This plant is native to Australia and it gives you a much more unique taste than the regular one. It is a fun activity as well; it brings an exotic touch to your garden. The Finger Lime Tree sometimes also called Caviar Lime; is a small tall fruit that is the size and shape of a thick finger.
If it is not as famous as it should be, it is not because of a lack of demand. The production of this unique product alone cannot meet the demand in the cooking circles. This is one great reason to grow your own. This small species of lemon is superior for its small, juicy pearly veins, which give it the title of ‘lime caviar’.
It comes in various types, Depending on the variety; they can be green, white, pink, or red. Regardless of the color, all finger limes have pulp that similar to caviar and ripen between May and June.
It is used for multiple purposes, as it can serve as a topping on seafood, salads, or soups; they give the dish a surprising and amazing twist as they explode on the tongue and release their tangy sourness.
Tips for Growing Finger Limes:
- You can grow your finger lime in the ground or in a container and it will do well as a feature tree. They will tolerate poor nutritious soil and will need an equal amount of fertilizer as used for lemon plant.
- Use minute elements in the spring along with compost, or decaying animal manure as it is a good organic matter to use for. For best results prepare the soil with organic matter or buy a standard pot mix. They prefer acidic soil so buy fertilizers prepare for acid loving plants, should maintain ph between 5-6. Water your plants at certain interval like after 3 to 4 days, and frequently on hot days.
- Place your pot in a well aerated pot; it will require partial shade to full sun to thrive well. Once they are established they will bear mild frost but if you live in a cold area, you can try to grow them in a container and move it in response to climate.
- Regularly trim your plant to maintain its shape and to keep it avoid from overcrowding.
- Finger limes are prune to similar pests and diseases as another citrus. The pests include aphids, caterpillars, scale insects, bronze orange bugs, mealy bugs, and grasshoppers.
- You also need to look out for dark brown spots that could be a fungal disease called melanosis. They affect the plant badly, especially the vigor of your plant.
- Limes are also susceptible to galls so keep eye on it as well, it usually appears in September.
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Growing the Finger Lime Trees in Pots:
The first important thing about growing finger limes in pots is the size of the container or pot. Because their growth may be restricted in small containers as roots do not get enough space to flourish in small containers, so the larger one is best.
Size of container:
Use a 5-gallon pot for your finger lime tree. It will give it room to grow well, and there is no need to transplant it when it gets mature. A large container of 15 gallons or bigger is even better, but they have one fault it is hard to move it because of its weight.
You can use terracotta or plastic container. Terracotta is better if you tend to overwater and plastic pot if you are likely to forget the schedule, ensure the presence of proper drainage holes at the bottom. Grow bags are also a good choice as they allow water to evaporate quickly.
Use Good Quality Potting Mix:
Fill your pot with good quality potting soil with some extra sand and bone meal, Sand will ensure drainage, and bone meal act as a source of calcium and phosphorus as citrus plant need.
Then dig a hole in the center of the pot to place the plant. Then after placing, add more soil around the base of your plant until the pot is full. The soil should fill the pot.
The tree should be able to stand firmly on its own without support. If it doesn’t, it means you have not planted it correctly, so press soil around your plant and add more.
This understory tree can tolerate little shade, but it grows well in sunny places, especially in colder areas. Some of the summer afternoon shades can also be appreciated. You can grow this tree indoors until it gets six hours of light.
In the hot dry spells water your plant regularly, or give water to your plant when the soil seems dry. Because finger lime trees prefer soil that is evenly moist but not too wet for a long period of time.
It is native to areas where summer is not too hot, as rain is common in those areas. A layer of mulch can prove very effective as it retains moisture.
In winter, you can water less often as the climate will not absorb as much moisture from the soil. Avoid overwatering as it may kill the plant.
Apply Soil Conditioner:
Wear gardening gloves or use a spade to spread the conditioner. This will need to be done from July to December. Seaweed emulsions or worm castings are suitable options and easily available in nurseries.
Cover the soil surface lightly around the base of the plant. The original clay should still be visible through the conditioner. Water the tree after applying the conditioner, so it is equally distributed around the plant.
Feeding the plant:
Use manure, animal manure, or a compost bag from your local nursery. Fertilize your plants once a month to stimulate flower production and overall plant growth.
Avoid applying fertilizer on the trunk of the tree as it can cause collar rot, always apply it on the base of the stem, and try to use liquid fertilizers. A quarter of the amount of fertilizer you normally use for a lemon plant will be enough for a finger lime tree.
Spread fertilizer around the base of your tree, covering about 1 inch (25 mm) of thick soil. Diluted compost tea or warm tea may be used as a foliar spray for an extra boost; it also acts as a barrier against insects.
Relocating the plant:
Dark spots indicate a fungal disease and need to be treated immediately. Cut off the infected leaves, branches, and fruits. If spots continue to spread move your plant to secure the rest.
The fungal spores can travel from one plant to another through water or rain splashes, and relocating will reduce it. Burn infected foliage instead of putting them in a compost bin.
Use of Pesticides:
Mealybugs will extract can cause serious damage to your plants as they extract the sap from limes, as well as infect the stem. These insects can be controlled by using natural pesticides or by local chemicals.
When purchasing chemical pesticides, try to find one which has low impacts on the environment. The finger lime tree has delicate, slender branches and is easily killed by harsh chemicals.
Finger limes first establish themselves. Flowers will emerge after two to three years of planting. Care your plant properly so it produces plenty of flowers as later these flowers turn into fruits. Most flowers appear in winter and the plant continues to bloom until spring.
Flowers turn into fruit within four to five weeks. And fruit gets ready to harvest within five to six months. Stop feeding your plant when it produces blooms until the blooms turn into fruit.
When you are trying to pick up fruit but it resists it means it requires some more days to get fully mature, so leave it. Upon ripening it will drop from the plant. You will see small white or light pink blooms later in summer and autumn. Don’t pick these blooms as they will turn into limes.
Ripe fruits will grow anywhere from 1-5 inches (25-127 mm) tall, but some mature early before reaching this size. So it’s ok if your fruit does not grow tall because size is not an indication of ripening.
Prune back after reaping:
Trim your plant before it has a flower set. Cut your plant with creativity as more branches will make it difficult for you to harvest fruits. Cutting the old branches will stimulate new growth.
Use clean pruning shears and wear gloves to protect your hands from thorns. Disinfect your tools before cutting. Cut back excess branches to where they start on the trunk.
Cut each remaining shoot of the tree back to less than half its length. Make the cut just above a leaf. Use sharp scissors for cutting so that the remaining ones didn’t get affected. This will keep the tree from getting unwieldy.
Varieties to Grow In Pots:
Finger limes are available in different varieties.
- Blood lime
- Rainforest pearl
- Durham s Emerald
- Judy’s Everbearing
These varieties are mainly varied from each other in the color of caviar, but it looks delightful in every color. Moreover, the selection of finger limes also depends mainly on the color of the pulp.
Uses of finger limes:
Finger limes have the following uses:
- They make a good combination with seafood, salads, drinks, desserts, sauces, or marmalades.
- You can use them year round by preserving them, they are best preserved by freezing.
- Peel is also valuable as it can use as spices.
- To open cut the fruit crossways and squeeze out the lime caviar. The oil released from peel can affect the flavor, so cut in a way that it didn’t come in contact with caviar.