Of the many towering trees in the rainforest, the Brazil nut tree is one of the most intriguing. Notorious for requiring very specific conditions for growth, flowering and fruiting, Brazil nuts are typically harvested directly from wild trees. Brazil nut trees boast a height of approximately 160 feet, and when cultivated properly produces creamy white flowers and massive segmented fruits filled with edible nuts. Growing these trees is a difficult but very rewarding task.
Obtain a raw Brazil nut. Most Brazil nuts imported into the U.S. undergo a processing that involves soaking and boiling. Boiling kills the seed, making it impossible to sprout. Proper seed stock can be purchased through online nurseries, harvested directly from trees in the rainforest, or obtained in speciality markets. Do your research and ask plenty of questions to make sure you are getting healthy, raw nuts for planting.
Soak the seeds. Soaking allows the outer husk of the seed to soften for shelling, and allows the nut time to sprout. Fill a large mason jar one third full with nuts still in husk, and cover for twenty four hours. Pour out the water and rinse the nuts. Continue the process, reducing soaking time to eight hour increments until you see sprouting. Once you see sprouting, carefully remove the outer husk of the nut.
Prepare the planting site. Brazil nuts require a host of very specific conditions in order to sprout. The best way to achieve most of these conditions is to prepare an environment similar to the rainforest. Fill a large-sized canning jar two thirds full with moist, nutrient-rich potting soil. Have a piece of cheesecloth and a rubber band available to cover the jar once the sprout has been planted.
Plant the seed. Create a depression in the soil deep enough to cover the entire seed. Cover the seed with soil, and water moderately without making the soil boggy. Cover the jar with cheesecloth, and secure it with a rubber band. Place the jar in a location with low or indirect sunlight.
Maintain the seedling. Check the seed often for signs of germination, or failed germination. A germinated seed will show signs of sprouting, while a failed germination will show mould in the jar. If your seed has germinated, move the jar to a sunny location. Remove the cheesecloth for approximately three to four hours a day to provide the plant fresh air. Water the tree as needed. Once the tree develops a set of true leaves, move it to a larger, covered pot so it has room to grow.