Kaffir Lime

vinnyc(7 LINY)January 10, 2004

Has anyone had any success growing kaffir lime indoors? It is a common ingredient in Thai cuisine, and I'd love to try to grow it. I'm in NY, so thee's no way it would survive the winter outdoors.

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Eggo(z10soCal LBC)

Hi Vinny,
I don't see why it wouldn't be possible. Since your be
using mostly the leaves, you don't have to worry about
trying to obtain any fruits. Just make sure you get one
that is grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock and you'll have
no problems.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2004 at 4:40AM
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I have had the same tree for 5 years now. It is about 3 feet high and sets fruit in the short days of winter. I move it outdoors in late spring and keep it there until fall. It does attract white fly and scale, so you need to watch it closely. I ordered it online from some place in Florida and it was disease free.
My first tree was a stocky 2 foot tree. I purchased it from the owner of a Thai restaurant/grocery store. It was infected with scale when I got it, and the insect eventually killed it. I could never totally get ride of the scale.
I love Thai food and the new tree provides more than enough leaves for cooking.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2004 at 3:04PM
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vinnyc(7 LINY)

Excellent! I am going to order one online. I have rose 0f sharon outside, which is loaded with scale, so I'll keep an eye on the lime for it. I get whitefly on my hot pepper plants when I bring them in for the winter, which I find pretty easy to deal with-I put the plant in the bathtub, spray with soap and rinse with the shower.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2004 at 3:10PM
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I would love to have kafir lime seeds from someone who has a tree. I know they grow down here, but I can't find any place to purchase a plant or get a seed.
I will gladly trade them for night blooming cereus starts.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2004 at 5:59PM
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vinnyc(7 LINY)

I got a dwarf Kaffir lime tree from Jene's Tropicals, in Florida (jtropicals@netscape.net). It's a nice healthy little tree, loaded with leaves, which freeze beautifully. It's happy in an east window, for now, and I'll put it outside when the nights are a little warmer. Still getting down in the 40's at night here.
I'm not sure it'll ever fruit for me in NY, but all I want is the leaves, anyway. You might try Jene's for seeds, but the tree I got is a graft.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2004 at 2:17PM
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Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds carries Kaffir Lime seeds.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2004 at 4:53PM
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kona9(z6 NJ)

i have a little Kaffir lime tree, it has never bore fruit
my question what is the minimum temperature when i can put it outside overnight. I have kept it in the basement near a window,

    Bookmark   April 11, 2005 at 9:36AM
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Kaffir Lime is tropical - so your nighttime temps have to be at LEAST 60 just to be safe. And that's just to be safe.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 9:30AM
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Just from a culinary point - when recipes call for the leaves, they mean just one part of the segment.

Kaffir Lime leaves are a botanical oddity in that the leaves grow like 2 leaves attached. Hard to explain, but those of you who have the plants know what I mean.

When a recipe calls for a leaf - they mean just one of those segments.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2005 at 9:33AM
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gloriavictoria(z9 CA)

Hi Vinny,
You might be successful in growing a Kaffir Lime tree in the winter in New York if you grow it indoors in a very sunny window. I have a five year old Kaffir Lime in my back yard in Northern Calfifornia and it's survived 32 degree nights several times. I string it with white Christmas lights in the winter and keep them on all night when I think we'll have a frost. Also, feed it citrus food several times a year to keep the leaves glossy green. When the nights get above 40 degrees, I would put it outside in a sunny spot. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 8:03PM
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The kaffir lime tree takes quite awhile to grow from seed.But fortunatly seeds are available.The best bet is getting cuttings.Some trees will bear fruit ,as others do not.They really seem to flourish in partial shade .If anyone would like more info regarding seeds and propagation,feel free to email me thetropicjungle@yahoo.com


    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 1:12PM
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To all who adore Kaffir lime leaves and fruit. Leaves may be steeped in hot water to make a soothing beverage,add to most soup ,chicken ,pork, lamb,and chocolate dishes. Grate the zest of the fresh fruit over Chocolate and Vanilla dishes even Ice Cream, fresh leaves may be used as well.
Grated zest can be placed under the skin of a roast chicken,even over scrambled egg! Alan.asmith2@tampabay.rr.com

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 6:01PM
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You can always supplement indoor light with a grow light as well. They're very inexpensive and highly portable.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 4:06PM
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Well, let's keep this string a goin' I am on my second Kaffir Lime Tree. My daughter-in-love introduced me to the leaf. Didn't know til then what I was eating.

I ordered one tree, ($30.00), it was the smallest thing I had ever seen. Didn't make it 1 month.

Last week I went back to California to visit friends and stopped by the Capital Nursery in Sacramento and purchased a very very healthy 2.5 foot tree in a 3 gal pot. I know I should not have, but I brought it home to Southern Oregon. I will also put Christmas lights in my tree or put it in an unused olympic sized bathtub that I think I will use as an indoor greenhouse for the Winter months.

I was told that I could save the little bitty one by repotting it with cactus mix. I will do this next week.

The leaves do freeze nicely. The flavor is to "live for". I love it.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 9:21PM
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gloriavictoria(z9 CA)

Hello LovinRoses,
So glad to hear that you bought a Kaffir Lime Tree from Capital Nursery in Sacramento. It's a wonderful nursery and they do have a good selection of citrus trees.

Here in Sacramento I picked my first Kaffir limes this week. They are delicious. Even MORE flavorful than the leaves if you can believe it.

Good luck with growiing your new kaffir lime tree

    Bookmark   October 14, 2005 at 11:33PM
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dvdgzmn(Sunset 17 SF CA)

Just to give you some idea of how much cold they can tolerate, I'm in San Francisco where nights in the 40s are routine and we get a couple of mild frosts each winter. Kaffir limes are not as delicate as some have suggested. I've had one in my yard for 3 years. It's been very healthy all along and is even bearing fruit for the first time just now. I doubt they would survive a hard winter, but if you have one in a container you probably can leave it out until the first frost.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 9:13PM
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scryn(z6 NY)

Im in NY as well...
As far as overwintering indoors, do you recommend trimming some growth back to reduce leaf dropping?

Its about 4ft tall and in a 20" pot but every year it drops about half the leaves. Would trimming help?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 6:19PM
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pepperhead212(6b / S Jersey)

I have two kaffir lime plants, about 4 years old, and I got them from www.thaiherbs.com , which is the least expensive place I ever found for them - then they were 7.00/plant, now 15.00, which is way under average. They are grafted plants, so they are "dwarf", though they grow well over 4' tall, before pruning. I just recently did my fall pruning, before bring them in, and got over 150 pairs of leaves, and you could hardly tell I had removed anything!

I grow them in 3 gal. pots, with a rich, well drained soil, which I keep very wet. I have found they like moisture when we would have deluges here of 2"+ of rain in one day, and in the next day or two there would be a half dozen or more "new growth areas" on each one. I kept one under a MH light one winter, and the other in a south window, and there was no difference in growth or number of leaves lost (while some plants I have tried will not make it in that window). They always loose a few leaves through the winter, but I never have a bunch fall off at once (as long as they are not brown, they are still usable). One time I had a problem when I used a weak neem oil solution on them to get rid of spidermites (the only problem I have had with these), and they turned yellow almost overnight. I used a weak solution of dish soap to remove it, and they came right back. Now I use hot pepper wax, with no problems.

I also have noticed no problems with brief cold snaps, at least down in the 40's, which is when I prepare them to come in.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 12:17AM
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vinnyc(7 LINY)

My little tree is doing fine, coming in soon for its second winter. Loads of leaves in the freezer, and I give a lot away too. It's still outside, and we've had night time temps in the 40's and lots of rain lately, and it's happy as can be. I didn't water it too much last winter, only dropped 4 or 5 leaves all winter. It got a few aphids once or twice, I just wiped them off with a mild soap solution, and once it got back outside, they never came back. I did notice that it put on a bunch of new growth after last weeks storm, so there is something to the idea that it likes it pretty wet. It's great to be able to grow these hard to find items. I had a huge pot of lemon grass this year. Next year I'm going to grow culantro (not cilantro) and aijes dulces, so my sofrito is a little closer to the real thing. There are plenty of Central American nighborhoods on Long Island, so I could probably find them there, but I like the idea of growing my own.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 9:08AM
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Hi lee_dirtdigger,

I have some Kaffir Lime fruits,
I would like to trade with red flesh guava fruit( ruby red guava ) from FL or other tropical fruit , is it possible ?


    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 7:09PM
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Help! My little Kaffir Lime tree leaves are sticky with some sort of disease. I have tried rinsing them with a mild soap and water but the stickiness comes back. I also have noticed what looks like small webs on some of the branches. I got the tree six months ago and it grew two new branches right away. But, in the past few months, nothing has grown at all.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 8:00PM
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Have you looked under leaves or stems to see if you have scale insect? They suck the juice and secrete something sticky. If that's the case you may have to spray it with insecticide, I usually spend time killing them by hand because I don't like using any chemical.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 6:33PM
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I'm form Mexico. I'm going to go to dallas by september, Where can I buy the kaffir lime seeds? I've been looking loke crazy, I found trees online, but i want the seeds.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 11:26AM
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Please email us for the seeds. Sydston@gmail.com


    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 4:22PM
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Can anyone reccomend a good place online to buy a kaffir lime tree? thaiherbs.com seems to be out of business and while territorialseed.com has them they're 50 bucks which seems a bit pricey.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 6:33AM
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I am currently growing 6 kaffir lime plants from seed. The plants are currently 1.5 inches. They are very slow growing, and took a long time to germinate last spring(2 months). I have since brought them inside for the winter(I live in Nebraska). I have found placing a container of warm(75-85 degrees) water under the container once or twice a day does wonders. They are starting to grow again one set of leaves every week or two. Before the additional warmth, the plants had not grown any new leaves for the past two months. In my experience, the plants will survive 60-70 degree temperatures, but will not grow.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 12:23AM
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Hi Jerzee,
There are a few on eBay right now.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2009 at 1:21PM
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llaz(z6 ma)

I have a very healthy Kaffir lime growing in my sunroom here in Massachusetts. I put it outside late spring to early fall. I bought it online from fourwindsgrowers.com. (I also have a Meyer lemon from them. It's been supplying us with fresh lemon for almost two months.) Both of these are grafted. I wonder if you start from seed, will you get fruit?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 12:01AM
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I grow many Kaffir Lime trees indoor and they have fruits every year. We used a lot of leaves and fruits for Thai cooking. They are real good.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:26PM
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Is it unlawful to import kaffir lime and other citrus into Oregon?

I know it is unlawful to import them into Texas, since the powers-that-be and the citrus farmers are trying to keep citrus pests out of Texas.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:29PM
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I have a new Kaffir Lime plant that I've been growing inside since I bought it about 2 months ago. I'm wondering when and how (specifically) I should prune any leaves. There is much new growth and the tree is about 12-16" tall, many of the older leaves are a dark green and the new ones are light green and almost waxy looking?

I'm looking for direction on specifically where to clip the leaves (behind the leaf itself, further down the limb?) and how often is acceptable to sustain growth.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 10:36AM
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For those looking for a good source I HIGHLY recommend fourwindsgrowers and I recommend spending the extra money to get the 2-3 year tree. I now have 12 citrus trees and something in the order of 15-20 different tropical fruit trees purchased from a variety of nurseries and the fourwinds plants are far and above superior in quality and hardiness. Even though they werent mature enough to bear their first fruit, all my fourwinds trees did ( I of course pruned them as should be done for the first crop) and they are all now fruit bearers and growing well.

I've also had 80% succes with Larry's Tropicals off of Amazon.com however they are one of those companies that send a tiny plant that must be nurtured a great deal to get a well established tree. This can be a lot of work.

As far as bang for your buck goes, fourwindsgrowers is the best bet hands down. Another thing worth noting is fourwinds did a fantastic job packing the tree for protection during shipping which many others did not.

I can't say enough about how good their products and service is. If you are serious about your citrus they are the vendor for you.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:25AM
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