How to Grow Citrus Indoors: Bearss Limes
No, that is not a typo! Bearss Lime is a cultivar of the Tahiti Lime (Citrus latifolia) and was first discovered by T. J. Bearss in 1895 in his California grove.
Have you ever thought about growing dwarf citrus trees? We have grown Meyer Lemons successfully but this year was the first with our little Bearss Lime tree. We were blessed with a bumper crop!
I had read conflicting information on when to harvest limes–some sources said when green, others when greenish yellow, and still others claimed limes are sweetest when fully yellow. The longer the lime grows on the tree, the more yellow it becomes until, and as you can see in the above photo, it develops the appearance of a lemon. I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison and see for myself which ripeness was best for the limes from our tree and yesterday picked one yellow, one green, and in the process, a smallish one fell off. (when picking citrus, grasp the fruit gently and twist upward with a firm, but again gentle, hand).
I grow citrus firstly for its fabulously scented flowers and secondly for its fruit. Oil of citral is harvested from lime blossoms and is the base of many perfumes. One of the strongest threads running through my book, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!, is the wealth of information on the most highly scented cultivars covering a wide range of plant families including roses, narcissus, lilacs, jasmines, gardenias, and even fragrant daylilies! The fragrance of citrus blossoms, especially that of the orange, lemon, and lime, is up there at the top of my list, alongside gardenias and roses, for most beautiful scents found the world over.
Citrus plants are fairly indestructible, although they will quickly let you know when they’re unhappy. A few leaves will yellow and fall off, and if the problem is not resolved immediately, the entire plant will defoliate. This is typically due to overwatering and/or a soil mixture that does not allow for excellent drainage. Do not be discouraged, even if the entire plant becomes leafless. Water less frequently and try repotting the plant in a more suitable growing medium. Usually, they can be revived and the survivor will be healthier.
Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! sells for only $15.00 on my publisher’s website, which is a $2o.00 value off the list price of $35.00.
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A citrus plant would make a very special holiday gift. Logees Greenhouse mail order is a great source for a wide range of dwarf citrus plants, the common and the not so common, including Buddha’s Hand, Blood Oranges, Key Lime, kumquat, Mandarin orange, and many more.