Natal Mahogany Care Instructions

Natal Mahogany

Scientific name: Trichilia emetica
Synonyms: Natal Mahogany, Banket Mahogany

The Natal Mahogany is a little known but well-adapted tree for indoor living. It has handsome deep green shiny foliage and a bushy full appearance with a super forgiving nature.

These beautiful houseplants are best of all: locals and are Endemic to KZN where they grow in warm humid conditions, and the soil stays consistently moist, perfect for those of us who tend to overwater, however, they can withstand short bouts of dryness. The Natal Mahogany houseplant also adapts well to a variety of lighting conditions and does quite well in medium to low lighting areas, perfect for that lifeless dark corner in your home or office space.

Toxicity: Considered to be toxic, especially the seed coatings.

Common Symptoms

  • Yellowing foliage and leaf drop: This is an indication of underwatering. Natal Mahogany are extremely thirsty houseplants and prefer consistently moist soil, and struggle to recover from underwatering. It is advised to check your plant’s soil frequently to maintain a good balance and avoid allowing the soil to dry out at all.
  • Crisp foliage and brown scalloped edges: Even though this may be a less likely occurrence, it is, however, a sign of overwatering. Blackening or crisping foliage is a sign that root rot has set in and that your plant is suffering from wet feet. Check that your planter is draining correctly and if any water has accumulated in the planter, to allow it to drain out. Allow the soil to dry slightly and adjust your watering regime.
  • Mosaic yellow or green foliage but leaves don’t fall off: This is an indication that your Mahogany is not receiving enough light. Even though these houseplants are tolerant of lower lighting conditions, which is also beneficial in keeping their soil moist, too little light can lead to deterioration of your houseplant. It is preferable to keep your Mahogany in medium lighting conditions and if your plant is showing signs of lack of light, relocate to a slightly brighter position.
  • Pale foliage and frequently drying soil: This is usually caused by too much light. Natal Mahogany is usually found within woodlands ae forests where light is often dappled and if exposed to high light can appear pale. Bright light can also cause the soil to dry faster causing the need for frequent watering. However, If the light is not the issue then the soil may be too free draining and it is advised to re-pot your plant into a more moisture-retentive potting medium or to use a self-watering planter.
  • Pests: Natal Mahogany are prone to Spider mite and Scale infestations if their optimal growing conditions are not maintained. If you notice pinprick holes or webbing on your foliage, it may mean a Spider mite infestation has set in, it is best to rinse of these pests and spray with a good quality pesticide or miticide and to raise the humidity levels around your houseplant. Scale can be harder to detect as it is usually found on the stems. If scale occurs, try removing as best you can and spray down your plant with a good quality pesticide.

Care Instructions

  • Origin: South Africa (Kwazulu Natal)
  • Height: Can be maintained at 2 - 3 m indoors, outdoors reaches 20m
  • Light: Thrives in medium light, will tolerate lower lighting conditions. Avoid direct sun as this will lead to leaf scorch.
  • Water: Keep the soil evenly moist but avoid drying out. Can tolerate bouts of overwatering. It is advised to leave some water in the drainage tray if in a brightly lit position, or to use a self watering planter.
  • Humidity: Average room humidity is fine. 
  • Temperature: Ideal temperatures range from 18°C - 26°C.
  • Soil: A well-draining, slightly moisture retentive organic potting mix is sufficient.
  • Fertilizer: Use a well balanced organic fertilizer once a month during Spring through Summer.
  • Pruning: During Spring prune your Natal Mahogany aggressively to kept it full and bushy.
  • Repotting: Natal Mahogany generally only need repotting every 18 - 24 months and this should be done during the growing season of Spring. When repotting choose a planter with good drainage that is 5 -10cm larger than the root ball to allow the plant space to grow.
  • Propagation: This can be achieved via division. When repotting separate your plant into a few healthy clumps as there are usually more than 1 young Sapling in a planter. Be sure to choose a few plants with healthy leaves to create a full lush plant. Re-pot using your preferred moisture-retentive potting medium. Once new growth forms, your plant has established.

If in stock, shop for a Natal Mahogany here