Limes, glorious limes

In the Garden

The lime, citrus aurantifolia originated from South-east Asia and was quickly spread throughout Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe by the early traders and explorers.  It was introduced by Spanish explorers to the West Indies.

20130310peggyThe lime is a small tree growing to approximately 20 ft in height with interlocking branches. Most plants have small, sharp spines and the small glossy-green leaves are oval in shape.

The flowers are borne in clusters, and the fragrance from these is quite intoxicating. The tree makes a nice show when laden with limes, and the advent of grafted stock has made citrus orchards possible.

Lime trees can be grown from seed and will take 5-6 years to bear.  If the selected varieties are grafted onto disease-free rootstock, they will take approximately 3 years to bear.  Most times lemon is used as the rootstock. There are varieties called West Indian limes and seedless limes.

20130310limes

Lime tree flower
Lime tree flower

If you want to plant a lime tree, choose well-drained sandy soil and well-cured pen manure. Fertilize the plant roughly three times per year as they are heavy feeders. They do not like their soil to become dried out, and water should be provided for them during the dry season to prevent the fruit dropping.

Here in the Caribbean lime juice or swank is very refreshing, especially in this kind of weather.  It is also rich in Vitamin C.

Until next week, Happy Gardening!

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