Update on Finger Limes in Florida

Josh McGill Limes, Research, Varieties

The Australian finger lime has created a buzz among chefs and mixologists for its caviar-like texture and flavorful pulp. The fruit also has captured interest among growers for its seemingly high tolerance to HLB.

On March 23, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) hosted a half-day online symposium on finger limes to provide growers with an in-depth look at the fruit and its potential in Florida.

A take-home message from the symposium was there’s still much to learn about the marketability and profitability of the small fruit, which often is shaped like a finger. In California, where there is a small commercial industry producing the fruit, growers struggle with figuring out how to make money from it.

Finger Limes in Florida

Shanley Farms, based in California, is one of the larger finger lime growers. Owner Jim Shanley said his prospects for profitability are not high given the intensive labor requirements. Finger limes are very thorny, presenting challenges at harvest. 

However, Shanley noted, Florida could “kick our butts,” referring to the good growing conditions in the state. 


UF/IFAS has been evaluating finger lime varieties, two of which were released in 2021. UF SunLime and UF RedLime could provide growers with options for a niche specialty crop. Manjul Dutt, a research assistant scientist with UF/IFAS, provided an update on the new varieties. He said the varieties have grown well in Central Florida and South Florida conditions.

To emphasize just how fledgling the finger lime industry is in Florida, he said only 7 to 10 acres are estimated to be planted in the state. He noted finger limes can be grafted on standard rootstocks and grown using similar cultural practices as conventional citrus.

The most exciting prospect for these two varieties is their ability to withstand HLB. So far in field trials, SunLime has shown very small amounts of HLB in testing. RedLime has shown zero presence of HLB in testing. 


UF/IFAS is currently conducting market research to gauge demand for finger lime. Trent Blare, an agricultural economist with UF/IFAS, presented early findings that suggest consumers like the fruit, particularly as a garnish and in drinks.

A new website has been created for finger limes at AustralianLimes.ifas.ufl.edu. The full symposium will be posted there for on-demand viewing.

Share this Post

About the Author

Frank Giles


Sponsored Content