Repotting lemon trees

How to Repot Lime Trees; An easy guide on repotting limesHow to Repot Lime Trees; An easy guide on repotting limes

How do you repot lime trees? Repotting is a vital part of lime tree care because lime tree roots grow voraciously and will out-grow the pot your lime is planted.

While root development is excellent for lime trees, it also means that the overdeveloped root system will outgrow the pot in which it is currently growing.

Now you can’t see lime tree roots, but luckily, lime trees will often give off specific signals when you need to repot. If you can manage to carry the pot and turn it over, it is time to repot when you see roots growing through the drainage holes.

Why you need to repot lime trees

When to repot
You know that it is time to repot a lime tree when the tree begins to die

Citrus trees perform best when there is room in the pot for root development and expansion. However, the container shouldn’t be so large because the plant will focus on root development at the expense of shoot and even fruit development.

As time goes by, after being in the same pot for a while, the roots may become constricted, which you can tell by warning signs like nutrient deficiencies and leaf drop. The general rule of thumb is that you ought to repot every 2 years up to about age 7.

When should you repot a lime tree?

It is best to repot right before the active growth phase in the spring. If you are going to grow a tree from a nursery, you must repot because the initial pot is insufficient.

It is imperative to let the tree acclimate to the environment over a couple of weeks then transplant it into a more suitable pot size to avoid shocking the plant.

The change in conditions from the nursery to your home is enough to stress the plant. If you add repotting straight away, the shock will cause foliage loss or even death of the tree.

How to repot lime trees

How to repot a lime tree

Repotting lime trees is necessary for healthy growth because if you skip this best practice, you may end up with a dead plant. Therefore, a farmer needs to buy pots in bulk to save on costs because bulk buying is cost-effective.

If you repot in time, you can reuse the pot for younger trees because if you wait too long to repot, the roots tend to crack the growing container open in a bid to get more space for themselves.

Repotting not only serves the farmer but the plant as well. Read on to find out how you can repot your lime tree successfully.

Steps in repotting lime trees

1. Select the right pot

The first step to repotting is selecting the right pot. The suitable container depends on the age and size of the tree.


  • 2-3-year-old trees, use a 5-gallon pot
  • 4-5-year-old trees, use a 10-gallon pot
  • 6-7-year-old trees, use a 15-20 gallon pot.
  • For trees over 7, use a whiskey barrel.

The qualities of a good pot for repotting lime trees

The best growing pot to pick is;

  • Has drainage holes
  • Is higher than its wide
  • For repotting, it should be at least twice the diameter of the container that you are replacing.
  • The best pots are plastic and metallic because they don’t lose as much water as wooden or clay pots. Besides, plastic is lightweight and advantageous, particularly during the periods of transfer inside ahead of winter and back out in early spring.
  • The best growing pots are black, which absorbs heat. Remember, limes don’t like cold feet because cold roots work slowly. 

The best growing pot that you select should be of the right size and have the best performance qualities, as elaborated above.

2. Prep the potting mix

You can buy a citrus potting mix or make your own. The majority of seasoned farmers make their potting mix. 

You can make your potting mix by using 20% garden soil and 80% compost mixture. You could also make another mix using sphagnum peat moss, vermiculite, bark, and bark chips.

3. Add the fertilized potting soil to the selected growing pot.

The key to repotting is to ensure that the new pot’s soil level stays as it was previously. If the original soil level is lower than before, you could expose roots that will die, and also, if the new soil level is higher than it was, you could choke the tree. Both extremes are undesirable, so you need to keep the previous level.

Before you extract the rootball from the old pot, you need to fill the pot’s bottom with soil. You need to add soil until the soil height is enough to keep the rootball at the same soil level it was, even in the new container.

4. Remove the root ball from the old container.

Lime tree care
Lime tree rootball after removing it from the pot

After preparing a soil platform in the new pot, tilt the old pot at an angle and hold onto the stem, wiggle the root ball out. 

It would be best if you were very gentle at this step to avoid damaging the roots. If the container is old and unreusable, you can break the sides off and carefully remove the root ball from the bottom. 

It is good to prune off some root tips to encourage new root growth in the growing container.

5. Plant the root ball

Lift the plant by the stem and into the pot you prepared. To the best of your ability, try to center the plant.

6. Backfill

Backfill the sides of the container with potting soil tamping down to eliminate air bubbles.

Fill the container with soil but leave about 2 inches height for watering. If you fill the potting mix to the brim, the water will run off and not penetrate to the root zone when you water.

7. Water generously


It is essential to water slowly and generously enough to wet the soil to the root zone. It is vital to keep the plant in a shady area for about a week after repotting to reduce plant stress.


What kind of soil do lime trees prefer?

Limes prefer fertilized sandy and well-draining soils. You can improve your potting mix drainage by adding perlite to the earth before planting the lime.

Do lime trees need acidic soil?

Lime trees like slightly acidic soil because slightly low pH makes absorption of nutrients easier to absorb into the plant roots. However, highly acidic soil can also inhibit lime tree growth; it is crucial therefore to balance the pH between 5.5-6.5

Can you repot a plant when it’s flowering?

If you must replant a potted plant when it’s flowering, go-ahead, and repot but be ready to lose some blossoms due to shock. The best you can do is water adequately.

Final thoughts

As a farmer, you need to repot your lime tree periodically for healthy growth.  Use the guide above to repot your tree. 

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