Believe it or not there are over 1,000 different species of Eugenia found in the tropics. One that has made its home in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b through 11 is the Brazilian Cherry tree. While this specimen can tolerate no weather below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, there is one in this genus that can survive temperatures down to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. What is this plant? It is the Australian Brush Cherry. While it does fine in the ground as a hedge, it also works as a houseplant in areas where the winter may be a bit too cold. Before we jump into this, keep in mind that it will take more work to grow this plant as a houseplant compared to a landscape specimen.
When it comes to successfully growing this plant indoors, there are few things one must plan for. First, this plant likes a moist soil but not wet. A too damp soil will cause the roots to rot. Second, since this plant grows large you will need to commit to pruning it several times a year. Third, since it is a large plant you will also need to commit to using a large pot, which you may or may not have the space for. Lastly, this plant can tolerate partial shade but does much better in full sun. This can be a challenge when it comes to finding the space in your home where your plant can receive full sun.
Once you have decided to grow the Australian Brush Cherry, you will need to select a container. While a plastic one will work, I am more of a fan of the terra cotta. The reason for this is the fact that the plastic will hold moisture in the soil and it is light. Since this plant grows so fast, it is better to use a container with weight, such as one made from pottery or terra cotta.
After you have your container, sterilize the pot by placing it in a basin of water with a capful of bleach. Scrub to remove any debris. Once that is done, rinse in clear water. Next, place drainage material such as pieces of broken pots in the bottom of the container and mix your soil. Yes, an all-purpose potting soil will work but to increase drainage add a couple of handfuls of sand, mix well and add to the container. At this point, you are ready to plant your Australian Brush Cherry.
To help support your young plant, gently tie it to a stake with garden twine. This should only remain until the plant’s roots take hold. Now, you can prune your plant so that it looks like a “tree” by pruning away all the branches except a central leader or you can allow it to grow bushy. Keep in mind though that throughout the growing season, you will need to harshly prune the plant back to control growth.
Beyond this care, keep your plant indoors during the times that the temperatures hovering around 32 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer, place your plant outside but to aid in moving the planted container, consider placing the pot on a plant stand that has wheels. This will make moving the plant inside and out easier.