Cacao Tree Seeds

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About & Species

Cacao Tree
(Theobroma cacao)

The Cacao Tree or Cocoa Tree produces cocoa beans used in making chocolate. The Cacao tree is native to Northwestern South America and grows in tropical/sub tropical regions in zones 9 to 11. Cacao trees are under-story trees, found along rivers in the wild and under taller trees in low-land tropical forests. Cacao trees grow 45 feet tall but are often pruned shorter to make harvesting cacao pods easier. Trees can live up to 100 years in the wild and up to 60 years in cultivation. The Top 10 Cocoa Producing Countries in the World are: Dominican Republic, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Cameroon, Nigeria, Indonesia, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Collected in Hawaii.

Soil Type: Prefers deep, slightly acidic, moist, well-drained soils.

Zones: 9 to 11

Germination Range: 60-80%

Stratification Requirement: none required

Indoor Planting: If your seeds require stratification or scarification – do the recommended pretreatment before planting indoors. Planting Instructions: Fill a container with seed starting mix to about ½ inch from the top. Place your seeds 1 inch to 1 ½ inches below the soil surface. Gently water your seeds to keep moist, not soaking wet. Heat & humidity is critical for germination. Germination may occur in 1 week or as long as 3 months (depending on the species). Place the seed container on a heat mat under growing light(s). Keep your growing lights on 14 hours per day. Keep your heat mat on 24 hours per day. Once your seeds germinate, move each seed into its own container under the growing lights and on the heat mat. Keep your seedlings indoors for 2-3 months before transplanting outdoors in the spring (May to June).

Outdoor Planting: If your seeds do not require stratification: the best time to plant tree and shrub seeds outdoors is after the last frost in your area (spring). In the Northern states – the best time to plant seeds outdoors is from May to June. If your seeds require pretreatment: you should plant your seeds outdoors before the ground freezes in your area (late September to early November). Your seeds will naturally stratify during the cold winter. Germination usually occurs in May or during the spring season.