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How to Grow Boswellia

By Sarah Morse ; Updated September 21, 2017

Boswellia, also called the Frankincense tree, originated in Somalia and grows up to 25 feet tall. Its resin, which you can harvest from the tree in dry periods, is used in perfumes and incense as well as homeopathic remedies for illnesses such as asthma. This tree cannot withstand frost, so your best bet is to plant it indoors in most areas of the United States. Seeds and plants are rare and expensive to buy, even on the Internet, but the plant grows well from cuttings.

Obtain stem or root cuttings from an existing Boswellia plant. Look for sprouts coming from roots at the base of the plant and detach those roots from the plant, as these are the samples that will grow best. Otherwise, measure 6 to 8 inches from the tip of a healthy stem and make a diagonal cut for a stem cutting. You can also purchase these on the Internet.

Fill pots with pure pumice to root the Boswellia cuttings. Plant rooted cuttings at the same height as they were in the original pot. Plant stem cuttings about one-third of their lengths into the soil. Tamp down firmly around the plant for extra support.

Place the planted cuttings indoors in a warm area with filtered light. Water directly after planting. Keep the cuttings just moist enough so that they do not dry out.

Move the Boswellia cuttings to full sun when they start to grow on their own. They grow best in temperatures around 80 degrees F. Boswellia grows slowly, especially if it resides in cooler weather. If grown outdoors, the seedling can withstand temperatures down to 40 degrees F.

Water sparingly during the growing season, only enough to prevent the plant from drying out completely. Watering once a week will keep the plant healthy in most cases. Do not water during the dormant season in winter.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Boswellia cuttings
  • Pots
  • Pumice
  • Water

Tips

  • You can also plant seeds to grow this tree, but they have a less than 10 percent germination rate.
  • This tree is succulent so it can withstand drought.

About the Author

 

Sarah Morse has been a writer since 2009, covering environmental topics, gardening and technology. She holds a bachelor's degree in English language and literature, a master's degree in English and a master's degree in information science.