Persian (Bearss) Lime Tree

Citrus latifolia




The Persian Bearss Lime Tree has a spreading form, nearly-thornless drooping branches, broad green leaves, purplish young shoots and white blooms. This lime tree is a prolific fruit bearing tree. The Bearss lime has a distinct spicy aroma and a tasty savory blend of lime and lemon minus the bitterness or acidity.

Citrus Latifolia, also known by other common names such as a Persian Lime Tree, Bearss Lime Tree, or Tahiti Lime Tree is a member of the family Rutaceae with a tri-hybrid genetic composition of pummelo (Citrus grandis), citron (Citrus medica), and a micro-citrus specimen (Citrus micrantha).

The Persian Lime tree is an evergreen, vigorous tree that can grow 15 feet to 20 feet tall when planted in ground, with width of 5 feet to 10 feet wide when it reaches maturity. The Persian “Bearss” lime tree is a citrus tree that does well in warm climates but can survive cold temperatures; the dwarf lime tree can be grown in a pot if you live in colder areas. It is cold-hardy with recorded USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11.

This citrus tree has a spreading form, nearly-thornless drooping branches, broad green leaves, purplish young shoots and white blooms. The Bearss lime tree is a prolific fruit bearing tree that produces limes that are almost the size of lemons.

The seedless Bearss lime fruit has a dark to pale green rind that is smooth and thin. The skin is tightly clinging to the flesh of the fruit and has a characteristic thin nipple on the blossom end. Bearss lime has a distinct spicy aroma unique to its citrus kind and a tasty savory blend of lime and lemon minus the bitterness or acidity. Each lime fruit weighs about 2 ounces while half of that weight is juice.

The Persian Bearss lime tree is the most widely produced and cultivated lime tree commercially and accounts for the largest share of fruits sold as limes in the United States.



Citrus Tree Care


If you are looking for a new citrus tree, and are planning to grow a Persian “Bearss” lime tree, read the tips we have below. These tips will help you to properly care for this tree and turn it into a heavy yielding fruit tree.

When buying a Persian Lime tree, make sure to choose a healthy tree from a trustworthy nursery to make certain that it is free from any diseases. Do not buy a large plant in a small pot since it is most likely root bound; rather choose a small plant in a 3-gallon container to ensure that the roots are healthy.

The Persian Bearss Lime Tree is a sun-loving tropical tree that needs plenty of sunlight, about 8-10 hours a day. It is better adapted in sunny areas like Florida and Arizona, but with some cold protection, it can be grown on both east and west coast and even as far north as Winter Haven.

If the winter temperature you are experiencing is consistently below 40 degrees, it is highly recommended that you plant your Bearss lime tree in a pot. If possible, get a planter with built-in casters so it can be easily moved indoors during winter, and outdoors during summer.

Lime trees should be planted on acidic, well-draining soil and away from damp, flood prone area since this tree cannot tolerate standing in water and is prone to root rot. To prevent water retention, we highly advise that you mound the soil up instead of leaving any depression.

When planting in ground, the hole where you will be planting the tree in should be two times the width and just as deep as the root system. Once the tree is placed, make sure to tamp down your sandy, well-draining soil to prevent pockets from forming. Afterwards, give it a deep watering for about 5 minutes.

When planting dwarf lime trees in a pot, use a pot that is larger than what it is shipped in and has lots of holes at the bottom to allow proper drainage. When repotting, fill the new pot halfway with sandy, well-draining potting soil and gently place the tree in it. Fill the area around the tree but make sure not to cover the grafted area of the tree. Pack down the soil lightly and leave about an inch from the soil to the rim for easy watering. Deep water the plant until it flows from the holes at the bottom of the pot. Move the pot beside a south facing window to give it ample sunlight.

Fertilizer for citrus trees is important, especially during spring and summer. Use a citrus fertilizer on your in-ground or newly potted Persian lime tree once every 6 weeks to promote healthy growth and to replenish the nutrients in the soil. While young, the citrus fertilizer should contain 6 to 10 per cent nitrogen, with phosphorus pentoxide and potash, and 4-6 percent magnesium. As the tree starts to fruit, change the mixture to that with lower phosphorus and higher potash.




Fruit & Harvesting


Persian Bearss Lime citrus tree produces large seedless limes the size of lemons. It has a trademark vivid lime-green fruit that is elongated and has rounded base with a short neck and a rounded apex with a short nipple. The rind of the Bearss lime fruit is smooth, thin and tightly clinging; while the pulp is a light shade of yellow-green when ripe.

The Persian lime tree fruit is naturally seedless, but when planted near other citrus trees tends to have a few seeds. The taste of this lime is a delicious combination of savory key lime and lemon. It has a spicy aromatic scent has less acidity and bitterness compared to Key lime but is more flavorful. Because of its versatility and unique taste, Persian limes can be eaten straight out of your hand, used for cooking, added to drinks, or used as garnishing numerous dishes.


Persian limes are harvested 8 to 12 times a year with 70 percent of the produce maturing from May to fall. The peak period is generally from July to September. Harvesting is mostly done by hand, but some use a tool called a ‘gig” to collect the fruits.

Since Bearss limes are green when ripe or unripe, telling when it is time to harvest can be somewhat confusing, with a narrow window for the perfect ripeness. Essentially, if you harvest the fruit too early there will be deficient juice and does not have its distinct lime flavor, but if collected later, it will be sweet and may not have the lime flavor you are looking for.

Limes that are harvested for commercial purposes are usually dark green. However, the optimal time to pick this fruit is when the dark green skin has lightened up a little bit or when you see specks of pale green in areas of the fruit skin. Another way to tell if the fruit is ripe is by lightly squeezing it. If the fruit is unripe it would not give and will feel solid to the touch while a ripe fruit would give a bit when squeezed.

But of course, the ultimate test to determine the readiness of the Bearss lime fruit is by tasting it. Gently twist one fruit from the stem and cut it open. If the juice content is about 40% or more and has the spicy citrus lime taste, then it is the right time to harvest those limes from your tree. Once collected, you can keep the fruit in good condition for up to 8 weeks under refrigeration without curing.





Persian “Bearss” lime trees are best grown outdoors where they can get full sunlight but can be taken indoors if the temperature gets too cold in your area. An in-ground dwarf Persian lime tree can grow as tall as 10 feet but with prudent pruning you can keep it at a desirable 6 feet height. Its flowers bloom from Spring/fall and produces fruit during fall/spring. Also, since it is a tropical fruit, it needs to be protected from cold weather especially when the temperature drops below 30 degrees.

How do you prune a Bearss Persian lime tree? Snip away any brown, dead or diseased branches at a 45-degree angle using sharp pruning shears to make a smooth cut. These branches will only take away the nutrients much needed by the healthier parts of the tree. Cut leggy looking limbs to allow ventilation at the center of the tree and to let in more light to pass thru between the branches.

Watering the Persian lime tree/strong> is highly dependent on the weather condition in your area. During summer, you can water it 2-3 times a week to keep the roots moist. Make sure to allow the upper inch of the soil to dry out before the next watering. Reduce watering as winter approaches to prevent growth (young sprouts get easily damaged in cooler temperature).

Pests and Diseases

There are a couple of pests that could cause major problems for Bearss lime tree.

There is the citrus red mite and broad mite that could heavily infest the Persian lime leaves and fruit causing the leaves to have necrosis, prematurely fall and dieback.

There are biological (Euseius stipulates) and chemical (pesticides) controls you can use to effectively regulate or prevent widespread colonization of citrus and broad mites.

Persian lime trees can also suffer from black sooty mold caused by aphid infestation. Aphids alone can cause minimal damage. However, they excrete a sticky substance called honeydew that the black sooty mold feeds on. Black sooty molds can hinder the tree growth and kill the leaves.

To stop the growth of black sooty molds, you need to stop the spread of aphids. You can either use a concoction of mild household detergent mixed with water or use pre-mixed insecticidal soap. Another method to get rid of aphids is to encourage the nesting of bug eating birds like chickadees and wrens.

Scales and leaf miners are another citrus tree pest to look for, and they can cause serious harm to your lime trees. Getting rid of these 2 pests is imperative to make the plants look better and improve their overall health. The most common method to rid your plant of leaf miners is the use of pesticide. You can also use horticultural oils or a biological control like Diglyphus isaea wasp which you can buy from reputable nurseries.

Scales can be controlled by disposing of infected branches, twigs or leaves. You can also buy natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings that prey on scales while it is in the larval or crawler stage. There are also horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps you can use to control scales.








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