How to grow clove trees

Cloves can be used in the production of a variety of goods ranging from the spice itself to medicines and cigarettes. Clove trees thrive in warm, humid climates such as Tanzania, where research from the University of Minnesota estimates that 80 per cent of the world's cloves is produced. If you're looking to grow your own clove tree for cooking, flavouring or medicinal purposes, there are some proper steps to follow to grow a successful plant.

Purchase fresh clove seeds from a reputable garden centre or nursery.

Choose an area to plant the clove seeds, as well as the area that will house your trees after they are transplanted. The seed bed should be shielded from direct sunlight so that the seeds and young plants are not damaged while they are growing. Clove trees also grow best in a shady area.

Mix organic material, including compost, loam, peat moss or sand, into the soil using a shovel or hoe. Clove trees are extremely susceptible to overwatering and need soil that will drain very well. Organic materials will aid the soil in draining excess water quickly.

Plant the seeds in holes 2 cm deep and 3 cm away from one another.

Transplant the seedlings to their permanent growing area after they germinate, which generally takes 10 to 15 days. Transport them in polythene bags containing a mixture of soil and organic material.

Plant the trees in the garden or greenhouse at least 15 feet apart, as they can grow to be 15 to 30 feet tall and have a spread of 10 to 15 feet.

Water the trees with at least 1 inch of water per week. If you notice the soil drying in between waterings, add more water. The soil should never dry out between waterings.

Dig shallow trenches around the trees, between 1 and 1 ½ meters from the base of the tree. These trenches will be used for fertilising, and also can help with drainage.

Apply half a bag of slow-release fertiliser to the trenches in late May or early June, and the other half in late September or early October. This application will keep the tree well fed all year round.

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