A Frankincense Tree Arrived in Time for Christmas – Day One

Monday - 19 December 2011
      Boswellia sacra – first day.  Click on image to enlarge

A recent New York Times article on frankincense tree growers provided links, and I ordered one from Arid Lands in Arizona.  It was sent priority mail with a heat pack, since it is winter.  I paid $40 for a “one gallon” sapling plus $8 shipping and $2 for the heat pack. One gallon is a trade term, and it generally means a pot that meansures about 7″ tall by 7″ wide.  I was a bit surprised when the plant arrived bareroot.  It makes sense that it was bareroot, but that information was lacking on the website.  (I have received one-gallon potted plants) Also lacking were any repotting instructions.  I’ve ordered from many mail order nurseries in the past, and repotting information, also general care information, was always included, and perhaps duplicated on the website.  I’ve written the Arid Lands people, since there is no phone number contact for them.  I’ll report back when I’ve heard from them.

I have a lot of experience growing arid plants, from lithops to peyote to cacti and succulents too numerous to mention. I’ll keep posting tips on the frankincense, combining Arid Lands reply and my own observations.

First, buy coarse sand, or if you’re lucky enough, dig some from your garden.  I would not repot this sampling in a one-gallon pot, I’m going to repot in maybe a four or five-inch pot. The sampling needs to send out new roots, and a tight container helps this process.  Do NOT fertilize. For the first month, water every other day, allowing all the water to drain out.  Do not let it sit in a pot in a saucer that holds water.   Keep it in the sunniest, warmest place in your home.  Protect from night chills if you live in a cold climate by moving it at least two feet away from the window when the sun goes down.

That’s it for now. Do you have any questions?

11 thoughts on “A Frankincense Tree Arrived in Time for Christmas – Day One

  1. Anonymous

    Gosh, I sent the nursery an email and have not heard back from them. I wrote to see if several of us girls could tour the Garden in Tempe. We were thinking of odering a Frankincense Tree and Myrrh Tree from their web site…but we thought that they would send a small tree (miniture). I don’t have a green thumb so do not know how I would do with a root. So your posting on your proceedure is important stuff for me 🙂 Keep us informed on the situation Anya. Thank you for posting.
    Dianna Pierce, Fountain Hills, AZ

  2. Anonymous

    If you search ‘davesgarden frankincense” there’s a bit of information in their plant files. This is the only seller I’ve been able to find, which astounds me. I’ll be watching the progress, as I have a sunporch that seems well-suited to it, and I’d really like to give it a try.

  3. Anya

    Hi Dianna – did you see my most recent blog – the owners are in Nairobi! I urge you to contact them when they’re back. My recent blog gives the exact repotting/growing info you need.

    xoxo – it’s good to hear from you, old friend

  4. Anya

    parfumeur.1 – it might be overwhelming to this dormant desert plant to use rooting hormone. I’m going to follow the instructions given in my subsequent blog. Thanks for the suggestion, though, rooting hormone can be great in some circumstances.


  5. Anya

    Hi Katlyn

    Thanks for the suggestion, that might be the book the Arid Lands owner refers to in my subsequent blog post. BTW, did you know I have a great resource in Trygve from Enfleurage? She lives in Oman and is a world-class frankincense expert. She just sent me about 20 photos of different speciees and growing areas in Oman, and I’ll be posting them. Very exciting!

  6. Anya

    Dear Anon

    I’m always on the dave’s garden forums, but never thought to look for frankincense there! Thanks for the tip. Please see the blog post after this for potting/care instructions.



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