View Full Version : Anybody Done Citrus Trees (Lime) in a Colder Climate?

May. 23, 2011, 08:47 PM
I was browsing through close-out sale of the season from the friendly folks who brought me my baby fruit trees (all doing nicely, thanks). Lo and behold, a lime tree in their catalog, sold out this season, but I'm already thinking what else I'd like to add next spring. I have always particularly loved limes. :cool: They do clearly say that this is, of course, a subtropical at least and does not do winters. (I sympathize :yes:) But they also say you just take it inside if you have winters. Dwarf tree, 6-8 feet (but can be pruned down). Likes humidity (mist it in summer?). They have a similar lemon, too.

Question: Does this really work, to raise a tropical tree in a nontropical climate? A citrus tree in a pot and presumably on wheels or something (it would have to get heavy full grown, surely), and move it in and out with the weather? Hassle of tree transport worth fresh limes? I'm not the greenest thumb in the world, but I'm getting better. Haven't killed anything yet this year from my new orchard. :winkgrin:

Also, as HR, does anybody know if horses like limes? I had one once who was said to like lemons, though I didn't try it.

May. 23, 2011, 08:57 PM
Mine died. :( I had it in my 3 season room and it didn't even make it to fall/winter. I followed the instructions.

It did attract nasty spider/mite type things too. Gross.

I really wanted a lime tree. *sigh*

Dad Said Not To
May. 23, 2011, 09:17 PM
I have a kaffir lime that's been flourishing in MN for the past 6 years. Once nights start to drop below about 45, I bring it in and try to find it a spot where it will get direct sunlight but be out of drafts. As soon as we're pretty much past the danger of frost in the spring, out it goes. It's not very big (about the size of a large potted gardenia-- maybe 2' tall), which is good as our current place is on the second floor. I'm thinking about getting a dwarf Meyer lemon, but really don't have the room for one now-- this place is already pretty cramped.

May. 23, 2011, 09:22 PM
Would likely NEVER produce if it lived at all!

May. 23, 2011, 09:31 PM
The northernmost citrus grove I know of exists (or existed) in Mandarin, FL (a suburb of Jacksonville on the St. John's River). In one cove there's a "microclimate" that allows them to do quite well. I last saw them in the mid-90s when visiting in laws. I don't know if they still exist.


May. 23, 2011, 09:41 PM
I have a meyer lemon plant. Didn't do anything last year but this year it's full of blooms and tiny lemons. I'm hoping that I get a lemon or two this year. So far the biggest one got to be about 1/4" long and then fell off. I'm blaming that one a cold snap (got down to the 40s).

I don't know where you are but if I'm having trouble in Alabama, I'm not too sure how much farther north someone would have much luck. I did keep them under grow lights in the heated basement this winter. That seemed to help.

Dad Said Not To
May. 23, 2011, 09:42 PM
I have several developing limes on my shrub-- it went bats**t crazy with blooms in late February into March. The smell was fantastic. We've gotten the occasional small lime from it-- usually only 2-3 a year, but we're not great about making sure the flowers get pollinated.

Ben and Me
May. 24, 2011, 12:18 AM
My mom has a "citrus garden" -- Meyer lemon, lime and olive trees in NC.

She schleps them in and out of the house whenever it gets cold, or warm. There are stairs leading up to the house, so she can't put them on wheels. They have thorns. And they are damned heavy (probably because they live in beautiful glazed clay pots). (Can you tell who has been volunteered to "help" move said trees before? ;-) )

All that being said, the lemon and lime have done quite well and produced a good bit of fruit. The olive tree has yet to produce a thing as far as I can tell.

May. 24, 2011, 10:53 AM
If you're ready to be VERY hypersensitive on its behalf, it might live. More so than seedlings and such.

May. 24, 2011, 11:06 AM
Reporting from CANADA here.

My uncle, who lives about 50 miles from me in Vancouver, has been growing oranges for the last 30 years- the oldest of his 5 trees is an original from when he started growing them. He has a large sheltered patio that is enclosed in the winter and in spring he takes the plastic panels away and it is an open air patio. The trees are growing in half whiskey barrels mounted on caster wheels. They are about 4 feet tall, maybe a little bigger. Taller than me in the barrel and weigh about 150 lbs with the pot. In summer he puts them in the sunniest part of his yard and in September he puts them back on the patio. He harvests fruit from them regularly, all year round- regular orange size fruit. But he's a bit of a garden nut.

I think his climate zone is a 7 but he may have created a micro climate in his yard.

May. 24, 2011, 03:52 PM
My dad has grown calamundins, Meyers lemons, Key limes, tangerines, oranges, and currently working on bananas, all by keeping them in his indoor pool area over the Winter

If you have spider mite problems, the humidity is too low. You should also be pretty well de-bugging the plants before you bring them back inside. Safer is a brand of insecticide that, ime, works very well.

May. 24, 2011, 04:35 PM
Check out what the old guys did. Many fancy estates sport a 'Orangery', greenhouses build just for that purpose.

Take it in side in fall, before frost, bright place, like a sun room, or a greenhouse.

You might have to play cupid and brush the pollen around, especially when the tree is indoors.

My sister had a Lemon tree in the middle of cold Germany. It was slab full of fruit.

Ridge Runner
May. 24, 2011, 04:42 PM
One layer of plastic will create a microclimate (growing zone) inside your cold frame 1.5 times warmer than the outside. I'm not sure how much it would take to overwinter one in a cold frame. You might have to heat it in the worst weather or use multiple layers of plastic.

I want to grow avocados. Has anyone done that that you all know of like this?

May. 24, 2011, 07:16 PM
DDB, avocados are next on Dad's list :lol:

Ridge Runner
May. 24, 2011, 08:35 PM
I LOFF avocados. I could eat them multiple times a day. Would love to grow them as well as Almond trees.

May. 24, 2011, 09:10 PM
I LOFF avocados. I could eat them multiple times a day. Would love to grow them as well as Almond trees.

Huge ditto!!! One of the best days of my life was when my sister and I found an Avocado stand in Australia, bought a dozen of them (sun ripened, of course!), and ate all of them. 6 each. BEST ever.

Ridge Runner
May. 24, 2011, 10:59 PM
Yum Yum! I don't know if I've ever had any that were fresh like that.

May. 26, 2011, 12:18 PM
My sister in law has a banana tree in her Vancouver garden that stays outside all year round. It has a south facing, sheltered exposure. It gets to be 12-15 feet tall in summer, but dies back to the ground in fall. It has not yet fruited or bloomed. Its been there about 5 years.

Ben and Me
May. 26, 2011, 12:30 PM
I want to grow avocados. Has anyone done that that you all know of like this?

I gave my mom an avocado tree, since I love them and thought it would be a nice addition to her lemon/lime/olive "farm."

It doesn't seem to be as hardy as the other plants -- it has "died" about 3-4 times after being left out in a cold snap (the lemon and lime can withstand the occasional cold snap, apparently) -- it always comes back, but we have to start to clock over again to when it will produce fruit.

When it arrived (I think from Wayside Gardens), it was supposed to produce fruit in 2 years. It always seems to die at around 1.5 years...

So, I think it's been about 8 years...and no fruit. She's had much more success w/ the Meyer lemon and lime trees.

May. 30, 2011, 01:12 AM
I have an avacado that lives in the house. Sadly the last one was killed by the house sitter that forgot to water it when we were on a rare extended vacation. I do know of a lady here that has a lemon in a pot that lives in her (sunny/walkout) basement during the winter months and does quite well. I got the Florida avacado because I hate Hass avacados and that seems to be the only kind they carry in the grocery store here.