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CITRUS latifolia

Image of Citrus latifolia

James H. Schutte



Botanical Name

CITRUS latifolia

Plant Common Name

Persian Lime

General Description

Juice for guacamole and tart margaritas can be found in the piles of green Persian limes found at the grocery store. The true origin of this lime is unknown, but like most Citrus it is probably from the northwestern reaches of India. Citrus latifolia fruits are larger and less acidic than the smaller and more fragrant Key limes and have become the most popular commercial limes in the United States since they were first introduced in the 1800s.

Persian lime trees are evergreen, medium-sized and nearly thornless. The slightly fragrant leaves are elliptical to lance-shaped and often have winged petioles (leaf stems). New leaves have a slight purple hue and mature to dark green. The flowers are borne throughout the year but appear most abundantly in midwinter. The fragrant flowers are light purple in bud and open to white.

Limes are large, oval and bright green when young but turn yellow-green when mature. The skin is thin, leathery and dotted with oil glands, and the juicy flesh is acid, light green to yellow and nearly seedless. Persian limes ripen individually and are harvested by hand as the fruits mature throughout the year, however most ripen from early summer through fall. They are commonly grafted on rootstocks, which impart tolerances to soils, pests and climate conditions while preserving the desired varietal characteristics.

These lime trees are more cold sensitive than other Citrus, tolerating only brief periods of temperatures barely below freezing. They prefer full sun, well-drained soil and areas with warm, dry winters and cool summers. The trees are somewhat drought tolerant once established but must have regular water for good fruit production. Citrus trees are heavy feeders and require regular fertilization too.

No backyard orchard in subtropical and tropical zones is complete without a prolific-bearing and long-lived lime, as it is an attractive small tree worthy of admiration even without fruits. It also makes a great tub or conservatory specimen in cold climate areas.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m

  • Width

    15'-25' / 4.6m - 7.6m

  • Bloom Time


  • Native To

    Southern Asia, India, Melanesia, Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Purple

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture


  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Feature Plant, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Houseplant, Shade Trees, Topiary / Bonsai / Espalier, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing