I have been growing finger limes in pots and have been patiently waiting for fruit to appear. As if by magic, marked by the first days of Spring, the plant has a profusion of flowers and a crop of immature fruit (top left).
The finger lime plant (Citrus australasica) is a thorny understorey shrub, or small tree of lowland subtropical rainforest and dry rainforest and found in the coastal regions of NSW and Queensland.
The fruit, described as ‘lime caviar’ for its small bead-like crystals of tangy juice, is used In drinks, desserts, as a garnish and even to make marmalade. For the home garden, it is an attractive tree, growing to six metres, and its thorns provide a perfect habitat for small birds.
It is a good idea to protect finger limes from the prevailing wind, as the fruit can be damaged by the plant’s thorns. Finger limes thrive in dappled light as well as full sun. In cooler climates, a partly shaded north-facing site is preferred and they are able to withstand light frost. They make good hedges and espalier well against walls and fences.
Finger limes grow in a wide range of soils They are most commonly grafted onto exotic citrus, with Citrus trifoliata being the most common and they are then particularly suitable for heavier soils. Grafted finger limes grow faster and withstand other climatic conditions, as the grafted wood is usually taken from a mature tree. Like all citrus, finger limes prefer well-drained soil with a pH of between 6 and 7.
So why not try a finger lime in a pot or in your garden.
They are an interesting conversation starter, when you use them in your kitchen. We love them!