How to Grow a Kaffir Lime Tree

Updated November 21, 2016

Kaffir lime trees (Citrus hystrix) make excellent container plants and grow indoors and outdoors with ease. The juice, zest and leaves of the tree are common ingredients in Asian cuisine, and the juice makes a nice addition to teas. Kaffir limes are small, rough and wrinkled and often have a more bitter taste than common limes. In addition to having culinary uses, Kaffir limes are also a staple in many natural folk medicines and tonics, from improving gum health to aiding digestion. Kaffir limes make an excellent edible and fragrant addition to any plant collection.

Plant your Kaffir lime in large container with drainage holes. Ensure that the container you choose suits the size of the tree you purchase. There should be several inches of space between the root ball and the edge of the container to allow the roots to grow.

Fill in remaining space with organic potting soil. It is best to use a potting soil that contains 25 per cent compost for Kaffir limes.

Maintain soil moisture carefully after planting. Ensuring that the roots receive enough water after planting is the most important factor in establishing the health of your tree. The soil should remain moist but not saturated.

Add fertiliser to the lime tree after planting and then twice yearly in the spring and late summer. There are several slow-release formulas specifically designed for citrus trees available at most plant nurseries.

Place the lime tree in a well-lit area. Kaffir lime trees need plenty of sunlight in order to grow healthily. When the weather is warm, you can place the plant outdoors to receive direct, unfiltered sunlight.


Kaffir limes also appreciate humid conditions. Periodically placing the tree in a warm shower will help maintain your lime tree's health.


Kaffir lime trees sometimes have thorns on the bark. Take care when handling the tree to avoid injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Large planting container
  • Organic potting soil
  • Citrus fertiliser
  • Water can
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