Growing Key Limes in North Florida CAN be done!
In a previous post or two on microclimates, I’ve mentioned that I grow zone 10 plants in my zone 8b yard.
One tree that has a deep allure for gardeners is the Key Lime. This tree has almost an almost shamanistic pull upon anyone from about Broward County down south to the Keys. It represents the tropics. Margaritas. Salt breezes.
And of course – the king of all citrus confections – Key Lime pie.
Basically, Key Limes =
The problem is: Key Limes can’t stand freezing since they’re one of the most tropical of all citrus. Up here, the poor trees will freeze to the ground ever year, then limp back with a foot or two of growth, only to get knocked down again. Growing them without protection is impossible – and growing them with protection is risky and time consuming. Can you really be at your house for every frost? Will you remember to wrap your viciously thorny Key Lime tree with Christmas lights and cover it with blankets? Will you watch the weather like a hawk all winter?
Like I said – it’s time consuming… and I really don’t want to bother. So… here’s my method.
How To Grow a Key Lime in North Florida
Fortunately, I’ve found a way that works without all that trouble. I grow my Key Lime tree outside and unprotected and it’s doing great.
Here it is this very February, after we’ve had close to ten freezes:
I’m sure there’s a prettier way to pull this off – but I can’t argue with the results. There’s a lot of tender new growth right now that hasn’t been touched in the slightest by cold.
You know… I think I might need to set a few conch shells down to match the coconuts (sadly, imported from south Florida) at the base of that tree.