Clove trees are the tropical source of the famous, smoky flavored spice that’s so popular with ham and autumnal desserts. It’s tempting to want to have one of your very own, but their extreme sensitivity to cold makes them impossible for most gardeners to grow outdoors. This brings up the important question: Can you grow cloves in containers? Keep reading to learn more about caring for container grown clove trees.
Growing Clove Trees in Containers
Can you grow cloves in containers? The jury is somewhat out. Depending upon who you ask, it’s either impossible or completely doable. This is due, in part, to the size clove trees can reach. In the wild, a clove tree can grow to 40 feet (12 m.) in height.
Of course, a clove tree in a pot is never going to get close to as tall as that, but it is going to try. This means that if you attempt growing a clove tree in a container, you need to opt for the largest feasible pot you can get. A diameter of at least 18 inches (46 cm.) should be the bare minimum.
Care of Container Grown Clove Trees
Another reason that clove trees have a difficult time growing in containers is their need for water. Clove trees hail from the jungle, which means they are used to lots and lots of rainfall – 50 to 70 inches per year, to be exact.
Container plants famously dry out much more quickly than plants in the ground, which means that potted clove trees need even more watering in order to stay healthy. If you have a very large pot and can provide very frequent irrigation, there’s nothing to say you can’t try growing a clove tree in a pot.
They are hardy in USDA zones 11 and 12, and cannot handle temperatures below 40 F. (4 C.). Always bring your tree indoors if temperatures threaten to dip that low.