One of the main cooking ingredients in Asian dishes, The Kaffir or Thai lime, Citrus hystrixand makes an attractive plant with its fragrant, glossy green leaves and powerfully perfumed blooms.
Picking the leaves every few weeks may help encourage growth and crushing the leaves will release the fragrant oils and an intense citrus aroma. The leaves can be used fresh off the tree, dried or even frozen to retain their intensity.
Naturally compact, the Kaffir lime tree is a little smaller than other citrus plants, reaching just 150cm (5ft) tall with a bushier top, but is easily kept as a small plant for continual harvesting of leaves. Mature plants may also produce fruits, which are little knobbly powerhouses of flavour as the Kaffir lime peel is loaded with fragrant citrus oil, which gives a pleasant tingle when eaten.
Easy to grow, they just require a slightly higher winter temperature than another citrus, ideally above 12ºC (54ºF). During the summer, plants benefit from spending time outside in a well-draining container on your patio, decking or balcony, and then brought back under cover before the first frosts of winter. Alternatively, you can grow the Kaffir lime in a well-lit conservatory, a bright room, or a heated greenhouse.
Supplied in a 12cm pot. It flowers from May to August, but both blooms and fruit (when produced) can be on the tree at any time of the year.