Wednesday, 3 July 2019

How to grow a cacao tree - care - benefits | by Tree homes

Cacao, (Theobroma cacao), also known as cocoa, a tropical evergreen tree (Malvaceae family) cultivated for its edible seeds, the scientific name of which in Greek implies "good food." Native to the Amazon and Orinoco basin lowland rainforests, cacao is cultivated commercially in the tropics of the New World, as well as in southern Africa and tropical Asia. Its seeds are processed into cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and chocolate, known as cocoa beans.
How to grow a cacao tree - care - benefits,How to grow a cacao tree - care - benefits | by Tree homes
cacao tree
Where It Is Growing

Native to tropical lowland America, but now commonly grown in West Africa. Requires a shady place, humid climate, and good soil.

How To Grow Cacao

There are quite finicky cacao trees. They need sun and wind protection, which is why they flourish in the hot rainforest understory. These circumstances need to be imitated by growing cacao trees. That implies the tree can only be cultivated in USDA areas 11-13–Hawaii, parts of southern Florida, southern California, and tropical Puerto Rico in the United States. If you are not living in these tropical climates, it may be cultivated in a greenhouse under hot and humid circumstances but may involve more vigilant care of the cocoa tree. You will need seeds to begin a tree that is still in the pod or that have been kept moist since removing them from the pod.

They lose their viability if they dry out. Starting to sprout from the pod is not uncommon for the plants. If your seeds have no roots yet, position them in a hot (80 degrees F. plus or more than 26 C.) region between damp paper towels until they start rooting. Pot the rooted beans with humid seed starter in individual4-inch pots. Place the seed vertically with the root end to the top of the seed and cover with soil. Cover the plastic wrap pots and position them on a germination mat to keep their temperature in the 80s. The seed should germinate in 5-10 days. Remove the wrap at this stage and place the seedlings on a partly shaded windowsill or under a grow light.

How To Care Cacao Tree

As the seedling develops, the plant keeps the plant warm and at times between 65-85 degrees F. (18-29 C.)–it's better to warm up. Fertilize with an emulsion of fish like 2-4-1 every two weeks from spring to fall; blend 1 tablespoon per gallon of water. If you live in a tropical region, if it is two feet big, transplant your tree. Choose a humus-rich area with a pH close to 6.5 well-draining area. Locate the cacao approximately 10 feet from a taller evergreen that can provide partial shade and wind protection. Dig a hole three times the tree's root ball's depth and width. Return two-thirds of the loose soil back into the hole and place the tree on top of the mound at the same stage that it was growing in its pot. Fill and water the soil around the tree. Cover the surrounding floor with a 2-to6-inch mulch layer but maintain it away from the trunk for at least eight inches.

The cacao will need between 1-2 inches of water per week depending on the rainfall. But don't let that get soggy. Feed it every two weeks with 1/8 pound of 6-6-6 and then rise to 1 pound of fertilizer every two months until the tree is one year old. When 3-4 years old and about five feet high, the tree should flower. Early in the morning, hand pollinates the flower. Don't panic if you drop some of the resulting pods. Shriveling is natural for some pods, leaving on each cushion no more than two. Your job is not performed yet when the beans are ripe and ready for harvest. They also involve comprehensive fermentation, roasting and grinding before you can make your own cacao beans a cup of cocoa.