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Key Lime Trees

Q.My Young Key Lime Plant Is Losing Its Green Leaves Like Crazy.

Zone 60018 | Key_lime added on October 28, 2020 | Answered

I brought in my lime tree in September before the cold weather started to hit us. I live in Illinois. My plant however has been losing leaves since then. I had a full spectrum LED light for it, but recently change to just a blue Led light and red heat lamp. I’ve recently re-potted to a terra-cotta pot. I’ve been using cactus/succulent soil mix from miracle-grow, using distilled water. I spray the leaves with a small mixture of epsom salt since I noticed a few Of the leaves where turning yellow along the vein part of the leaf. Added a liquid fertilizer 2-2-2 along with a dry fertilizer 6-3-3 ratio. I also have 2 meters to watch when the soil needs water. I also added 2 broken egg shells and some coffee grounds. All of this since the beginning of September when I noticed the leaves falling. Not sure what I’ve been doing wrong since the leaves continue to fall off.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on October 28, 2020

There are several things, here.

First, you should put it back into full spectrum lighting. This will help prevent some of the leaf loss that will happen while indoors. You will notice, without the rest of the light spectrum, the leaves will continue to fall off at a rapid pace.

Fertilization should be done with a citrus fertilizer to ensure that the proper ratios are met. Improper fertilization will lead to further leaf drop.

Now, there are two main reasons for citrus to drop their leaves indoors. The first is lack of light.

They need about 200 true watts of light (NOT equivalency). Lack of light will be the primary cause for leaf drop. Personally, I have a 315 watt Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) that will light a 4x4 foot area comfortably. My citrus reside, happily, in the high intensity light that it provides. Light of this quality and intensity will grant you fruit in the future. You may even find that the conditions provided by the light will be more favorable than what the sun does outdoors during the summer. (None of my trees ever go outdoors)


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