How Often Do Lime Trees Bear Fruit?

There are two varieties of true limes, the Mexican lime (Citrus aurantifolia), sometimes called the Key lime, and the bigger, less popular Tahiti lime (Citrus latifolia). In addition, you will find just two citrus fruits commonly called limes which are botanically different. Even though limes can be grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, they need to be implanted in places protected from the wind and cold in zone 10.

Mexican Lime

There are just a only a few cultivars of the Mexican algae, the most commonly known lime and the one most frequently found in supermarkets. The Mexican lime tree rises in 6 1/2 to 13 feet tall; it enjoys moist, warm climates and yields smooth, green limes which are 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The Mexican lime is greatly grown from the Florida Keys and could be grown along parts of the Gulf Coast and in secure places in California. The tree grows limes year-round but with heavier yields during two major seasons, in May and June and November and December.

Tahiti Lime

The Tahiti lime is much less widely known or used as the Mexican lime. At 15 to 20 feet high, the Tahiti lime tree is far bigger than the Mexican lime, and yields bigger pale yellow limes 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches wide and 2 to 3 inches high which have greenish yellow pulp. The Tahiti lime can withstand more cold compared to the Mexican lime. Approximately 70 percent of all Tahiti limes mature throughout its peak production time, from May to September with the heaviest crop from July to September.

Rangpur Lime

The Rangpur lime (Citrus x limonia), not a legitimate lime, is thought to be a hybrid between the lemon (C. limon) and the mandarin orange (C. reticulate.) It rises from 15 to 20 feet high and yields reddish-orange vegetables which taste like limes. The fruits peel easily and split into bright orange sections with greenish seeds. Rangpur trees yield rich fruit from November through the winter. They can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.

Kaffir Lime

The Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) is a dwarf citrus tree which grows up to 5 feet tall. It is grown for its shiny, aromatic leaves, not its sour, wrinkled fruits which are not true limes. The leaves are a favorite season in southeast Asian cuisine, particularly Thailand, even though the rind of its fruit is sometime ground as a seasoning. The leaves for which it’s grown may be removed any time of year. Unlike true limes, the Kaffir lime is much more cold hardy than true limes and may be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 9b and warmer.

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