Clusia – Care Guide & Info

45 Gal - Clusia Rosea - Pitch Apple
Clusia care

The Clusia is a nice houseplant that, with the right care, can last a very long time. From infancy to a fully grown plant, she is a feast for the eyes. The Clusia branches regularly, even as a small plant, and is, therefore, an interesting houseplant to have. Her leaves are shiny, grow in pairs, and unfold after they are fully grown. On this page, you can read all about the Clusia, what other species there are and how to take care of these nice plants. She is known as an easy and strong houseplant, but there are some things you should know to take care of her optimally. You can read about those here.

Clusia care

Position and light

The Clusia plant prefers as much light as possible. Sufficient light allows her to grow well and maintain her beautiful green color and gloss. If the Clusia gets too little light, you’ll notice that its growth is slowed down. If a Clusia really stands in the shade too much, there will be no new growth at all, not even in spring and summer. In that case, it is important to move the plant closer to a window.

Close to a window is the right position anyway, because that’s where the most light enters the room. However, watch out for direct sunlight. Full sun can add to the health of the Clusia. You will notice that it grows faster and sometimes it gets a nice red edge along the leaves. Unfortunately, it is soon too much sunlight. Especially in the summer months, full sun in the window frame is quite hot can cause brown spots on the leaves.

Nevertheless, we recommend giving the Clusia a sunny position because the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. The key then is to get the little plant used to the sun after purchase. In the beginning, give her a spot with some shade and indirect sunlight and move her a little closer to the window every week. Then it should go well. Do you notice brown spots on the leaves? Then move it a little further away from the window.

Habitat and temperature

Clusia plants originate from very warm areas. It is perhaps surprising that they survive here at a minimum temperature of 11 ℃. With “survival” is therefore everything said. For optimal growth, it is important that the temperature is higher than that 11 ℃. The best is to keep the temperature always above 18 ℃, which should work in most living rooms.

An important point about the temperature requirements of the Clusia is to avoid large temperature fluctuations. These can result in leaf loss. Large differences in temperature can occur from moving the plant or if the plant is in a draft. Although it will recover, it is a shame: the Clusia will be bare for a while.

Watering a Clusia

Watering a Clusia has a few points of interest. First, the difference in water needs in the different seasons is important. During spring and summer, a Clusia needs more water and the soil should always be kept slightly moist. In autumn and winter, the soil is also allowed to dry out between waterings. By the way, in autumn and winter the soil may also remain slightly moist, but this is not necessary.

How much and how often do you water? That depends on the consumption of the plant. We already mentioned the season, but the size of the plant is also a factor: a large Clusia needs more water than a small one. You will also notice that this plant dries more quickly in a light position than in a position with more shade.

The right approach is therefore to stick your finger into the potting soil and see if any soil sticks to it. If no soil sticks to your finger (or just a little) you can water. If a lot of soil sticks to your finger, the soil is still too wet to water. After a while you will get the hang of it and develop a routine for watering.

Prevent root rot

Root rot in Clusias is unfortunately something that can happen. A first sign of root rot is limp leaves and sometimes limp stems. Brown or yellow spots on the leaves are also a sign of too much water. As soon as you see the first signs on the plant, something has been going on under the soil for a long time: because the roots of the Clusia are in too wet soil, they have started to rot. If you don’t solve root rot, the Clusia will die.

Fortunately, you can still save her at an early stage by replacing all potting soil with dry soil. Prevent this problem in the future by drilling holes in the pot. When you water it comes out at the holes so you never have a surplus in the pot. It is smart to put the pot on a saucer so that the water does not end up on the floor or cupboard.

Re-potting Clusia

If you have had a Clusia for a while, you know: they are not very fast growers. At the top of the plant you may see many new branches in the growth phase, but the root system develops rather slowly. Repotting is only necessary when you see the roots growing out of the drainage hole at the bottom.

Replanting a Clusia is best done in the spring. It is always possible that you damage something of the plant (both the roots and the stems) while transplanting. In the spring, the Clusia enters the growth phase and therefore has time to recover from that damage.

Always use fresh potting soil when repotting. Make sure that you do not add extra plant nutrition to the soil in the period after repotting (read more about this below). Use a pot that is well larger than the previous one and always make drainage holes in the bottom to prevent root rot.

Plant nutrition

Plant nutrition is necessary to support the growth and health of the Clusia. Only give nutrition when there is a need for it. The nutrition in the potting soil is usually exhausted after a few months, depending on the species. You can use a plant food for (green) leaf plants, preferably organic. The need for nutrition is present during spring and summer. Then give a little bit every week.

Clusia and humidity

How do you know if a houseplant can survive at lower humidity? An important hint is the thickness of the leaves. The Clusia has thick leaves, so it can survive at lower humidity.Still, it’s smart to mist the plant with a plant sprayer every now and then, just as you might already do with your Calathea or Monstera (also known as Hole plant). Keeping the leaves moist on a regular basis has several benefits:

  • Dust does not stay on the leaves as well. As a result, the plant can better engage in photosynthesis and thus grow better.
  • Bugs such as lice do not like to attach themselves to a plant that is regularly moist.

Clusia pruning

In the wild, some Clusias can grow up to 15 meters high. As an indoor plant, they obviously cannot reach this height, but pruning is still useful to keep the plant in good shape. This is not necessary, but by pruning regularly the plant remains fuller and (is personal) more beautiful. Simply prune away the longer shoots until the plant is back in proportion. Note: Pruning can release sap that irritates the skin and is toxic if ingested.

Buying Clusia

Want to buy a Clusia? Lately this plant is gaining popularity and they are therefore for sale in many places. To make a good comparison it is smart to look on a comparison site, such as This way you can easily find the best price. Use the button below to go to the current offer:

Clusia description and natural habitat

Originally the Clusia comes from the tropical parts of America. The name was given to this plant family in honor of the botanist Charles de l’Écluse (source). In the wild, there are about 400 known species. In the wild, Clusias grow into entire trees, sometimes up to 20 feet tall. There they are evergreen and hardy plants that sometimes start out as epiphytes.

Of course, we know the Clusia primarily as a houseplant. She is so popular because of the nice, shiny, round leaves that grow in pairs on the short stems. Its growth habit makes it reminiscent of some Peperomia species. Also as a houseplant it can grow quite large, provided it is well cared for and has enough space in the pot of course. After a few months to years of growth, the stems and branches will become woody. This gives the Clusia a robust appearance.

Signature tree

In English they often call the Clusia “autograph tree”. The reason: the top of the leaf can be scratched and these scratches remain for a very long time. This is clearly visible in the photo below.

Can the Clusia flower?

The Clusia flower is often white or pink and very rewarding. Below in the photo is a flowering Clusia. In terms of structure and appearance of the flower, it is reminiscent of the flowers of the Hoya, but the flower of the Clusia is a lot larger.

Unfortunately, the Clusia will not bloom quickly as an indoor plant. The conditions here are not as perfect as in its natural habitat (even if you do your best with the care). There are other houseplants of tropical origin that do often bloom as houseplants. Known for their flowers include the Spoon plant and the Lipstick plant.

Position and light

Clusias are known to be fairly hardy houseplants, but at the same time are sensitive to major changes. Of course, you may have to move the plant, for example when moving house, but don’t be shocked if it loses all its leaves (or at least a large part of them). A Clusia recovers fairly quickly from this leaf loss with new shoots. It may be smart to prune her all the way back first though because of the bare appearance of the plant.

Another reason for the loss of leaves can be too low a temperature. Mainly when the temperature drops very quickly, for example due to an air conditioner or draft, this can happen. As long as this low temperature is not permanent, the Clusia will recover from this leaf loss.

Floppy leaves

The Clusia has limp leaves, this is often a sign of root rot. Remove the plant from the pot and check the soil. Is it soaking wet and are the roots soft? Then it’s a good idea to replace all the soil for new ones. Hopefully you can still save the Clusia. The roots have softened due to the rot and it can be difficult to remove the soil properly. Do this carefully.

You can prevent this problem in the future by making sure you have good drainage. Drill holes in the bottom of the pot to allow excess water to drain away. This way, the water does not stay around the roots and they do not rot. A Clusia can die from root rot if you don’t get to it in time.

Which Clusia species exist?

Did you know that almost 400 Clusia species exist in the wild? Often we say Clusia, but mean the Clusia Rosea Princess. This makes sense, as the Clusia Rosea Princess is by far the most common Clusia houseplant. It is just not correct: Clusia is a genus of plants, which includes, for example, the Clusia Rosea Princess.

Is the Clusia an air-purifying plant?

Yes: the leaves of the Clusia can purify the air. Here we have to be honest though. The leaves are quite small and therefore cannot purify much air, even though they are so good at it. There are houseplants that have much larger leaf area and so you can better use them to purify the air. Think of the Banana plant or the air purifying Philodendron.

Is the Clusia sensitive to diseases and insects?

Fortunately, you don’t often notice damage to the plant from diseases or critters. These plants are quite resistant. In addition, they have thick leaves and are therefore less interesting to spider mites, thrips or lice. These insects prefer to suck sap from thin leaves as you see in for example the Grass Lily.

Clusia summary

Botanical nameClusia
Also known asHanddrawn tree
Original habitatSouthAmerica
Number of speciesAround 400
Demand for lightLots of indirect light
Demand for waterMaintain light moist


Is Clusia a Florida native?

Clusia is a low maintenance plant that has thick, leathery leaves and a low branching pattern which makes it a nice choice for a hedge. It’s also drought and salt tolerant with few pests, making a perfect plant for Sanibel. Only one species however, Clusia rosea, is native to Florida. plants.

How big does Clusia grow?

It will grow easily 20 to 25 feet tall and 10 to 12 feet wide. It prefers full sun, but tolerates partial shade nicely. Moderate to slow growing, it is tolerant of most soils and does very well in coastal locations and sites with poor soils. Once established, clusia is low maintenance and very drought tolerant.Jan 8, 2017

How far apart should Clusia be planted?

Because these shrubs spread out wide, place them about 5 feet apart. Give nearby shrubs plenty of space so they won’t be overtaken. Come out from the house about 4 feet or more. If you grow rosea (or guttifera) as a tree, you can underplant smaller things fairly close to the trunk.

How wide do Clusia grow?

It will grow easily 20 to 25 feet tall and 10 to 12 feet wide. It prefers full sun, but tolerates partial shade nicely. Moderate to slow growing, it is tolerant of most soils and does very well in coastal locations and sites with poor soils. Once established, clusia is low maintenance and very drought tolerant.Jan 8, 2017

How long does it take for Clusia hedges to grow?

Clusia rosea is one of the faster-growing houseplants and can grow by up to 12 inches per year when given optimal growing conditions. It can become leggy when grown indoors, so regular pruning is a good idea to keep it to your desired size and shape.

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