Lime trees and lemon trees are closely related and can easily be mistaken for one another. Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks you can use to tell them apart. To begin, you can look at the leaves and bark of the tree. Lime trees typically have dark green leaves with smooth and thin bark, while lemon trees produce thicker and textured bark and have glossy green leaves. Additionally, lime trees generally have a growth pattern that is wider and more open than lemon trees.
The fruit of both types of trees also have a few distinguishing features. All lemon trees produce spherical citrus fruits with thick, tough skins and acidic pulp. On the other hand, lime trees usually display oval-shaped fruits that are covered in thin yellowish hides and contain mildly sweet pulp. Additionally, lime fruits tend to be smaller in diameter than those of lemon trees.
Aside from the physical appearance, you can also identify the trees by their fragrances. Lemon trees are known to produce a strong and overpowering scent while in bloom, while limes give off a lighter, sweeter and more subtle fragrance during the spring season. Although, it may be difficult to differentiate between the smells if you are away from the tree. In such cases, you can take a look at the flowers of the plant as well. Lemon trees have white blossoms with five petals and yellow stamens, while limes will have yellow-to-green small four-petaled flowers.
Moreover, when it comes to the fruit, lemons are usually of uniform shape and color, and vary in size according to the variety of the tree. Whereas, limes are generally small and display a plethora of shades, ranging from light green to dark yellow. The taste of each of them is also very distinct. Lemons are mostly sour with a bit of sweetness, while limes have a unique mix of sourness and tartness. Lastly, you can also distinguish between the two varieties by looking at the location. Lemons are widely grown in tropical regions due to their desire for lots of sunshine and humidity, whereas limes can grow successfully in a wider range of climates provided the temperatures remain below 90°F (32°C).
Harsh Climate and Soils Tolerant
Lime trees have the ability to survive in areas with harsh climates and poor soils, which is a trait that lemons lack. While lemons will struggle in extremely cold weather, limes can grow in temperatures as low as 26°F (-3°C) if given proper protection. Furthermore, limes are known to be more tolerant of droughts, making them a better option than lemons in areas with arid conditions. Additionally, lime trees typically need less fertilizer and water than lemon trees, making them easier to maintain.
Types of Lime Trees
There are numerous types of lime trees available in the market. The most common varieties include Persian limes, Key limes, Kaffir limes, and Bearss limes. Persian limes are a hybrid variety and they are the most widely grown type of limes. Key limes are an acidic lime variety that has an unique aroma and is commonly used in desserts and drinks. Kaffir limes are a type of lime with a distinctive double lobed leaf, and has a citrusy and tangy aroma. Bearss limes are a hybrid variety that is larger in size than other limes, and has a mild flavor. All types of limes have their own benefits and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Harvesting Lime Trees
Lime trees usually take about three months to ripen, and can be harvested anytime from late winter to late summer. When harvesting limes, you should take special care not to damage the tree’s branches while picking the fruit. As they ripen, their green exterior will gradually turn yellow or brown and their rinds will become softer. In order to maintain the quality of the fruit, you should pick the fruits when they are still green. Once picked, limes can be stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Lime Tree Pests and Diseases
Lime trees are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases. The most common pests include aphids, mites, and scale insects. These insects can cause damage to the leaves, branches, and fruit. Common diseases include root and stem rot, stem blight, and scab. To prevent infection from these diseases, it is important to keep the soil around the tree well-drained and fertilized with lime-friendly fertilizers. Additionally, lime trees should be pruned regularly to maintain a healthy shape and to prevent pests and disease from spreading.
Propagating Lime Trees
Lime trees can be propagated either from seeds or cuttings. Starting from seeds, you will need to sow them in late summer and water them regularly until they sprout. The seedlings should then be transplanted in prepared loamy soil in the spring. To propagate lime trees from cuttings, select healthy, firm stems and plant them in pots filled with moist soil. The cuttings should be watered on a regular basis and kept in medium to high lighting conditions until they take root. Once they take root, they can be moved to their permanent outdoor location.