Clusia rosea is also called the autograph tree for its thick, fleshy leaves on which some people like to carve their names. It is native to the West Indies, but is classified as an invasive species in Hawaii. It is tolerant of salt, wind and drought, so it’s an easy-care plant in coastal areas that have fairly warm winters. It is recommended that you purchase a young tree; it is easy to transplant it to your garden or into a large container if you live in an area that receives frost.
Purchase a tree at your nursery because it will have been trained to one main branch.
Prepare a planting area by digging compost into a hole slightly larger than your tree’s root ball. The clusia does well in most soil types, although it thrives in moist soil.
Remove your young tree from its nursery pot and gently loosen the roots from the soil.
Set the tree into the hole you prepared or into a large container in which you have laid a layer of standard potting soil.
Fill your planting hole or container with soil and then tamp the soil firmly around the trunk. Water it well and keep it moist.
Things You Will Need
- Location with partial or full sun
- Large container with drainage hole (optional)
- Potting soil (optional for containers)
- Trees you harvest from the wild normally have more than one main truck, which will prevent you from being able to sit or walk underneath it when it grows large.
- This tree can be affected by scale insects, but is rarely bothered by fungal diseases.
- It makes a nice shade tree, so it is often planted on or near a deck. It’s a popular tree for parking lot areas.
- The clusia rosea is sensitive to cold temperatures and frost, so if you do not live in a subtropical area, grow your tree in a container that you can bring indoors in fall.
- The University of Hawaii recommends that you do not grow this tree because it starts life as an epiphyte on native trees such as the ‘ohia, which eventually causes their death.