Finger limes are often referred to as citrus caviar due to the delicate “crystals” of pulp contained within the fruit. They are a small leafed, spiny native citrus with insignificant flowers, that do not have the usual beautiful citrus perfume.
So why would you want to grow them?
Several years ago I tasted native finger lime on some oysters and was utterly entranced by the fresh, crisp, effervescent sensation that happened when I tasted the pulp.
Having then seen the outrageous prices being asked for the fruit in the shops, I was keen to try and grow one, so when I saw plants for sale two years ago, I purchased one.
I didn’t really know anything about them, so I did some research and found that the native lime occurs naturally in subtropical to tropical areas of Australia, so I did not attempt to grow it in the ground in the Southern Highlands as it would have been too cold for it to survive well. I did, however, pot it up into a 40cm x 40cm pot and used the best quality potting mix I could find.
This allows me to put it into a warm spot (glass house) in winter. But for anyone on the east coast, a warm sunny north facing protected area would be fine during the colder months.
In late spring I move it into the garden where it gets full sun. I water it regularly and fertilise it with Powerfeed ever couple of weeks. I tip prune it whenever it puts on new growth to keep it nice and compact. I intend to repot it into a slightly larger container next autumn after harvesting the fruit.
So far it has not been troubled by any pets or diseases.
It flowered prolifically last spring and in autumn I had about 6 small 8cm long brownish fruit that contained pale pink flesh.
The pulp was delicious and we used the small amount we had as a garnish on oysters, in both sparkling mineral water and champagne to add and citrusy bite and added it to salads to add texture and that lovely citrus taste.
The finger lime is flowing again at the moment and I am looking forward to harvesting fruit again next autumn.
So if you see one for sale, have a go at growing one. They are easy to grow, relatively simple to maintain and will give you a lovely and interesting addition to your annual harvest.
If you do decide to give a Finger Lime a go, I want to know about it! You can post a picture or review on my Facebook page, or show me a pic over on Pinterest.