Why Is My Autograph Tree Dying? Tips for Rescuing Your Dying Florida Clusia Plant

The fabulous autograph tree is a treat to have in your home or office. It looks so much like a magnolia tree with its thick, paddle-like leaves and its flat white flowers with little pink centers that onlookers are often shocked to find out it’s not. But once you have one, you will fall in love.

The crazy black fruit with its bright red seeds is a sight to behold – and a conversation piece to be had. So, if you’ve got one in distress, you are likely feeling lost.

Fear not. There’s a great chance we can bring your autograph tree back to life, so let’s get started.

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An Autograph Tree Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

An Autograph Tree Is a Great Choice for Your Home or Office

The autograph tree will grow as tall as 30 feet and up to 15 to 25 feet wide! But you can keep it smaller and more manageable in your home or office by planting it in an oversized pot. The roots will fill the pot and stunt the plant’s growth, so you can enjoy this larger-than-life tree in your space.

Native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Florida, this tropical blossom will bloom all year round as long as you provide it with ample direct sunlight from a nearby window. And you can even pull a leaf on which to inscribe your name or favorite poem –hence the nickname, autograph tree.

Keep it in a large enough space that it has room to spread out, and it will attract plenty of attention from guests. Meanwhile, the Florida clusia will be keeping the air in its vicinity fresh and clean by absorbing common household toxins and releasing oxygen at night.

Add to all of this wonder the fact that the autograph tree brings harmony and abundance into your home or office with its feng shui energy, and you’ve got a winner on your hands.

Signs of a Dying Autograph Tree

The most obvious signs of a dying autograph tree are as follows:

  • Mushy stems
  • Discolored leaves
  • Dropping leaves
  • Scorched leaves
  • Soggy soil

Common Causes of a Dying Autograph Tree

The most common causes of a dying autograph tree include:

  • Too much direct sunlight
  • Too much water
  • Not enough light
  • Not enough water
  • Not enough humidity

Watering Needs of an Autograph Tree

The autograph tree is native to tropical regions, so it is inherently drought tolerant, and it can also tolerate inundations of water like it would get from strong storms. It grows best and most quickly in moist soils.

To read more about watering your plant, take a look at this article on watering mistakes that might be killing your plant.

Am I Underwatering My Autograph Tree?

You’ll notice your autograph tree is underwatered when the leaves start dropping excessively.

Restoring Water to Your Underwatered Autograph Tree

If you do notice that the leaves are dropping from your autograph tree or that the soil is getting dry and tightly packed, simply water the plant thoroughly until the water runs through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Then get on a regular watering schedule to keep the soil moist.

Am I Overwatering My Autograph Tree?

Overwatering is much more likely with this plant, and you’ll be able to tell right away. The soil will be soggy, the stems might get mushy, and you might even notice an odor.

Restoring Balance to Your Overwatered Autograph Tree

If this is the case, you are most likely going to need to remove the entire tree from the soggy soil, pulling it up from the roots and cutting away any mushy roots or stems.

Lay the root ball out on a screen in the sun and allow it to dry out. Once the roots and stems have firmed up, you can plant it in fresh tropical soil and establish a new watering system, ensuring the soil is always moist but never soggy.

Soil Needs of an Autograph Tree

The best soil for an autograph tree is a tropical plant soil that does not hold water.

Soil Drainage Needs for an Autograph Tree

Make sure your soil has plenty of materials to break it up and not hold water, so look for clay, sand, and a description of “well-draining” soil.

Resolving Soil Drainage Issues for an Autograph Tree

If even after you’ve invested in the right soil, you still find your soil holding water, you can place pebbles in the bottom of the pot. That way, you can ensure the plant never sits in water or wet soil.

Lighting Needs of an Autograph Tree

As with all tropical trees, this plant calls for plenty of bright, direct sunlight.

Resolving Lighting Issues for an Autograph Tree

With a tree as large as this one in your house, you might be limited in terms of how much you can move it around. The goal here is to allow it to get as much direct sunlight as possible.

Pests or Diseases that Can Cause Issues with an Autograph Tree

Fortunately, the autograph tree seems largely immune to pests and disease. Keep an eye out for scale, and if you notice this little sapsucker, spray it liberally with neem oil a few times a week until the pests are gone for good.

Fake Autograph Trees May Be an Additional Consideration

Fake Autograph Trees May Be an Additional Consideration

In the end, if you find the autograph tree requires too much maintenance, time, or energy, or all three, you can always opt for an artificial version.

Yes! It’s possible to find a high-quality fake autograph tree that will bring you all the joys and feng shui benefits as a live one.

If you’re worried a fake autograph tree is not trendy, check out my article on whether artificial plants and flowers are tacky.

However you decide to bring this tree into your home and care for it, fake or live, you won’t be sorry to have this beauty in your home. And if yours is in distress, it is totally worth breathing it back to life.

What’s happening with your autograph tree? Have you been able to bring it back from the brink of death? What tips and tricks worked for you?

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