Culinary Kaffir Lime
- Prized Culinary Plant
- Grows Well in Containers
- Great Aromatic Patio Plant
- Delicious Leaves Season Asian Dishes
- Dwarf Citrus Tree
- Small Screening Plant
Grow your own Thai spice and save money. Grown for year-round culinary interest, Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix 'Kaffir'), is a dwarf fruit tree that is highly prized for its leaf which is used in different types of Southeast Asian cuisines, primarily recipes from Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos.
Much like Bay Leaves or Lemon grass, the Kaffir leaf and the fresh lime zest of the fruit adds an enormous amount of flavor. You'll love creating your own Thai curries and stir fries with the freshest possible ingredients.
Defined by the doubled lobed leaf that appears to be 2 different segments, the essential oil from the Kaffir Limes leaves are in high demand throughout the world.
The fruit is used mostly for the rind. Scrape the outside to harvest zest and add to prepared foods and drinks. The powerful juice is used for specialty household uses, and is very effective when prepared correctly.
How to Use Kaffir Lime in the Landscape
Because the Kaffir Limes pungent leaves are the primary interest, this is one the few plants that has year-round culinary purpose. If you're a cook and love great Thai food having a year-round source of one of the pricier main ingredients is a must.
Originating from Sri Lanka, a small island nation off the east coast of South Africa, the demand for the Kaffir Lime spread east into Southeast Asia and the Indonesian Islands. Today, the Kaffir Lime is known by over 20 different names worldwide.
The small tree makes a beautiful accent tree in the landscape. It can be utilized as a screen or hedge plant.
The tree's famous foliage remains a rich dark green year-round. Kaffir Lime is a lovely little tree, with double-lobed, dark green leaves that catch the sun with their glossy sheen.
Funky fruit adds a ton of texture to the overall appearance. Use a zester and scrape lightly along a washed piece of fruit. You'll love the extra "oomph" it adds to your meals. The small, green limes produced by your Kaffir have a bumpy exterior, an attractive addition to an already exotic appearance.
Kaffir is well adapted to container growing and will do well as an indoor-outdoor plant. As a patio plant or indoor houseplant, your Kaffir Lime is sure to bring a taste of the tropics to your home.
Because it thrives in potted environments, you can use it to decorate your front porch or patio. It's delightful citrus scent will brighten your home and landscape.
Imagine growing your very own delicious ingredients for some of the world's most popular dishes - right at your fingertips! It doesn't get much better than that.
#ProPlantTips for Care
Give the Kaffir Lime well-drained soil, and keep it on the dry side while indoors. Don't overwater this tree.
The growth rate is moderate, so maintaining its size very easy. It takes to pruning very well and can be maintained to any size and almost any shape with pruning.
When bringing the Kaffir indoors for the winter, make sure and provide it with as much direct sunlight as possible, at least 6 hours a day and up to 10. Select a south to southwest-facing window, if possible.
This is one of the few Citrus that are a bit more tolerant of less light. Because the fruit is not as critical, the plant will adapt to lower light situations, but it will perform best with morning sun and afternoon shade.
Kaffir Lime can also be grown outdoors year-round in zones 9-11. If in-ground, feed quarterly with Dr. Earth Life Organic and Natural All-Purpose Fertilizer.
For container feeding, use a Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Organic and Natural Premium Fertilizer applied quarterly. Citrus in containers prefers a pH below 6.5 and benefits from an acid-based fertilizer.
Kaffir Lime trees are a popular item. Order now before they sell out and enjoy the benefits of growing your own fresh Asian seasonings.
Buying Options for Plants
Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.
Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!
Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.
- Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
- Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.
Nature Hills Container Size by Volume
|Young Plants to 18 Months|
|2"x2"x3"||Ranges from||.18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume|
|4.5" Container||Equal to||.655 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume|
|3.5" Container||Equal to||.67 dry quart / .74 dry liter in volume|
|4" Container||Equal to||.87 dry quart / .96 dry liter in volume|
|1 Quart||Equal to||1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume|
|5.5" Container||Equal to||1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x5"||Ranges from||.8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x6"||Ranges from||1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x9"||Ranges from||1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume|
|4"x4"x10"||Ranges from||1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume|
|Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old|
|2 Quart||Equal to||2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume|
|#1 Container||Ranges from||2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume|
|5"x5"x12"||Equal to||3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume|
|Plants 2 - 4 Years Old|
|#2 Container||Ranges from||1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume|
|#3 Container||Ranges from||2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume|
|Plants 3 - 5 Years Old|
|#5 Container||Ranges from||2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume|
|#7 Container||Ranges from||5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume|
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Delicious Kaffir Lime Sparks Controversy
The Kaffir Lime has a long history of varied usages, from perfume, to shampoo, to insecticides, and as a key ingredient in many countries' culinary preparations. Still, with its long-appreciated history, its name remains controversial to this day.
The Kaffir Lime is known by many other names and spellings. Kafir lime, Caffre lime, Kieffer lime, Makrut, Magodo, or simply Thai lime. Noteworthy is the fact that the name Kaffir is a terribly offensive word in many parts of the Middle East and Africa.
Citrus hystrix was first named Kaffir in 1824 by Augustin Pyramus Candolle, a renown Swiss botanist, who at the time headed the University of Montpellier in the southeast of France.
Candolle received seed from the famous Garden of Mauritius, an island off the coast of Madagascar. The plants from which the seeds originated from were thought to be from Thailand or Sri Lanka, where an ethnic group known as the Kaffirs lived.
The name, it is said, originates from an Indian Arabic term that conveys otherness and exotic provenance. The origins of the name continue to rage in horticultural circles.
The Kieffer (alternative spelling) Lime, as some have chosen to call it, now represents an important part of Thai, Indonesian, Chinese, Philippine, and Vietnamize cooking. The leaves are the primary part used in many dishes. They can be fresh, dried or frozen. The powerful essence from the rind is also used for many applications as well. In Creole cooking, the zest is infused into rum to add flavor.
For the chef, growing the Kieffer lime tree may be the best alternative to trying to buy the leaves and or fruit. Both can be quite difficult to find and can be quite expensive. The trees are easy to grow and are widely adapted.
|Botanical Name||Citrus hystrix 'Kaffir'|
|Mature Height||10 - 12 feet|
|Mature Spread||5 - 6 feet|
|Sun Exposure||Full Sun|