philm
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Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:49 pm

Cocoa Tree Growing Help

Good evening everyone,

I am pretty new to the forum and I am also very new to planting cocoa trees. I bough a pod from an online store back in May and I have had quite a bit of success at growing these. For reference, I am growing these guys in Ohio (I know, who would grow the trees in Ohio).

Well, 5 of my trees look like this:

Tree 1:

Image

Tree 2:

Image

Tree 3:

Image

Tree 4:

Image

Tree 5:

Image

SO I think that there is a chance that they are all dying. What do you think?

Also, the soil that they are in has bone meal in it and worm castings, I wanted to enrich the soil with nutrients. If you need any more information, then I would be more then happy to share, thank you. ( i am pretty sure the Tree 2 is in fact dying, but hen I scarped some of the bark away, it was still green)

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applestar
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Re: Cocoa Tree Growing Help

:clap: YES! Please post more abut how you grew these from seeds. Cocoa has been on my wish list for several years now, but my fave tropical plant source sells them for more than I can afford :|. HOWEVER, they do provide good growing info, and if you look at the video on the following linked info page, the browning leaves are normal.

If your plants are still outside, then I woud say it's been too cold for them.

https://www.logees.com/Cocoa-Theobroma-c ... o/L1904-4/

OK, now I'm putting growing cocoa from seeds on next year's project list. 8)
(...I 'm ready to take notes :D )
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

DoubleDogFarm
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Re: Cocoa Tree Growing Help

If Apple tells me this is normal, ok but, if it were a vegetable I would say fertilizer burn.

Eric

philm
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Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:49 pm

Re: Cocoa Tree Growing Help

BTW I am in zone 6b. Although, I not quite sure what that means.

Sure, here is a link to the seller that I bought mine from:

https://www.montosogardens.com/tropical_fruits.htm

Sorry to say that they are all sold out right now but at least you know where to get them.

As soon as I felt uncomfortable for the weather, I moved them inside. Although, there are some trees that had to tough it out. I think that it dipped in the 50s a couple of times. But I moved them in before it got too significantly cold. As long as you see new growth, your pretty much good.

Now, as for germinating them, that was easy. The thing is is that you need to keep the seeds moist at all times.

First step is to peel the skin off of them. That is easy, let the seeds soak in water (I literally used tap water) for a little while, maybe a few hours. This will allow peeling the skin easier.

Second, now you need to somehow simulate the temperatures of the tropics for the seeds to germinate. Simple, buy a plastic container, a heat lamp, and paper towels and a washcloth and some fine mulch (that is optional but this will give some room for the roots grow. For me, the roots grew into the cloth, then I put some dirt down) Put the washcloth in the bottom, then the mulch, then the seeds and then 5 layers of paper towels. Soak em in water. Close the lid and put them neat a window and turn the heat lamp on. Check everyday, at least once a day to make sure that the paper towels are still moist. Keep them in there until the root starts growing down. At that point, you can take them and plant them in pots.

I used a method similiar to this one:

https://api.ning.com/files/wFvIiebu4VAxr ... ystery.pdf

Now, I did a little experiment. In some trees, I planted them in fine mulch and others, some really good planting soil. Both work. Just make sure that the pot can drain water and make sure that the soil is moist. If the soil is moist when you check it, then you are good. If not, water them.

Now, when I say fine mulch, you do not have to go to a specialty online store. No. I went to Home Depot and was able to find fine mulch there. I will let you judge what is fine and what is not. Also, I remember reading that miracle grow killed someone's cocoa tree. So do not get that. But that is about it. Fine mulch and you are good. I haven't really tested anything else but hopefully this bone meal, potting soil, and worm castings mix will be better then the mulch. For now, stick to the mulch for some of them. I know it works. And for others, experiment. I tried using the soil that I found in my backyard, that did not work.

Also, since there is a possibility that yours will grow slowly then everyone else, that has been my experience also. Could be because of the climate.


I hope that this helps you. That is practically what I did. Oh and for fertilizer, farmers in the torpics use the cacao husk and coffee grinds. So, I would say, use that. I am actually allowing my husk to decompose along with some grinded up coffee beans. But that will take awhile. I know that someone is using coffee grinds for fertilizer and that tree is doing fine. I want to recommend chemical stuff but since my trees are turning out like this, I am going to pull them off of it. Actually, that is the main reason I repotted these. I wanted to get them out of the chemical stuff I put them in. Instead, I added bone meal and worm castings. Nutrient rich. Maybe one day I will add fertilizer. Hope this helps

philm
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Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:49 pm

Re: Cocoa Tree Growing Help

So, I performed a pH test on one of the pots and the results came back that the pH level was 7.5-8.0.

Any thoughts? I head the flushing the soil with peat moss tea or rain water can help lower it. I also found out that I can buy a chemical at the local plant store which will also lower the pH level.

Has anyone else here attempted to grow a cocoa tree?


javusa
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Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:02 am

Re: Cocoa Tree Growing Help

HUMIDITY!!!!

The plant needs high humidity. The browning on leaves is low humidity desiccation.

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Cocoa Tree Growing Help

More peat moss in the soil. It has a naturally low pH. Sulfur will work but will take about 6 months for the turn around. While it is normal for the leaves to turn brown as they age, the color is a sickly yellow and some of that brown looks a bit fungal. Correcting the pH will help some of the yellowing. Usually the young leaves are pinkish and then turn a dark green and then the edges and brown on the oldest leaves and then brown out and drop off. Cacao likes it hot and humid. So try to keep the temperature above 68 and mist often.

Cacao is an under story tree. It grows in dappled lite with a lot of leaf mulch from the other trees. Organic amendments like compost, bone meal can have a high pH. Bone meal because bones contain Calcium and compost pH depends on the source material. It also is not wind tolerant and the larger trees provide wind protection. It grows slowly and will take a few years to bear fruit. It is pollinated by a fly I think so it may not be that easy to get the fruit to set and pollination is better when there is more than one tree. Some varieties are not self pollinating.

The pulp of the cacao fruit is creamy white, soft and sweet but does not taste like chocolate. The raw seeds are bitter. It doesn't mellow until its been Dutched.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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