Clove trees (Syzygium aromaticum) produce the cloves you use to spice up your cooking. Can you grow a clove tree? According to clove tree information, it’s not hard to grow these trees if you can provide ideal growing conditions. If you are wondering what it takes to grow this tree or about clove tree uses, read on.
Clove Tree Information
The clove tree is native to Indonesia, but clove tree information suggests that it has naturalized in many warm countries. These include Mexico, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. The plant has been cultivated since 200 B.C. to produce cloves.
The most important clove tree use is, of course, the plant’s aromatic dried buds, or cloves. The name cloves comes from Latin “clavus,” meaning nail, as cloves often look like small nails.
Clove trees are evergreens that grow to some 40 feet (12 m.) tall. Their bark is smooth and gray, and their long, 5 inch (13 cm.) leaves look like bay leaves. Blossoms are tiny – about ½ inch (1 cm.) long – and gather in clusters at branch tips. The entire plant is fragrant and aromatic.
Clove Tree Growing Conditions
Can you grow a clove tree? You can, but it’s hard for most gardeners to replicate ideal clove tree growing conditions. Clove tree information tells you that the tree is native to wet, tropical areas of the world. Therefore, the trees grow best in a hot and wet region.
Ideal growing conditions include at least 50 to 70 inches (127-178 cm.) of rainfall annually. The minimum temperature for clove trees is 59 degrees F. (15 C.). Most commercial clove producers locate their plantations within 10 degrees of the equator.
Clove Tree Care
If you happen to live in such an area, and near the ocean, you probably won’t have much trouble growing clove trees. Plant the seeds in well-drained, fertile loam, then follow good practices for their care.
One part of clove tree care is to install shade plants to protect the young seedlings for the first few years. Banana plants work well to provide this temporary shade.
Clove trees are not a short-term project. The trees regularly live a century and sometimes live for over 300 years. More pertinent to the average gardener, you’ll have to wait at least 20 years for the tree to produce a full crop.
Clove Tree Uses
Many Americans use cloves for cooking. They are popular spices for baked hams and pumpkin pie. However, clove tree uses are much broader than this globally. In Indonesia, cloves are used to make popular clove aromatized cigarettes.
Other clove tree uses are medicinal. Extracted clove oil is also used as an essential oil that is used medicinally. Some people make tea from cloves as well, which is considered to help with stomach upsets, chills, and impotence.