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How to Care for a Mangosteen Plant

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a tropical fruit tree from Malaysia that produces an interesting fruit, which contains nutrients and antioxidants that might be beneficial for the heart, arthritis and other ailments. Two main types of mangosteens exist: purple and yellow. Purple mangosteens are very slow-growing and do not produce fruit until they are about 10 years old. However, yellow mangosteens grow faster and are easier to grow. If you can find seeds or a young plant of the yellow variety, you will be more likely to see fruit within just a few years of planting a mangosteen tree. If you live below 5,000 feet in elevation where winter temperatures never dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can grow mangosteen.

Prepare your planting area a few weeks before you plan to plant your mangosteen tree. Choose a shady area with rich, well-draining soil that has a slightly acidic pH.

Dig a hole about 2 feet deep by 2 feet around and then fill it with topsoil, chicken manure and compost. Then allow it to sit for up to four weeks and then plant your young tree.

Provide shade for your mangosteen tree for its first 2-3 years in the ground. You can accomplish this by building a simple A-frame that you cover with 50 percent shade cloth. You could also plant your tree near another tree that will shade it and then remove the other tree when your mangosteen is larger.

Spread mulch under your tree in order to provide nutrition, control weeds and help keep the soil moist.

Water your tree well two or three times each week. Check the soil moisture to make sure it is draining well and not making your tree live in constantly soggy soil.

Fertilize your mangosteen every three to four months with a diluted solution of balanced plant food, such as one having an N-P-K ratio of 16-16-16 or an organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion. Continue with this regimen until your tree is three years old, and then fertilize only once or twice each year.

Control insect pests such as thrips as soon as you see them. Insect pests and diseases of mangosteen are not common. You can control diseases such as blight and stem canker by providing sun protection and windbreaks when trees are small. You can also control these diseases with copper oxychloride spray.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Young mangosteen tree
  • Compost
  • Shade cloth
  • Frame to support shade cloth
  • Mulch of grass clippings
  • Chicken manure or pellets
  • Balanced fertilizer

Tips

  • You can start mangosteen from seed: plant seeds about ½ inch deep in moist peat moss in nursery pots. Expect germination within 2-3 weeks. Be sure to provide young seedlings with 50 to 75 percent shade for their first 3-4 years of life.
  • After 6-8 years, your mangosteen should begin producing 100 to 200 fruits each year. Older trees will produce up to 500 or 1,000 fruits.
  • In tropical areas such as Puerto Rico, mangosteen produces fruit from July until December.

About the Author

 

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.