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Tropical Plants: Theombroma Cacao

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
1:43 PM

Post #6205719

Just thought I would post some photos of my cacao pod, seeds and seedlings as I am growing them. This is the plant that chocolate comes from.
This first photo is of the cacao seed pod. There are different kinds. This is pictured next to a large navel orange for size comparison.

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
1:45 PM

Post #6205729

Here is the pod with the top cut off. It seemed the easiest safest way to get into the pod without damaging the seeds. Once the top is off you can see to slit it down the side.

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
1:51 PM

Post #6205746

Pod is slit down the side to reveal the seeds. The seeds are enclosed in a thick slimy gelatinous membrane. They are not fun to peel lol. You need to get it all off before planting especially indoors or you will run across mold issues. I also rinsed them in a little bit of soapy water and then under the faucet after taking the membrane off. Some people like to eat the membrane part. I tasted some and it was pretty pleasant.

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
1:53 PM

Post #6205754

Just another photo of the cleaned seeds (cacao beans) with a penny for size comparison.

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Robynznest

Robynznest
Pittsburg, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 1, 2009
1:56 PM

Post #6205763

That pretty cool. Do you have a large tree in your yard or did you buy the pod?
angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
2:02 PM

Post #6205788

Once they were all cleaned I planted them shallowly into small 3 oz plastic dixie cups with a seed starting mix. I poked holes in the bottom of the cups for drainage. You could definitely start these in larger pots, such a 4 inch. or larger because their roots grow very rapidly . I used small ones just because of space issues on my seed starting shelves. I had to pot them up to 4 inch -right away a few days after they came up due to the large root system. When you are sprouting them they need heat (like a seedling heat mat) and lots of humidity. I just put some saran wrap over the pots. I do have them under lights but they are not up close to the lights. I would say they are a foot away.. The cacoa plant is a understory plant (grows underneath of other plants) and appreciates some shade especially earlier in life). I will be back to post some photos of the seedlings after I take some more photos.
angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
2:04 PM

Post #6205793

I bought the pod. Montoso gardens has cacao seeds and pods. I have grown the cacao plant before but gave it to my mom before I moved to FL. So this is my second round with them lol. This particular pod had 30 seeds.
Lenette

Robynznest

Robynznest
Pittsburg, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 1, 2009
2:23 PM

Post #6205848

Thanks Lenette, I going to go looking for the seeds or pods now.
Dutchlady1
Naples, FL
(Zone 10a)

March 1, 2009
3:27 PM

Post #6206093

Very nice, thanks for the clear pictures.
angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
4:39 PM

Post #6206351

Thank you.
Here is one just germinating. They seem to put down lots of roots before they come up. Most of them are up now but there are a few stragglers.

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
4:40 PM

Post #6206357

Some of the bigger kids.

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
4:41 PM

Post #6206366

They can be quite comical..This one really reminds me of something from 'Little Shop of Horrors'! LOL (oh yeah- don't do this! ..put them in peat pods in another container-I ran out of cups lol..the peat pellets are way too small and they have trouble being born :P)

This message was edited Mar 1, 2009 11:43 AM

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
4:45 PM

Post #6206386

Another one of the bigger kids closer up.

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
4:48 PM

Post #6206405

I am no expert so if there are some out there please feel free to give me any pointers along the way. I am gonna keep posting on these periodically. I thought they were such wierd looking plants/seedlings the first time I saw them so wanted to share the photos :)
~Lenette

This message was edited Mar 1, 2009 11:49 AM
angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 1, 2009
5:42 PM

Post #6206679

One more funny one- couldn't resist :P

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Robynznest

Robynznest
Pittsburg, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 2, 2009
2:47 PM

Post #6210614

Those will be so much fun to watch. Maybe you can do your own Pod People horror story to sell.
Nick1
Plainfield, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 2, 2009
11:22 PM

Post #6212997

Thanks for the photos. I had a T. cocoa for several years befor it died (not quite sure why). I contacted Montoso Gardens re. availability of pods. I think I'll try again from seed.
Nick
astcgirl
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

March 27, 2009
10:56 PM

Post #6328880

Lenette thank you for such a great post, I've been following along and ended up getting a pod (just like yours) from Montoso Gardens.

I had a silly question, I've cleaned the seeds and am just about to pot them up...one end of the seed has a little white tip...does it go white tip down or up?

There really is a lot of seeds in those pods isn't there...guess I'll have lots of presents for Christmas to family & friends...that's if they sprout. LOL

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 28, 2009
7:56 PM

Post #6332299

Thanks. I need to post some more photos. They have grown so much since the last ones. About 5 of them didnt ever come up -not sure why. The rest all look good.

astcgirl, I just planted them flat (horizontally) They know which way to come up I guess lol. Post pics of yours when they come up.

Metrosideros

Metrosideros
Keaau, HI


March 30, 2009
3:15 AM

Post #6338462

Hi Angel-tree-baby, did you see the tree that your cacao pod came from?

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Metrosideros

Metrosideros
Keaau, HI


March 30, 2009
3:46 AM

Post #6338541

Excuse me, I see the pod came from mail order. You had very good germination; keep the plants well watered, and regularly fed with organic fertilizers, and your plants should grow well!
If you can get the plants to mature in the ground outdoors, keep them well mulched, watered, and fertilized, and you should be able to produce your own cacao beans.

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2009
7:43 PM

Post #6341219

Metrosideros, That is a lovely cacao tree you have! Lots of nice looking babies too!
They all look very happy in thier enviornment there.
I had ended up with about 5 seeds that never did anything for some reason but I am happy that so many did germinate :) They are in quart size pots now and could probably be bumped up to a gallon in a week or so. They do grow fast.
I will prob have to keep mine in pots because it gets colder than 40F in the winter here and sometimes freezes. I might sink some of the pots into the ground and then dig them up in the fall-not sure yet... Do they resent having thier rootballs moved or tampered with?

Metrosideros

Metrosideros
Keaau, HI


March 30, 2009
8:11 PM

Post #6341340

It is best to get the plants into the pots that you plan to keep them in fairly soon. I germinate the beans together in a community pot, and after they have hardened off their first leaf, put them in gallon pots till they produce a couple more leaves, then put them in the ground.
If you can grow them in large pots (20 gal) they should get large enough to produce pods.
It takes about five years for them to start producing.

Aloha, Dave

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angel_tree_baby
Chickenville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2009
5:31 PM

Post #6345538

Thanks. I guess I will have to go look for some huge pots lol. Maybe the big round laundry tubs from walmart with holes drilled in the bottom might work.

You seem very knowledgeable about cocao , do you know why the seedlings keep the bean part on the stem? (After the bean sprouts and the leaves come out the top-the split bean part still stays on) Is there a nutritional purpose for that or something?
~Lenette

Metrosideros

Metrosideros
Keaau, HI


March 31, 2009
5:56 PM

Post #6345635

Hi Lenette, I believe that the new plant is absorbing some benefit from the bean till it dries up and falls off. Seeds generally contain hormones that aid in the development of the new plant (one reason I sprout the seeds all together).

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