Growing kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) from seed?

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by munroc, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy folks,
    Did not have time to check in since my last posting and was surprise to see the amount of interest in this very thorny plant.

    Jim, you hit the nail on its head concerning the effects of
    temperature on skin color and sweetness of citrus. However, I do not think kaffir lime can be sweetened with temperature changes as the plant was not selected (as far as I know) for its fruits. In Alberta we will be lucky to even see it bloom, at least not at the rate we are harvesting the leaves.

    Junglekeeper, I keep my plant indoor 24-7 without supplimentary lighting. It used to be at the south window when I was living in Edmonton. Now it is against the east window. It seems to be unaffected. The only time it ever got out was when I had to hose it down against two spotted spider mites. Due to heavy harvesting and pruning, my plant is only 1.5 feet tall although it has a thick trunk. (badly mutilated bonsai, no offence to bonsai lovers) A few years ago, I "butchered' it down to a single one foot stump. You should have seen the shock in my wife's face when she came home from work to see her precious ingredient plant reduced to a single leafless stump!

    Christine, please follow Eric's advice on the curry plant and insist only on Murraya. It also belongs to the citrus family and we find it gives extra flavour to curry powder blended for fish. The folks from southern India mix the leaves with split peas, onions and other spices and then make them into small balls before frying them in deep fat. Yum, yum. but have not tasted it for over 20 years.

    Peace
    Thean
     
  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Thean, thank you for telling me about not seeing
    your Kaffir Lime bloom. I sensed that we have to
    trigger this tree and probably other Citrus grown
    indoors to get them to bloom for us. Some people
    just get lucky or, as I call it, there are some people
    that are magical for certain plants like some people
    I know growing Orchids in their homes that can get
    Orchids to bloom no matter where they have them.
    I wish I could say the same for our Orchids as I have
    to move them around the house and even place some
    of them outside just to trigger them to bloom for us.

    Continued success with your tree.

    Jim
     
  3. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy Jim,
    I grew up on a tiny island, Penang, on the west coast of Malaysia. I'm not too sure but I think it's 6N and 111E. We were perhaps 3 meters above sea level with a yearly average temperature of 28C. My dad had a very big Kaffir lime in the yard. It was very healthy bu did not flowered and set fruits heavily. Although we got over 250 cm of precipitation, there were distinct hot and dry period followed by cooler and wet ones. I noticed that flowering normally took place after the hot and dry period. It did not bothered my parents as they grew this lime for its leaves and not the fruits.
    Peace
    Thean
     
  4. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I have been following all this talk about kaffir lime with interest and apparently others have as well. The following was sent to us via email by Loong:

    CAN I ASK YOU ABOUT THE ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY OF CITRUS HYSTRIX. MAY I KNOW ALSO THE COMPONENT IN THE EXTRACT


    I know the plant adds wonderful flavour to cooking, but note that healthful effects that are also alluded to.

    I found some information at this website:
    http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Citr_hys.html

    I found a few more articles, but they are in scientific journals that require subscription.

    Does anyone have more specific info on the plant and its chemistry.
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    This may be what you're looking for.
     
  6. Howdy Eric,
    Malaysia is one of the countries where this lime is native. In Malaysia it is known as 'limau purut' which means rough lime obviously referring to its skin texture. We only use the leaves for culinery purposes (soups, sauces (sambal), curries, salad etc).
    Peace
    Thean
     
  7. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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  8. May I also know about the anatomy or morphology of Citrus hystrix?

    Thanks a lot.
     
  9. munroc

    munroc Member

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    I just wanted to report that I have two new sets of leaves on the grafted lime that some of us purchased about a month ago. But to my surprise, the two sets (each on a different branch) are dark maroon in colour, not green.

    Megami, Junglekeeper, have you had similar experience? They are the right shape and the right scent, just the wrong colour. Could that have something to do with the grafted rootstock? I have my plant outside for the summer where it gets plenty of heat and light. It is watered almost daily and looks healthy except for a little sunburn on a couple of the leaves.

    I also still have my six seedlings planted last March. They are now well over an inch tall - four are outside in bright indirect light and two on a window sill, same light conditions. They all have new leaf-sets coming, but still no lime scent from rubbing the leaves. Anybody know why not?

    On a different topic, Thean, do you know of a Canadian source for Murraya koenigii seeds?

    I'll be keen to hear responses from anyone on the kaffir lime. I sure never thought by growing a few seeds, I'd get so involved.

    This forum is great!

    Christine
     
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Hi, Christine. I've been wondering how the other plants were doing. Nice to hear yours is performing for you. Since having been pruned back to about half its original size, mine has sent out four new shoots - one for each branch. I had hoped it would branch out more. The new growth has a slight purple tinge which disappears as it ages. Maybe the full sun outside results in a deeper shade. Have a look at the photo on this page (about half way down).

    My seedlings are 1.5" tall and just beginning to put out their first true leaves. There is no purple tinge to them.

    You can get Curry Leaf seeds from Banana Tree in the U.S. - no need for phyto certificate.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2005
  11. munroc

    munroc Member

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    Yes, that's what it looks like. There are new leaves coming on all branches now. Also, there are shoots coming on the rootstock. Should I remove them? I don't know what kind of plant it is. I think I should move the whole plant to somewhere a little more protected, as there is a bit of sunburn on some of the leaves.

    Thanks for your quick response, Junglekeeper.
     
  12. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I would remove any growth coming from the trifoliate orange rootstock. It will have a compound leaf that is divided into three leaflets.
     
  13. munroc

    munroc Member

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    Yes, that's what the rootstock leaves look like. Thanks again, Junglekeeper; I'll take them off.

    Let's touch base again in a couple of months. I know my kaffir lime will have to come indoors in September; I'm just not sure where yet - I may put grow lights in my workshop/shed. It hasn't been repotted from the nursery, but I would like to do so soon; something that reflects its S-E Asian origins.

    Can anyone tell me what the minimum temp should be for kaffir lime?
     
  14. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Citrus becomes dormant at temperatures below 13C. The minimum temperature for other types of lime (and likely this one) is 0C though containerized plants may be more susceptible to cold than those in the ground.
     
  15. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Can anyone tell me what the minimum temp should
    be for kaffir lime?


    The standard minimum temperature for most Limes
    is 32C or 0F without having damage to the tree or
    to the fruit. We can expect the tree to be able to
    withstand lower temperatures still but there is a cost
    in that the fruit may freeze and we probably will have
    some damage to the tree. I've seen this Lime planted
    in the ground survive temperatures down to 12C but
    there was some definite damage to the leaves, tender
    twigs and uppermost branches of the tree. We may
    not always see the same kind of freeze burn problems
    to young seedlings but we will for bona fide tree with
    temperatures this low. As a rule, regardless of the
    rootstock or if the tree is grown on its own roots, with
    container grown Limes we can get expect to see some
    damage to the tree at about 28C.

    Junglekeeper, love your avatar. Just saw it for the
    first time this morning. I was able to get my hands
    on two dwarf Kaffir Limes this weekend. Both have
    Limes on them, one with one that is the slightly larger
    than a US quarter and the other with four penny sized
    Limes on them. Now the experiment with this Lime
    begins. Thanks to all of you for getting me back on
    the beam with the Citrus!

    Jim
     
  16. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Glad you were able to get yourself some plants. I'd be interested in the details of your experiment and its results. My latest acquisition is a Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon' - very interesting form but nasty thorns.
    Thanks. I was looking for an image of a citrus blossom when I found this collection of fruits. Ends up being more colorful and cheery which is in keeping with citrus I think.
     
  17. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Junglekeeper, my tentative plan is grow the
    misses Kaffir Lime in a container since she
    lives 60 miles down the road from me and
    where she is located is generally five degrees
    warmer than I am here during the Winter.
    Mine in a year or two will be planted in the
    ground. What I want to work on is trying to
    see if I can get more juice content in the Lime
    and work on trying to get more sweetness
    (sugar) in the fruit. Years ago I bit into one
    of these and was surprised at how bitter it
    was. I'll let you know how things progress.

    I was pleased to see that these can produce
    fruit relatively young in age as the trees we
    now have are about 4-5 year olds. There is
    a nursery near Visalia (Ivanhoe Citrus) that
    may have some standard Kaffir Limes and I
    may just buy a standard tree or one if they
    have them, a semi dwarf to plant in the
    ground here instead. From my experience
    here at this location the dwarfs do not handle
    the cold quite as well as a semi dwarf can
    once they are in the ground. The owner of
    the land where I do my farm management
    work wants a few of these Limes now and
    some other Citrus. We have 5 acres of Blood
    Oranges (Tarocco and Moro) that we have
    been growing for several yeas now just for
    the juice, although a "killer" marmalade can
    be made from them as well.

    After crushing a fallen leaf in my hands where
    I bought the Limes, the fragrance is potent but
    then I thought of a Mandarin that also has a
    fragrant leaf and that I will have to backtrack
    some and see if I can come up with the name
    of it. I will check into the willowleaf Mandarins
    as for some reason it was one of them that I recall
    having the fragrance but was not quite as strong
    as the Kaffir Lime.

    Offhand I am not sure if I know the Poncirus
    trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'
    or not. I've been away
    from the names of Citrus varieties for a too long
    a while it seems. I'll check up on it a little later.

    Let me know if you run into any problems, I'll
    be glad to help out if I can.

    Best regards,

    Jim
     
  18. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy Munroc,
    Sorry for this late reply. Been very busy lately and had no time to check the site. No, I do not know where you can get Kaffir lime seeds in Canada. Please don't ask me how I got mine as it was through the back door.
    Peace
    Thean
     
  19. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy Jim,
    Please keep us posted on your project on trying to sweeten this lime. Although mine has never flowered in Canada I am still interested.
    Peace
    Thean
     
  20. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Thean, I'd like to see a picture of 'Stumpy' if you have one.
     
  21. munroc

    munroc Member

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    Hi all -

    I see there are a few new posts here, so thought I'd put log an update on my kaffir limes. The one I purchased outside Vancouver (along with Megami and Junglekeeper) is doing well. Every branch has new purple growth on it, and I do believe I've got some flower buds that appeared in early September. They've remained tight little lilac-coloured fists though, which I assume is because the temps have started to drop here for fall. I know my tree will have to come in soon, as it is going down to 8 degrees C. here at night, but I hate to bring it in, as it will miss the fresh air and light.

    As for the seedlings, the tallest is now over 3" and two survived a trip to my sister-in-law in Toronto. Some are showing the new purple growth, but none have that lovely pungent aroma yet.

    Christine
     
  22. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The following was received via email

    I face some problem with kaffir lime, please kindly attend my question as following:

    1. I would to know about the condition suitable of growing a kaffir lime plant (eg. temperature).

    2. what is the fruiting habit of this plant?

    3. Could you tell me about the vitamin, minerals and organic acid content of Citrus hystrix.

    Thanks a lot.

    Best regard,
    Terry

    (I think some of Terry's questions are answered in the thread, which I will direct Terry to in my email reply. But others may stir more discussion.)
     
  23. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy Junglekeeper,
    I do not hava a picture of my plant but shall try to get hold of a digital camera and take one for you as soon as I can.
    Peace
    Thean
     
  24. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Junglekeeper, for now perhaps this will do. The speckling
    on the leaves is just remnants of a recent rain shower we
    had a few days ago. The fruit is a little larger in size than
    when I first bought this tree.

    Jim

    The second photo added 9/29/ gives a little better view of
    almost the entire plant. This tree is a little over 4 ½ feet tall.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2005
  25. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    That's a good looking tree, Jim. I see it's nicely branched out unlike the one I have. Is that some sort of foliar fungicide or fertilizer on the leaves? I notice the appearance is commonly found on leaves of citrus sold at retail.

    I'm curious to see what a heavily harvested tree looks like. Thean's tree seems to fall into that category.
     

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