There are several types of limes, all of which I want to grow. There are tiny Mexican Key limes, wrinkly Kieffer limes, sweet limes, and edible peel limequats. Since I only have room for one lime tree, I chose the one I use most often: Bearss Seedless Lime. Bearss Seedless is a Persian type lime, the one commonly found in grocery stores. It is large, juicy, and fabulous in all kinds of drinks and desserts. A home-grown lime has the same look and flavor as a commercial lime, but I find that my limes are much juicier.
This lime tree has, so far, been the easiest plant I have ever grown. I water it about once per week in mild temperatures, and I fertilized it twice with a handful of GrowMore Vegetarian 5-2-2 organic fertilizer. The tree is thriving, and has already produced several ripe limes!
Part of the appeal of growing your own fruit is being able to enjoy it at the peak of ripeness. As with most produce available in the supermarket, commercial limes are picked before they ripen for easier shipping. This does not allow their flavor and juice content to fully develop. This year, all of my limes ripened around the same time. Some of them were the size I expected, some of them were small like a Key lime, and some were in between those two sizes. It surprised me to learn that ripe limes are not actually green! When ripe, the fruits shift from a deep green to a chartreuse color with a blush of yellow. I was afraid to pick the first one, because I didn’t want to waste any of my precious first harvest by picking at the wrong time. Nature gave me a little nudge one day when the wind blew one of the smaller fruits off the tree. I cut it open and saw, to my great delight, that it was ripe and full of juice inside. Since then I have picked more of the limes, and they too were delicious and full of juice. I have read that if you leave the limes on the tree too long, they will turn yellow and become bitter. Until then, you can leave them on the tree for optimal storage.
Next year, perhaps I’ll have so many limes that I will be inspired to develop some unique and super delicious lime recipes to help use them all. This year I only have 7 limes, which will disappear all too quickly without effort. In fact, I’m enjoying a refreshing glass of water with a twist right now!