Small Leaf Clusia Hedge (Clusia guttifera) | Planting and Care

Clusia hedges (Clusia guttifera), specifically the Clusia rosea variety, have become an essential part of the aesthetic list of the gardens across the United States like Blue Orchids. They are especially common in places like Florida and Miami. Their lush evergreen nature combined with an ability to withstand various climates makes them a favorite among landscaping enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Botanical/Common NameClusia guttifera (Small Leaf Clusia/Clusia Hedge)
Plant TypeEvergreen Perennial
Bloom (Colour/Season)Bloom Whitish Pink in Summer
USDA ZoneUSDA Zones 10 & 11
Mature Size10-12 feet
Soil RequirementsWell Drained | slightly Alkaline (7.5-8.0 pH
Water RequirementsLow | Can withstand drought
Sunlight RequirementsLoves sunny days with 10-12 hours direct sunlight

They are native to tropical regions of America with more than 150 species. The leaves of the Clusia Hedge are evergreen, leathery, oval, and thick. They are also known as “small leaf Clusia”.

small leaf Clusia

They create a perfect screen in the private lawns. They are reported to absorb carbon dioxide at night. They are easy to grow and are salt, drought, and heat resistant. Moreover, they’re relatively easy to care for. However, understanding their specific needs is crucial.

How to Plant Clusia Hedge for Maximum Growth

Start with selecting the perfect space in your garden. Clusia hedges are halophytes (salt tolerant). This feature makes them ideal for coastal areas. The best time to grow these is early spring, just before the flowering.

Ensure adequate spacing for the roots to spread and grow. However, as you are planning to grow these as hedge, reduce the spacing up to 4 to 5 feet apart only.

Soil Preparation – The best soil for Clusia planting should have good drainage. A mix of sand, organic matter, and perlite ensures optimal soil fertility and pH levels. Consider testing the soil’s pH. Slightly alkaline soil with pH ranging from 7.5 to 8.0 is preferred.

For Pots – fill the pots with soil and make a hole 6-9 inches deep.
For land – make holes 4 to 5 feet apart so that the plant can fix in it.

Clusia Plant in Pots

Soon after the planting, apply irrigation. Continue the watering for the next 2 weeks.


As the soil is well drained, the water will be drained soon after the application. Don’t try to re-irrigate it.


  1. Dig holes in line
  2. Carefully remove the plant from the container
  3. Fill the hole with plant root ball and organic matter, ensure firmness.
  4. Apply water for 15 minutes and allow proper draining
  5. Apply 5 cm layer of mulch around the plant.
  6. Apply water regularly for the next 2 weeks and then only twice in a week.

These steps are same like you followed to grow Alma Figs for better nutritional values.

Propagation of Clusia Hedges

Clusia hedges propagate wonderfully through cuttings, particularly softwood cuttings. Dip the cut end in a hormone solution, and plant it in a quart of potting mix. Make sure to keep the cutting at room temperature in a shaded area until it shows signs of growth.


Use 1-2 feet long cutting. The cutting should be near the leaf node to trigger sprouting.

What are the Light Needs of Clusia Hedges?

Sunlight is crucial for the growth of any flowering plant, and Clusia guttifera hedges are no exception. These plants thrive in both direct sunlight and shade, making them versatile for various garden spaces. They require 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, preferably available in the tropics.

Water Requirements

Too much moisture can harm Clusia, yet they’re not completely drought-resistant. The consensus is to maintain a moist, but not wet, soil environment. Wet soil environment may lead to fungal attack. Over-watering can lead to root rot and other diseases, while under-watering can cause stunted growth.

Fertilizer Requirements

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are essential nutrients for Clusia hedges. Use a labeled fertilizer that ensures an appropriate nutrient balance. Avoid fertilizer burn by following the recommended amounts.

Temperature & Humidity Requirements

Clusia plants are native to the tropics, USDA zone 10 and 11. They thrive in warm temperatures and high humidity. However, they’re resilient and can adapt to varying conditions. Monitor the humidity levels, especially during hot, dry periods. In regions outside their hardiness zone, consider them as houseplants or ensure protection during extreme cold

Clusia Hedge

Care for Clusia Hedge

This hedge can grow up to 7 m height with branches touching to the ground indicating need for proper trimming. As they have dense and glossy green foliage, they are perfect for private fence screen. Moreover, they require proper care in terms of suitable soil, temperature, water, and protection from pests and diseases.

Soil & Irrigation – Clusia plants prefer well-draining soil. If you yourself want to plant these in plastic containers, incorporate perlite, sand, and organic matter to create an optimal soil mix.

Moreover, its ability to survive in well-drained soil such as the coastal region make it somewhat resistant to drought and water shortage. While Clusia has some drought resistance characteristics, ensuring consistent moisture without waterlogging.

The experts have proven that 5-7 liter of water for 1 m of hedge is optimal in well-drained soil.

Light & Temperature – Clusia hedges thrive in both direct sunlight and partial shade. However, being native to the tropics, they appreciate warmth and can withstand the heat. They perform better in temperatures more than 10 degrees Celsius.

Ensure to keep them outside if you have planted it in the pots. Protection during extreme cold outside their hardiness zone.

Nutrient Needs – Use a balanced fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The ratio can be 10:10:10 for NPK. Always read the labeling of the fertilizer to prevent over-application. Moreover, it is recommended to use slow releasing fertilizer.

How to Trim/Prune Your Clusia Hedge?

Pruning not only maintains shape but also promotes healthy growth. Clusia only needs minimal trimming. It is better to keep their height up to 5.6 to 6 feet high as for the fencing. Shape your hedge, but keep in mind the following things.

Tools – Use sharp pruning shears for clean cuts otherwise, they will damage your desired shape and outlook. Use manual or powered trimmer.

When – The best time is during the growing season. However, it is better to avoid extreme weather conditions.

Technique – Remove any dead or diseased branches first. Then, shape the hedge as you have planned. However, for the fence, ensure that the base is wider than the top.

Moreover, this design allows sunlight to reach the lower leaves, promoting even growth.

clusia nana hedge

Pests Threatening Clusia Hedge Growth

Several pests can challenge the health of your hedge:

Thrips & Scale Insects – These can be identified by the damage they cause – discolored leaves or sticky sap residue. Combat them using neem oil or insecticidal soap. In case of severe infestation, consider using organic pesticides. Organic or natural pesticide may contain neem oil as a major ingredient.

Insect Prevention – Regularly inspect the plant for early signs. Ensure proper spacing between plants to discourage pest buildup. If any part of the plant is affected, it is better to remove that part and burry.

Diseases Impacting Clusia Hedge Growth

Fungal Infections – Pathogenic fungi thrive in wet conditions. Thus, over-watering or waterlogged soil can lead to root rot. Use fungicides as a preventive measure and ensure proper soil drainage.

Disease Prevention – Keep your hedges well-spaced to ensure airflow. Remove and discard affected parts of the plant immediately.


Clusia hedges typically have a slow to moderate growth rate. On average, they can grow anywhere from 1 to 2 feet per year under optimal conditions.

Yes, small-leaf Clusia is an excellent choice for hedges due to its dense growth pattern, evergreen leaves, and resilience to various environmental factors. Its thick foliage provides good privacy and a beautiful green barrier.

Clusia plants can be toxic when ingested. While they’re not among the most toxic plants for dogs, it’s advisable to keep pets away from them to prevent any potential ingestion and subsequent irritation. The care should be intensive after the application of chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides)

Yes, Clusia plants produce pink flowers. Specifically, Clusia rosea produces beautiful pink and white flowers that are star-shaped, adding to the plant’s ornamental appeal.

For a dense hedge, Clusia plants should be spaced about 4 to 5 feet (1.5 m) apart. This ensures that as they grow, they form a thick, continuous barrier. Moreover, this spacing ensure better light penetration.

Both Podocarpus and Clusia are popular choices for privacy hedges. Clusia offers dense, evergreen foliage perfect for full privacy. Podocarpus hedges have a more elegant, upright growth. The choice between the two depends on aesthetic preferences and specific garden conditions.

The cost of a Clusia hedge, including labor, can vary based on region, plant size, and labor rates. It’s best to get a quote from local nurseries or landscaping companies for the most accurate estimate.

Clusia hedges can grow quite tall if left unpruned. They can reach heights of 10 to 15 feet (3-5 meters) or even more. However, with regular pruning, you can maintain them at your desired height.

For a thick Clusia hedge:

Prepare the soil by ensuring it’s well-draining. Mix in organic matter for added nutrients.
Space the plants 3 to 4 feet apart.
Water regularly until the plants are established.
Prune the tops of the young plants to encourage lateral growth and a thicker hedge.

The top and outer parts of the Clusia hedge tend to grow faster due to more exposure to sunlight. Regular pruning can help you in limiting the upright growth and making them perfect hedge.

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