The first year I had my kaffir lime tree, I ran into all sorts of problems. Problems like yellow leaves, root rot, and fruits dropping off. It took some time and testing to really understand why these things were happening, especially when it came to the tree not fruiting properly.
If your kaffir lime tree isn’t fruiting, it could be from several factors. Most commonly, it’s from a lack of sunlight, fertilizer, drainage, or that the tree is still a seedling and not mature yet.
While these sound like simple fixes, there are a few more details to consider to really get to the bottom of the issue.
Not fruiting due to lack of sunlight
If your kaffir lime isn’t developing any fruit, there’s a chance that it’s from the amount of sunlight it’s getting.
Kaffir lime trees prefer full sun and don’t do well with frost. If your zone does get frost, then moving the plant indoors during the winter is probably a good idea.
A lack of sunlight can also cause yellowing and dropping leaves.
However, if your tree is getting 8+ hours of sunlight, and is still having issues with fruiting, then you may want to explore other potential causes.
Lack of fertilizer
Like most citrus, kaffir lime trees require more fertilizer than other plants on your homestead. This is because high fruit production takes more nutrients to flower and develop.
Fertilizers high nitrogen and phosphorus work well by promoting plant and fruit growth. While those two main nutrients are good to focus on, other nutrients like iron, zinc, and manganese can benefit the plant as well.
If you’ve provided fertilizer to your kaffir lime tree at least once this year, but are still seeing issues with fruit not developing, then it might be a good idea to try testing the soil.
To help you find a quality fertilizer for your tree, check out this guide I put together that break down all the information you need along with two of my favorite citrus fertilizers that I use.
The soil isn’t draining
Even though I was growing my kaffir lime tree in an appropriately-sized container on my homestead, I quickly found it had a draining issue.
The small fruits were falling off and the soil was staying wet for far too long. Sure enough, when I dug down I could smell stagnant water.
After planting the tree in the ground, it quickly recovered.
If you find your soil isn’t draining or has collapsed, then repotting or planting it will likely be the best way to go.
Even if you may not have this issue, it could be worth it to check how well your kaffir lime tree’s soil is draining.
One issue that’s not considered often is over-pruning.
If you’ve been pruning regularly, there’s a chance you might be cutting off the branches that have early blossoms. When these branches are cut, it prevents the tree from developing fruit until the next season.
However, over-pruning being the cause of poor fruit production is less likely than the rest on this list, especially if you don’t prune your tree much.
If you’d like to take a look at a kaffir lime tree that has an amazing pruning job, check out this video by Rainbow Gardens.
The kaffir lime tree is a seedling and can’t produce yet
One of the most common reasons why your kaffir lime tree isn’t producing fruit is because it’s still a seedling.
Many fruiting plants, including citrus, can take several years for it to get used to the environment and fruit regularly.
Even so, many citrus plants are grown from seed and never fruit. Because of this, it’s often best to buy a tree that has been grafted.
Buying a kaffir lime tree that has been grafted can help it mature and fruit consistently and quicker than most trees grown from seed.
Yellowing or dropping leaves on a kaffir lime tree
If your kaffir lime tree has yellow leaves or is dropping them, it may be worth looking into a quality fertilizer. You can fertilize your tree in the early spring and summer. To fertilize, apply a fresh layer once or twice during each of these seasons.
Fertilizers for kaffir lime trees
The best fertilizer for kaffir limes includes a high nitrogen ratio, with other minerals such as iron, zinc, and manganese. An NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio of 2-1-1 works well for overall plant growth or 2-2-1 for plant and fruit growth.