The Kaffir lime tree is valued in Asian cuisine for its leaves. The leaves are highly aromatic, imparting a citrus flavor to soups and sauces. The fruit are small, with a bumpy texture and slightly bitter in flavor. The tree can be propagated by seeds or by cuttings.
Preparing the Rooting Medium
Fill a small pot with moist sand or potting soil to receive the cutting. The soil should be thoroughly moist, but not soggy. Poke a hole in the soil with a pencil or a small twig.
Taking the Cutting
Choose a stem tip for cutting in the late spring or early summer. The stem should be approximately 4 inches in length and contain no flowers or fruit. Remove all but the upper two or three leaves. Dip the cut end of the stem into rooting medium and place it into the hole you created in the potting soil, burying at least half of the stem. Firm the soil around the cutting.
Caring for the Cutting
The key to successfully rooting the cutting is humidity. Since the plant has no roots, it can easily dry out. Keep the soil and the air around the cutting moist. The easiest way to do this is to cover the plant and pot with a clear plastic bag. Place the pot in shade or indirect sunlight. If the plant gets hot under the plastic, cut a few slits in the plastic for ventilation. Check the moisture levels every few days and water the soil as needed to keep it moist.
It takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks to develop the roots enough to transplant the plant into the garden. Give the plant a gentle tug. Well-developed roots will hold the plant in the soil.
Harden the plant off by placing it in the sun for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the time outdoors. Once the plant is able to stay outdoors all day, it is safe to plant it in the garden.
Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.