Potted Kaffir Lime Tree

I’m very fortunate to have kaffir lime leaves all year round. In the summer it is outside in my garden, and winter, it sits in my dining room.

The hourglass-shaped kaffir lime leaves are used in Lao and Thai cuisine for dishes such as Red or Massaman Curry, Haw Moke Gai, Larp (Nom Tok or Spicy Beef), and many more. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen. I like it fresh, picked right off the tree.

It has been so long that I’ve seen one planted on the ground, and I didn’t recognize it at first when I saw the kaffir lime tree whilst visiting my uncle in Ubon Thailand. This one is at the local temple, a huge tree with lots of thorns.

They also bear fruits which I’ve not seen one in a pot yet. The rind of the kaffir lime is commonly used in Lao and Thai curry paste, adding an aromatic, and astringent flavor to the dish. The juice is generally regarded as too acidic to use in food preparation, but finds use as a cleanser for clothing and hair, mainly in Thailand.

The last 3 photos are from my Laos and Thailand trip.


  1. I m going to buy the plant when I go to wat lao next time your plant looks really healthy. I also like to use it in “ork” and marinated in BBQ chicken or pork.

    • lady0fdarkness, I was surprised to see this in dried small fish snack or crispy anchovy, ingredients: anchovy, kaffir Lime leaves, shallot, red chili slices, sugar, salt and red chili powders. It was good, I need to try making this. 🙂

  2. Such a healthy tree! I am surprised the tree is doing so well indoor. It looks about the same size as my mom’s kaffir tree too.

    Last spring I tried to snip off many of the thorns, but they just keep coming back. At least it makes picking the leaves less painful. 😉

    • Cambree, it does better outdoor and I should be able to move it to the garden in April. This one my dad gave to me last year.

  3. I have 3 pots and they are triving very well, with fruits! So many this few weeks. Just used some rinds from the fruit last night to make a spiced pork ball for a garam masala curry. An experiment. But, I didn’t know you can use the juice to freshen up the clothing. I should have kept the fruits. I will save the juice next time, maybe also use for cleaning kitchen bench.

    They grow better if you trim off the tall branches. 🙂

    • Victor, thanks for the tips, I’ll prune it this spring. I might get another pot at the temple, Lao New Year is coming up in April and people would sell it at the temple. I’m surprised that they bear fruits in pot, something to look forward to. 🙂

  4. Wow beautiful tree! My mother has one and I always have to ask her to freeze some of the kaffir leaves and send it to me because I live in Boston the Asian store in China Town hardly sell South East Asian things. I wanted to make ghen naw mai I had to go to 4 different stores just to look for yanang.

    • jankobot, you should consider growing one at home. It is easy to care for, just water it once a week. I plan to get another one when I’m at a temple, they sell them there when there’s an event.

      It’s nice to have a kitchen garden at home, I’m looking forward to the summer when I don’t have to buy any herb.

  5. I love to cook with kaffir lime leaves. We used to have a tree to, but I believe my cousin came and got it since my parents don’t live here any more so now when I want some I have to run to the store to get them.

    • mozemoua, I like to use it in my curry and also shrimp/pork patties. I’m going to get another one in the summer, the only thing that I don’t like about it is the thorns. It’s a pain when I have to move it inside for the winter.

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