Tilia (Lime)


Limes are fast-growing deciduous trees with large, broad green leaves. Native to the UK. Suitable for parks and very large gardens. 

Family: Malvaceae
Botanical Name: Tilia
Common Names: Lime, Linden

Foliage: Deciduous, broadly ovate or heart-shaped, light green leaves.

Blossom: Hanging clusters of tiny, fragrant yellow-green flowers. Often followed by hard, pea-like winged fruits.

Flowering Period: Summer.

Soil: Moist but well-drained or well drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade, in any aspect.

Habit: Tall, bushy, fast growing.

Type: Large tree.

Origin: Europe

Hardiness: Fully hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Tilia

Plant from late autumn to winter. Limes thrive in deep fertile, alkaline to neutral soil, in full sun or semishade.

Suitable for parks and very large gardens. Easily trained as pollarded (mop-headed) specimens or as a pleached (interwoven) screen.

Taking Care of Tilia

Pruning Tilia

Prune pollarded trees and pleached hedges between October and March. Pruning is not necessary if the tree is allowed to grow naturally.

Note: Tilia pollarding is a pruning technique where branches and shoots of a young tree are removed from the crown once it reaches the desired height. This promotes new growth and prevents the tree from outgrowing its allocated space. Once a tree has been pollarded the process needs regularly repeating - usually once a year or every two years.

Pests and Diseases

Susceptible to attack by aphids, horse chestnut scale, caterpillars, sawflies and gall mites.

Can be affected by sooty mould, phytophthora root disease and honey fungus.

Propagating Tilia

Increase from seed or layer the low-lying branches of young trees. Note: germination may take two years or more.

Varieties of Tilia

Tilia cordata (small-leaved Lime) is a fine tree that grows quickly to produce an attractive feature for the larger garden. Height to 65ft (20m).

Tilia euchlora (Caucasian lime) is a good aphid-resistant variety with spreading or arching branches. Height to 40ft (12m).

Tilia × europaea (European lime, common lime) is a naturally occurring hybrid between Tilia platyphyllos and cordata. Commonly planted in avenues. Height to 80ft (25m).

Tilia tomentosa 'Petiolaris' (weeping silver lime) bears attractively pendulous branches, with dark-green white-backed leaves, which flutter gracefully in the breeze. Height to 40ft (12m).

Tilia platyphyllos (large-leaved Lime) a tall tree with large densely hairy leaves. The branches don't usually arch downwards. Height 100ft (30m) or more. Variety 'Fastigiata' has a more column-like habit. Variety 'Rubra' (red-twigged lime) grows to a large tree with semi-pendulous branches when mature. The young upright shoots are bright red in winter.