Here is a blog on growing and harvesting kaffir lime plants in a cold (temperate) climate country. It is a common lime plant found in Southeast Asia. Also known as the Makrut plant. While it produces lime fruit, it is not the fruit is used in cooking but rather the leaves. As it’s not a native plant to the United Kingdom it is quite impossible to make it fruit but growing for leaves is possible. I love cooking and try to source my ingredients locally as much as I can. My favorite is South East Asian or anything spicy. Kaffir lime plant has also gained popularity due to cheap travel and holidays to Thailand. So when one comes home from holidays one likes to eat some dish ones had on holiday.
Growing and harvesting kaffir lime plant
I have tried numerous times to grow from seed and found it impossible. Not unless I have found a solution. Therefore to grow kaffir lime buy the plant. It is not cheap though. I bought a small seedling from eBay during the summer season. Just search for ‘kaffir seedling’ rather than kaffir plant. When it arrived it didn’t look at all like kaffir lime plant ie. with no double leaves, no smell coming out of the leaves. After 2 years it’s not established itself. I also find it not a fussy plant to grow but a plant that takes time to establish. It also is prone to diseases. This plant I grew had curling of its leaves and some white insect living on it while overwintering it indoors. Once I left it outside it had a much happier life. I use a mixture of well-drain manure compost, vermiculite, and ericaceous soil.
When growing kaffir lime do not water too much as doesn’t need much water. Otherwise, it will be prone to root rot. in the summer it is possible to leave it to grow outside but in winter bring it inside or greenhouse. Kaffir lime lays dormant in the winter due to a lack of sun, warmness and doesn’t need much watering.
Sometimes the leaves just turn yellow and there isn’t much growth. It happen to his plant a few seasons later. I then repotted it and change the soil and that helps. The plant was a lot happier and it started growing healthy leaves again.
As this plant is grown in a temperate climate like the UK it won’t produce any fruit or flower. the weather is just not hot enough.
To harvest kaffir lime is fairly easy. Don’t harvest the plant in the first year let the plant focus its energy on growth. The following year come spring when the leaves start to sprout harvest the leaves. This will encourage the plant to produce more leaves. The leaves can be kept in the freezer and will last for a long time.