Kaffir lime tree care - advice for newbie

citadelJuly 24, 2012

I've just bought a small kaffir lime (see photo), but have no experience dealing with citrus plants. I've learned a lot from reading past posts about kaffir lime, but have a few questions:

1. The tree seems healthy, but there doesn't seem to be much new growth. Should I pick some of the leaves to encourage new growth?

2. I don't know what the rootstock is, but from the leaves it smells very similar to kaffir lime. There's a bud growing out of the rootstock - should I cut this off, regardless of the genus of the rootstock?

3. It's getting plenty of sun, but should I give it any additional feeding?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
houstontexas123(z9a)

prune everything that is below the graft. leave the top alone till it gets bigger.

there's probably some slow release fertilizer in the potting mix, so wait about a month before fertilizing.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
johnmerr(11)

First check to be sure you know what is the bud union. Unless it is a seedling (grown from seed), in which case there is no bud union, the leaves from the rootstock will be notably different than the kaffir leaves. If the leaves of what you think is coming from the rootstock are different, cut off the growth at the stem. I just visited my Son's kaffir and took off a root sucker whose leaves looked more like lemon than kaffir; it is easy to tell the difference, even for a beginner.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 3:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
meyermike_1micha(5)

Are you sure it's not a cutting!?

Around these parts, all my Asian friends own Kaffir plants that are not grafted.

Please make sure. Is there anyway you can find the graft point and snap a pic? I don't see a graft at all. The bottom leaves look like mature ones taken from a mother plant and then rooted.

Mike

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
meisocal(9)

It appears that all the leaves are kaffir lime. The leaves have two lobes when compared to other citrus trees. My kaffir grew slowly after the first year I bought it and put it in the ground. Three years in, it it now almost 6 feet tall and grows quite quickly. it loves hot weather and usually has a growth spurt between now and the end of September. Make sure it has plenty of water in good soil.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
houstontexas123(z9a)

could we get a close up of the white bandage. to me it looks like a side graft(dont know the correct term).

the leaves on top are definitely different than the larger bottom leaves below the white bandage. the upper leaves have lobes that are similar in size. the lower leaves have a giant lobe and a tiny lobe.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 1:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
houstontexas123(z9a)

i cut and enlarged the area i mentioned. looks like a cut and graft.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 1:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
citadel

Thanks for the responses! Yes it's definitely a graft - houstantexas' enlargement correctly identifies the location of the union.

The bottom leaves (below the graft) do indeed have one small love and one giant lobe, but they do have the distinctive double leaves - do any other plants besides kaffir lime have these double leaves?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 5:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
houstontexas123(z9a)

ahh, from this doc, the smaller lobes are petiole wings. from the doc, i would guess sour orange.

also check out this site, it has probably all the different varieties of citrus on it.

http://users.kymp.net/citruspages/limes.html#kaffir

Here is a link that might be useful: Dr Malcolm Manners leaf id

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 6:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
citadel

Thanks houstontexas, I think you're spot on. The lower leaves smell similar to kaffir lime, but with a distinctly more sour note, so a sour orange would make perfect sense. I'll trim them off.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 7:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sabernardo

Hi,
I've got a kaffir lime tree in my balcony which is very sunny here in Rio.
I didn't realize it was an made but cutting, so I let the side graft grow a lot, getting even bigger than the kaffir tree itself.
The leaf had a maple shaped with three leaves together. Reading this article I decided to cut the side graft anyway.
Was it a good choice?
regards

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
HeyJude2012(10b/24 San Diego)

Hi everyone!

I bought my Kaffir lime from 4 winds growers so my tree is on dwarf rootstock. I have my tree in a pot and it is doing fantastic. I've had it almost two years now. It took FOREVER to show new growth. I had bought two common citrus trees before this one and they were putting out new growth like crazy so I thought maybe I had done a bad job of potting it up. I actually repotted it again and when I pulled it out of the pot, there was one little white root so then I knew the tree was okay. It didn't get any visible growth until the spring. I thought I had a big black spider on my tree and it was the first new shoot. I didn't know the new growth was so dark. Lol!

This year I have the limes growing. Don't exactly know what to do with those but they are very pretty.

Sabernardo...cutting off the side shoot was a good thing to do.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Anshudavar20

Hi!

I germinated my Kafir lime plants from seeds. Planted 10 seeds and have 6 seedlings already!

I run a nursery centre and these are highly coveted plants- I didn't want to take a chance with grafted plants and growing from seed ensures you have the plant you want!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 3:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

Anshudavar, I don't know if you noticed that the two posters above you, who also posted to an old thread, didn't get any replies.
That's often what happens when one posts a new subject onto an old thread.
I like your idea of planting seeds, but you will probably get more responses if you start your own thread.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 11:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
meyermike_1micha(5)

Unless someone like me doen's even notice the date of the thread until he's read the whole thing..lol

Ans, that is nice..At least you will have the delicious tasting leaves always at your disposal..

Mike

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 12:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

Well, yea that's true, lol. I just feel bad when folks do that and then no one replies. The two before him got no replies, maybe if they'd started their own threads, they would have.
But then we went and messed up the trend,lol.

So do seedling Kaffir limes take forever to set fruit? My grafted dwarf gives me tons of limes, and it's only a few years old.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 4:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
madferret(UK 8b-9a)

When it comes to planting citrus seed I've found that removing the outer husk works best, although it's usually a very slippery job when they're fresh. I've got some that about 3/4 years old now and are very easy to look after compared to my other grafted plants. The cuttings also seem to do better than the grafted plants.

The fruit I imagine will take another 4+ years. :/

Regards
Nick

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 8:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Well, Barb, Kaffir lime isn't grown for its fruit, so I wouldn't worry about it. It's grown for its leaves. Unless you're just wanting fruit for ornamentation.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

Thanks, I did know that about the leaves.

I don't have a seedling, it's a grafted dwarf, and I get a lot of fruit. I was just curious about how long a seedling would take.

This post was edited by BarbJP on Tue, May 20, 14 at 0:01

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 12:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
johnmerr(11)

Patty,

I am growing kaffir limes for the fruit; actually for the seeds.
My long range plan is to produce enough kaffirs (I think the preferred name now is Makrut) to surround all my Meyer groves with a row of Makrut; because the ACP (Diaphorina) hate them; and the ACP always affects the outside row first. Note, the Makrut is not resistant or immune to HLB; it is only that the vector doesn't like it; and will go somewhere else.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 6:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Well, that's one reason to keep the fruit, John. That, and for its ornamental properties (they are kind of cool looking). But, in general, this cultivar is prized for its leaves, which are used frequently in Thai cooking, and not grown for it's fruit, Barb. And, no one calls this tree or fruit "Makrut" here in the USA that I have ever heard of. And nice idea to grow a border of them around your Meyers to ward off the ACP. Interesting.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 10:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

True, most grow it for it's leaves. I've used my Kaffir leaves a few times in some recipes, they're delicious.
So I guess if you're just using the leaves it's fine if it's a seedling that never gives you fruit.

I have heard most don't use the fruit, but I guess I'm the odd one as I love the fruit. You can't use it as a direct substitute for limes, because it has a bitter finish to the taste, and a lot of folks don't like that.

But I swear they make a really great Gin Gimlet! The slightly bitter/sour tasting juice goes great with gin!

And, for me at least, it's a really easy tree to grow, never fusses and just keeps chugging along putting out tons of the delicious leaves and bumpy fruit.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

And, I've seen the fruit picked when very green and placed in bowls in the house for decoration.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 5:06PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Growth flushes and blooming going on right now
'Lane Late' is leading the pack:
MrClint
Should Moro Blood Orange be ripe yet in Zone 9b Southern CA?
We purchased 2 Moro Blood Oranges last spring and they...
Suzi AKA DesertDance
Kumquat :From seed to fruit in one year?
Someone tried to tell me that I can grow a kumquat...
italiangardner
Help with citrus scale
Hello all, my satsuma mandarin is dropping leaves....
Jeff
Branch Broke. Lemon ID and other Questions
This tree was found growing on our property when we...
Suzi AKA DesertDance
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™