Sunday, March 1, 2015

THORNLESS MEXICAN LIME

With miserably cold weather blanketing the country I wonder how many are enjoying the sweet smell of citrus, as I am. With the temperatures hovering around freezing all day that sweet citrus smell lifts my spirits as it permeates the house. The thornless Mexican lime, Citrus aurantifolia, is ideally suited to pot culture. Only suitable for in ground cultivation in hardiness zones 10, 11, my zone 8b garden is well out of range. However, the pot is small and manageable enough to be brought inside during times when the temperature will drop below 40°


One of the nice things about this lime tree, sometimes called bartender's lime or key lime, is that it flowers on and off throughout the year so it is easy to keep fruit in production. The main crop though will ripen during the early months of the year. The small green to yellow fruits can be left on the tree until they fall. Their rind is perfumed and can be used in small quantities in smoothies for a delicious flavor. And, of course, for Key Lime pie or margaritas. Extra juice can be frozen along with the grated rind for use later in the year.


Last year I had concern over the improperly formed buds on the flowers. The petals never seemed to open and remained in an almost fused condition. Enquiries did not bring any explanation for this. You can see on this one cluster of flowers a similar appearance this year although the superior ovary is popping out above the petals and should fertilize without problem. There are enough normally developed flowers to take care of pollination. To be sure I did a little hand pollinating the other day.


When I was examining the flowers the other day I spotted a tiny yellow inchworm, creeping along the edge of the petal. But for the movement he might have been mistaken for a stamen. I wonder if he is doing the rounds of pollinating.


At the same time I noticed a couple of spots of scale on a nearby leaf. Easily scraped off with a finger nail at this point in time but I must keep a close lookout for citrus scale.


Here are a few more anomalies. These floral clusters are unlikely to develop into true flowers.


I think I may look out for another Mexican lime tree this spring. You can't have too many limes in the fruit bowl.

11 comments:

  1. Who does the hauling inside and out? That would be my only concern. I've been told to lay off the big pots...as we're not getting any younger. I need to find me a strong young man for hire!

    BTW I changed my blog address last week and thus the link in your sidebar is broken. When you have a minute would you mind updating it? The new address is www.thedangergarden.com thank you! I hope you are speeding through your recovery!

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    1. Surely you guessed on who was doing the lifting. I need to take our age into consideration when it comes to the backbreaking things we do outside. Thanks for the update on the blog change. Duly done.

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  2. Maybe I need to make room for a citrus or two.

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  3. I inherited a lime tree with the house but I'm unsure as to the variety ('Bearss' is my best guess). A thornless variety would be appreciated but the one we have is mature and bears well so we'll keep it. I should encourage my husband, the family cook, to make more use of the fruit. What are your favorite uses?

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    1. There is quite a difference between the tow lime trees. Yours will have much larger fruit and much thicker rind. The juice will taste like Rose's lime juice, which is strange because I would call that Bartender's lime which is always used in drinks in England. Of course lime trees don't grow there so they are importing from the West Indies.

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  4. At first after reading I was thinking 'Oh, poor Rock Rose - she must be bored, stuck inside". Then I realized, it isn't that you are bored, and even if you are, this at least, is no indication of that. No. You are simply the kind of gardener who pays attention to what her plants are telling her. I'm betting there is not a plant in all your space that you don't know what the underside of the leaves looks like. I'd be lying if I made a similar claim.

    So, your close examination of that lime is inspiring and a little daunting too, honestly. We have a couple of BIG indoor plants and I have paid little to no close up attention to the state of their leaves, other than picking up the fallen ones off the floor. I'm a bit concerned that if I do go give them a really good once-over visually, I'll be introduced to a world of tiny residents in my house that I was previously unaware were there. I'm not sure I'm ready...

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    1. How wrong you are. I may be observant but doing something about that observation is another thing. I see scale on my prickly pears and have done nothing about it is 3 months. I see plants that need watering, fertilizing and crowded out by others and yet I make them suffer by not doing anything about it. I should call myself the cruel gardener.

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    2. Hmmm. So maybe ignorance IS bliss in this case, or at least, closer to. ("Cruel" to me implies intent, which I don't think applies. How about "letting nature take its course" as a description of your approach?)

      Forgot to mention before - that photo of you and your Hub up top caught my eye like it was new. Whether or not it went up recently, great shot!

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    3. Maybe it is a type of intent if you see it and don' do anything. And the photo was taken a week ago Saturday when all our boys and families came into town and surprised us at the front door then threw a party the next night with a cake for both of us. It's a wonderful story because so many knew and no one made a peep. Mark and family form Taiwan and Nick and family from Phoenix and Andrew and family from Dallas. The best weekend of our lives and they organized it all.

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    4. Oops, just realized we were talking at cross purposes. I was thinking about the photo on facebook of us blowing out the candles. That oe was taken this summer up in Canada. Need to update.

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  5. I'm pretty sure the citrus is blooming away out in the greenhouse, but I'm missing it because this weather has been keeping me inside. I hate to even open the doors to the greenhouse because I know the heaters have been doing double duty keeping things warm. Since we're finally getting a bit of a warm-up today, I'll venture out to see how everything is doing and take in the scent of those sweet blossoms.

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