How to grow and care for lemons and limes? Zesty lemons and limes are versatile fruits and therefore the key ingredients in many drinks, desserts, and savoury dishes. To grow their reception, attempt to mimic their native Mediterranean conditions.
HOW TO GROW LEMONS AND LIMES
When to shop for or sow you’ll buy lemon and lime trees at any time of year, but by purchasing those with some fruit already developing on the stems, you’ll make certain the plant is going to be productive. Citrus plants like slightly acidic soil—use a special citrus growing mix. The pot size depends on the dimensions of the plant, but most plants need a container that’s a minimum of 12in (30cm) deep and 7in (18cm) wide.
Lighting & heating
Both lemon and lime trees need much sunlight in summer and winter and can thrive during a bright, south-facing room. They require cool winter temperatures—a bright but unheated spare room or sunroom is ideal—and might not fruit until they need to be undergone this colder period. they’re going to enjoy being outside on a balcony or roof terrace in summer if you’ve got one.
Keep the growing mix moist, but not wet. Set the pot on a saucer of gravel crammed with water to take care of a moist atmosphere, and mist the plant with rain- or filtered water every few days from spring to fall.
Feed once a month from mid-fall to mid-spring with a diluted winter citrus granular fertilizer, and each week thereafter with a summer citrus fertilizer. See p206 for advice on pruning.
Best indoor varieties
There are several sorts of lemon and lime you’ll try reception. the simplest for growing indoors all year round are compact types, which are grafted on a dwarf rootstock. A specialized nursery can advise you on people who are suitable for your space. Here are some recommended varieties.
VARIETIES OF LEMON AND LIMES
1. Key Lime
Citrus x aurantiifolia Compact enough for a little apartment, even a comparatively young plant produces juicy limes. Key limes are more tender than lemon plants. Size of fruit: approx 2in (5cm)
2. Kaffir (Makrut) Lime
Citrus hystrix Both the leaves and fruits are utilized in many Asian dishes. The plants are fairly easy to grow and tolerate slightly higher winter temperatures. Size of fruit: approx 3–4in (8–10cm)
3. Tahiti lime
Citrus x latifolia Sometimes called the Persian or Bearsslime, the fruits are like those you purchase within the store and are ideal for adding to drinks and desserts. The plants produce seedless fruits throughout the year. Search for a lime tree grafted on a dwarf stock like ‘PS’. Size of fruit: approx 2–21⁄2in (5–6cm)
4. Meyer lemon citrus
x Limon ‘Meyer’ A compact lemon rarely growing to more than 6ft (180cm) tall. The plants produce thick-skinned fruits with a classic lemon flavour. Size of fruit: approx 3–4in (8–10cm)
WHEN TO HARVEST OR REAP LEMONS AND LIMES
Lemons and limes produce flowers in late spring, and therefore the fruits then develop over subsequent 6 to 12 months. this suggests that there are often fragrant flowers on the plant at an equivalent time as mature fruits. Lemon fruits are ripe as soon as they turn yellow and have a glossy appearance. Limes turn yellow when ripe, but should be picked when still green and firm.
PICKING AND STORING OF LEMONS AND LIMES
The fruits often mature at different rates over a month or two, instead of all directions, which suggests you’ll rarely have a glut, particularly on a little tree.
Snip off the fruits with sharp scissors or shears, or cup the fruit in your hand and twist it gently until it breaks off the tree. Once harvested, use them fresh, store for up to 2 weeks within the fridge, or dig slices and freeze—an ideal thanks to preserving them for summery drinks.
HOW TO PRESERVE LEMON AND LIME IN JAR
Try storing a couple of small lemons during a large sterilized canning jar crammed with herbs and spices, and covered with salted juice. Allow to cure for a couple of weeks and refill with more juice if needed. Use in tagines and other