How to Grow and Care for Australian Finger Lime Trees

The Australian finger lime also known as caviar lime is a rare gourmet fruit native to Austrailia. It is shaped like a cucumber and bares a slight external resemblance, but is not related to curcubits. Botanists place it in the genus Microcitrus, a primitive plant genus related to Citrus.

The trees they grow on range anywhere from 5 to 15 feet in height. It produces white flowers in spring that develop prolifically into the finger lime. The fruits are 1.5 to a tad over 3 inches long and slightly curved.

Coloring varies, most are greenish but some are varying shades of pinks and reds. Early European settlers to Australia relished the fruit, some cultivated the trees and most left the trees to grow as a food source when clearing land.

The fruit contains globular berry like juice vesicles called ‘pearls’, similar to pomegranite without the large cumbersome seeds. They are juicy, tangy and frothy similar to true limes but not so sour where it makes you pucker up.

Close up on the juice vesicles or "pearls" of an Australian finger lime fruit.

In addition to fresh eating, they are used in various recipes as well as preserves and pickles.

In its native Australia it is hindered by the same pests as citrus trees, caterpillars, worms, scale insects and sap suckers.

Currently, it has seen only limited cultivation and is prized primarily as a bush food. Several hybrids have been developed by crossing the finger lime with closely related citrus species.

Leave it outside only in a frost free areas, otherwise it can be potted and tranported in and out with the seasons. It doesn’t require a tropical region, just a frost free one for outdoor growth. They have been grown quite successfully indoors.

Optimal Temperature Range 55 to 85 F. Greenhouse or indoor temperatures around 65F have proven to support vigrous growth so long as other environmenta conditions are met.

Keep soil moist, but not saturated. Watering frequency will depend of the rate of evaporation and transpiration which of course varies depending climatic conditions. So basically – keep the soil moist, not soaked.

Light: Full Sun. If grown indoors avoid grow lights that generate excessive heat.

Ferilizer: They are heavy feeders so monthly applications of a balanced NPK liquid fertilizer during the active growth months is advisable for healthy growth and fruit production. Durring the dormant season light applications every other month will suffice. An acidic fertilizer would also be beneficial.