Living in Pennsylvania, it’s not as warm as I’d like it to be for a good chunk of the year. In fact, it’s not as warm as some of our plants would like it to be, either. Point in case – this lovely lime tree I acquired in summer of 2022.
The previous owner was selling her house and going on an RV adventure to travel the US with her husband.
When she sold it to me, she advised that this should be an indoor lime tree over the winter and early spring.
Long ago, before my girls were born, I bought a patio lime tree from Lowe’s. It did not survive.
Most likely because I was new-ish to gardening back then and didn’t have someone water it while we were on vacation.
I was sad to lose that lime tree, but I vowed to one day try again. And here I am with this second-hand, unknown variety of lime tree growing inside my kitchen!
Growing a Lime Tree Indoors over the Winter
Know your grow zone to help with winter care for your citrus trees.
It may be necessary to bring your lime tree indoors over the coldest months of the year.
Winter time brings a few key issues for indoor citrus trees and plants:
- Outdoor temperatures may be too cold for tropical or tender plants and trees to survive.
- Natural sunlight hours are much shorter this time of year. You may need supplemental grow lights. Plus, where to put all the plants?!
- Watering is an important consideration. Watch your lime tree’s soil for signs it should be watered more frequently.
- Fertilizer can feed plants and help them through the winter. It can also burn them or cause issues for young fruits.
How to Get an Indoor Lime Tree to Flower
When I bought my tree, the seller told me it gave her limes every year. She seemed a bit surprised it hadn’t flowered yet.
However, she also said her son didn’t really take care of it while he was housesitting. (shrug)
She suggested I give the tree some fertilizer and it should perk right up.
She expected we would get some lime flowers soon after!
So, I did give the tree some fertilizer on October 19, 2022.
To our pure joy and amazement, we saw a lovely white lime flower bud forming shortly thereafter.
Once the lime tree bloomed indoors, we happily set about looking for pollen. Just how we hand-pollinate our lemon tree, I was looking for a blossom full of pollen to do the same for the limes.
However, we could find no pollen!
I began to wonder whether the lime tree is self-fertile. I suppose time will tell.
As it turned out, we had dozens of baby limes that formed where the flowers once bloomed.
Adequate Lighting for Indoor Citrus
Lime trees and other citrus growing indoors will need plenty of daylight or artificial lighting. My lime tree sits next to our sliding glass doors and gets plenty of indirect light. It is probably my luckiest indoor citrus tree for this very reason.
I’ve also moved this tree, and my lemons, to the deck on unseasonably warm and sunny days in the winter.
I really need to set up my grow lights for the other trees that aren’t parked in the natural daylight.
If you have a heated greenhouse, this could be an excellent plan for your indoor citrus, tropicals, and other tender plants.
That’s my long-term goal, but for now, I am working hard to keep them happy in my kitchen and dining room.
Watering Our Indoor Lime Plant
I’ve always wanted to grow our own limes. Our girls love homemade limeade and I do too.
Watering the lime tree is a part of the indoor care that stresses me out the most. The soil looks dry so often!
I don’t want to overwater it and cause problems. Also, I don’t want to underwater it and face other issues.
Most of all, I would love for some of these baby limes to survive and mature!
Right now, my watering schedule for our indoor lime tree is Saturdays, and whenever the soil looks really dry.
I give the tree about 20 ounces of water each time, but sometimes it could vary.
This is what works for me, but keep in mind your own citrus trees may have different needs.
Indoor Fertilizer for Lime Trees
I will be honest; I did stress out a bit about the lime tree fertilizer situation. I’d read enough reviews to see people complaining about terrible smelling fertilizer. That was the LAST thing I needed!
Knowing my husband, that would be the end of my indoor citrus grove.
Finding an odorless fertilizer to use indoors became an important undertaking.
After much research and convening with multiple citrus growing pros on Facebook citrus gardening groups, I landed on Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus (Outdoor & Indoor) granules.
I gave this to most of my citrus trees, in fact, and they seemed to do okay with it.
Indoor Lime Tree Care – Conclusion
Keep your lime tree happy spending the winter indoors with the most important elements of citrus care:
- Ample Sunlight (or artificial grow lights)
- Sufficient Watering (watch the plant for cues)
- Fertilizer as Needed (late fall fertilizer produced blooms for us)
- Monitor for Pests (check leaves and wipe them off periodically)
By the way, if you enjoyed this post, you might also like my post on growing a lime tree from seed like I did!
Do you have any questions or other tips on caring for lime trees indoors over the winter? Feel free to hit us up in the comments – we love hearing from you!