Growing kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) from seed?

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

  1. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The speckling is more so due to dust, not from a
    fungicide spray or a foliar fertilizer application.
    The nursery where these Citrus originated from
    has a time released fertilizer, added in and lightly
    sprinkled, on top of their potting mix.

    Water once on a Citrus leaf will tend to bead. Due
    in part to the adhesive nature of the cuticle, dust,
    remnants of a chelate spray as well as a fungicide
    spray may not always fall off the leaf but will stick
    and dry on the leaf. Even water with some lime
    concentration will bead up and dry on a Citrus leaf
    leaving an area, usually a ring, of a dry Calcium
    deposit on the leaf. About the only time we will
    see some blue colored, mostly sulfur residue, on
    a leaf here is when some Citrus have been brought
    into a nursery during late Winter, early Spring,
    when many Citrus are sprayed with a sulfur based
    fungicide. For cooler climates a sulfur spray may
    be used much more frequently than here. For trees
    in the ground, not usually seen on container grown
    Citrus around here, generally only the production
    Citrus will have a fungicide used on them. Most
    home gardeners around here seldom if ever use a
    fungicide as it is not really needed which is why
    the grower nurseries selling to retailers will not
    use a fungicide spray unless they feel they have
    to.

    Jim
     
  2. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy Jim,
    That's a nice plant you have - put mine to shame. Please let me know how the lime taste and above all, grow those precious seeds.
    Peace and have a good weekend
    Thean.
     
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    From what I've read about the taste of the fruit, I think someone is going to be puckerin' up. Very ambitious project indeed. I recently found out the seed reproduction of this lime is by sexual means (=monoembryonic?) so at least there's a chance of getting seedling plants that produce juicier and sweeter tasting fruit.
     
  4. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy Junglekeeper,
    Please find picture of my tree. An explaination may be useful. At first glance, you will think the tree is budded. It’s not. I grew it from seed. Every three years or so, I pollard the tree. The first pollarding was at 2”, the second was at 6” and the third at 6.5”. (You may not be able to see the third pollarding from the picture.) After the third pollarding, it produces a bunch of laterals close to one another, sort of an open system. Any new
    leaders were pinched off. The laterals themselves were headed back every year or year and a half. Those lateral you see have been headed back three times already. Leaves are harvested outwards but we make sure to leave two to three at the tips to ensure strong elongation. Repotting is every four years to five years, the last was over four years ago.
    You might also notice a Christmas Cactus. This is a long story. Not long after germination, the plant started to develop herring bone (typical magnesium or zinc deficiency symptom). I tried watering with fertilizers with trace elements but it only
    showed very slight improvement. Since it did not affect the qualities of the leaves, I lived with the herring bones for years. I also had chirstmas cactus in the house those days. One
    of them produced two berries. When they were ripe, I cut one open to see. I have the very bad habit of using the nearest pot as temporary garbage while watching TV. (My wife have given up hope of changing me.) After the show, I picked up the knife and berry but unbeknown to me, a few seeds must have dropped. Two seeds germinated and I decided to see if they were of different color. Like a kid with new toys, I was watching
    the two cacti more than the lime. You know sometime we look at things so often that we never see them? It was only when I looked at the small cactus plants closely that to my horror I saw the base of the lime and the pot edges were crusted in thick lime. The apple had landed on my head and being a cheap little b..., I started looking for something cheap to acidify the soil. That’s when I started watering with Coca Cola Classic. Since then, I never had another interveinal chlorosis. Whether it is the cactus or the Coke that turned things around, I’m not sure but since it ain’t broke now, I ain’t gonna fix it and just treat
    the cactus as companion planting.
    Peace
    Thean

    Kaffir Lime.JPG
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Thean,
    Very unconventional use for Coke. I know it can be used to remove rust, but lime deposits? Acidifying soil? Perhaps a chemist reading this can explain what happened. Are you not worried about the cactus roots competing with the lime's especially in a small pot?

    Do you discard Stumpy's cuttings after pruning or do you try to root them?
     
  6. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy Junglekeeper,
    There is a very simple explaination for using Coke. It's very acidic, perhaps with a reading of pH3. It also contains citric and phosphoric acids. Whether the P2O5 from the phosphoric acid aids in the elimination of the herring bone is a conjecture at this time. I do not use it straight from the bottle as it encourages too much molds. I dilute it, using 1 part Coke and two parts water and I only use the concoction twice to three times a year. (I should buy a pH meter and see how much influence Coke has in altering the media pH.) As to trying to root the cuttings, it's very hard as there are no leaves left except for the very tip. So I'm limited to one cutting per twig and as such I did air-layering and have been getting 100% success. I did tried cutting once and had around 25% rooting and it took a long time for the rooted cutting to establish before I can give them away. Most of the time we just harvest the last few leaves and head back the branches unless relatives need a plant or two.
    Peace
    Thean
     
  7. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy Junglekeeper,
    Sorry, I forgot to answer the question on competition. So far I have not observe any competition as I prune the cacti regularly. Sometime I wonder if the cacti actually product some metabolites that is beneficial to the lime or perhaps they promote some form of mychorizae. Perhaps others can enlighten us on this subject. In the meantime, I just treat them as companion planting.
    Peace
    Thean
     
  8. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The actual recipe, the constituents of "Coke",
    is an in house trade secret. I would think
    someone, somewhere has broken down the
    chemical components of the soft drink as it
    should be fairly easy to do.

    Thean, keep utilizing your process, no need to
    buy a pH meter. If your method works for you
    don't change a thing. I'll not "buy" into the
    mycorrhizal fungi thinking at this time. I will
    say that Christmas Cacti can be used with a wide
    range of container grown Citrus and leave it at
    that for now, other than to say that the Cactus
    has rather shallow roots and will not readily
    compete with the Citrus for nutrients in the
    soil medium.

    Junglekeeper, what do we use to neutralize an
    acid soil in contrast to what we use to neutralize
    an alkaline soil? Why is a neutral pH, all things
    being equal, so important for nutrient uptake and
    flow in a plant? Can neutralizing a soil help ward
    off nutrient deficiencies shown by the plant? Here
    is something for you to think on, I am not going
    to reveal my answer at this time however. What
    would I use to sugar up a Lime that is notoriously
    bitter? How can I make the Lime sweeter if cooler
    temperatures alone will not do it for me? There is
    a lot going on with the soft drink that does indeed
    have a practical application that can be used for
    plants.

    Jim
     
  9. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The most plausible explanation for the turnaround is: Assuming the soil pH had been too high to start with, that would have inhibited the uptake of iron and other micronutrients thus resulting in chlorosis seen in the leaves. The condition was subsequently corrected by the addition of the acid (Coke) which brought the pH to a more hospitable level. I agree with Jim, don't bother with the pH meter. The ones typically sold at retail are a waste of money.

    As for mycorrhizal fungi, I found this interesting tidbit in a Univerity of Florida IFAS document:
    This lime is definitely much harder to root than lemons and regular limes. I've had nearly 100% success with the latter. Of the five of this one that I started only one appears to be on the way to rooting (and it's a re-do of one of the original cuttings).
     
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  10. Thean

    Thean Active Member 10 Years

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    Howdy Jim and Junglekeeper,
    Thanks for the advice. I'll save the money on the pH meter for something else. I'll also continue to do what I have been doing until it breaks before trying to monkey around with the only plant that I have. If I kill it, I might get the silent treatment and blank stare from my wife for months.
    Peace
    Thean

    PS, Junglekeeper, thanks for the infor on mychorriza on citrus. Looking at the roots, I guess there must be some symbiotic relationship with some fungi as the lime roots are very course with little to no visible root hairs.
     
  11. I would like to plant in my garden some trees of lime kaffir, I request you see the form of sending them to me of one in one or of two in two, please, tell me the price of the trees (of two or three years old) and of the shipment.

    It would be magnificent that you sent them to me, I don't find them near here.

    My address is:

    Ceferino Barrera Brito

    Valdés, Edif.. Costa Azul, A, 3, 6º, C.
    38109 Radazul
    Santa Cruz de Tenerife
    Islas Canarias
    España (Spain)
     
  12. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hello Ceferino. It is likely best if you registered for the forums and posted in the Sourcing Plants forum. Commercial transactions through the public discussion forums are not allowed, but the sourcing plants forum might offer some leads on sources or people you can contact.
     
  13. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    An update. I was pleasantly surprised to find some flower inflorescences developing at a number of leaf axils of my Kaffir lime. The flower buds are tiny purple specks at this point. This is rather unexpected as I had given the plant a rather severe haircut last year. Hopefully one or two will eventually develop into fruits.

    As for the seedlings, the stem lengths now range from 4" to 5.5".
     
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  14. BabyBlue11371

    BabyBlue11371 Active Member

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    a yr later and it is trying to bloom?? COOL!! Cograts!! and good luck!! I just started a "key lime pie" plant collection!! and my youngest girl made her first Key Lime pie!! well.. ok so it was Key lime pie cheese cake.. but still very yummy!!
    Gina *BabyBlue*
     
  15. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks. Surprises on the upside are good. I would have been happy just to see it replace its leaves.
     
  16. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Jim,
    I had a closer look at the photos of your trees in the post on Sep 28, 2005. The tree in the second photo has two strong leaders. Did you prune them back? Pruned or not, did the tree eventually branch out? Mine tends to grow up than out. I'm considering cutting it back again next spring.
     
  17. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Give me a couple of days and I'll post a photo
    of it. The two photos are of the misses plant.
    No, I have not pruned it or pinched it back any.

    I do have some good news. About 9 weeks ago
    I was mowing the backyard here (2 acres of lawn)
    with the push mover, I saw that one of the Limes
    on my tree had fallen to the ground that day as
    it was on the tree that morning. Well, I opened
    it up and took a whiff of it and it smelled like
    a Lime. Then I tasted it and it tasted like a
    Lime and then I ate it during a water break.
    There was not much juice in the pulp but
    what was there tasted pretty good to me, even
    some sweetness to the pulp. Needless to say
    I was pleasantly surprised and later felt that
    even though the pulp had so little juice, we
    can still use this Lime as a blend to make a
    Limeade, perhaps even mixed in with other
    Limes to make a sorbet or a sherbet.

    The Kaffir Lime that we taste tested several
    years ago was real bitter but this one was not
    at all to my delight.

    Jim
     
  18. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Is this the result of your experiment to sweeten the fruit?

    My tree produced quite a few flowers and fruits. However the fruit abort once they reach the size of a pea - total opposite to my calamondin and limequat which drop very few fruits. Does this mean it needs some help in pollination? (i.e. hand pollination) There are no insects to do the job as the tree is indoors.
     
  19. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I have not tried any experiments yet. Just too soon
    to do that as the tree is not old enough and has not
    adapted to here yet. All I have done is give the tree
    some granular 0-10-10, one ounce in the Fall and
    one ounce in the Spring. That has been it as I did
    not pot up my tree, nor the misses in the 15 gallon
    containers until after the fruit was all off. The fruit
    from my tree was a little sweeter than the misses
    but hers had a little more juice than mine did. Her
    Lime that I ate was not at all bitter either, so I think
    our source for these trees has a good clone to work
    with so far.

    I'll know more next year but the preliminary taste
    test has yielded the flavor is pretty good, the acid
    to sweetness ratio is good also as the fruit were
    sweet and tart, yet not sour or bitter but the pulp
    juiciness needs some work. The latter may change
    for the better as the trees get some age to them.

    Jim
     
  20. ari

    ari Member

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    hi all,
    i was born and raised in california, but moved to israel 7 years ago. simple things like being able to buy meyers lemons and kaffir lime leaves are not an option here, neither is buying these plants from any nursery, they are not grown either commercially or by hobbyists here.
    i just found and ordered seeds for: kaffir lime, meyers lemon, and yuzu from a very nice seed supply website: tradewindsfruits.com
    i have never tried to grow any citrus from seed and i will be looking for as much info as i can get to help me succeed.
    i am also interested to know if i do succeed in germinating these citrus trees from seed, is it possible then to then cut off the small seedling once it is a year or so old and graft it onto a mature citrus tree to make it bear flowers/fruits sooner than waiting for it to grow from seed to maturity??
     
  21. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I believe the seeds of Kaffir lime and Meyer lemon are monoembryonic and thus will result in hybrid seedlings. I prefer to start seeds by placing them between moistened paper towels held between two small plates; once they begin to germinate they are then transferred to a new medium. Methods of germinating citrus seeds have been discussed more than once in these forums; a search will prove useful.
    No - maturity cannot be imparted to immature wood by doing so.
     
  22. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Junglekeeper, is correct. It would be useless to graft or bud immature wood onto a rootstock, doing so would accomplish nothing. What is done to obtain early fruit, is bud or graft MATURE wood onto the rootstock. - Millet
     
  23. bPankson

    bPankson Member

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    I have tried once and it died due to lack of light during winter. Summer is OK, we can leave it outdoor. So I decide to buy the leaves from groceries store, it's like the main thing for cooking, gives good smell and taste. Mature fruit is very sweet and tasty. If not enough sun, it will not give fruit.
     
  24. ari

    ari Member

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    the kaffir lime's culinary value is only for it's leaves. speaking only for myself i don't care if the one i am trying to grow from seed ever has fruit, as long as it grows plenty of leaves!
    i would also like to know if anyone has grown a buddha's hand citron from seed and if they need multiple plants in proximity to pollinate for fruit? will one plant be able to produce fruits?
     
  25. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015

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