All about the Clusia
Clusia genus is one of the few indoor plants which have strong and thick leaves grown on horizontal branches. There are many varieties of Clusia trees, but the Autograph tree is most grown indoors.
One of the great things about a Clusia plant is that you can trim the leaves according to what you would like the shape to be. Some people prefer them to be square-shaped as it provides a wall of privacy.
The leaves are olive or dark green colored and grow to around 8 inches long. They are known for the foliage of their leaves and the fruits and flowers that grow on them during the summer. The fruits are black, with red seeds on the inside, while the flowers are white and red. However, flowers are difficult to grow indoors.
The most common plant of the Clusia genus is the Autograph tree, which earned its nickname because of the strength of the leaves. They’re sturdy enough for you to carve something on them.
Origin of a Clusia
Clusia genus is native to tropical regions in America and the Caribbean islands.
Different types of Clusia plant
There are many types of clusia. The largest is clusia rosea (Pitch Apple). There is another type known as the smaller leaf guttifera.
How to (generally) take care of the Clusia
Clusia plants are extremely low maintenance and a favorite among many to keep as indoor plants.
During the growing months, especially summer, Clusia plants have to be watered every week. Although they are tolerant to short periods of droughts, they still enjoy and flourish when regularly watered. In the winter months, however, you can decrease the watering to once every ten days.
As they prefer their soil to be moist, a mistake made by many owners of this plant is that they tend to overwater the pot. This can lead to rotting of the roots; hence a pot with good soil drainage is mandatory.
If the leaves turn brown from overwatering, cut them off to ensure the damage doesn’t spread all over the plant. A helpful tip about watering this plant is to use warm water as they won’t respond well to cold water.
Since the leaves have a tough exterior, these plants thrive in bright full sunlight. They can also tolerate lower levels of light when grown as indoor plants, but a nutritional requirement for their survival is bright sunlight.
As the Clusia plant enjoys sunlight, you can place them on a windowsill or outside on the balcony or a patio for full exposure to the sun. Moreover, the shrubs are long; hence you should place the pots a few feet away from each other to give a more spread outlook.
Temperature: The Clusia plant, like most tropical plants, can’t survive in temperatures that fall below 10°C. Hence, if you live in a usually cold place, your plant needs to stay indoors, where the temperature is around 20°C.
Another aspect to take care of is the humidity level around the plant. This plant prefers high humidity levels, which you can create by constantly misting the area around the plant with a water mist or plugging a humidifier nearby. Humidifiers can be an expensive investment; hence you can create a pebble or gravel tray.
How to create a pebble tray?
Place a tray where you want to keep your plant. Put a few pebbles or gravel on the tray and fill the tray with water until only the top layer of pebbles or gravel are dry. Place the pot on top of the pebbles. This will lead to a constant array of humidity in the environment.
Unlike other houseplants, this one doesn’t need regular fertilizers. You can fertilize it every few months using an organic fertilizer. If you want to increase the dosage, make sure you use a diluted fertilizer as overfeeding the plant can damage it.
The leaves and fruits are highly toxic for humans and pets. There’ll be an immediate reaction of diarrhea and vomiting once the sap is ingested. Although the plant isn’t sensitive to touch and easy to handle, you’ll need to wear gloves to avoid the irritation from the sap on your skin.
The Autograph tree grows extremely fast. Hence repotting is necessary; they tend to outgrow their pots quickly. All you have to do is, lift the whole ball and place it in a bigger container. During warmer seasons, you can set the new pot outside for it to enjoy the sun and get used to the new container. The advantage of a larger pot is that the water spreads all over instead of consolidating in one place.
The Clusia plant is not specific to any soil type, but they thrive in organic, sandy, and loose texture. Surprisingly, unlike most plants, they can also survive in salty soil. Furthermore, as long as your plant is healthy, it’ll prevent the growth of pests. However, if it’s not being taken care of properly, scale and thrips will infect the leaves. The solution is to use neem oil to get rid of them.
Propagating a Clusia plant
Propagating a Clusia plant is a simple task. If you don’t want to buy new seeds, all you have to do is cut a stem of your Clusia and place it in wet and warm soil. They’ll grow and solidify their roots in the new pot, and after the usual care and nourishment, they’ll flourish.