Key Lime seems to have stopped growing

nann0n(z11 Qld Aust)October 12, 2011

About a month ago I bought a key lime in a pot. At the time it had a few flowers on it and quite a few leaves/small branches. I potted up the plant into a 12" pot (1/3 to 1/2 a size bigger than the pot it was in) using premium quality well draining potting mix. Since then the lime has made no changes. I expected that with the extra room the lime would expand it's root system and at the same time sprout a few new shoots or even grow the single tiny fruit on it but even that is still the same size it was when the flower petals dropped. I don't know if it has grown new roots nor not, I obviously can't tell that without disturbing it. It's not lacking in water, sunshine or heat (days are already up to and above 35C and it's only second month of spring).

The same time I bought the lime I also about a Meyer lemon and an imperial mandarin which were both treated the same (except the mandarin is in a larger pot) and are both growing beautiful new shoots and budding and actively growing the fruit on them.

Is there something wrong with the lime? I know they can be slow but no change at all seems a bit odd considering it should be really happy. The leaves it has on it look fine and healthy and there is no insect issues. It seems perfectly healthy, just not growing.

Is there anything I can do to jump start new growth? I would really appreciate any comments or information (or even criticism!) on this.



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Seems like you are doing all the right things. Limes are really seasonal growers; i.e., they tend to grow in spurts, in between which, they are probably growing roots. Most plants tend to grow roots, followed by growth in branches and leaves. I really only know about Meyer lemons, but citrus in general get their nutrients from the first 18 inches of soil, so they need to be fertilized with a good complete fertilizer 3 times per year, if planted in the ground and up to 5 times per year if in containers.

Queensland, my favorite part of OZ land except for Margarite River, W.A. is a great place for citrus; you should have good luck, if you have a little patience and monitor this site for advice; there are a lot of very knowledgeable people here and they charge you absolutely nothing for their wisdom.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 1:29AM
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my citrus dont grow continuously. generally (but not always) in the spring and fall is when they put out new growth.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 2:28AM
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Hi Rhianon:

I wouldn't worry at all. If you get no growth within 4 months or longer, then I would wonder what is happening.

In the meantime, I am curious. What kind of mix exactly did you use? Is it very porous and fast draining? How long does it take to dry out?

Potting up to a much larger pot than the root ball with a mix that decomposes/compacts quickly over time, or holds moisture too long, will spell trouble. That would be my immediate concern. If you find that your mix is very fine and holds moisture for days, then down size in your pot. It is better to limit the size of your tree than to loose it to rot.

You can up size to any size pot you wish, which is what I like to do, as long as the roots to your tree are not sitting in an area of your mix far below the surface that stay wets far too long. That perched water is what you want to avoid in oversized containers, and in fact, any. If those roots are already fighting to stay alive, then you will not see growth much at all and if anything, just buds, possibly spindly growth, or nutrient deficient leaves until the tree expires.

Giving Citrus tree lots of room for growth in the confines of a container is most excellent overall, as long as you are using a very, very porous mix that hold barely if at all any perched water.

Try to avoid this before it happens. Good luck:-)


    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:16AM
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