Kaffir Lime
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[Kaffir Lime]
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Kaffir Lime (CITRUS HYSTRIX): This is an essential herb for Thai cooking.  The leaves doubled-up back to back and this bush has 1 inch thorns.  They look meaner than they are.  Drop a few leaves in with the coconut milk when you're making Thai curry.  The whole leaves are tough and should not be eaten but according to Kathy "Thai chefs have been using them finely shredded in their cooking for generations."    This plant is very cold sensitive so we usually bring it indoors (no heat in the greenhouse).  We propagated a few by putting cuttings in dirt and wrapping in plastic (takes a while) We haven't had any luck with fruit but this plant can be started from seed if you can find the fruit. 
Kaffir lime

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Sources of supply:  Try a search on http://eBAY.com 

Growing Tips:  Special thanks to Kevin C. Kuhns for the following.

  • A few tips on growing Kaffir Lime trees:

    1. You need two genetically diverse plants for cross pollination to ensure fruiting. If all of your plants have been propagated vegetatively, rooted cuttings for example, the genetic diversity will not be there. You will never see fruit. Some plants are self-pollinating, but not citrus trees in general. I purchased two plants from 4Winds Nursery just for this purpose last year. I got about a dozen fruit from each plant this year. (http://www.fourwindsgrowers.com/)

    2. It is probably better to graft cuttings of the Kaffir lime tree onto a robust citrus, orange tree, root stock. This will yield faster growth and improved disease resistance. In the case of my plants, I took cuttings of the rootstock and rooted them last Winter. They are all small trees now. I will then take cuttins of the Kaffir Lime stems and graft to the rootstock so that next year I will have about a dozen robust Kaffir Lime plants.

    3. When growing from seed, cutting the tap root will initiate what's called a wound response from the plant. This will not result in optimum growth of secondary root fibers nor useful root branching, although you will see some. Besides, you now expose the root to potential infection by a variety of soil-borne fungi or disease. It is far better to use a method called air-root-pruning. You should have openings, around 1/4 inch diameter on the sides and bottom of the pot. When roots reach the opening and are exposed to the air a hormonal response is initiated that DOES cause growth of root fiberss. This is what you want. There are even special pots that you can buy to do this. Check out http://www.rootmaker.com 

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