My key lime tree hates me...HELP!

barclaydJanuary 30, 2013

I got a key lime plant for Christmas. I live in New York City and have the key lime tree in the window with a good amount of light (for winter) but not super close to the window. I watered it once when I got it and it was fine. A few weeks later the leaves started to curl up and looked like they were wilting. I watered again and made sure the plant wasn't standing in water. The next day the leaves turned crispy, green-brown in coloring and the dirt is bone dry again. Does it want more or less water, or does it just hate everything about my apartment. Please help!!! I've attached a photo. Thanks in advance!

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

It looks completely dried out. Have you carefully checked the soil moisture? You might try carefully pulling the tree out of the pot. Also, looks like the tree is potted in a terra cotta pot? Not a good idea, too drying. Use a plastic pot and search the forum for "511" potting mix. I'm thinking you're potting medium is hydrophobic (will not hold water). If it is bone dry, soak it in the sink so you can re-hydrate the tree immediately, then get it re-potted in a bigger plastic (or resin) pot in better potting medium. Once it has started to recover, fertilize. Many container growers here on the forum prefer to use DynaGro Foliage Pro, and Osmocote Plus (must be the "Plus" formulation).

Patty S.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 11:06PM
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Many people read that potted citrus plants must not be overwatered. That's true, they should never be soggy or standing in water.
But they always need some moisture in the growing medium. In a warm, centrally heated room the air is dry and a citrus plant can easily need a bit of water every day. You seem not to have watered it at all for several weeks - only a cactus would survive that!
Follow hoosierquilt's instructions about soaking the pot. Then water whenever the surface starts to dry out. If you're lucky, new shoots may re-grow from the remaining green stems.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 3:17PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

there is a very fine line between too much water and not enough. The balance is really hard to find for me. Im not using the "gritty" or the "5.1.1" anymore. My mix is Fafard 52 with added coarse perlite. Im finding that if I dont water enough the mix will become somewhat hydrophobic.

bit yeah I think you let it get too dry. Should be able to get it turned around.

Miracle gro make a slow release that has minors also. I believe its in a red bottle and say Calcium real big on it.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 5:30PM
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Oops, sorry, just in a bit of a shock here and surprise that your tree still has any green left>

Hello everyone else and I hope all is well!
Mike, Patty, and Citrange.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 6:51PM
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it is not your tree who hates you; it is you who hates your tree! A cat or a dog would be long dead by now with the same treatment. Either take the care your tree needs, or give to someone who will, or put in the rubbish bin.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:06PM
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We have two serious rules here of P and P... Patience and Photos; if you give us those, some very smart people here will help you.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 11:43PM
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garret_87(Zone 6)

I also live in NY and have a meyer lemon tree. I would say that your tree needs to be watered more often. I use a moisture meter - that way I never get it wrong.

Also you should check out this website for more information about caring for your lime:

You will learn a lot from that site.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:16AM
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In the winter you also need to watch for air that is too dry. Citrus handle dry air better than some houseplants (they do have waxy leaves) but sometimes you find one that does better in higher humidity. I would put a clear plastic bag over the plant after picking off all the dead leaves and trimming any crispy branches. I would water the soil until it is damp throughout and then only give a cup or two of water once a week and never let it sit in water for more than a few hours. If the stems are still green then they are alive and the plant can be revived.

You may want to repot it - mostly to check and make sure the roots hadn't rotted or dried up. The soil can be a tricky thing with citrus. Mine like a mix that has a lot of bark chips in it or gravel - but that kind of soil breaks down within a year so I have to repot often.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:27AM
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