I bought a Thornless Mexican Lime this year from Home Depot and so far it's looking great (it's in a patio container) on my back porch in full sun. We already have flowers, how long does it generally take to fruit? It seems to like our weather here in Texas (I'm in Orange, TX) But since I'm new to the state I'm not sure the growing times and any special needs I might run into here. Can you pass along any helpful hints? Thanks
Where is Orange, TX? Unless you live in the Valley or along the Gulf Coast, you live outside of the Citrus Climate ( Year round growing zone.) Meyer lemons and Satsuma mandarins can survive, with some protection, in Zone 8b or higher, when planted in a protected area. Limes are more sensative to frost. You will have to overwinter it indoors, greenhouse, lite garage, etc. Use a citrus fertilizer. If you can't find it, use Rhododendron and azalea fertilizer. Leaves should be green. If the tree has pale green leaves, it most likely needs nitrogen. It takes about 5-6 months after it blooms for the fruit to ripen. Don't be surprised if most of the blooms drop off. Only about 5% of the flowers go on to produce fruit and then most of that drops off by the time they reach golf ball size.
Thanks for the info...Orange Texas is on the state line between LA/TX on I-10(zone 9a I think) I'm going to winter the lime tree in the house with our plant lights, so I hope he'll be ok. So far he looks happy the leaves are a nice rich green(far happier than the lemon tree who looks a lighter color green) I only bought the lime for the lemon tree, I wasn't sure if the lemon needed another tree to help stimulate growth.
My Mexican lime does very well in a large container. As soon as the flowers fall off, you will see tiny limes being formed. I love to watch them grow. The limes will not be ripe for about 6 months or so. Mine keeps producing blooms every so often so I have limes at different stages of maturity.
Fertilize it with citrus fertilizer, but be sure it is the type that can be used on plants that are growing in containers. Palm food can also be used. I used to bring mine into the house during freezes, but now I have a greenhouse in which I place it during freezes. I start fertilizing mine at the end of February, then in June and again in the middle of August (if someone has an inground plant, stop fertilizing it in July). The fertilizer should contain the following micronutrients: iron, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, copper and boron. Being in a container, it can be fertilized monthly if the leaves start to yellow because sometimes the nutrients wash out quickly. Indications of a need for fertilizer are that the leaves become yellow with green veining and misshapened leaves. Some yellowing of a few leaves subsequent leaf drop are normal. Pruning (do before new spring growth) is usually unnecessary unless you need to shape the tree. The plant can be made bushier if needed by pinching back the tip growth. But pruning and pinching back can cause loss of blooms for a while.
When bringing it indoors for winter protection, gradually move it to shadier and shadier locations over about a 3 week period so it does not go into loss of sunlight shock. When putting it back out in spring, gradually move it into snnier and sunnier locations.
Water it thoroughly when the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil is dry. Do not overwater it.
In a couple of years, it may outgrow its container. This is indicated by significant leaf drop after browning, twigs start to die back and there is no discernable new growth. It can be potted up into a larger container that is about 25% larger if you want it to become a larger tree. Or if you want the plant to remain about the size it is, lift it out of the pot, trim off 1/4 or about 2 inches of its roots, shake of the loose potting soil and repot with new potting soil. Then, prune off 1/3 of its growth.
A 5 gallon tree should be able to sustain 5 to 7 ripe fruit the first year. Normally, a lot of the fruit will gradually fall off by itself.
If you have further quesions, let me know/
Does anyone in North San Diego County have a Thornless Mexican Lime that would sell or share a few bud sticks with me. I have Kumquat, Dancy Tangerines and Meyer Lemons to trade or will buy. Thanks, Ernie
bettydee, I live in Vista, CA about 30 miles north of San Diego. I budded some regular mexican lime buds onto a Meyer Lemon, but they have a thorn on every bud. I think it is best to not handle the buds directly but to hold them between my forefinger and the knife blade and slide them on to the understock, so that gives me a stick from the thorn every time. So, i am looking for some thornless buds. I heard from one fellow in Texas that said they could not sell Nursery stock to CA, but do not know if that also covers buds. I was in the Nursery business in Idaho, and we were able to ship buds where we could not ship trees.
California, Florida and Texas are major citrus growing states. To protect that industry and to try to limit the importation of pests and diseases, each state has made it illegal to import any and all parts of citrus trees into their respective state from other states. California has some major citrus growing nurseries. Have you tried contacting them. UC Extension service might also be a good source of material. I don't how to contact the appropriate agent/agency, but you have access to them through your local Cooperative Extension agent. I know there are a number of citrus testing facilities associated with the UC system in southern California.
I have done a lot of researching online, not found any nurseries that list it as available. The Universities that have buds seem to limit them to larger researchers and propagators, which is of more benefit to the Industry than to the individual.
Your suggestion of contacting the Extension Service is an excellent idea, and i will try that avenue, too.
I actually posted on the Texas Forum by mistake, as i was just getting acquainted with the program at that time. The local Home Depot, or the Plants Express, which seems to be the main part of the Home Depot Nursery supply line, do not list the Thornless Lime at this time.