Limequat tree: care, varieties & uses


Having studied organic farming, I enjoy trying out new cultivation methods and other gardening experiments with friends in our community garden. I care deeply about exploring sustainable and mindful approaches to working with nature. This is my biggest passion, but I am also a real ornamental plant enthusiast!

Favourite fruit: strawberry, mango, guava
Favourite vegetables: artichoke, tomato, rocket

With its decorative fruits and delicious bitter-sweet taste, the limequat brings a touch of the Mediterranean to our gardens and kitchens.

Yellow limequats growing on tree
Limequats are a cross between limes and kumquats, as it is quite easy to see [Photo: nnattalli/]

As its botanical name suggests, the limequat (Citrus × floridana) originates in Florida. The botanist W. T. Swingle pollinated the lime (Citrus × aurantiifolia) flower with kumquat (Fortunella margarita) pollen in 1909, resulting in the limequat.

Limequat: origin and characteristics

Since the limequat has the cold-tolerant genes of the kumquat, it can also be cultivated in subtropical regions, unlike the lime. The main cultivation areas are the southern regions of the US, Israel, Italy, Spain and South Africa. A limequat bush or tree can grow to be decades old and reaches a maximum height of 2.5 m. Limequat trees have rich green, glossy leaves all year round and form pointed thorns at the leaf axils, where the leaf meets the stem. The small, white flowers are intensely fragrant and, if well cared for, a limequat tree will constantly bear a variety of decorative fruits. The fruits are yellow, about 5 cm long and 3 cm wide, containing juicy insides with small seeds divided into segments.

A small white limequat flower on thorny stem
The small, white flowers of the limequat are beautiful to look at and give off a sweet scent [Photo: Ivan Semenovych/]

Tip: Limequats are self-pollinating and do not rely on other plants for pollination and fruit formation. However, insect pollination is still possible and insects are often found on its flowers.

The best varieties

Several limequat varieties have been bred in Florida, all named after cities in the state.

  • Citrus x floridana ‘Eustis’: A cross between a lime and the round shape of the kumquat. This variety is the most widespread. The fruits are comparatively full of seeds.
  • Citrus x floridiana ‘Lakeland’: A cross between a lime and the round shape of the kumquat. The fruits are larger than those of the variety ‘Eustis’ and have fewer seeds.
  • Citrus x floridiana ‘Tavares’: A cross between a lime and the oval shape of the kumquat. This variety forms elongated fruits with an orange skin.
Bright orange limequat with green leaves
Limequats were bred from small orange kumquats and limes [Photo: nnattalli/]

Planting and repotting limequats

Although limequats are one of the more robust citrus fruits, they are not entirely winter hardy. A healthy limequat can cope with temperatures between -3 and -5 °C. Cultivating limequats in pots allows you to move your plant from place to place and ensure successful growth. Place limequats outside during the summer in a wind protected spot to take full advantage of the sunlight whilst reducing the risk of pests.

Tip: Frequent changes of location and turning can stress limequats, which may result in the plants dropping leaves.

Repotting limequat trees

Repotting is only necessary when the soil is completely filled with fine roots and should be done in spring between March and July. Citrus plants are sensitive to repotting, so use a high quality and structurally stable soil that lasts a long time. We recommend a well-draining soil with plenty of permeable materials such as lava pebbles, expanded clay or gravel. Some specially adapted citrus soils meet these requirements. Alternatively, a high-quality potting soil, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost, is suitable. This soil contains all the nutrients essential for plant growth and its organic matter content promotes healthy root development. Mix the soil with 30% coarse materials to achieve good permeability and drainage. Finally, cover the pot surface with mulch to prevent fungus infestations and to reduce water evaporation from the soil.

Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
  • For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition
Green limequats growing off evergreen branch
Limequats are best cultivated in pots [Photo: Yanawut.S/]

Summary: Repotting limequats

Planting or repotting a limequat is quick and easy. Here is a brief overview of what you should pay attention to:

  • Repot as infrequently as possible
  • Repot between March and July
  • Choose a pot that is 5-10 cm larger
  • Use a well-drained soil with at least 30% coarse material
  • Cover the surface of the pot with mulch
  • Then water well

Sowing limequats

Limequats are relatively easy to grow from seed. To do this, remove the seed from the pulp and clean it. After soaking it in water for a few days, you can germinate the seed in damp kitchen paper or under a very thin layer of damp soil. After germination and the formation of the second pair of leaves, place the limequat in a bright spot out of constant direct sunlight at around 20 to 25 °C. The following spring, you can cut back the young plant for the first time to encourage further branching. Then it is also time to transplant the limequat into new soil. During the summer months, place the citrus limequat outdoors in unfiltered sunlight.

Limequat tree care

With a few regular care measures, a limequat tree will remain robust, healthy and beautiful:

  • Water well: Limequats have a high water requirement, so avoid letting the soil dry out. Due to their high calcium requirement, water your limequats with tap water.
  • Regular pruning: Prune limequats regularly to maintain a compact growth. In the summer months, cut back unfavourable, unwanted young shoots. For a compact, branched crown, simply shorten the shoot tips at any time of year. Cut a few millimetres above the buds that emerge. Larger cuts on older wood are better made in late winter.
Pruning limequat leaves
Regular pruning keeps the little tree in shape [Photo: Supaleka_P/]
  • Repotting: If necessary, repot the limequat in spring.
  • Fertilise regularly: Limequat plants have a high potassium requirement, so they need regular fertilising with a plant food which satisfies all the citrus limequat’s requirements. It is best to use a plant-based flower fertiliser such as our Plantura Flower Food. Apply this fertiliser annually in spring under the mulch around the roots and water well. Eight grams per litre of pot volume is sufficient. The flower fertiliser releases nutrients slowly throughout the growing season, so you don’t have to worry about fertilising all year round. If your limequat is showing yellow leaves with green leaf veins or is struggling with an acute nutrient deficiency, we recommend applying our Plantura Liquid Citrus Food. It contains plenty of readily available iron to quickly remedy the deficiency.
Liquid Citrus Food, 800ml
Liquid Citrus Food, 800ml
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  • Perfect for all citrus plants & Mediterranean plants
  • Liquid fertiliser for healthy plants & aromatic fruit
  • Quick & easy application - child & pet friendly

Limequat overwintering 

Although limequats have the genes of the cold-tolerant kumquat, they can only tolerate short-term frost in temperatures no lower than between -3 to -5 °C. So, it is best to overwinter your limequat tree in a bright, cool place with temperatures between 1 and 12 °C. The brighter the place, the higher the temperature may be for the winter hibernation.

Note: Regular watering is also necessary during the winter period, because it is important that the soil of a limequat should never dry out.

Limequat cheesecake with citrus fruit segments
Limequats have a wide range of uses in the kitchen [Photo: NoirChocolate/]

Are limequats edible? 

The simple answer is yes, you can eat limequats. The citrus limequat fruit is best eaten whole and with the skin. The aromatic fruits are juicy, sour and packed with vitamin C. The thin, yellow skin tastes sweet when ripe and should definitely be eaten with the fruit. A limequat tree bears fruit all year round, which ripen gradually, turning from green to yellow. Similar to lemons, the best time to eat them is when the skin gives slightly when pressed, but is not too soft. In the kitchen, you can use limequats as you would lemons or limes.

Glass of mojito with limequat slice
Limequats can be enjoyed in many ways and are wonderfully refreshing in summer [Photo: Liliya Kandrashevich/]
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