A tropical evergreen that grows 20 to 100 feet tall, with glossy 5- to 10-inch leaves, the clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum) only blooms dependably where temperatures seldom drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It should thrive in humid parts of Puerto Rico and Hawaii, in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 11 and 12. Plant it in a sheltered, partially shaded site with rich, well-draining soil, at least 20 feet from other trees. You can dry the self-pollinating tree’s pinkish-white flowers before they open to produce whole cloves.
Things You'll Need
- Watering can or hose
- Rock phosphate
- Muriate of potash
- Epsom salts
- Newspapers or trays
Water your clove tree often enough so it gets at least 3 inches of water per month. It will do best with 5 to 8 inches per month.
Mix 2 parts urea, 2 parts rock phosphate, 3 parts muriate of potash and 2/3 part Epsom salts to make your own high-potash fertilizer. Give the tree 4 ounces of the mix per feeding its first year, 9 ounces per feeding its second year, and 13 ounces per feeding its third year, working up gradually to 44 ounces per feeding when the tree is 10 years old or older. Fertilize the tree twice a year, in May and September, by lightly working the fertilizer into the soil under the tree's canopy and watering it in.
Break off the unopened flower buds -- with sepals and calyxes attached -- when they are 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and have just begun to turn from pale pink to a darker reddish-pink. Spread the buds on newspapers or trays and put them in the sun for five days to dry, turning them frequently and protecting them from rain.
- Purdue University: Cloves
- University of Connecticut: Syzygium Aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M.Perry
- Top Tropicals: Syzygium Aromaticum
- World Agroforesty Organization: Syzygium Aromaticum
- Mother Earth Living: Herb to Know: Clove
- Ecocrop: Eugenia Aromatica
- Sri Lanka Department of Export Agriculture: Cloves
- Webindia123: Clove
- Garden Drum: How to Grow Cloves
- The Plant Book; Susan Page and Margaret Olds
- Photo Credit dwiputrirats/iStock/Getty Images
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