Also known as Kaffir, Thai Lime, and Makrut (and even occasionally Wild Lime), this dwarf citrus tree has a charming habit. The central trunk is quite thorny, protecting the plant from potential nibbling pests, and the leaves grow in a unique double pattern, as if one had sprung from the tip of another. Ranging from 1 to 3 inches long, they are glossy, dark green, and magnificently scented. Expect them to remain year-round on the tree.
And finally, the fruit. Widely used in Asian cuisine from Thailand to India, these bumpy green limes are about 2 inches wide, with very little juice but thick, strongly flavored rind and zest. Grate them into curries, soups, and stews, or cut the peel micro-thin for drinks. The flavor is strong and refreshing. You can even use them in cleaning!
The Kieffer Lime is easy to grow. Give it good, well-drained potting soil and bright light indoors, turning it so that all sides are exposed to light regularly. Humidity is welcome, and winter temperatures of 60 degrees or higher a necessity. In other words, "room temperature" in most houses is just perfect! But this tree also flourishes in the much hotter weather of summer outdoors, adding fragrance and beauty to any spot in the garden.
Expect the Kieffer Lime to reach 4 to 5 feet tall and about 3 feet wide, a good size for indoor display. You will love experimenting with the fruit in new dishes, and enjoying the sight and smell of this citrus tree year-round. Zones 9-10.