Growing cacao beans is not an easy feat. It requires a lot of attention and time to produce the final product.
The temperatures must be perfect for it to grow, which means they can’t live in your backyard or anywhere that’s too hot or cold.
You need cocoa beans for this process so make sure that you have some on hand before starting this project. The first way is by planting cocoa seeds from fresh pods, which takes about four years. The second way is by getting a young plant and growing it on. It typically takes 4 years for a plant to produce pods which are used to produce chocolate.
Where to get seeds to grow a chocolate plant
Locating seeds for chocolate plants can be tricky and from my research I’ve found that there are very few suppliers.
One way to obtain seeds would be to buy a cacao pod from store and harvest the seeds from inside.
Another option would to purchase organic cacao seeds from somewhere such as Amazon ( you can see some options here ) and plant some of those seeds – they may grow but there is no guarantee.
- Non-gmo, sulfite-free, Vegetarian, Vegan and all-natural
- A good source of fiber
- Make your own rich, ground cacao powder for baking and culinary needs
- Keep cool and dry
- Certified: Organic and Kosher
Buy a young cacao plant for your chocolate
The best and easiest option is to purchase a young plant that will have been produced from good quality seeds or cuttings.
Some plant retailers and garden centers stock these plants during the summer months but it can be difficult to find plants at different times of the year.
I have found a reliable supplier of good quality cacao plants on Amazon.
You can see the plants that they have available here.
- Grown from my home on the Big Island Of Hawaii
- Absolutely NO chemicals, pesticides, or herbicides were used in the growing of these
- This listing is for a Cacao Plant Tree Seedling
- Height will range from 8 -12″ tall
- They were grown with coco coir, and this is how the tree seedling will be shipped. There will be no soil.
How to plant cocoa seeds
Here are the steps you will need to take:
1. Take a fresh cocoa pod, cut it open and collect seeds on your palm. Make sure you remove any foreign objects from the beans before planting them.
2. Put the seeds in a soil mix (one part sand and one part loam) or use a seed germinator.
3. Keep the containers moist but not wet and put them in a warm area of your home, or outside if it’s hot enough.
4. When they start to sprout, transplant them into small pots with compost soil mix.
5. Transplant again when they have two leaves on each plant and continue until you have full-grown plants.
What type of soil do chocolate plants need?
Your chocolate plant needs a soil that is slightly acidic, so if you have naturally alkaline soil then add some peat moss to balance the pH.
For container growing use a good quality, well draining compost.
Should I keep my cacao plant indoors or in the garden?
Chocolate plants need a hot and humid environment and, unless you live in an area that has these weather conditions all year round, you should keep your plant indoors in a pot.
Use a container that is large enough for the plant to grow into and keep it in a warm and well lit spot.
When the weather is hot over the summer months, you can move the plant outdoors providing that it is sheltered and not exposed to wind.
Caring for your chocolate plant
Here are a few things to take note of while growing your plant:
- Feed them with organic, non-chemical fertilizer such as compost tea or liquid seaweed.
- Keep the plant in a warm place (between 16 and 23 degrees Celsius) and protect it from cold winds to avoid accidental frost damage.
- Cacao plants need humidity. It can be helpful to mist the plant daily to help to create a humid atmosphere.
- Watch out for unwanted pests like aphids, whiteflies and mites and use insecticidal soap to keep them at bay.
- Keep plants well-watered (avoid overwatering) and ensure that you surround them with a thick mulch of organic material to keep the soil warm.
- To harvest and use your cocoa pods, wait until December or January when the fruit is red and has fully matured before you proceed.
How much water do chocolate plants need?
Your plant will need plenty of water and you should water it daily.
Be careful not to let the soil get waterlogged as this can encourage rot and other problems.
It turns out that you can grow your own chocolate, but it will take some time.
The process is long and complicated because the plant needs to be grown from seedlings for three years before they are harvested for their beans.
This means that if you want a bar of chocolate today, then this probably isn’t what you need.
But if you have patience then growing cacao plants may be something worth considering.