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Comment by Tom on July 6, 2012 at 9:32pm
Not sure on variety, i asked them at the Darwin Botanic gardens but they didn't know. Suspect from Samoa or Fiji.
Comment by Cameron on July 6, 2012 at 7:32am

What variety is the white bean? I'm interested in giving it a crack... I can grow just about anything, or at least get it started in my grow boxes...

I'm travelling to SA from tomorrow, I just soaked all my plants in rain water so they can last a week and noticed there's about 4 or 5 flowers about to open on one of the Cacao's in the garage. It's only getting to about 20C there max during the day with the lights on, about 70%-80% humidity, so they must be happy with that.

Anyone know what the process is for pollination of Cacao flowers?

Comment by Tom on June 11, 2012 at 11:49pm

Wow, quite an impressive collection of tropical plants, I am glad the cacao flowers too!

Comment by Cameron on June 11, 2012 at 8:06pm

I have already had the plants produce some flowers, but they were in the tent in the garage and I did not attempt to pollinate. I want the plants to focus on growing first, then worry about flowering later.

I even put some plants outside directly in the shade, and they seemed to cope ok. They definitely don't like direct sunlight, I made the mistake of giving one plant only partial shade, most of the leaves ended up drying up.

I also have coffee, tea and bananas growing in Melbourne. One of the coffee has a minimal amount of berries, the tea flowered, and I have a bunch of sugar bananas although I wish this had of held off fruiting until Spring.

Comment by Tom on June 11, 2012 at 6:52pm
Hi Cameron, these plants are at my sister in laws in Darwin, I was thinking of trying to grow some here too.

CSIRO and a bunch of other groups were involved in the FNQ cacao projects. Daintree Estates is the ultimate commercial result of everything that happened, quite a complex story. Your pod could have come from anywhere up there as there are lots of plantations and also lots of trees in backyards. If they are claiming CSIRO then perhaps it came from the mill plot in Mossman? I am certainly enthused by your success growing them in Melbourne though. Do your plants flower?
Comment by Cameron on June 11, 2012 at 5:14pm

Hi Tom,

Where in Adelaide are you?

I'm in Melbourne, and have some Cacao plants growing, a couple as tall as a metre at the moment. I've got a couple in the lounge room that I try and mist twice a day, and then another 3 in the garage under horticulture lights amongst a bunch of other tropical plants.

I got the pod off ebay from someone that claimed the pod was from a CSIRO developed plant in FNQ that they were experimenting with for chocolate production in Australia. Not sure how true it is, but the pod arrived in the mail entirely in tact and I think every single seed sprouted.

What kind of humidity are you giving your plants, they seem to be doing well.

Comment by Tom on June 7, 2012 at 7:05pm

I think Mel wants to keep them as pot plants, so there are two there and hopefully they will be put in separate bigger pots. I have seen cacao grown in pots and they do flower and presumably fruit (they are renting so don't want to plant in the ground). Typically it is about 2 years to flowering and you can use the pods to make chocolate as soon as you get them. Trouble is it will probably only be a handful of pods at a time. I would need an incubator to do ferments properly on that scale. Also bringing fruit into SA can be problematic. I just thought it was a nice idea to grow some, especially since they are a white bean variety. I might try and grow one down here in Adelaide in a pot, keep it in my office, because it doesn't really drop below 20 degrees in here, just spray it with water all the time and see how it goes. They had not a lot of luck with the one in the Adelaide botanic gardens that I have a picture on here of, I went back last week and it was gone - probably died, or perhaps some one with a brain moved it to the tropical dome instead of where it was in the waterlilly pavillion.

Comment by Gap on June 7, 2012 at 5:58pm

So how long before they're planted in the ground and then how long before you start getting pods. And can you make chocolate from the beans as soon as you have pods or do you need to wait a few seasons before the pods produce "right"/mature beans?

Comment by Tom on June 7, 2012 at 7:44am
Yeah they are growing likke crazy, they are only a little over two months old now
Comment by Gap on June 7, 2012 at 2:17am

Cool stuff Tom

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