Cocoa plants (Theobroma cacao) grow predominantly in tropical, humid regions near the equator. Cocoa beans are used for cocoa powder, cocoa butter and, of course, chocolate. Since cocoa plants require high heat and humidity, you must replicate the plant's natural environment to grow them as houseplants.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Cocoa seedling
- 10-gallon container
- 5-gallon buckets, 2
- Clean builder's sand
- Potting soil
- 6-6-6-2 fertiliser
- Garden fork
Obtain a self-compatible cocoa seedling from a trustworthy tropical plant retailer. A self-compatible plant does not need another plant for pollination.
Move the young cocoa plant to a spot indoors that receives filtered sunlight. Water the plant thoroughly while still in its original container. Water to keep the soil moist two or three times per week. Allow the cocoa plant to grow until it reaches 10 inches tall.
Set a 10-gallon potting container in filtered sunlight. Fill a 5-gallon bucket with clean sand and another 5-gallon bucket with potting soil. Pour the two buckets into a wheelbarrow and moisten with the garden hose. Add a 6-6-6-2 fertiliser, diluted by half with water, into the soil in the wheelbarrow. Use a garden fork to blend the sand and soil together evenly.
Pour the soil mix into the 10-gallon container. Squeeze the cocoa plant's nursery container gently to release the plant into your hand. Move aside enough soil to plant the cocoa plant.
Add clean water to a watering can and water the cocoa plant until moist. Continue to water the cocoa plant two to three times a week, before the surrounding soil has a chance to dry.
Place a humidifier near the cocoa plant and turn on for three or four hours daily. This extra humidity will help to replicate a tropical environment for the growing cocoa plant.
Tips and warnings
- A good self-compatible cocoa plant that will produce fruit is the Amelonado.
- If the cocoa plant's leaves begin to die or turn brown, you may need to remove excess salts from the soil by running fresh water into the container for up to 10 minutes.
- Avoid any retailer that sells dried cocoa seeds for planting; cocoa seeds lose their viability when dried.
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