Clusia Rosea - Autograph Trees

Clusia rosea


  1. Top Tips
  2. Location, Water, Humidity & Fertilisation
  3. Growing Autograph Trees in Water (Hydroponics)
  4. Common Issues
  5. Origins, Temperature, Propagation, Repotting & Toxicity.

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Top Tips & Info

If your specimen is grown in water hydroponically, scroll down to 'Growing Autograph Trees in Water'.

  • Care Difficulty - Easy to Moderate
  • Provide a bright, indirect location with little to no direct sunlight. If it's bright enough to read a newspaper without the use of artificial light, it'll be enough for the plant, too!
  • Autograph Trees require moist soil, with the top few inches drying out in between waters. Always avoid over-watering, as the risk of root rot and stem collapse is rather high, especially during the winter period.
  • Supplement at monthly intervals all year round, using a 'houseplant' labelled fertiliser. 
  • Repot every two years during the spring, using a 'Houseplant' labelled potting mix.
  • Keep an eye out for Spider Mites, Mealybugs & Scale that'll hide in the plant's cubbyholes. 

Location & Light - 🔸🔸

Perfecting the amount of light an Autograph Tree receives is crucial for a long-lasting specimen. During the spring and summer, be sure to provide a brightly lit spot away from any direct light. Excessive exposure during this time will negatively affect the plant in the likes of sun-scorch and dehydration. Once the autumn kicks in, be sure to include an hour or two of direct light per day to get it through the dormancy period, lasting until the following spring.

Water - 🔸🔸

Autograph Plants are best kept in reliably moist soil, as inconsistent moisture levels may result in stunted growth and an unhappy plant. Allow the compost's top third to dry out in between waters in the growing period, reducing this further in the autumn and winter. Due to the sensitivity of their root systems, never apply cold water as it may weaken its health and overall well-being. For those that use tap water (instead of rainwater or fresh bottled water), allow it to stand for at least 24hrs to eliminate the high levels of chloride and fluoride found from the tap. Under-watering symptoms include a shrivelled stem, yellowing leaves, little to no growth and dry, crispy patches forming on the leaf edges. These issues are usually caused by too much light/heat or forgetfulness. Remember, the brighter the location, the more watering you'll need to do. Over-watering symptoms include a weakened or rotten stem, no new growth, yellowing lower leaves and eventual plant death. Click here to learn more about root rot and how to address it!

Humidity - 🔸

Average room humidity is more than enough to satisfy this plant. Never situate it within a few metres of an operating radiator due to the enriched chance of browning leaf-tips.

Fertilisation - 🔸🔸

Supplement with a houseplant-labelled fertiliser at monthly intervals for the development of better quality foliage. Although a general plant fertiliser is acceptable, you'll run the risk of burning the roots if over-applied, especially with the combination of a 'ready-to-use' (RTU) product and dry soil.

The following section is tailored for specimens grown in water (hydroponically).

Growing Autograph Trees in Water (Hydroponics)

Location - Its location within the home is a crucial element to consider when growing this plant in water. Remember that those raised in darker areas are much more likely to adopt root rot than others in brighter areas. By no means should they be exposed to direct sunlight, but a place that offers bright, indirect light is best for healthy growth. A north-facing windowsill, or within a metre of a window is somewhere to consider. 

Water & Hygiene - Hydroponic specimens are much easier to care for than their soil-borne counterparts as long as you maintain good hygiene. It's essential to keep the water clean by replacing it weekly with tap water that has sat in a non-metal container for around 24hrs. This will not only reduce the heightened levels of chloramine and fluoride, but it'll also downplay the risk of exposing this plant to cold root temperatures.

The plant should stay in the original water until the new water has served its 24hr period. Whilst the plant is momentarily out of the water, rinse the root system with the tap to remove any issues of rot before replacing it back into the original glass container with the new water. If there's a development of algae on the roots or glass, or that the root caps are beginning to rot, this is a clear indication of poor water hygiene that must be addressed immediately. Wipe the glass with water and your fingers, avoiding the use of soap or other chemicals, and rinse the roots under the tap for twenty seconds. Then, replace the water with fresh tap-water (that has stood for 24hrs) and place the specimen in new water to reduce the risk of re-emergence.

Fertilisation - We'd recommend a concentrated product to avert the risk of over-supplementation. Once a month, during a water-change (as mentioned above), add a few fertiliser drops into the new water before allowing it to sit for 24hrs. Mix the solution in well and place the plant back into the water once this resting period is over to administer the feed!

Although small colonies of algae aren't too much of an issue in terms of the plant's health, it's essential to keep the water hygiene as optimum as possible to maintain good quality growth. The image above is the before & after shots of once the roots and glass are rinsed and cleaned with water.

Healthy root caps are a good indication of the plant's overall health.

Common Issues with Autograph Trees

If your specimen is located in a dark environment with mould developing on the compost's top layer, use a chopstick to stab the soil in various areas gently. You should aim to enter the compost between the base of the plant and the pot's edge, as failure to do so may lead to damaging its lower portion. Leave the holes open for a few days before re-surfacing the soil to avoid it becoming overly dry. Not only will the gentle shift in the soil's structure mimic the work of small invertebrates in the wild (worms, etc.), but it'll also add oxygen back into the soil, thus reducing the risk of root rot. Repeat this monthly, or whenever you feel the potting-mix isn't drying out quickly enough.

Yellowing lower leaves could be a sign of over-watering, but equally is a byproduct of maturity. If the older leaves rapidly become yellow in quick succession, over-watering could be to blame. People don't realise that a plant's root system needs access to oxygen too; when soil is watered, the air will travel upwards and out of the potting mix. A lack of accessible oxygen for the roots will cause them to subsequently breakdown over the oncoming days. Click on this link to learn more about root rot and how to address it.

Never allow temperatures to dip below 10ºC (50ºF) as irreversible damage may occur in the likes of blackened foliage and weak growth. If this happens, remove the severely affected areas and immediately improve growing conditions - never cut through softened yellow growth. As rehabilitation can take several months because of its slow-growing nature, be sure to provide a stable location with better growing conditions to speed this process.

Transplant shock is a big issue when it comes to heavy-handed repots. Give the plant a good soak 24hrs before the action and never tinker with the roots, unless it has been affected by root rot. Typical signs of transplant shock are largely similar to under watering, with wilting, yellowing leaves and stunted growth among the most common symptoms. Click here to learn more about addressing transplant shock and a step-by-step guide on performing the perfect transplant.

There are several reasons why your cuttings or hydroponically-grown specimens haven't rooted well in water, with the first being the time of year. Autograph Trees are best propagated during the spring, with cuttings taken in the autumn or winter rooting much slower. The second reason could be the cultivation environment - is there enough light to read a newspaper? If not, improve the growing conditions by increasing the amount of indirect light, avoiding the threat of excessive direct sunlight. Moreover, the size of the cutting will play a big part in its success; smaller specimens (5cm in length or less) won't root appropriately due to the lower amounts of stored energy. The water must also be replaced weekly to ensure nasty pathogens cannot breed and decay on the cuttings. If the bottom of the stem is brown and mushy, discard immediately as the rot will spread onto unaffected specimens. Scroll up to 'Growing Autograph Trees in Water' for more information.


Nicolaus von Jacquin first described Clusia rosea back in 1760, honouring 17th-century French botanist, Charles de Lécluse (Carolus Clusius). The species epithet, rosea, refers to the pink fruits that develop shortly after flower pollination.  

The Distribution of Clusia rosea.


12° - 32℃   (54° - 90℉)
H1b  (Hardiness Zone 12)  - Can be grown outdoors during the spring and summer in a sheltered location whilst nighttime temperatures are above 12℃  (54℉),  but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this plant outdoors, don't allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day as it may result in sun-scorch. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.


The overall size can be up to 1.6m (5ft) in height and 0.6m (2ft) in width. The ultimate size will take between 8 - 10 years to achieve when repotted biannually, with several new leaves unfurling per annum.

Pruning & Maintenance

Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health.

Autograph Plants are hemiepiphytic, meaning that they'll grow initially as an epiphyte on trees or rocks, much similar to a strangling fig (Ficus). 


Via Seed or Stem Cuttings.

Stem Cuttings (Easy to Moderate) - This method is an easy way to duplicate the original plant. Stems that are at least 8cm (3 inches) in height and part of an established plant are most successful. To avoid making a mess of the serrations, use a clean pair of scissors and cut 8cm down from the stem's end, dipping the wound in water and then into rooting hormone to speed the propagation. Rooting can take in the range of between two to eight weeks, depending on environmental factors and the cutting's quality. We recommend using a Cactus & Succulent-labelled potting mix, with a pot that has adequate drainage to avert the risk of blackleg. Provide a bright, warm setting of around 18℃ (64℉) with relatively moist soil, but be sure to allow the top half to dry out in between waters. You'll know if propagation is successful as the leaves will stay green and firm, along with small roots developing from the callous (dried wound). New foliar growth will emerge from the nodes after around twelve weeks, but it may take longer if the conditions aren't optimal. After a month of solid new foliar growth, transplant into a slightly bigger pot and treat it like a mature specimen with the care tips provided above.


Autograph Trees will rarely flower in their lifetimes when domestically grown; however, for the interest of this section, their inflorescence is mostly white with thin, broad petals that are put out in the early summer.


Repot every two years in spring using a Houseplant labelled potting mix and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Autograph Trees are far better potbound for several years due to the heightened risk of root rot and repotting-issues (like transplant shock) - so only repot if you feel it's wholly necessary.

Hydrate the plant 24hrs before the tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those situated in a darker location, introduce extra amounts of perlite and grit into the lower portion of the new soil to downplay over-watering risks. Click here for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.

If you're still unsure of what to do, never hesitate to send us an email or direct message to get our expert advice on transplantation.

Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye out for mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, thrips & whitefly. Common diseases associated with this species are root rot, red leaf-spot, heart rot, botrytis & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues.


This plant is classified as poisonous; if parts of the plants are eaten, vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite could occur. Consumption of large quantities must be dealt with quickly; acquire medical assistance for further information.

Retail Locations

IKEA & Online Stores.

If you need further advice with indoor gardening, never hesitate to send us an email or direct message via the Instagram Page. This could be about your own specific plant, transplantation into a bigger pot, pests or diseases, terrarium ideas, & more!

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