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Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by gagee, Apr 14, 2008.
What is this plant and where could you find one?
Looks like Garcinia mangostana, Mangosteen.
Those plants are very hard to grow
There is a lot of interest in various pharmacologic properties of extracts from different parts of this tree including the pericarp (the fruit hull). One particular xanthone seems to exhibit inhibitory activity against the antibiotic resistant bug, MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
I'll second malsprower - even if you can find a Mangosteen tree, it is really really hard to keep one going outside of the humid tropics. If you have a full tropical atrium and are committed to keeping a daily eye on the tree and babying it, you might have a chance. But even here in Ecuador, which is tropical, I have a hard time keeping them alive.
If you still want to try....
The tree is called Garcinia mangostana and it's native to the Indonesian/Malaysian/Timoran Sunda Island group (Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Bali, Timor, and a few more) - that's the environment you'll have to shoot for.
If you're growing from seed, which is the hardest way to start a Mangosteen, you need to make sure that the seed has NEVER DRIED OUT. If it's a dry seed, it's not viable. It should be kept moist as soon as you remove it from the fruit, and remain moist until it sprouts, or it will die and you'll have to start over. Pick fat seeds; you have 5 days to germinate them once you take them out of the fruit. If you just plant the fruit itself you have a longer period, but you also have no way of assessing the seeds.
If you do manage to germinate and plant one, and to keep it alive for its first year, let alone until it's a small tree, be aware that it will slowly get very tall on you - up to 20 meters in some cases, and that it should be around 7 meters tall before it will start fruiting for you. Most Mangosteens that have been attempted in the US die in their first 6 months - something is not right about the soils.
In addition to all this, it needs to stay between 7 degrees C and 37 degrees C - above or below will kill it dead. Any elevation above 1500m will kill it dead or prevent it from starting. You need at least 80% humidity, constantly, a soil that holds water but does not become hard and clay-like or muddy (preferably rich and sandy loam), and at least 130 cm of rainfall (or fake rain) each year, with no dry periods of more than 2 days, and certainly no droughts. It will not tolerate excessive acidity nor alkilinity, and dies in the presence of lime or limestone.
Best of luck in NC! I've just about given up on growing them here in the Tropics.
Thank you so much for the info lorax, i am planning on ordering a mangosteen but i am having difficulty dealing with the fact that it needs so much humidity that i cannot provide. So if the tree is not getting enough humidity, what exactly happens to it? i would think it wouldn't matter because i have a kumquat tree that requires 50%-60% humidity and it does perfectly fine in 25% humidity. also if you keep the plant away from too much light, wouldn't you think that its humidity requirements would decrease since it is photosynthesizing at a slower rate which means it loses less water from its leaves. Also if you keep its soil moist, wouldn't the plant use the water from the soil to keep its foliage moist in low humid situations. The winters are really cold -40F and dry so I would keep this plant indoors in a good sized pot and use my humidifier. But the springs and summers are more humid around 50%-90% humidity. So the main question is, how do I keep the plant humid enough on dry summer days without having to place a plastic bag or bottle over the plant or without using my humidifier. If I put sphagnum moss on top of the soil, will that make any difference?
Well, I'll put it to you this way. I was living in the cloud forests on the edge of the Amazon basin, so my humidity (averaged 85%), elevation, and soils were all fine. We had a four-day heat snap where the humidity went down to 60% and all ten of my two-year Mangosteens died, despite my best efforts to save them. I had to start from scratch.
Short of using the plastic bags or humidifier, there is really no other way. Peat on top of the soil creates an acidic condition which can kill the plant. You might try soaked coir, which is pH neutral.
wow! this plant is fussy, it is amazing how they still exist. i ordered a mangosteen just a little while ago and made a little humidity tent for it with two vents. i used some forest soil as top layer mulch which i may have to take it off since you said that they cannot stand acidity. i thought this plant was an acid lover. what are the first symptoms of a mangosteen plant rejecting the soil because it is too acidic of akaline? also, what are the first signs of a mangosteen plant that is in too dry of conditions. also i am going to show you the pictures of the plant and i want you to tell me what is wrong with how i have set up this plant. thank you so much----Mal
That pod reminds me of the one in the movie "The Rundown" with the Rock.
Well, they are finicky - they're precisely adapted to the island environment where they evolved.
The first sign of any distress with the Mangosteen is that the leaves droop and go chlorotic (turn yellow). If it thinks it's too dry, the leaves will droop and start to fold in half. I'd suggest you test your soil pH using a kit; this will tell you for certain whether or not you're within the range for the little guy.
Your seedling actually looks pretty healthy. I wish you the best of luck!
I am so glad I found this thread! So much info.
About 2 months ago I ordered a mangosteen from Florida just because I liked the taste of the dried fruit. I had no idea of how difficult it is to grow!
The humidity here is around 10% in summer! So I go and spray it several times a day when I am home and on week days I put several wet sponges around its base. By evening they are dry. It seems to have helped. I have little pale green leaves coming from the tip of the "branches". The whole thing is about 8 inches high.
It is a pot so I can provide a sheltered winter.
Please tell me I have a small chance with this tree!
my mangosteen is doing well, it grew two new leaves, it is not that hard to keep alive, personally i think a lychee tree is harder to take care of
Malsprower, what is your experience with your lychee. I just got one and, of course, know very little about the difficulties I am about to encounter.
lychee trees need a soil that is not too dense, mostly peat moss, forest soil, and some sand works well, my lychee has garden soil mixed with potting soil and that is bad for the tree. lychees also have to have constantly moist soil and never let it dry out. my lychee has horrible burnt leaves so i'm guessing that it needs a fairly good amount of humidity too. what other trees do you have?
Among the most unusual:
I have a Joboticaba, an Acerolabrbados cherry, a starapple.
Among the less difficult:
Several mangoes, jujubees, papayas.
And I just found out that I don't have a mangosteen but a Rheedia aristata.
What do you have? Your climate is very different from mine.
since i live in Vermont i can't keep any tropicals outside. I'm also 18 so i don't even have a greenhouse and can only own a limited amount of plants. however my plants are pretty healthy. i have a meiwa kumquat, an orange tree, a pomegranate, a Hong Kong guava, an Avocado, a texas everbearing fig, a goji berry, an aloe, spiderplants, a lychee tree, an easter eggplant, and a healthy mangosteen. i really want to add more plants to my collection some day when i have my own place, i recognize all of the plants that you have and almost ordered a barbados cherry and a Jaboticaba. There are also some unusual fruiting plants growing in Cold Vermont such as the white strawberry, bilberry, and black raspberry. we also have blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, flowering raspberries, and blackberries. what wild edible fruits grow in California?
I have a picture of some of my plants.
Your plants look very healthy indeed!
Do you get fruits from all of the? I can see small figs. You must be getting a fair amount of sun.
I don't thing there is anything wild in California anymore! But everything grows given enough care.
hello, I've been having a busy summer, i went to camp for three weeks and just came back from two weeks in Wisconsin so i haven't been able to look after the plants much. The lychee's almost dead, the goji is feeling ill, and the avocado is getting significant burnt tips, the other trees are still healthy. those pictures were taken a month ago. The fig tree and kumquat tree are fruiting and the figs ripened and were delicious. However all of my plants have a literally brighter future because when I go to college in two weeks they are going to the university greenhouse. I hope that the three suffering plants will get better, but I'm sure that the lychee and goji will die. I am not bothered by it because I know I can start over until I get it right.