Key Lime Tree

West Indian, Mexican, Key Lime
Fruit Key Limes, smaller and seedier than lemons
Fruit Season All year long but peak in summer
Seeds 3-8 seeds per fruit
Fruit Color Begins green but turns yellow once ripe.
Fruit Taste Aromatic, juicy, and acidic. Taste somewhere between orange and lemon.
Cold Hardiness Not cold hardy, can only be grown in South Florida, take care with freezing temperatures.
Mature Height Small tree, 10-15 ft
Mature Canopy Open, twiggy

Best known for the pie that bears its name, the Key lime is synonymous with sweet south Florida summers. One of the benefits of living in Miami is the ability to grow this tart and juicy treat in your own backyard. Unlike some citrus trees that thrive in sandy soils, the Key lime flourishes and is more productive in the rocky soils of Miami and Dade counties.

Plant the Key lime in the garden or use it as a container plant indoors. This ornamental tree has slender, upright branches adorned with shiny, dark green leaves. The small, white and heavily scented flowers appear in late winter. The Key lime produces early, often setting fruit the first year. In Florida, Key lime trees sometimes bear fruit year round.

When planted outdoors the Key lime needs regular watering until the rainy season arrives. Water established trees only during periods of prolonged drought. Key limes enjoy full sun but are sensitive to salt. Choose sheltered locations when planting near the seaside. Prune the tree to contain its growth. Smaller trees are easier to harvest.

Use Key limes in salsa, marinades or as an alternative to lemons in your favorite drinks, dishes and desserts.