Mexican limes

hawaiisamOctober 20, 2005

Eileen, I got some of your limes at the fall plant swap. How did you plant yours? Did you plant the whole lime? Do anything special to the seeds? What did you plant them in? When did you plant them? How long did they take to germinate? Anyone else have experience growing citrus from seed? thanks, sam

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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Eileen, I think she liked your limes.... anyone else get that impression???


    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 1:31PM
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I've grown citrus from seed. I just planted the seeds (after eating the rest!) in simple potting soil, kept them indoors & moist (this was in Indiana in winter), and up they come in a couple weeks. I got very good germination rates on orange, lemon, & kumquat, but the kumquats did poorly long-term. The disadvantages to seed-propagation with citrus are: 1) they don't necessarily come true from seed when it comes to taste & so forth; 2) they don't bear fruit for a decade or so.

Patrick Alexander

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 5:29PM
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Mexican Lime is very sensitive to the cold we get in Phoenix during our winters. I have seen some nice trees in Central Phoenix, usually next to a south facing wall. Mine is a dwarf one, in a large pot. And this year has one lime growing.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 9:27PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

You also need to keep in mind that most citrus as we know it is grafted (sorry for the following if you already know about it) onto various rootstock for some different reasons; size, ability to withstand our alkaline soil and water, and some other stuff that I don't remember right now. IOWs, you might be better off buying a tree than growing your own.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 1:02AM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)

I've had no problems with my Key Lime (Mexican Lime) for the past 5 years with cold. I don't protect it at all. I'm in NE Phoenix and it is virtually everbearing now. I use a lot of these yellow beauties, but I get so many that I have to give them away at work.

Homemade Key Lime pie using limes from your own tree is the best you'll ever have.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 1:09PM
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eileenaz(9, Sunset 12)

My lime trees were grown from seeds I got in Rocky Point. I looked at all the lime trees growing in people's yards there, and figured that there was no way all of those people could afford to go out and buy several lime trees on grafted stock, since many of the people have extremely limited means, and decided to try growing my own from seed. The tree those limes came from is well protected (planted under the corner of the roof, facing southeast) and has gotten nipped by frost just a couple of times, but everything under the roofline was just fine. It'll take some covering on really cold nights, but otherwise don't need much babying.
Getting them to sprout is the tough part- you have to put the seeds (which you've carefuly spit out of your mouthful of tequila) onto a paper towel, then stick them in a paper cup or pot with damp potting soil and wait a week or so.

Just kidding about the difficulty level, there, it just doesn't get any easier! I've spit seeds into the soil of a house plant just to get them out of my mouth and had them sprout. You don't have to do anything special for them except make sure they don't get excessively dried out in the pots.

The only drawback is those billions of murderous thorns. You can get thornless grafted Mexican lime trees at nurseries (I think all the excess thorns end up on the wild ones, frankly!) But in the case of these limes, they sure don't appear to suffer from being on their own rootstock. And they simply couldn't produce more limes- I bet we've gotten over 500 (not kidding) from that one tree this year.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 4:38PM
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Thanks for the info. Definitely worth a try - particularly since the donor limes (thanks to Eileen) were free! sam

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 6:41PM
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birdlady_in_mesa(z9 AZ)

hhmm--- I think the tequila is the most important 'soaking' aspect of the entire process.....


    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 9:04PM
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Of course, Susie! The "soaking" part of the process is the best part! And why else would we want the limes in the first place! sam

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 11:44PM
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eileenaz(9, Sunset 12)

Cheers, y'all!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 7:08PM
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I have a Mexican lime tree (also known as key lime) in Mesa and have never had any trouble with freezing. I planted it about 5 years ago. It grows so vigorously that I trim it almost monthly. Its on a rootstock and was bought from a local nursery that started it in the ground. We mostly make limeade from it and the limes are so much better tasting than anything you can find in the grocery.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 4:16PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Fun thread! Sam, let us know how your seeds/seedlings do for you.

Just to echo what the others have said about cold too. Despite their reputation for being extremely cold-sensitive, my Mexican lime (also known as 'Key lime', especially on the Gulf Coast) has not had any difficulty with cold over the last five years. I live at just over 2,500 feet elevation at the N. Scottsdale/Carefree border and it's never had any really serious issues with cold and produces an abundant crop of tiny limes each year--they're delicious.

My 'Bearss' lime croaked after 18 months in a nearby spot (cause unknown, but probably erratic care on my part, lol), but this Mexican lime has really thrived, along with some other citrus trees in the garden. While they may be cold sensitive, I'd say they're worth a try, especially if you live in one of the warmer parts of the warm-winter areas of AZ (which I don't).

Take care,

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 6:15PM
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My lime seeds have sprouted! The yellow hesperaloe I sowed the same day have all sprouted as well. Zill's Pride of Barbados too! Plus about two dozen Yellowbells.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 6:00PM
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winter_plumage_AZ(Sonoran Desert)

Just give me a few days' notice and I'll make the pie crust.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 10:24PM
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Update - out of the 12 seeds sown I have 10 seedlings 2 inches tall with 6 leaves each. No limes yet.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 9:27AM
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eileenaz(9, Sunset 12)

Hey Sam- don't hold your breath- it may take a few years!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 12:40PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Thanks for the update Sam, keep them coming.

I have one self-sown citrus seedling in my back garden near my 'Nagami' kumquat, though there's no telling who its from since I freely eat my citrus tree fruit while wandering the garden spitting seeds here and there, but it's grown nicely over the summer and is now two feet tall with three branches (since a lovely citrus dog caterpillar "pruned" the growing tip for me this spring).

Keep us updated.
Take care,

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 7:45PM
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