently used in natural cleaning products as it is an excellent degreaser; it is also anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial therefore making it an excellent disinfectant.

Continue reading about Tahitian Lime Tree uses.

Tahitian Lime Tree: Planting

The Tahitian Lime Tree can be planted in any moist but well drained soil. It prefers a pH that is neutral or slightly acidic and a sunny position that is sheltered from the wind.

It is hardy throughout most areas of Australia so can be grown outside all year round. If you live in an area that does experience frost it is best to plant your tree in a container so that it may be transferred indoors over winter.

Although The Tahitian Lime needs a moist soil to grow at its best, it does not like to have its roots sat in water. Therefore, the addition of sand or gravel to the planting hole or potting mix is essential. Container grown plants should be raised slightly off the ground so that the water is able to drain freely from the base of the pot.

Trees that are planted into the ground will require regular watering over the first few months, just until the soil has settled into place around the roots. You can then slowly reduce the frequency of watering as the plant becomes more established.

Growing Persian or Bearss Limes requires a semi- to tropical climate. Although they are more cold tolerant than their Mexican and Key Lime cousins, leaf and trunk damage will occur when temperatures drop below -3°C and the tree will die at below -4°C. If you’re living in a cooler climate, the tree can be grown in appropriately sized containers to be moved indoors, noting that they can grow to about 6 metres with a thick branch structure. The Tahitian Lime is well-suited to Australia’s climate so it can be grown outdoors throughout the year.

Looking for a Tahitian Lime Tree? Click here.

Tahitian Lime Tree: Ongoing Care & Maintenance

Once established,  Lime Trees planted into the ground will only require water during prolonged dry spells. Container grown specimens should be watered regularly to ensure the soil does not dry out.Trees should be fed four times a year with an all-purpose or Citrus specific formula.

The fruits can be harvested at any time of year. They are fine to be left on the tree until needed but do take care to remove any that are old enough to be showing signs of rot.

Although not necessary for a healthy tree, Lime trees respond well to pruning and they can be trained into wonderful specimen trees, hedges and espaliers.

(Note – contact with sap may cause skin irritation.)

Pruning can be carried out anytime prior to the main flowering season in Winter but, as The Tahitian Lime can flower on and off throughout the year this can be difficult to judge. The thing to bear in mind is that pruning removes flowers and therefore fruit for the coming season, so choose a flower free period if possible to carry out any pruning.

When pruning for general health, the aim is to remove any areas of dense growth so as to open up the canopy and allow light and air to pass through.

Firstly, using sharp clean tools, remove any unharvested fruit to prevent rotting. Then cut out any dead, diseased or damaged branches and any weak growth that will struggle to support the weight of fruits.

When removing full branches, cut as close to the trunk as possible. If reducing the length of branches, always cut approximately 0.5cm above a node, at an angle that slopes away from the buds or leaves growing there. Anything left above the node will die back and look untidy.

Tahitian Lime Trees are not usually susceptible to pests or diseases but they can sometimes host aphids, red spider mites, mealybugs, or scale insects – most often in container or glasshouse grown specimens – but all are easily treated. It is worth noting that the caterpillars of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly are reported to be particularly fond of Lime Trees!

These trees prefer deep, well-drained soil and it is recommended to add fertiliser about every two or three months until they become established. Thereafter, fertiliser can be added three or four times a year in the warmer months. Fertilisers containing potash, nitrogen, and phosphorus, with a smaller content of magnesium will work well for the Tahitian Lime. Alternatively, using a potting mix with compost, perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss will also be suitable for promoting tree health.

Taking note of how to look after your Tahitian Lime will provide you with a lovely citrus-producing tree that will flower between February and April in warm climates, and following that, fruit is produced within a 90 to 120 day period.

Looking for a Tahitian Lime Tree? Click here.

Tahitian Lime Tree: Propagation

Tahitian Lime Trees are a Citrus of hybrid origin; a Cross between a Key Lime (Citrus x aurantiifolia) and a Lemon (Citrus limon). This means that they will not come true if grown from seed. The only way to propagate a true Tahitian Lime Tree is by semi-hardwood cuttings, grafting or air-layering.

Semi-hardwood cuttings can be taken from late summer to early autumn and placed around the edges of a pot containing a free draining potting mix. The application of rooting hormone to the base of the cuttings, and/or the use of bottom heat will help to improve the success rate.

When planting the lime tree outdoors, find a location that gets full sun for most of the day, and if the selected area gets windy, stake the plant to help it get established. It should also be set well apart from other trees. The Tahitian Lime Tree does not require pollination to produce fruit, so planting with another Tahitian Lime is not necessary.

Transplant the new tree in early spring or any other time if you live in a consistently warm climate and it’s best to avoid areas in your garden that are damp or prone to flooding. Over exposure to water can cause root rot, but it will need a good watering regime in its early stages of growth. The Tahitian Lime Tree may attract mites, aphids, mealy bugs, and scale insects in warmer regions, which must be eliminated, but verrucosis is a more serious issue. It is also known as Lemon Scab and it is a fungal disease that causes lesions to form on the exterior of the fruit, and it is encouraged through damp, cold weather. Verrucosis rarely affects the quality of the fruit’s interior, but the disease must be controlled as it will reduce the tree’s vitality over time. Using a fungus spray can be effective in getting rid of the disease.

Tahitian Lime Tree: Taxonomy and naming

  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Species: C. x latifolia

*The name Citrus x latifolia is classed as ‘unresolved’. This means it has not been accepted as being the definitive name that should be used for this plant; there may still be other names in use that refer to this plant.

Synonyms: Citrus x aurantiifolia var. latifolia, Citrus x aurantiifolia subsp. latifolia

Common names: Tahitian Lime, Tahiti Lime, Persian Lime, Seedless Lime, Bearss Lime

Looking for a Tahitian Lime Tree? Click here.

Tahitian Lime Tree: History

Tahitian Lime Trees do not grow naturally in the wild, they have a cultivated origin. The wild ancestors of the Tahitian Lime are native to Asia and eight species are found growing in Australia.

Genetic testing traced the origin of the Tahitian Lime Tree to southeast Asia, eastern India, northern Burma, and southwest China, and around the Malay Archipelago. It is a tri-hybrid citrus comprising of Citrus medica, Citrus grandis, and Citrus micrantha, and it was first grown commercially in Florida in the late 1880s. Since then it has made its way across the globe for both commercial and urban production.

The trees were first grown on a large scale in Persia (modern day Iran and southern Iraq) and are now grown commercially in Mexico and Brazil for the export of fruits to American, European and Asian markets.

The Tahitian Lime was introduced to Australia in 1788 by First Fleet settlers.

Tahitian Lime Tree: Appearance

The Tahitian Lime is an evergreen, medium size tree with slightly drooping branches and a spreading habit. It can be quite vigorous, growing to around 6m x 6m after 10-20 years. Unlike other citrus, it is almost thornless.

Ovate, sometimes lance shaped, dark glossy green leaves provide an excellent background to the beautiful white flowers that occur mainly in Winter but often sporadically throughout the year. The flowers are fragrant and are made up of 5 long, white petals which are sometimes flushed with purple at the margins. Bundles of white stamens are topped with yellow anthers.

Rounded green fruits with slightly nippled ends follow the flowers. Ripening to yellow as the season progresses, these seedless, edible fruits can measure up to 6cm in diameter.

The Persian Limes are the size of small lemons that are juicy and seedless with an acidic flesh. When the lime ripens, it will change from green to a light yellow. You won’t need to prune the tree unless you need to get rid of disease or bugs, or you want to maintain a comfortable picking height.

Looking for a Tahitian Lime Tree? Click here.

Tahitian Lime Tree: Conservation

As the Tahitian Lime is not found growing in the wild there are no issues regarding conservation. But, there is concern, particularly within Europe, regarding biosafety issues. Citrus trees have been found to be potential host plants for a type of disease called Xylella which, once introduced to an area can have a devastating impact. Methods of control include the destruction of any potential host species which could lead to the desecration of wide areas of natural habitat and potential loss of species. It is for this reason that in Europe, the origin of the disease, import and export of citrus in general is tightly controlled. All our trees are propagated and grown in Australia meaning there is absolutely no risk of Xylella.

Tahitian Lime Tree: Ecology

The often dense foliage of the Tahitian Lime attracts birds looking for safe nesting sites. Its white, fragrant flowers are attractive to a variety of pollinating insects and it is said to be especially attractive to the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar.

Tahitian Lime Tree: Uses

The edible fruit of the Tahitian Lime is a wonderful and widely used flavouring for food and drinks and, like all Citrus, is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Lime peel is the source of Lime essential oil. It has a wonderful fragrance that is used for scenting a variety of cosmetic products but, it is most valued for its therapeutic uses of which there are many. Lime oil is frequently used in natural cleaning products as it is an excellent degreaser; it is also anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial therefore making it an excellent disinfectant.

Enquiries

Contact

Po Box 7288 Wilberforce 2756 Australia
Email – hello@bluegrasstree.com.au

Mobile – 0420 552 337
Phone – 1300 220 002
International +61 420 552 337

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