This Gardener’s Holy Grail: Mangosteen

I found my Holy Grail. The rare and elusive Mangosteen tree. And like the original Holy Grail, it is destined to bring me heartache, disappointment and cost alot of money in my quest to obtain and keep it. *sigh* Why do I do this to myself? Obsession, that’s why.

For those of you who are not familiar with Mangosteen, it is a native of Asia. The fruit is round, smaller than a baseball but bigger than a golf ball. It has a brown outer skin that is peeled away to reveal a snow white center that is sectioned like an orange. Its taste is a creamy rasberryish-strawberryish-peachy heavenly delight. It is call the Queen of Fruit for a very good reason. I would venture to say the taste is better than good sex (but just below great sex).

I first tasted the ambrosia called mangosteen in Thailand about 7 years ago. I was in love from the first moment the white flesh touched my lips. But mangosteen is a fickle fruit and I had my heart crushed when I returned to the US only to find out that fresh mangosteen is simply not available here.

The mangosteen fruit doesn’t ship well and even if it did, it cannot be imported because foreign grown fruit can endanger US food crops. To top it off, mangosteen fields in Hawaii, California and Florida have just not developed as well as hoped so it is not even like I could sacrifice my kid’s college education to have one of the fresh fruit shipped from within the US. I have tried the canned version but the difference in taste is like that between a store bought and homegrown tomato.

I made it my personal mission to buy a tree. For 7 long years I have scoured the internet looking for someone who sells and ships them. Did I mention that the seedlings do not ship well, either? So far I had only found a place in Hawaii but it would cost me $120 for the seedling. I wasn’t that desperate.. yet. The link is in my Favorites list for when I finally did go right over the edge.

I also had a standing email alert at eBay for the word “mangosteen”. Because eventually everything is for sale on eBay, if you are patient enough. Three days ago, I got The Email and I placed my bid and waited anxiously for the end of the auction. I nearly cried when the auction ended and I had won.

This is what obsession does to a person. This is why they have support groups for people like me. Because I don’t think we are quite right in the head.

Professional growers can’t grow these trees in climates similar to their native homeland and I, a mere hobbyist, spends $40 to have a seedling shipped to me. I think I have about a 1 in 100 chance of actually getting this little baby to survive.

Still, I am delighted. My very own mangosteen tree. Let’s say I beat the odds. Let’s say it grows to make fruit. It could happen… of course it takes them 12 years to bear fruit and I may have grandchildren before I have mangosteen fruit, but it could happen.

42 thoughts on “This Gardener’s Holy Grail: Mangosteen
  1. I am greatly saddened to say that mine did not survive the winter. It did fine during the summer, but did not like the cool temps in my plant dugeon at all. I think this is just more reason for me to get a greenhouse.

    Good luck with yours! I envy you if you get ripe fruit from it. πŸ™‚


  2. Theresa Yianilos on

    I have one suggestion for people who want to expand their growing experience to include tropical plants. Instead of trying to grow tropicals in your cold zone, use the money to buy property in the tropics and grow your tropicals there. By the time you are mature or ready to retire or solvent enough to take long vacations away from snow and cold temperatures, you will have a garden of tropical flora that you can enjoy instead of the memories of tropical plants that have died along the way. I wish I had done that. Visit Fairchild Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida and feast your eyes on what can be grown in the tropics.


  3. Daniel Clark on

    I have two seedlings that I have had for the past four months. Both are doing well and thriving. I was looking for a mangosteen club when I came across your article. Was wondering how your is growing and hwat you are doing to keep them alive.
    I am growing mine in doors and they get 50-60% light and I water them four cups of water a week. They are planted in one gallong pots with orgainc soil. I have changed the soil on one plant and it still lives. The problem I have though is I live in Phoenix, Az. where the temps during summer and winter WILL kill them.
    Was wondering if there is a grow club for mangosteen or am I on my own? So far they are doing great. just hope they live through summer tehy made it through winter and the temps got below freezing for a few weeks. But like I said I keep them in doors and they get filtered light.
    If you can guide me in the right direction that would be great.
    Also was that your posting that yours died? If so how long after you recieved them did they die?
    Thank you and good look with yours.
    Daniel Clark


    Allie Stern Reply:

    You live in Phoenix and you got some mangosteens?! I just tried getting one shipped to me and it died because it was left in the mailbox at my family’s house for three days -_- how did you get yours down here?


    jeanine vaerewyck Reply:


    I came to Florida from the Far East 9 yrs ago and have been looking to buy a mangosteen plant ever since mangosteen is my favorite fruit. Could you kindly inform me where you ordered/bought your plants from?

    I have some other tropical plants. Since they need humidity, I position the pots on top of bricks or small stones, ensuring the water level doesn’t touch the plant unless needed, in order to provide the needed humidity around it.

    For those interested: I have 2 smaller curry leaf (Murraya Koenigii) plants and seeds I am willing to ship for only the shipping cost. Only have to find out how to pack them. Thanks for your early reply, Jeanine


    Asha Reply:

    Hi Jeanine,

    Do you still have those Murraya koenigii plants?
    I think you can mail them with a bit of dirt in a zip lock bag for the roots
    I would love to get those plants if you still have them.
    Please let me know

    thank you


  4. CRYSTAL on

    I think Daniel Clark has the right idea, lets start a Mangosteen Club, for those of us trying to grow this delicate Tree. I live in Las Vegas, and about to order Seedlings soon. I hope they will do well, and would love to keep in contact with other Mangosteen Growers. Daniel or anyone else interested can contact me at……….


  5. Raghu on

    I’m from India and love mangosteens. Here too, it grows only in southern india and the north east. I have a tree in my garden in Bangalore and its doing rather well. Have you seen a mangosteen flower? Its white, fleshy and about nine inches across.


    vani Reply:

    could you please tell me you where you got the spalling from, & how much did it cost, i would like to grow 1. I am put up in south Bangalore.


  6. Dawn on

    I too would love to try to grow a mangosteen tree.
    I live in Tucson, and it is my understanding that the trees do well in a green house with a misting system. You are kind of giving it the “tropical” treatment.
    Are the trees illegal to grow, or is it just illegal to have the fruits?
    It seems to me that the tree itself would pose no threat.
    (If you can get one to grow that is.) πŸ™‚
    I would love to hear about how your plants are doing.
    I also think there should be a mangosteen growers club.
    Thanks for your info, and good luck to you all.


  7. Pingback: » Mangosteen Food Supplements and Mangosteen Pills. Mangosteen has …

  8. Pingback: » This Gardener?s Holy Grail: Mangosteen

  9. Fruits and berries offer tremendous health enhancing qualities and contain hundreds of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids, fiber & phytonutrients. The 4 Ò€œSuper FruitsÒ€ contained in Chews-4-Health are considered by many experts to be the most nutrient rich fruits the world has to offer. Our carefully selected super-fruit complex gives you the power of all 4 in one supplement.




    Charlene Reply:

    Do you have any santol fruit? OMG…I’m eating a mangosteen right now and want to grow them which is why i’m here.

    Ranch 99 Market has wonderful fresh mangosteen ($6.99 a pound-expensive)…but they are fresh and good ones.

    Ranch 99 market off Euclid in Anaheim, CA.


    Tina Reply:


    Could you tell me the name of the San Diego Nursery that sold you the Mangosteen plant?

    I’m in Whittier, CA…. and would LOVE to try to grow one.




  11. Amanda on

    I just bought one too, I am in zone 10b in Naples Florida, and I just transplanted to an a shaded area near to a grassy drainage area. I think it got too much sun the first day, and it has a little tan/brown haze on one leaf. I hope it survives the winter. I think I will get a second as a backup, in a big pot.


    Erini Bonou Price Reply:

    I am in zone 10 also I am in Fort Mayer 25 to 30 miles from you I have been looking everywhere for a mangosteen tree please can you tell me where you got yours thank you so much


  12. Amanda on

    I found mine on E-Bay. I got a chocolate plant included in the auction. It was a very good price. There is an active listing for 4 mangosteen plants for under 40 dollars right now. You should buy soon, because they don’t ship well when the cold winter sets in.


  13. cesar on

    I have alredy but he won’t ship to Portugal.
    But thanks for the help. If you have any other ideas fill free to say.


  14. Killian on

    I just recently discovered the mangosteen while searching for odd tropical fruits on the internet. From all of the comments I was reading through, I decided that I had to try one. I searched for several months trying to find someplace on the internet that could ship the fresh fruit to the U.S. I finally found it.
    The organic fruit of the month club will send fresh mangosteen to the United States with no problems. It has already been legally imported from Thailand and is in California. They ship the product just hours after receiving it. It is fairly expensive, but as many of you seem to know, it is worth it. It is not perfect, but it is as close as we can get here.

    Hope this helps those who want fresh fruit.

    P.S.- If you are planning on planting the seeds, don’t bother. They’ve been irradiated to get rid of any disease, and killed the seed in doing so.


  15. athina hanst on

    I just want to say that I’m from the Caribbean island Curacao and since I got to know the fruit Mangosteen and also I had the chance to taste it I was also asking and searching on how to get the plant becasue it was very sweet and delicious.But it seemed to be very difficult to get it.
    But after looking at this side I saw the address of montoso gardens and guess what I have placed an order yesterday of 3 Mangosteen Tree’s (1 liter growbag) but now I need to wait and see if I’m going to be able to get it finally.
    So as soon as I’ve received it I will again put my comments


  16. athina hanst on

    This is just a confirmation that I’ve received my 3 Mangosteen Trees today and I’m very happy and excited, so now I’m just thinking how and where I’m going to plant them.


  17. Keith on

    I live in south Florida and am on my 5th attempt to grow a Mangosteen in a pot. The first was the most sucessful – it was transplanted about 3 times (from 3 gal to a 32 gal plastic heavy duty trash can !) and grew from 2 ft. high to over 7 feet high !

    It grew too big and had to be moved to a friend’s yard where it died within 2 months because of not enough watering. It broke my heart. It never gave me a blossom. Attempts 2-4 all failed. I think the main reason was that I put them in too deep a pot at first : the tap root needs to be within 4-5 inches of the bottom of the pot or lower so that it can always drink from the water table in the pot.

    I have read that the soil should always be moist but don’t waterlog the roots in standing water or it will kill it as well.

    Here are the key issues:
    Mangosteen LIKES rich acid soil (with Canadian peat mixed in is good), moisture, warmth, humidity (mist several times a day to keep the leaves moist), and cow manure compost (NEVER give it any pellet fertilizer). Liquid Miracle grow is ok I feel but go easy when young.

    Mangosteen HATES direct sunlight (until 6 or 7 feet high – it will burn the young growth), wind, and cold (below 50).

    Good luck to all. Has anyone found a reasonable internet source for the fresh fruit now being imported from Thailand ? – Keith in south FLorida


  18. Teresa on

    I, too, am obsessed with mangosteens. I live in California where the temperature is fairly warm but arid. I would love to try to grow a tree someday. Please keep us posted on how your tree grows in Ohio.


    Andy Reply:

    Check out my thread on May 16,2011. Reply back if you can!


  19. Nate Riley on

    I grow Succulent and cactus as well as few few tropical fruit trees under My MH and HPS grow light it works great and in the summer I put them out side and wow they grow like weeds some have done better then others but most ar thriving and I hope to have a mangosteen under my light soon its like having a present under the Christmas tree only this gift keeps on a giving and it is so much sweeter . May be I should buy some land in the tropics maybe in East Timor and live like a king with my American income or cuba but who wants to share damn communists.


  20. Daniel Clark on

    It now has been 2 years since my posting on growing my trees. They are still ALIVE!!!! I have only changed the soil and have not transplanted them to larger pots. I have forgotten the place I have bought them. They were from Peurto Rico and I can’t seem to find it anymore. If anyone knows the web site could you let me know. I would really like to buy 5 more. Since the first 2 are doing well, I figured I can handle the undertaking. Good luck to all and your quest.


    Andy Reply:

    I just posted my novice grower intro on the thread (May 16,2011). Check it out and let me know how your growing conditions compare: Full sun vs. sunshade vs. greenhouse (type) etc. The Growing Zone you are in is a HUGE Factor on this plant’s success if it is outside in full sun.


  21. Traveling Mike on

    I found a store in Houston, Texas that I just stumbled upon a few months ago. It is called Central Market. They only have about 6 stores, all in Houston. This store buy the MOST TROPICAL fruits known to man. They also have the Mangosteen they import from Thailand. They sell 4 of them for $12-16 depending on the cost for them.

    I asked them if they ship foods around the country and they said no. BUT…they do make gift baskets of whatever you want, including the Mangosteens, and they can ship those wherever you’d like. Its not a bad offer. You just pay a gift basket fee of like $20-30. Check them out. I hope it helps everyone to get their hands on some!!!


  22. Rosharn Walker on

    I thought I was the only one! I thought my insanity over this fruit was of my own craziness.
    A doctor that wont be names clued me into mangonsteen. It was so hard to find and I wanted no powders, supplements or otherwise. So I finally after a long search found juice in a can. Whole undiluted not fresh juice. An addiction began but it did take care of my medical issues.
    I now obsess about tasting fresh juicy fruit. So I began searching and still no one in this area sells the fruit. So now I am on the search to buy a plant. But I worry about the difficulty of growing this plant.


    Mangosteen Nutso Reply:

    Im currently in Asia with a bag of Mangosteen’s at my feet waiting to be gobbled up. Im not mentioning this to boast but I too would like to have some in my native Calif when I return.

    Is there a way to cultivate the seeds? πŸ˜‰ This could make me some new friends too. πŸ˜‰



  23. Mangosteens have to be number 1 on the list of why I love to grow (and live) in the tropics πŸ™‚
    I’m growing 2 mangosteen trees now but think I’m going to get some more. Maybe 15-20? To feed my mangosteen love, you know πŸ˜€
    De-pulp the seed (easy, just eat it! without damaging the seed, of course), place it flat on a bed of river sand, cover it lightly and keep it moist. And warm. It should sprout soon enough.


  24. Riko T on

    I live in LA california, lately i see a lot of fresh mangosteen fruit for sale in asian supermarket, maybe you could buy the fresh fruit @ $5 per pound, enjoy the fruit and plant the seed.


  25. Andy on

    I live near the coast in San Diego County, CA.(Zone 10). I just found several mangosteen trees being sold by ONG’s Nursery (2528 Crandall Dr. San Diego, CA). Cost for a 3 foot plant in a tall 5 gal. container was $105/plant. I thought they would only be found in greenhouse conditions but these were growing under a patio sunshade! I was told it would survive under a sunshade screen in full sun,(I have a 30% sunshade set-up for mine). I have heard of success only in expensive atmosphere/humididty controlled (did I say expensive!)type greenhouses in So. Calif. and that it is rare to find anyone who can talk about their own mangosteen growing adventure.

    Anyone with information on growing mangosteen in California or even the continental United States?



    Addis Reply:

    I too am growing Mangosteen in CA (Monterey) and so far have had some success. I have the tree indoors inside of a 5 gallon water jug that doubles as a ‘greenhouse’. The tree is still in its liter grow bag I received it in, and after a few days the leaves started to perk up and reach for the light. I have it growing under a Metal Halide lamp and the temp inside the jug is right around 85 degrees all day. The humidity is around 90%+ and it seems to be doing just fine. Not sure if I will ever be able to move it outside, but for now I am taking small steps. Once I see that it is producing new growth and looking healthy, I will move it into a deep 1-3 gallon pot, with well draining soil and plenty of organic matter. Hope this information helps anyone with the Mangosteen ‘bug’ because it has infected me and hopefully one day we can all enjoy this ‘queen of fruits’ Send any questions you may have to I will be glad to help if I can!

    Happy Growing


  26. William C on

    I have a few mangosteen seedlings, they are such slow growers, here is some tips and some new ideas to help them speed along.

    for the first few years you need to keep them in 50% light, they like humidity, and warmth.

    The main problem with Mangosteen, is its weak root system, it tends to grow a very long tap root, and very little laterals, and worse, these laterals have very little root hairs.

    I have done a lot of research , believe these techniques may help.

    1) Use fabric, or other type air pot.

    These help air prune roots to stimulate lateral roots.

    2) Inoculate roots / soil with mycorrhizal fungi, and other beneficial bacteria.

    There have been trials done on this and it will help the tree grow faster, the fungi help the tree absorb more nutrients and stimulate the root hairs to grow.

    3) Double rooting and grafting.

    These are advanced techniques should only be used by experienced grafters. Garcinia mangostana can be grafted onto Garcinia xanthochymus, G. xanthochymus is more vigorous than mangostana. an even more advanced grafting technique is the dual root graft, where you add a second rootstock by inarching.

    Since scions from a mature mangosteen are hard to come by, and to lower risk of killing your mangosteen seedling, you can try just inarching the G. xanthochymus, and not do the graft, you may get fruit in as little as 5 years.

    But a successful graft, using a scion from a mature G. mangostana, and double rootstock , may get you fruit in as little as 2 years!

    Again even if your tree starts giving fruit after 2, 5, or 8 years, you will only get a few, and every year after you will get more.

    My biggest seedling is only a foot high, but has been hardened off and can take full sun. I just transplanted it today into a very large fabric type pot ( 10 gallon ) to allow space for the tap root. I inoculated the roots using plant success tabs, ( only thing I had on hand ) I have ordered by mail. mycogrow soluble so ill do a drench also, later on.

    I do not trust me grafting skills and wont be experimenting with that, I believe that the myco fungi, and fabric pot will really speed things along , this plant is already 3 years old. and have read that once they get past the infant stage ( 3-4 years ) they really start to speed up in growth.

    Someday when I have a mature tree i can get scions from, I will try the grafting, I also have G. xanthochymus and G. aristata another slow grower.


  27. Hello all!

    I LOVE the Queen of Fruits too! I work for myself sharing information about Xango’s products that all have Mangosteen in them!

    Mangosteen has changed my life in SO many ways. I have mangosteen products that I use on a daily basis, but I have also wanted to grow my own mangosteen tree in a greenhouse. I figure being in Utah it will not survive any other way. I have grown other things but nothing as delicate as a mangosteen tree.

    If there is a Mangosteen Club I would love to be apart of it! Also I found a guy in Hawaii who sells the trees and a site where you can order the fruit fresh. I have not tried them yet but I’ll say it again. I LOVE MANGOSTEEN! πŸ™‚


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge