Kaffir Lime

Kaffir Lime: Cultivation And Special Features

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The wrinkled lime variety is on the rise. We show you how to grow and care for the kaffir lime and what the leaves are all about.

Some will know the leaves of kaffir lime ( Citrus hystrix ) from recipes for aromatic Thai dishes. The citrus fruit, which is used as a medicinal and aromatic plant, is also becoming more and more popular with us. So that you never have to do without fresh kaffir lime leaves again, you can grow the plant in the pot yourself. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the origin, cultivation, and care of the exotic lime species here.

Kaffir lime: Cultivation & special features of the kaffir lime

Origin and characteristics of the kaffir lime

The kaffir lime probably originally came from the region of the Malaysian archipelago. To this day it is cultivated as a useful and ornamental plant, especially in its homeland in Southeast Asia. The kaffir lime grows into a bush up to two meters high. The branches of the plant are heavily covered with thorns. The dark green leaves are oval to slightly teardrop-shaped and winged. The small flowers are white to pink in color and give off a strong, aromatic scent.

At first glance, the kaffir lime fruit doesn’t look very spectacular: the skin is wrinkled and wrinkled. But with this type of lime, it’s the inner values that count. The smell of citrus fruit has a strong deterrent effect on vermin and moths. Allegedly, even the Dutch are said to have rubbed their heads with crushed kaffir lime during colonial times to protect themselves from tropical insects. Essential oil is also extracted from exotic fruits. And not only the fruits have a special aroma, but the leaves of the special lime are also used as a spice in Asian cuisine.

Buy kaffir lime: what you should pay attention to

There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a kaffir lime tree: The health of the plant should be in optimal condition. Pay attention to whether you can discover traces of pests or diseases on the tree. The plant should also not be damaged and no parts of the plant should be kinked. Most lime plants are grafted, so make sure that the grafting is of good quality. You can buy citrus plants in tree nurseries or well-stocked garden centers. Kaffir lime trees are also available for purchase online.

Kaffir lime: Cultivation & special features of the kaffir lime

Growing kaffir lime: procedure and location

As with all types of lime, kaffir lime is a tropical plant that can only be grown in a pot in our climate. In summer the kaffir lime can stand outside, but in winter it should be moved to a warm, sheltered place inside. The optimal location for the lime is full sun and sheltered from the wind. In contrast to its relative, the real lime, the kaffir lime can also overwinter in cooler rooms. Bright places with temperatures of 8 to 14 ° C are optimal; if such a space is not available, a place with lower temperatures of 3 to 10 ° C is sufficient. This could be the stairwell or a basement, for example.

The kaffir lime has the following requirements for its location:

  • Outside in summer, inside in winter
  • Sunny and sheltered from the wind
  • As bright, warm place as possible
  • Winter in a bright place at 8 to 14 ° C
  • Alternatively, a slightly cooler, darker place can serve as winter storage

Kaffir lime: Cultivation & special features of the kaffir lime

When planting the kaffir lime, proceed as follows: First, a drainage system is created in the tub to prevent waterlogging, because the lime doesn’t like it at all. Then we spread a plant fleece over it and fill in a little substrate. We recommend using special citrus earth or mixing one yourself. Then the root ball of the plant can be removed from the old pot and the lime placed in the new bucket. Now, this is only filled with earth and properly poured on.

Maintaining kaffir lime: demands on substrate and co.

The ideal substrate for the kaffir lime should be as permeable as possible, have a high humus content, and a slightly acidic pH value between 6 and 6.5. The lime grows very quickly, especially in the first few years, so it should be repotted regularly. You can tell whether it is time to repot again by the fact that the substrate in the pot is completely rooted. To ensure that the crown of the lime grows evenly and fully, you can prune it back regularly. Before the plant sprouts again in spring around March, the right time has come for this.

Tip: To protect your hands, it is best to wear gloves when working with the kaffir lime. The many thorns on the branches of the lime make maintenance very uncomfortable.

Regular watering and fertilizing are part of the care of the kaffir lime. In summer you can treat the exotic plant with a special citrus fertilizer once a week. As an ecological alternative, you can also use an organic fertilizer. The organic universal fertilizer with organic long-term effects is very suitable for limes, for example. Water the kaffir lime so that the entire root ball is penetrated with water. Then only pour again when the pot is half dry.

Using the kaffir lime leaves

With us, you will rarely find kaffir lime fruits in stores. If you happen to find one of the wrinkled fruits, it will most likely be green. However, fully ripe fruits on your own tree turn yellow. In some countries, the kaffir lime fruits are cooked whole. In Malaysia, for example, the special limes give curries and soups an extraordinary taste. The leaves of kaffir lime are much more often used in the kitchen. They are either cooked whole or cut into very fine strips and sautéed. The leaves are not eaten as a whole, but they are cut into small pieces. Many curry pastes also contain crushed kaffir lime leaves.

The leaves can be frozen well and thus preserved. However, they are not suitable for drying. Why not try a fiery spicy TomYam soup or a mild, green Thai curry with coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves.

Kaffir lime: Cultivation & special features of the kaffir lime

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