Gardener adds a twist -- of lime

Staff writer

In August, plant lover Lenore Dieter of Marion is looking forward to making margaritas with a home grown twist, using fruit from her own lime trees.

“I have two trees; one is indoors in a pot and one is outside in my perennial bed,” Dieter said. “They’re not huge but the one inside has three limes on it.”

One lime is the size of a golf ball and the other two are comparable to large marbles.

County extension agent Rickey Roberts said the only way he knows to grow citrus in Kansas is to shield them from hard freezes in winter by keeping them inside, and that is exactly what Dieter does.

“My trees are about five years old,” Dieter said. “I don’t have the heart to leave them out. They wouldn’t have lived through the winter.”

Other than bringing both trees inside during winter, she makes sure the trees have enough water, sunlight, and large pots with adequate soil and space for the roots to grow.

“One lime tree sits in our west picture window with my other plants,” she said. “I close the blinds if it gets to hot and they can still get filtered sunlight.”

She said her house is ideal for growing plants because it has many windows.

“I’m a plant lover,” she said. “I see plants I think ‘oh I’d like to try that’ if I see something I like.”

She was inspired to try her green thumb at limes because her sister who lives in Denver, grew a lime tree indoors that is now 20 years old.

“It’s huge,” Dieter said. “She keeps it next to a sliding door so she can slide it indoors and out.”

Other plants Dieter keeps in her garden room and throughout her house include African violets, a Norfolk pine tree, orchids, and peace lilies. Outside she keeps hibiscus, a Mandeville vine, and rose bushes.

Her husband, Jerry Dieter, also grows vegetables.

“Plants respond to regular care,” Dieter said. “I just don’t neglect them, and I would say if you want to grow limes you have to start early. They take a long time. My sister was surprised to hear I already had limes growing.”

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