Arabian Frankincense

Boswellia sacra

Family: Burseraceae
Genus: Boswellia (bos-WELL-ee-a) (Info)
Species: sacra



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bright Yellow

White/Near White


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona

San Francisco, California

Miami, Florida

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 24, 2020, ralphja from Kent,
United Kingdom wrote:

I grew my Boswellia from seeds via The Netherlands, one successful germination from five seeds. It is in a pot, indoors, and grows very slowly. I will experiment adjusting the alkalinity of the soil.


On Aug 14, 2014, GardenGrandpa from Ridgecrest, CA wrote:

Germination information:
Crush lime stones into sand and small stones. Spread on sand in direct sunlight.
Spread seeds on top of the limestone base you have created. Cover the seeds with no more than 1/4 of crush limestone.
Spray the area with water from a spray bottle. Dampen the soil as deep as the seeds are planted, but do not allow water to puddle. Spray in the mornings and then allow the area to dry in the afternoons. This mimics conditions during which morning fog dampens the seeds and then the seeds dry out for the remainder of the day.
Continue this process of spraying and dampening the seeds with moisture each morning and then allowing the seeds to dry out for the remainder of the day. After 3 weeks look for seed... read more


On May 13, 2014, TreekeeperChar from San Diego, CA wrote:

I just received Frankincense seeds from MiniaTree in AZ. I am now in need of info on how to best attempt germination.

I have 3 acres of medicinal trees that I tend in Balboa Park, San Diego. CA. I think that our soil and climate will be appropriate with a little additional watering at the right time. I am eager to add Frankincense to the collection of over 70 trees of healing value and to help preserve the species by growing it here.

Thanks for all the previous comments; they were helpful. Anyone with helpful hints on sprouting the seeds? And, since I cannot plant this in the park until it reaches a reasonable size ... how fast does this grow?


On Feb 22, 2014, DavidLMo from St Joseph, MO wrote:

A good source for many different Commiphora (C.), Boswellia (B.) and Bursera is Sacred Succulents in Sebastapol CA.

I have purchased a C. mukul (syn wightii or guggul), a B. sacra and seeds for B. sacra from them and I can highly recommend them. Friendly, pleasant and courteous - even for the small buyer such as myself.

Another good source for many of these types of plants is MiniaTreeGarden whom I have purchased a C. mollis from. They too are excellent to deal with.

For anyone interested in getting in to these types of plants, these two firms are a great and reasonably priced starting point.

Note that for the trees I purchased (as well as a Bursera fagaroides from another vendor) my intention is Bonsai.



On Apr 14, 2013, azant from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I will say this plant is slow to grow in a pot, even an oversized one unless it has high humidity. Once in ground though, it grows real well... weird considering we have very low humidity here, single digits sometimes. I feel more people should grow this tree, and other species if you can locate them $$$... The leaves and flowers, not to mention form make it worth it


On Nov 19, 2012, johneddy from Cos Cob, CT wrote:

I've recently purchased a tree from Miniatree (through eBay) .

I have it on a timed, full-spectrum grow light with a heating pad for this upcoming winter and would like to get it to a decent size, maybe make a bonsai, and maybe try harvesting a little resin- I love the smell and it seems to do me good health-wise.

I've also purchased some seeds and will try my hand at the less-than-promising germination process.

I'm interesting in chatting with others about their experiences, so if you grow them, let me know:)


On Jul 12, 2011, TNAndy from Sevierville, TN wrote:

I've grown my Frankincense for a few years now, in a square container, just shy of 1 cubic foot. It has a thick trunk and roots (what few I can see) for such a sparse, squat shrub. New leaves begin lime green, deepening to an oak leaf green as they reach full size. Stems grow in fits and starts. Where the stems pause, the foliage appears tufted. As the trunk and branches age, layers of bark similar to onion skin split and peel away. (Think Paper Birch with fewer layers showing.) Even the oldest part of the trunk is green underneath this peeling bark.

I read it prefers an alkaline pH, so I mulched the potting mix surface with limestone gravel. I fertilize with a granular, slow release commercial product. I give it a spoonful of fireplace ashes a few times a year, too.... read more


On Oct 21, 2007, wolfblacksmith from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I have searched a long time to find this plant, I was able to purchase 100 seeds, but frankincense is notoriously difficult to germinate, and I had no success. I have found a grower in Arizona that occasionally sells on Ebay, they are called they have wonderful plants, and I purchased two Boswellia's and they arrived in very healthy, bug free and bare root condition, they are growing and sending out new leaves in my Southwest bay window in my Sunny San Francisco flat. If you have any questions about these wonderful sacred plants, please email me. Thanks Wolf.


On May 4, 2007, Cactusdude from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Similar to other plants in the genus, as well as Bursera. Grow in full sun, water when in active growth, keep dry when dormant. Protect from frost, likes heat. Expensive to purchase on the internet, yet very easily grown from cuttings.