worldseedsupply.org

Cultivation Database

Germination of Theobroma Cacao


   Jun 03

Germination of Theobroma Cacao

Germination of Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa/ Chocolate)

Theobroma Cacao, the Aztec’s Food of the Gods, is one of the trickier plants to grow. Cacao plants are quite rare in the United States, and viable seeds are even rarer. This is because the seeds have an extremely short viability. Only seeds obtained in the fruit or those that have been recently removed are suitable for growing. Dried cocoa beans are often sold for edible and aromatic applications, but do not be fooled into thinking you will be able to grow these. More importantly, beware of vendors selling these seeds for growing. If the beans are dry when you get them, they are no good.

The above picture shows two ripe Theobroma Cacao seed pods that we at World Seed Supply have been working with. The fruit on the right was opened first in the condition it appears while the one on the left a was allowed to ripen to a similar color before opening. The majority of the seeds in that first fruit were actually germinating right in the pod when it was opened. It is important to slice around the perimeter of the fruit so that you do not damage the cocoa seeds in the center. It is a good idea to squeeze the slices cacao pod to break it fully apart rather than slicing too deep. Once you have the two halves, you will seed a conglomeration of about 15-20 cocoa beans stuck together with each individual seed coated by a white fruity material. This material is the second factor that makes growing cacao tricky.

The white fleshy material on the outside of the cacao seeds is problematic because it is tough to remove and is an ideal place to harbor molds and disease that could harm the seed during germination. Although a bit unorthodox, we began the process by chewing and sucking off as much of the cacao fruit as possible. This decision was made only with the knowledge that the fruit is edible, and it proved to be quite tasty. Afterwards, a very sharp kitchen knife was used to shave off more of the remaining substance without damaging the brown seed coat. While one seed was being worked on, the other seeds were left soaking in water to keep from drying out and to keep any of the reminaing fruit material workable. After the shaving, the seeds were rubbed extensively with a dry towel until they were relatively clean. Needless to say, this was quite a chore for 15-20 seeds at a time. Fortunately, the fruits were done on different days.

Once the seeds were cleaned, we placed them in a bed of moist spagnum moss. This is the long-fiber kind sold in craft stores and used for hanging baskets. This should not be confused with peat moss that is used as a soil component. As we said, most of the seeds in the first cacao fruit were germinated already. Some of them were already into the advanced stages of germination. A few of these ones were put right into jiffy mix with spagnum moss around the top to keep the seed head from drying out. Over the next week or so, those in the bed were gradually moved into the same conditions. As the second fruit was opened, they took the place of those seeds in the spagnum bed. It should be noted that the seeds were monitored for mold. It seemed that a bluish green mold was active, but they were rinsed with a mild peroxide solution as needed.

Eventually, all of the cocoa seeds were transplanted into the jiffy mix with 100% germination (minus one healthy seedling that was dropped). The seedlings were then placed next to a simple incandescent bulb. In the week or so following transplantation, the ring of spagnum moss around the seed head was kept moist until the seed head grew tall enough to rise above it. At this point, the seed head was misted occasionally. As you can see, theobroma cacao leaves are now beginning to emerge!

Live Cacao Plants http://worldseedsupply.org/proddetail.php?prod=theoLP1

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

12 Comments

  1. What a great resource!

  2. green teas says:

    Hi,Great blog dude! i’m Fed up with using RSS feeds and do you use twitter?so i can follow you there:D.PS:Do you considered putting video to this web site to keep the readers more entertained?I think it works.Yours, Ruth Semmler

  3. I saw this really great post today!

  4. Worldseed says:

    Thanks. Glad to know people are finding the info useful. Yes, we are on twitter as well. We may eventually do some videos if time permits.

  5. Im thankful for the post.Really thank you!

  6. porno says:

    That is some inspirational stuff. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information here.

  7. I found your site via google thanks for the post. I will bookmark it for future reference. Thanks Pervious Concrete is a great site for related tips.

  8. very well information you write it very

    clean. I’m very lucky to get this information from you.

  9. via venezia says:

    Did you modify this theme yourself? I like the color scheme :)

  10. ???? says:

    Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting. I tried to add your RSS to my feed reader and it a few. take a look at it, hopefully I can add you and follow.

  11. backlinks says:

    Really informative blog post here my friend. I just wanted to comment & say keep up the quality work. I’ve bookmarked your blog just now and I’ll be back to read more in the future my friend! Also nice colors on the layout it goes well with the blog in my humble opinion :)

  12. Really informative blog post here my friend. I just wanted to comment & say keep up the quality work. I’ve bookmarked your blog just now and I’ll be back to read more in the future my friend! Also nice colors on the layout it goes well with the blog in my humble opinion :)