The Chocolate Life

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I've had a Theobroma cacao for a couple of years now and have been keeping it not only alive, but occasionally flowering. Since my move to Michigan, I lost a branch and started getting brown tips on all the leaves. It's still putting out new leaves, but only about one flower or two in months. I have it near (but not too near) the heater and spray it all the time.

I wish I could take this tree to the next level – maybe get some height (it's about 2.5 feet) or at least loose the brown tips. I'm working on building it a little greenhouse. I don't ever expect pods, but at least a green, growing tree to add to my botanical assortment.

Anyone else have a tree and want to discuss?

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That's so cool! May I ask where you bought it?
I got it at a greenhouse sale at San Francisco State University while I was studying ecology there. I rarely see them at sales elsewhere since.
Oh cool! Sounds like you profited from a unique opportunity there. :)

Hello Lorna, it's interesting to hear that you are trying to grow cacao plants. Unfortunately the cacao trees are very sensitive and require specific geographic and weather conditions.

The good news are that with technology we have been able to recreate such conditions for the trees to grow strong and healthy. In regards to the height, it is not really important, the height will be dependant from the variety that you are growing.

I have some good information about planting, growing and harvesting cacao but most of it is in Spanish. I consider this two links will be very helpful for you, take your time to review them

Growing Cacao (FAO)

Growing Cacao (ICCO)

This includes all what you need to have high quality cacao beans (in recommended conditions).

I also have a little cacao tree. I haven't had it long- probably 2 months. We haven't really given it enough attention and it's not going so well. It's about to get really cold here in South Australia- was wondering if anyone has any tips to keeping it at the right temperatures and humidity… Should I just buy or build something to house it in and keep it at the right conditions?

Hi Chantelle, where you have it in the shop it probably isnt getting enough sun. I have one on the window sil at work. It has been growing well for 2 years and is about 70 cm tall now. I planted one in Darwin at my sister in laws house and it was that big after about 3 months, so we do face issues here in Adelaide. On my window in never gers below 15 deg C and as the dappled sun (we have louvers) hits it the terracota pot warms to about 25 deg C even in the last week. This is helped by the large thermal mass of the building i work in, so ambient temp overnight doesnt drop low. Also i water well and use a high magnesium fertiliser. I sometimes water with warm water if it goes a few days where there is not much direct sun. I also spray it with water about three times a day but not on weekends. I found mine was very slow to grow initially but it seemed to reach a critical number of leaves in the last year and is growing super well now. Good luck


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