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Author Topic: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.  (Read 10148 times)

starling1

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My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« on: April 21, 2014, 02:51:25 AM »
Nothing Fancy. Basically, I have these 7 varieties potted in standing free draining mix which consists of premium potting mix, sand, pearlite,  large pine bark chips and large hardwood chips. The ratio should favor the sand and hardwood chips, for the obvious reason that both will be the last to break down. Standing free draining soil; it doesn't matter how you get there, so long as you do. Dieback is common in fingerlimes, even grafted plants, and this is caused by waterlogged soil. If you are seeing dieback on your upper growth, water saturation is almost certainly the cause. Dieback occurs most in relation to excessive watering followed by drying off, which is why free draining soil is essential.

Update: I am now growing all my fingerlimes in a mix of coir, pearlite, and vermiculite. The mix is quite gritty.

I also apply a  heaped handful of lime and water this in every year.

I have found the best mulch to be large decorative stones stacked at about 2cm or enough to completely cover the surface of the mix. This does not break down, allows nutrients to pass through effectively, and stops water perching as a consequence of hard hose watering. Gritty mixes are superb  for finger limes and will not dry out if you have your limes in adequate shade.

I have each pot elevated  with a simple setup of hardwood slats running between two concrete blocks. It's important to do this for drainage. The key to keeping finger limes happy and healthy will depend on  two things:

A) very free draining soil
B) the right sun exposure conditions.

It might not come across in the photograph, but these plants receive filtered light at different intervals throughout the day, with the main sun exposure coming from about an hours full sun on either side of dawn and dusk. In baking heat, your finger lime will not do well. In total shade, it will produce less fruit. In their natural environment, fingerlimes occur as understory trees at the edge of forestry; the light cycle I provide mine seeks to mimic that as closely as possible. In the wild, they grow in deep loam extremely rich in detritus. Most Australian forestRy trees are hardwood.

It is important to keep your fingerlime in a wind-sheltered position as they are susceptible to wind scorching, and the flowers they produce will get stripped by strong gusts. If you have a carambola/starfruit, the effect of wind on flowers is similar between species.

On fertilisation

Grafted trees should be fertilized with citrus fertilizer, though more frequently than standard citrus. The ones in my picture have a layer of pure composted cow manure spread over a layer of inch-thick, fine mulch. Basically, the reason I've done this is to encourage the right microbes into my mix. I will also add a few worms to each pot at some point, and have watered each plant in with a soil conditioning product  called seasol., but any seaweed treatment is fine.

Once the plants are established, I will  fertilize with standard granulated citrus fertilizer at intervals of two months. I have never had an issue with over-fertilization using this method. I do not know if this is true of non-grafted trees.

Important: Foliar sprays of Epsom salts will increase yield and quality. You could also sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of this around the base of the tree and water in for the same effect.

Do not overwater your finger lime. It will hate you for it.

About the fruit

Finger limes are precocious when it comes to fruiting, yet are slow to establish a large root system. Plants struck from cuttings can generate fruit within the first year. Like most citrus, finger lime fruit gets larger in correspondence with the size of the tree  That is, the bigger the tree, the bigger the fruit.This phenomena is more exacerbated in finger limes. This is also true of fruit quality; larger fruit will be considerably more appetizing, have juicier vesicles, and will not be turpy. I don't know why that is, just that it is.

Harsh sun exposure will cause woody spots in the fruit of finger limes. Because the tree is thorny, wind which blows the fruit about will inevitably cause said fruit to get 'spiked', This will also cause spot fouling. This is another reason to keep finger limes in a sheltered position. Fruit exposed to harsh sunlight will also bleach and will be less cosmetically attractive, and dry skin may dry out the pulp immediately beneath the affected area. Harsh light is likely to cause burning, and will result in leaf browning and a generally spindly, unhappy tree.

Finger limes will hybridize and cross readily; the flowers, while small and unpretty, are very attractive to native bee species in Australia. If you have a high presence of pollinating insects, and have a number of finger limes in close vicinity to one another such as I do, expect to get varying colored fruit a lot if you intend to grow from seeds. If you want to keep your fruit true, you'll have to do what the song says--keep em' separated. It is for this reason also that you shouldn't keep a variety you consider to to be sub-par, or not to your liking, around. This is true of all varieties of Australian native citrus. The CSIRO has released two varieties of hybridized native limes. These are the red centre lime (also known as blood lime, which a mandarin fingerlime x) and the Australian sunrise Lime (this is a calomondin fingerlime x).The CSIRO has also developed a cultivated variety of the desert lime (Citrus glauca). In reality, finger limes could be crossed with any citrus.

Here are some pics of my new grove, most of these trees are very young.







« Last Edit: May 24, 2015, 05:27:34 PM by starling1 »

Citronquat

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2014, 04:09:41 AM »
Awesome post, thanks very much! I have red fingerlime sanguinea and other "mixed colour" fingerlime seedlings growing. I got the seeds straight from Australia. My seedlings have that weird sideways/downward branching growth habit like the bottom half of your trees, and now I know why I get dieback on some of them.

Bush2Beach

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2014, 02:04:44 PM »
Thanks for the expertise Starling. Your suggestions and experience is helping me hone in on how to produce lots of limes on my potted finger limes. My trees are setting a lot of fruit this spring. Sun exposure info was key and again thanks for identifying the variety I'm growing in a previous thread.

Millet

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2014, 04:19:29 PM »
Be careful of adding to much hard wood chips to a citrus potting soil blend. Hardwood trees, (oaks, ash, maple cottonwood and so  on) work poorly, not because hardwood decomposition is excessive, but because of the accumulation of high levels of manganese that are in hard wood. - Millet

starling1

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 02:28:57 AM »
No problem guys. Keep with it, the older your tree gets, the bigger and better your fruit get.

Kona400

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2014, 01:20:59 PM »
About the fruit

Finger limes will hybridize and cross readily. If you have a high presence of pollinating insects, and have a number of finger limes in close vicinity to one another such as I do, expect to get varying colored fruit--a lot. If you want to keep your fruit true, you'll have to do what the song says--keep em' separated. It is for this reason also that you shouldn't keep a variety you consider to to be sub-par, or not to your liking, around. This is true of all varieties of Australian native citrus. The CSIRO has released two varieties of hybridized native lime. These are the red centre lime (also known as blood lime, which a mandarin fingerlime x) and the Australian sunrise Lime (this is a calomondin fingerlime x). Neither are particularly good by my estimations, others will disagree.The CSIRO has also developed a cultivated variety of the desert lime (Citrus glauca). In reality, finger limes could be crossed with any citrus.

For the cross-polination, I thought he results of cross-pollination only showed up in the fruit from a tree grown from a cross-pollinated seed.  Do finger lime fruit on the same tree vary in color based on the pollinator or am I reading this wrong?  I like the thought of different color fruit on the same tree, unfortunately, I don't know what type of fingerlimes are available in Hawaii or if there are any.  I did ask a nursery to order me a couple if they could.

Millet

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2014, 07:22:37 PM »
Kona, your correct.  To obtain a mixed color fruit, due to the finger lime tree being cross pollinated, you would first need to extract the seed and plant it  Then you would have to wait until the new seedling tree grew up to maturity, and produced its fruit. However, many citrus varieties do not produce hybrid fruit from cross pollination due to nucellar embryos.  I don't know the extent of nucellar embryony in Finger Limes.  If the trees are nucellar than you would not obtain mixed colors, if not nucellar then you could get a hybrid mix colored fruit. . -  Millet

starling1

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2014, 07:45:59 PM »
Sorry, my original post is worded badly and yes you are correct. Finger Limes are Monoembryonic and hybridize readily.

s

canelo_N

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2014, 03:54:39 PM »
@starling: thank's for your post!
i'm happy with every information I can get about  all the australian native citrus. I'm growing almost all of them (..from seeds..).

Actually, one of the fingerlimes is flowering for the first time! It's my third citrus tree from seed with flowers. The others are a citrus garrawayi and a Citrus virgata ("Sydney hybrid").

Canelo

starling1

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2014, 01:46:33 AM »
@starling: thank's for your post!
i'm happy with every information I can get about  all the australian native citrus. I'm growing almost all of them (..from seeds..).

Actually, one of the fingerlimes is flowering for the first time! It's my third citrus tree from seed with flowers. The others are a citrus garrawayi and a Citrus virgata ("Sydney hybrid").

Canelo


You could try and round out your collection with the Australian Desert Lime. I have a grafted one growing, it's quite slow in my climate. It has the curious habit of producing thorns only up to a certain height, which happens to be the maximum grazing height of Kangaroos.




rac78

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2014, 08:06:13 PM »
I've got 3 fruit from my red desert lime 2 are still on tree and I got two seeds from the other one which have already sprouted, I take it these seeds are unlikely to produce same quality of fruit, I have over 110 fingerlime seedlings growing now, fingers crossed I get a few nice hybrids out of them. ;D
Russell

sanitarium

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2014, 09:58:25 AM »
Would like to ask regarding the precocious, how long will take to fruit from seed?
Also would be interested what is minimum temp. it can withstand and what is best temp. to overwinter (could be overwinter in room temp. around 20C)?
Daniel

starling1

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2014, 11:04:08 PM »
Would like to ask regarding the precocious, how long will take to fruit from seed?
Also would be interested what is minimum temp. it can withstand and what is best temp. to overwinter (could be overwinter in room temp. around 20C)?

You'll be waiting quite long time for it to fruit from seed. People say ten years, but that seems a bit extreme to me. I believe with the right care they could fruit considerably earlier than that, maybe 5-6 years.

starling1

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2014, 11:06:45 PM »
I've got 3 fruit from my red desert lime 2 are still on tree and I got two seeds from the other one which have already sprouted, I take it these seeds are unlikely to produce same quality of fruit, I have over 110 fingerlime seedlings growing now, fingers crossed I get a few nice hybrids out of them. ;D

The red center lime is a good CV, hard to get.

I only have one crossing excercise in play right now; I'm crossing red champagne with lemonades.

Will be a long time before either of us know what we've got.

EvilFruit

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2015, 05:26:02 AM »
Hi,

Do you recommend getting Pink Ice. Alstonville and Yellow Sunshine finger lime ?
Moh'd

starling1

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2015, 07:29:09 AM »
Hi,

Do you recommend getting Pink Ice. Alstonville and Yellow Sunshine finger lime ?

Those are all good, I would personally choose sunshine yellow.

Crimson Tide is the best.

luc

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2015, 07:34:29 PM »
OK , so I planted mine , several years ago , in the ground and in the wrong spot , I looked at commercial plantation pictures and they were in full sun , so thatís what I did . I had a few fruits after 5 - 6 years . Flowered last year but no fruit , the 1.70 meter tree looked like it was gonna die , branches dried ...Now it is back to normal but so far this year no flowering . Iíll give it some Epsom salt.
Should I maybe put some shade cloth over it ?

Thank you Luke for this great Info .
Luc Vleeracker
Puerto Vallarta
Mexico , Pacific coast.
20 degrees north

starling1

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2015, 08:34:05 PM »
OK , so I planted mine , several years ago , in the ground and in the wrong spot , I looked at commercial plantation pictures and they were in full sun , so thatís what I did . I had a few fruits after 5 - 6 years . Flowered last year but no fruit , the 1.70 meter tree looked like it was gonna die , branches dried ...Now it is back to normal but so far this year no flowering . Iíll give it some Epsom salt.
Should I maybe put some shade cloth over it ?

Thank you Luke for this great Info .

well, those pictures are deceiving. What you'll find when you visit a commercial operation (I have) is that they're never put in full, baking sun--they are planted at an aspect which gives them gentle sun exposure, and the pictures that show the sun beaming down on them have been taken at a time during the day when that is happening. But they aren't ever exposed to that kind of heat all day. They can't handle it. Look at don's pictures in the fingerlime thread in the discussion boards--that's their precise natural conditions.

4 hours of gentle light is perfect if you can manage it, on either side of morning and dusk.

They are hard to get fruiting in the ground--well, prolifically anyway. You're much better off keeping them in a large pot filled with a gritty mix. Try to keep your PH around 4-4.5. I have tried a bunch of different fertilisers, cheap citrus granulated stuff is good, the best I've tried ( and still use) is a nutrient mix designed to work in coir, but it is expensive. I can't stress  enough how important light, free draining soil is.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 05:54:55 AM by starling1 »

mymissyme

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2015, 06:01:03 PM »
Can anyone give me some advice on germinating finger lime seeds? I am ordering some from a supplier in Australia and have not grown these from seed before.

Thanks!

achetadomestica

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2015, 09:42:20 PM »
can the fingerlimes handle 30F? I have my 6'+ fingerlime under a huge 40 year old oak tree. It seems happy and is in a 7 gal pot. I was thinking of bumping it up to a 15 gal but sort of want to plant it in the ground? We do get in the upper 20s but I have noticed when we have frost the area under the oak is frost free. I love the tree and don't want to kill it!
Mike

nickwhish

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2015, 03:22:17 AM »
The seedlings are way harder to grow than normal lemons or limes.
You'll want them as fresh as possible, chill them in fridge, then keep moist and around 29 degrees on a heat mat or warm location.
I got heaps sprouted eventually, but they all got stem rot and died.

When I sprout more I will;
1. make very sure they aren't damp overnight, water only in the morning and put in gentle sun.
2. maybe not use coco peat seedling starters, make something that holds a bit of moisture but lets more air around them.

Any tips from the pros would also be helpful for me!

mrtexas

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Re: My Fingerlime Grove and How I grow Finger Limes.
« Reply #21 on: October 03, 2015, 12:47:31 PM »
Can anyone give me some advice on germinating finger lime seeds? I am ordering some from a supplier in Australia and have not grown these from seed before.

Thanks!

Not a good idea to get citrus seeds from oversees as it is illegal to import any citrus plant material especially into a citrus state like Texas. They are very available from
legal sources in the USA.

 

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