Fingerlime Extravaganza

Sabot

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Jan 14, 2020
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G'day,

I've recently planted a few fingerlimes here in Brisbane and was so happy with them that I've gone out and bought 20 more to grow from around 5 - 20cm in pots.

I have a large surplus of 200mm grow pots so I am looking to put the newly arrived plants in these until they are ready to move into their final pots.

Does anyone have an idea on the optimum soil/fertilizer mixture for these?
I've read a bit of the literature online about commercial operations but these are often scant with detail outside of a few studies on Biochar.
 

ClissAT

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Hi Sabot, welcome!
What sort of grow pots are they?
Can you provide a photo please?
The type of pot will in part determine the type of medium.
Are you planning to use hydroponics or soil type medium?
What are the living conditions like where you plan to put the pots?
Things to consider are-: amount of sun shining on the actual pot making the medium hot inside; reflected heat from ground surface; amount of wind exposure; daily average temperature; amount of rain that will rinse out the fertilizer; type of fertilizer you plan to use.
 
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Sabot

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Hi ClissAT,

Just basic black poly grow pots from bunnings (200mm):

upload_2020-2-6_11-19-53.png


Planning to use soil based medium, they will be going around the perimeter of the garden where they get almost full sun most of the day. Wind exposure is low as this is a large suburban back yard that is fenced in and located near the Brisbane River so reasonable rainfall but nothing crazy.

I've been using Rooster Booster mixed with premium potting mix plus mulching (Cane) and periodic applications of citrus food for trace elements.
 

ClissAT

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I agree with the potting mix of rooster booster with premium potting mix. If you haven't used it before for the limes, you might find it makes soft fast growth that might be more susceptible to disease and insects.
I would also add 40-50% coconut coir.
I've been using it for 4yrs with excellent results where the mix will get hot from sun shining on the pot and heating up the mix.
There is only one type of plant that likes its roots heated up and that's cactus.
Everything else likes a cool root run and usually no dry/wet scenario going on.
Particularly your limes will need even temperature and moisture levels or the roots will die.
It's a fairly small volume pot to keep the media cool so think about how you can cover each pot with something that prevents sun exposure. That will probably mean you'll have to water by hand every few days to be sure every pot is evenly moist not wet or dry.
A sorcer under every pot that holds one or two cm of water will help to even out the wet/dry thing and keep a bit of humidity there in the dry season. The plant wouldn't need watering again until all that moisture was used up.
Having the potting mix 50/50 coir will also even out the moisture content and extend the watering intervals.
For limes you could also add up to 15% perlite to make the mix more airy (light). I do that a lot too since perlite is quite cheap and comes in huge bags (although maybe not in huge bags from Bunnings).
If you decide to use the coir, get yourself a 50-70lt black tub with rope handles about $12 or a plastic rubbish bin with lid from B's. Put your big slab of coir in and half fill the tub with water then leave it until next day. Coir can be kept for months in this soaked condition waiting to be used. Just cover with an old folded rag or fertilizer bag. Coir is inert although it does stain water.
Over time, potting mix made up with 50%coir will become very peatish and be an amazing potting mix. Rather than get dried out and rock hard, coir makes the mix very soft.
 

Sabot

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Jan 14, 2020
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I agree with the potting mix of rooster booster with premium potting mix. If you haven't used it before for the limes, you might find it makes soft fast growth that might be more susceptible to disease and insects.
I would also add 40-50% coconut coir.
I've been using it for 4yrs with excellent results where the mix will get hot from sun shining on the pot and heating up the mix.
There is only one type of plant that likes its roots heated up and that's cactus.
Everything else likes a cool root run and usually no dry/wet scenario going on.
Particularly your limes will need even temperature and moisture levels or the roots will die.
It's a fairly small volume pot to keep the media cool so think about how you can cover each pot with something that prevents sun exposure. That will probably mean you'll have to water by hand every few days to be sure every pot is evenly moist not wet or dry.
A sorcer under every pot that holds one or two cm of water will help to even out the wet/dry thing and keep a bit of humidity there in the dry season. The plant wouldn't need watering again until all that moisture was used up.
Having the potting mix 50/50 coir will also even out the moisture content and extend the watering intervals.
For limes you could also add up to 15% perlite to make the mix more airy (light). I do that a lot too since perlite is quite cheap and comes in huge bags (although maybe not in huge bags from Bunnings).
If you decide to use the coir, get yourself a 50-70lt black tub with rope handles about $12 or a plastic rubbish bin with lid from B's. Put your big slab of coir in and half fill the tub with water then leave it until next day. Coir can be kept for months in this soaked condition waiting to be used. Just cover with an old folded rag or fertilizer bag. Coir is inert although it does stain water.
Over time, potting mix made up with 50%coir will become very peatish and be an amazing potting mix. Rather than get dried out and rock hard, coir makes the mix very soft.

ClissAT,

Thank you greatly for the detailed reply, I will grab some coir this week and start putting my mixture together.
Going on what you've give me above I think 35% premium potting mix and rooster booster, 15% peat and 50% coir.

I'll let you know how it goes, we have so much rain here at the moment it's not a bad time for repotting.
 
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ClissAT

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Sabot you said 15%peat. I'm wondering if you meant perlite.
You don't need to add both peat and coir. :)
 

Matt Kurl

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is it worth/possible to plant from seed or should i go find somewhere that sells them. I'm really keen to grow some fingerlimes as well
 
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Sabot

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Sabot you said 15%peat. I'm wondering if you meant perlite.
You don't need to add both peat and coir. :)
Hi ClissAT, sure did, I've been getting them confused all day.
In the end I actually went with;

50% Coir
10% Perlite
5% Biochar
35% Osmocote premium potting mix and Rooster Booster.


is it worth/possible to plant from seed or should i go find somewhere that sells them. I'm really keen to grow some fingerlimes as well
Depends how long you want to wait (It can be a long time for any fruit tree), I also think citrus grown from seed may not grow true to type which is something you do probably want if you're looking for specific fingerlimes.

I typically buy cuttings or grafted plants for these reasons and at the moment I'm growing these varieties;

Chartreuse
Red Champagne
Pink Ice
Judy's Everbearing
Rick's Red
 

ClissAT

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Although finger limes are native to Australia, only the original variety will grow readily but the fruiting is haphazard at best.
All current commercial varieties are either cuttings from known quality fruiting parents, grafted onto suitable rootstock for the various regions of Australia, hybrids with larger citrus species, clones, cell cultures or otherwise propagated.
Anything with larger juice segments, any sort of colour, lack of thorns, thin smooth skin or any other characteristics that make them suitable for human interaction has been bred into them.
So starting from seed will loose most if not all of the benefits including disease resistance.
The original variety took up to 15yrs to fruit. But by crossing with other varieties, then cloning or taking cuttings and grafting onto good rootstock, the fruiting maturity was reduced to zero years.
All the pink varieties or those with larger juice eggs inside have been fiddled with a lot.

Matt Kurla, I wouldn't waste my time growing from seed because you are most likely to get some horrendously thorny, ad-hoc fruiting plant that takes 10 or more years to fruit of you grow from seed. Whereas you can have a beaut pink larger prolific fruiting variety that is disease resistant for $40. Sounds like a lot of money and is but it's what you are paying for that counts.

Mary Playford, you would need to check your local mail order plant specialist or fruit tree nursery to see what they have in stock. Limes species carry lots of diseases in their natural form and require dedicated root stock, so I think South Africa would have strict quarantine on fruit trees from Australia to protect their own fruit industry. But I'm sure if you are prepared to pay the price you will be able to find a nice type for backyard growing. Don't be tempted to grow from seed as the disappointment would outweigh few small fruit you got.
 
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Gaz

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I’ve only got one finger lime. Small at the moment, but produced one lime this season. Hopefully I’ll get more next year, yummy in a G&T.
 

ClissAT

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Sorry Mary, I'm struggling with unsuitable glasses today.

I have a native fingerlime that's goodness who knows how old that I discovered out in the horse paddock. I check the rotten thorny thing annually for fruit and maybe get one or two small dryish fruit.
But I will buy some good ones from the supermarket as they keep for months.
I squeeze them onto salads. Having those little pearls of juice bursting my mouth is so refreshing.
 
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Sabot

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I am adding more fingerlimes to my collection but it's been a bit of an up and down experience thus far.

Some have grown nicely since my original post and others are struggling considerably with leaf drop and the occasional bit of dieback.
I think I may be over watering thought I have found Seasol can accelerate a bit of new purple growth in the right conditions.

I'll share some pictures tomorrow when there is more light.
 

Sabot

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Jan 14, 2020
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I am adding more fingerlimes to my collection but it's been a bit of an up and down experience thus far.

Some have grown nicely since my original post and others are struggling considerably with leaf drop and the occasional bit of dieback.
I think I may be over watering thought I have found Seasol can accelerate a bit of new purple growth in the right conditions.

I'll share some pictures tomorrow when there is more light.
As promised:

These are some who have been having a tough time of it, most of the others have been going fairly well.
 

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DivingTemptress

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I was told that in its native habitat, the finger lime is an understory tree. So I let mine get good morning sun, then shade until an hour before sunset when it gets full sun again .... the key is even watering, but not too much, and give it more dappled light which might be difficult around your fence line until they are more mature.

As to the pot, I am in the US and 200 mm gives me no concept as to size sorry although by the looks of the pics that is plenty of soil. These trees are such slow growers, you could keep them in that pot for many years. They are very wind sensitive and somewhat cold sensitive here on our root stock, so I bring it the finger limes inside when we have a storm or cold weather.

Good luck and Happy Gardening,
P J, the Dirt Diva
 

Sabot

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Jan 14, 2020
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I was told that in its native habitat, the finger lime is an understory tree. So I let mine get good morning sun, then shade until an hour before sunset when it gets full sun again .... the key is even watering, but not too much, and give it more dappled light which might be difficult around your fence line until they are more mature.

As to the pot, I am in the US and 200 mm gives me no concept as to size sorry although by the looks of the pics that is plenty of soil. These trees are such slow growers, you could keep them in that pot for many years. They are very wind sensitive and somewhat cold sensitive here on our root stock, so I bring it the finger limes inside when we have a storm or cold weather.

Good luck and Happy Gardening,
P J, the Dirt Diva
Everything seems to be going well except the Pink Ice, there was some minor leaf drop on the others but this is resolving now.
They are all planted in the same mixture as explained above and they are all in the same protected area of the back yard.

It's just odd that the two biggest ones I bought seem to be struggling the most.
 
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