Purple Mangosteen

Purple Mangosteen

Diary Of Purple Mangosteen Bonsai

For the mangosteen, the best method of propagation is by seed.  Layering and cuttings usually fail, according to Purdue.  After obtaining a second set of fruit, the seeds were soaked and we started working on sprouting them.

"...only plump, fully developed seeds should be chosen for planting. Even these will lose viability in 5 days after removal from the fruit, though they are viable for 3 to 5 weeks in the fruit. Seeds packed in lightly dampened peat moss, sphagnum moss or coconut fiber in airtight containers have remained viable for 3 months." ~ Purdue

Purple mangosteen does best in temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees. For now, the tree will need a 15:15:15 fertilizer administered approximately 3 times a year. The natural environmental humidity for purple mangosteen is around 80%, which is like their home environment in Malaysia.  To create a more humid environment, people typically cluster plants together accumulating transpiration in a small microclimate.  Other measures can include a tray filled with gravel and in our area covered with mosquito netting just above the gravel to prevent mosquitos.

Patience And Shape
Cascade Style Bonsai

Purple Mangosteen needs to develop a deep root system.  As a bonsai, it would be best developed in a cascading style to meet the design purposes as well as accommodate the needs of the plant.

In a tall planter, the delicate tap root will have great depth and can be filled with rich, well draining organic soil and then amended or treated to have the proper PH value (between 5 and 7).  The planter doesn't have to be really wide as lateral root development is poor.

To balance the lush green and deep purple, I would go for a silver or charcoal colored planter.  Probably more towards the lighter grey tones and a matte metallic finish would probably set it off really well.

Let's Get Growing

SUN: Filtered sun 
WATER: Water regularly
SOIL PH: 5.0-7.0
FERTILIZER: Garcinias take off like rockets with Iron Chelate. Just sprinkle a little in the roots and water it in. Spray it at a rate of 1 gram per gallon of water.  Additionally break up the soil around the trees and add 200 gms of bloodmeal and work it in deep. Put loads of mulch around the trees.

Purple Mangosteen 'Durga'

2017-11-19 Growth Check And New Leaves Sprouting And 1557 Days To Fresh Fruit

When multiple solutions are applied, how do we know which ones are the solutions that worked?  That is a bit frustrating, but very happy that something got Durga going again.

The dark green color started showing up along the leaf veins and it is slowly increasing to occupy most of the leaf.  The dryness has stopped completely.  A few new leaf buds are visible between the last set.  

These have all been left on the North side of the wheel barrel for a week in the deep planters, kept
Thai Purple Mangosteen
inside their own little bottle cloches and covered with a double layer of white mosquito netting.  This allowed them to get more light with some type of diffusion... We are trying to figure out how much light is diffused by the netting.  
We also applied some powdered kelp.  

From the previously transplanted Thai Mangosteens no new growth was noted, but the one we broke the tap root on didn't seem to be damaged too much.  Perhaps the kelp powder helped as advised by the Etsy seller.

Thai Purple Mangosteens
The remaining two Thai Mangosteens were put into a tall planter this morning and provided the same high humidity, mosquito cloth protected environment with kelp and light slow release fertilizer distribution.

This time, we did not break any of the main root structure.  Hooray!

Purple Mangosteen 'Durga'

2017-11-11 Transplanted And 1565 Days To Fresh Fruit 

Suffice it to say that Durga is just not a happy tree.

Hardly any new root growth since the last time we repotted her.  The leaves keep looking scorched/dehydrated looking and there just isn't much going on. 

But...  we will soldier on...

The soil was super moist so perhaps a planter upgrade will help keep the water draining further from the roots so they aren't so wet all the time. This is like the goldi-locks of the mangosteens.  

Thai Purple Mangosteens
And, we had an accident.  I'm not sure if one of the Thai purples will survive after breaking the main
tap trying to move it to the larger planter... so...  It is pretty much a drag since the root was broken off the best growing Thai mangosteen. DRAAAATS!

Still, the purple mangosteens are all getting the crispy edges on their leaves (except the best grower) and we ended up moving two of them in case one fails.  

Following all the drama, the purple mangosteens were tucked into their new 13" x 26" planters and set up with their own little 1 liter bottle cloches to keep frost at bay and to keep the ambient humidity up.  These guys are certainly a challenge...

Thai Purple Mangosteens

2017-10-13 Nothing New and 1594 Days To Fresh Fruit

It is cooling off a bit here.  The little Thai plants are doing really well.  Some new growth going on and they seem to appreciate coconut coir and regular watering.  

The original purple mangosteen still seems to
Purple Mangosteen 'Durga'
struggle - doesn't seem to like the dry weather here.  Maybe it will be another 6 months for two more leaves to show up.  

I don't feel like I'm winning on this one, but I don't really feel like I'm losing either.  Kind of like the purgatory of gardening...  Maybe I should start talking to the plants?

Thai Purple Mangosteen Seedlings

2017-08-27 Thai Mangosteens Became Deep Green and 1641 Days To Fresh Fruit

The Thai Mangosteens are a beautiful deep green color now.   Six were a bit too many, so a couple were shared to a friend of mine.

The original purple mangosteen, Durga, has chartreuse leaves again and seems to need more humidity than the Thais. 

Purple Mangosteen 'Durga'
It didn't take long for Durga to show unhappiness again.  The left leaf in the photo has a brown tip and again no signs of new leaves.

The newer leaves on Durga aren't quite as thick and rubbery looking as the original leaves it was shipped with.

Purple Mangosteen

2017-08-05 Growing Leaves And 1663 Days To Fresh Fruit

It hasn't been long and the leaves have grown quite a bit...  This is pretty exciting following five months of nothing on the topside.  Hooray!  I feel vindicated as a gardener!

It has been a bit of a chore to find the right place, right fertilizer and watering schedule to get this one going.  Hopefully it will continue until we finally get some fruit.

Thai Purple Mangosteen
In the mean time, we have the six accompanying sprouts that have yet to be named.  They look like they are doing well.  No signs of burn or anything going sideways so far. No root peak at the bottom of the little tree pots.
Thai Purple Mangosteen

It looks like we also ended up with a couple of two-fors, which makes a total of eight little seedlings.

Just going by the numbers, we should have at least one success, and maybe some fruit some day.  We must stay positive.

The summer is warm, when fall comes we will have to make sure the temperature says somewhere in the 80's, I think.  

2017-07-31 New Companions For Durga
Garcinia Mangostana - Purple Mangosteen

I'm running out of names.  We have six new seedling companions for our original Purple Mangosteen.  These are a Thai Purple Mangosteen from our favorite Etsy seller.  Not knowing anything about these plants, I don't know really what the distinction is, but I believe it.

The smaller leaves look almost black and the newer leaves are a dark red on top and a green color on the underside.

Durga's new leaves are red-ish and then become that chartreuse green.  It will be interesting to see how these develop over time.  So, we will now have 1668 Days to fresh fruit from Durga and 1825 Days to fresh fruit from the new kids.  I thought I'd name them after a Thai Pop Band, but I couldn't find any with six members.  Why do the Thai pop girl bands always come in groups of 4, 5 and 7.  What is wrong with six?

2017-07-27 Durga Finally Sprouted A New Leaf!  1672 Days To Fresh Fruit

Why now, after all this time of nothing above the soil?

After consulting with my favorite tropical plant advisor from Etsy, I was advised to put a low nitrogen fertilizer on the tree.

A small dose of slow release generic fertilizer was dropped on the mulch and we watered every day, in the morning, like always.

Now, we have some new leaf tips!  Hooray!  I am really excited that this is growing above the soil line, finally!

Why did I take so long to do this?  I've been reading about the tender little troical plant sprouts and everything says be careful with the fertilizer so they don't get burned.  I've been more worried about a fertilizer burn than no growth.  As it turns out, there wasn't a lot to worry about.

2017-06-10 Durga Is Not Dead Yet And 1719 Days To Fresh Fruit
Garcinia Mangostana - Purple Mangosteen 'Durga'

The poor purple mangosteen has been through a lot and its little leaves have suffered dearly for my lack of knowledge.

I have been hanging on to the idea that the tree was making deep roots and therefore is still doing well enough.

We got this photo today, and it looks like Durga may well push through some new leaves.  The main stem (trunk) has taken on a dark green tone (previously a red or amber tone) and a crack has formed between the two leaves in the central branch.

The coloring looks okay, overall - still some deep green stripes in the laves which indicate photosenthysis.  The leaves and branch are still firm.

Garcinia Mangostana - Purple Mangosteen

2017-04-25 Determined To Kill The Mangosteen, Aparently

Looking at other people's mangosteen plants online is a bad idea.  I keep wondering why their plants look so green and wrongly assume ours isn't getting enough light.  I put it in the shade house with a bit more exposure and it got a pretty good sunburn.

So, this little plant may have been getting overexposed since moving it outside and it probably was a much better idea to have it growing indoors with indirect sunlight.  

All is not lost yet. There was great root development, and
Garcenia Mangostana 
there are still leaves on the plant, but no new topside growth.

To help alleviate the issue with being outside, the Purple Mangosteen was set in underneath some larger plants next to our small water garden.  This will filter a lot of direct light and maybe give it more humidity in its immediate environment.

2017-04-17 Gaining Color?
Garcinia mangostana Purple Mangosteen - Durga

I checked this evening and the coloring seems to be greening. The true test will be to check again in the morning and see if the tree still looks yellow toned.  
Just looking from yesterday's picture before re-potting to today's picture after re-potting, it seems pretty clear that the coloring is greening up again...  pretty sure!??!  Or wishful thinking. It does look closer to the original coloring when it first arrived.  

We addressed several possible issues yesterday...  It could be mangosteens do not like being root bound at all.  The ambient temperature was lowered by raising up the sides of the greenhouse. The ambient humidity was raised very slightly by making a small water garden in the greenhouse.  It could have been a nutrient deficiency which was resolved using the potting soil.  Lets keep crossing our fingers...

Garcinia mangostana Purple Mangosteen - Durga

2017-04-16 Browning Leaf Tips 


 Not a whole lot has changed since early March, except that the dried tips of the leaves are expanding. They look irritated with the flattened dark tips and the yellow damaged margins. 

There was some very slight browning on the leaf tips when these arrived, but it seemed to advance more when moving Durga to the greenhouse.  

The leaves aren't as vivid chartreuse as they were when the plant arrived, seems there is some color patterns starting.

The optimal soil PH for mangosteen is between 5 and 6.  They need constant moisture. They need dappled sunshine in the delicate young age and since there is no new growth yet there may be other issues.  So, we need to get to the root of the problem. 

A Repotting...
Garcinia mangostana Purple Mangosteen

I was hesitant to  repot the mangosteen because it is renowned to be so tempermental.  However, desperate times call for desperate measures and now is as good a time as any to rip off the old container and transplant.

As it turns out, Durga could be having a bit of a tantrum.  There is a thick root trying to find it's way to new soil there on the bottom of the old planter soil.

Garcinia mangostana repotting
Again, being very leery of how temperamental these little drama queens are, I didn't loosen the soil or try to seek out any other roots. I did grab up a tree pot, about 12" deep and a bit wider than the original shipping pot.

In the pot, we loaded up the miracle grow potting soil with coir moisture control (coconut coir recommended by Scooby).
New planter for Durga with Mikos

We dropped in some mikos powder to help the little princess go about the job of eating and drinking healthy plant nutrients since they have such frail root systems.

I'm usually kind of rough with plant roots, because most of the time plants droop a bit and then recover pretty well.  But this one is such a reputed prima donna I just gently placed it on top of the mikos powdered soil, packed in more planter soil around the old soil sides and then added some mulch on the top.

Durga Repotted
Viola.  Durga repotted and hopefully a soon to be happier plant.

Watered again, the leaves cleaned off a bit and now rooming with a sad kind of impromptu water garden to help get humidity higher.

Let's all take a deep breath and cross our fingers.

To be honest, this tree is reputed to be really hard to keep going.  However I see posts from other people that seem to be having no issues growing their little purple mangosteen trees. Very green eyed here...  Scooby's advice is the greenhouse was a bit hot.  We took the sides up half way and will change out the greenhouse cover for a 30% shade cover with more ventilation in the next few days.

Garcinia mangostana
Purple Mangosteen - Durga

2017-03-05 Macro Shots and 1816 Days To Fresh Fruit

Purple Mangosteen is notorious for slow growth up until about four years of age.  I didn't expect to see any new leaf growth, but I think there is a tiny start of a bud...  could be my imagination...
Garcinia mangostana
Purple Mangosteen - Durga
In any case, close up shots are in order to check the health and generall wellness of the plants.  These mangosteens are interesting plants in the macro view. They seem thick and rubbery.  The purple mangosteen leaves are really interesting on close inspection as they have what appears to be veins unlike most other leaf vein structures.

I'm still caught off guard with the chartreuse coloring of the leaves, so much more yellow than the other plants which makes me wonder if it is healthy or not. But... the leaves are firm, yet supple the stem is strong.

2017-02-24 Seedling Arrived!  1825 Days To Fresh Fruit
Garcinia mangostana, Purple Mangosteen - Durga

The seedling is tiny!  Maybe 3 or 4 inches tall. Nice chartreuse green leaves, thick  succulent-like leaves and a rubbery feel. It can take up to 4 years for this little thing to reach 48" tall. 

The seller is on Etsy (sc00bySnacks69) and provided great support to all questions about the plant and care.  Seller also shipped the plants very securely.  

This will probably be a slowly updated page since not much will be going on and I was instructed not to repot until it is kind of root-bound. 

Seller also confirmed that the plants require 48" deep pot to accommodate the long tap root.

2017-02-16 Seedling Found

A seedling was found for sale, so I bought it, of course! Trying to get seeds seems to be a huge ordeal.  Really looking forward to receiving this plant as part of a four-pack of Garcinia plants. Coconut Coir was recommended, so that is on order as well. We can probably put these understory trees under the Pepper Tree canopy for humidity and a similar growing environment.

Purple Mangosteen Tubercles

2016-09-25 The Real Deal

The seeds below are not the right seeds.  No idea what the previous seeds are.  Purple mangosteen does not have seeds, they have "...adventitious embryos, or hypocotyl tubercles, because there has been no sexual fertilization."

Purple Mangosteen Blossom
If the seeds are planted, then they must be planted within 5 days of being freed from the fruit, otherwise viability is lost.

The good news is that since these are not pollinated and reproduced sexually, you are guaranteed to get a tree/fruit true to the parent plant if you have any success in growing them.

I found an etsy seller with accurate seed pictures and will be trying again.  I requested the seeds be kept moist during transport in order to have some viability retained.  

Seeds sold as Purple Mangosteen Seeds

2016-09-24 Small Root Development

The bowl of water worked for the coffee beans, but the seeds required something more. We ended up rolling them up in wet paper towels and storing them in a zip lock baggie. They were separated to their own seed rolls so enzymes from one seed type would not interfere with other seeds in some way.  We checked the seed roll and were happy to discover these seeds have a couple of tiny root buds developing.
Seeds sold as Purple Mangosteen Seeds
There is speculation about whether these are actually purple mangosteen seeds or not. And if not, what are they?  These don't match common descriptions of purple mangosteen seeds, which are described as being more almond shaped and colored. 

Mangosteen, Rambutan, Lychee, Longen, Sapodilla
 and Coffee Beans


We put all the seeds in a bowl of water with the other seeds.  We peeled off the external outer coating in order to keep the white insides moist.  All of the seeds sank to the bottom and are mixed in with the other seeds we are germinating.  Looks like they may be viable.

The water is changed when it looks a little cloudy.  This can be 2 or more times a day.  The Lychee seeds that were older and had dried out actually look like they're getting some growth activity (white spots on the rough ends) as well as the Longen developing cracks (on the rough ends) and the Rambutan developing root nubs (on the rounded ends).  I haven't noticed anything on the arabica coffee beans, but we peeled off the clear outer exterior a few days ago.  The sapodilla and mangosteen seeds are the recent additions, and nothing seems to be going on with these two yet.