September 27, 2022

The Kieffir Lime (also known as the Makrut Lime) originated in tropical Asia and is used widely in the cuisine of the region. The leaves are an essential ingredient for many Southeast Asian dishes, adding an aromatic citrus note. The rind and juice are also commonly used. Kieffer limes are around the size of Western limes but with a darker green rind that is rough and bumpy in texture.

The following general guidelines will give you a point of reference for the care of your Kieffer lime tree, but remember that different temperatures and locations will greatly affect water requirements, etc. Although Kieffer lime trees are relatively resilient plants, it is important to keep in mind that ideal growing conditions are those that mimic their native environment as closely as possible. This means that your Kieffer lime tree will thrive with high levels of humidity, an abundance of sun, and plenty of water.

 

TEMPERATURE

Citrus grows best between 55° and 85° F. Indoor temperatures averaging 65° are most conducive to growth if light is adequate.

LIGHT EXPOSURE

Their environment should be as bright as possible, but avoid excess heat as this will dry out the soil too quickly. In the landscape, these plants enjoy full sun. A location that provides morning sun or filtered light throughout the day is ideal. When grown indoors, the tree should be kept a minimum of 24” from windows, as a window will act as a magnifying glass and burn the leaves. Monitor soil moisture carefully in warm locations.

 

WATER/FERTILIZER

Water as needed to keep soil moist but not wet. Kieffer lime trees are at risk of root rot when kept too wet. Watering frequency varies with location and climate. A well-balanced liquid citrus fertilizer should be used once a month from spring through fall and is important to the health of your tree. Citrus in general are heavy feeders, especially in regard to iron, manganese and zinc. Your local nursery should have an adequate liquid feed product available. Yellowing leaves indicate lack of fertilizer or overwatering.

 

PRUNING

Pruning your Kieffer lime tree while it is young will encourage branching and a fuller plant. Flowers will appear from small shoots that originate where the leaves meet the stem. Flowers will appear sporadically throughout the year, heaviest in the spring. If too much new growth is produced at the branch tips, don’t be shy about cutting it back to a lower position to shorten the tree's height as it begins to regrow. Planting in a larger container is the easiest way to keep the plant healthy.

WINTER PERIOD

Keep the tree away from extreme, cold temperatures and in a bright location throughout the winter. These trees are sensitive to cold and must be protected from frost. Depending on your location, you could leave your Kieffer lime tree outside in a frost-free area, or in a bright, warm room if freezing temperatures occur. Heated rooms may require additional humidity to help the leaves stay lush.