A CITRUS TREE IS A GREAT ADDITION TO ANY GARDEN DUE TO ITS BEVY OF USES
Limes, lemons and things that suck your cheeks in are almost staples in most cuisines and beverages. An abundant lime tree is one of the horticultural and real estate assets when you consider what you are buying that comes with a house purchase or selling one for that matter.
There are home buyers who’s purchase will be made up by a garden. In balance, there are probably others who’s mind is made up not to buy because of a garden.
Space and position will often dictate what sort of tree you will have to complement a lime tart, gin and tonic or a good curry.
Kaffir lime is a good choice for its leaves and culinary assets. This is the lime that has a ‘waist’ in the leaf shape. It’s the powerful favour of the oils in the leaves that gives its true value. The fruit is not juicy but excellent for a nice, tart lemon or citrus marmalade or zest in cooking. The leaves can be frozen for later use. West Indian is about the nicest of the lot (but really, they all have their good points). The fruit is smaller, but has great flavour.
Tahitian is the most flavored and has juicy good, ‘golf-ball sized’ fruit that should be picked when green. A large crop can be picked and the juice frozen.
A dwarf version called Tahiti does the same as its bigger cousin but grows half the size (maybe 2m at best).
Local finger lime is a native from the Russell River region. It is a spiky, gangly plant that grows to about 3m, but produces terrific, long-shaped fruits that produce easy-to-remove segments and are great for smashing and cooking or as a mixer for drinks (hard and soft).
All these little beauties grow to 3 to 4m. They need at least six hours’ sun a day. They will grow in large tubs with good-quality well-drained soil to start with (in a tub or ground) and citrus fertiliser in April and November.