Current Tree Size: 30 – 32 inches Mature Tree Size (Approx. 10 yrs): 8 – 9 feet Harvest: Year Round Seeds Per Fruit: 10 – 15 COLD SENSITIVE: Great in containers, bring indoors when temperatures drop below 40°
About Key Lime - Caring for Key Lime - Key Lime Pie recipe
Cultivated for thousands of years in the Indo-Malayan region, the key lime (also known as "Mexican lime" and "West Indies lime") has long been treasured for its fruit and decorative foliage. Smaller and with more seeds than the more common Persian lime, its distinctive flavor makes it heavily sought after, especially for delicious desserts. Key lime is most often used for its juice, which is sweet and tart and a signature ingredient in key lime-based desserts, marinades, and cocktails.
What Are Key Limes?
A key lime is a hybrid citrus hybrid fruit that is spherical and measures about 1 to 2 inches across. It is green when picked but becomes yellow when ripe. A ripe key lime feels heavy for its size. Compared to a Persian lime, it is a smaller and has more seeds to remove, higher acidity, a stronger citrus aroma, and a thinner rind. The key lime is valued for its unique flavor and costs more too.
Fresh key lime juice is preferred for flavoring marinades, making limeade, and garnishing drinks and plates due to its tantalizing bouquet and unique flavor.
The juice is used for syrups and, of course, key lime pie.
Caring for you Key Lime Tree
Grow Key Limes in Containers You would grow key limes in containers similar to other citrus trees. There are a few things to be more aware of when growing in containers versus in-ground planting. Trees have more room to grow in the ground, however, sometimes there isn’t enough space to allow that, and container gardening can still give you the opportunity to grow some of the fruit you enjoy. Trees planted in containers will not become as large or produce as much fruit as trees planted in the ground. However, if you live further up north you’ll be happy to be able to bring them indoors when it’s cold outside.
Selecting Pots Citrus trees have wide, strong root systems that help them gather moisture in hot climates. Keeping this in mind, when you choose a container you should make sure it has a larger diameter to allow your tree to spread its roots at the surface level. Most tree roots are located in the top 6 to 24 inches of soil. A pot that is 28″ or larger in diameter should be used. Drilling additional holes in your pot might be necessary for drainage. If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, consider how you will move the pot. When planting your tree in your pot you’ll want to make sure you plant it at the original soil level. This will ensure that the graft union is above the soil line. Fruit trees are typically grafted to a rootstock, about 4″ to 8″ above the rootball.
Potting Soil Potting soil should always be used for pots and containers. Regular soil compacts. Potting soil is different in that it includes material that allows for aeration and drainage. Materials such as perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss should be mixed into your soil. Location When choosing a location for your tree, you should select a spot that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. They can tolerate some shade in hotter zones but thrive in full sun. Potted plants do enjoy a daily misting for humidity. Keep in mind that shadows are longer during winter months, so you’ll want to be mindful of how close you keep your trees to the south side of your yard.
Watering You’ll want the top 2-3″ of your soil to completely dry out between watering. This can be anywhere from once a week to every day. Once the soil dries out on top, you should water until you see water escaping the drainage holes at the base of the pot. Citrus roots like moist but not soggy conditions. The watering needs of citrus will be different when they are in containers because roots will dry out more quickly. A moisture meter can help you determine when it is time to water. Pay attention to the foliage. Wilted leaves that perk up after watering meaning you should be watering more often. If your leaves are starting to yellow or curl it could be a sign that you’re watering too much (though yellowing can also be a nutrient deficiency). Fertilizing Trees grown in containers need more fertilizer compared to trees that grow in the ground because they’re environment is very self-contained. Although there are many varieties of citrus trees, their needs are about the same: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and calcium. Nutrients that are required, but needed in less abundance, include iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, molybdenum, manganese, chlorine and boron.
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Pruning Any branches that start to grow below the graft union should be cut off because they will steal nutrients from the primary trunk of the tree. Dead branches should also be pruned. Citrus can be pruned for size and shape, but it isn’t necessary. The best time to prune is in the spring after the last freeze has passed but before new growth appears. Key Lime Pie Recipe
Key limes can be used for desserts, drinks, and adding acidity to recipes such as salsa, guac, and fish. But they’re known famously for pie.
Pie Crust Ingredients:
12 graham cracker sheets
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
4 eggs whites
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat your oven to 350° F. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they are fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and sugar and pulse to combine.
Press the graham cracker mixture into a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan. Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
While the crust is baking, whisk together the egg yolks, condensed milk, and Key lime juice until blended. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a stand mixer or large clean bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add cream of tartar. Slowly add the sugar and whip until the egg whites are in stiff peaks. Spoon the meringue over the cooled pie filling.
If you want to toast the topping, use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the outside of the meringue or place it under the broiler on high. Watch it carefully! It will brown quickly.