Can You Grow Cloves In Containers – How To Grow A Clove Tree In A Pot

Clove Tree
(Image credit: dwiputrirats)

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 (127 to 178 cm.) 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 degrees F. (4 C.). Always bring your tree indoors if temperatures threaten to dip that low.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.