Question: how to germinate cacao seeds?

catevala(USDA5b/Suns.2b)April 11, 2006

Hi everyone. I got led here by searching Google for the subject above and one reference was to some dialogues on this forum. However these posts were back in February from what I can tell. So I am starting a new "thread". Hopefully this will somehow reach those who can help me. Older posts searched on this forum also had lots of people with questions about how to grow cacao from seed, but they were just that, questions! I didn't see any ANSWERS!

OK. I just got in some fresh (very fresh) cacao fruits from my buddy in Brazil. This is my second time to try this and my first time was a complete failure. I am determined this time to succeed! For one thing I am in a better season now, with the days getting longer and warmer here in Washington (Spokane).

It may be that germinating cacao is as hard as falling off the proverbial log. Because I have read they (the seeds) germinate INSIDE the fruit! But I want to grow mine outside of the fruit! LOL.

So please anybody, HELP! If you are all really good at helping me I'll even share some of my seeds. But I need to get them into the soil and going as they have a short period of viability, so I've been told.

Again thanks. Hoping this gets to that special person who "knows how", I remain, yours truly, Breck

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Well, cacao likes heat and damp... So, if you can give it say 80º or more, and keep the soil damp, you will have baby cacaos. I have never had trouble... but the key is heat. Where they grow naturally doesn't usually get below 80º during the winter.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 10:19PM
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patusho25(z11 Mexico)

yeap, heat and also lot´s of relative humidity.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 11:28PM
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No need to remove the slimy white covering on the seeds?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 12:45AM
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I would remove it... mine arrived without it. I'd do this now... you really need them FRESH.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 11:34AM
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Hi. Yours arrived without the white membraneous covering on the seeds? Did yours arrive with the seeds already out of the fruits? Mine came inside the fruits. I opened up the one fruit that was blackened on the outside cause I figured it was already rotting and it was. So I removed the good seeds and float-tested them and all were "sinkers". Now I have these in a damp cloth so they won't dry out whilst I try to get info on all this. Also I have heard several times that the seeds germinate whilst INSIDE the fruits. IF this is so, then obviously one doesn't need to remove the membranes from the seeds! But I hear both ways. Any more info you can give me, please? By the way I have PLENTY of seeds...

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 2:41PM
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What more do you need? I have germinated about 15 seeds over the years... I lost a bunch back before I could find ANY info online.... They are picky in their sunshine needs... dappled sun is great. Humidity and heat are a plus.
I don't think you need any more information. Unless you are a beginning gardener. Just plant the guys a couple of inches down, give lots of heat and water and voila!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 12:04PM
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What more I need? The answer to the same question I have been asking "do you need to remove the membranous coating on the seeds?". That's pretty straightforward I figured. And I don't appreciate your tone H. Either help out or keep quiet.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 1:16AM
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Don't ask for help if you don't like the answer. You got your answer, looks like it isn't good enough for you, that's why I asked if you were a beginner. In fact, you got your answer from several people. If you don't like the answer, you are on your own. Don't get all huffy to me, biting the hand that feeds you.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 11:59AM
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my most successfull method is this... get a very small pot, put the seeds in a moist mixture, like the miracle grow mix, then cover it with plastic wrap to keep in the moisture, then put it on a heating pad.. yes, a heating pad, set on low heat, it should germinate soon... this has worked for me on all types of hard to germinate plants/ trees... good luck..

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 4:33PM
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Can you tell me where I might buy these cacao seeds please? I live in England and would just like to try growing a couple. If you're happy to sell me a few I would be interested.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 8:48AM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Montoso gardens online has the fruits and/or seeds. I dont know if they ship to England, you could write them and ask...

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 9:12AM
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brysonprice(Zone 8)

I just got a cacao seed in the mail and it was already germinating when it arrived. I planted it in a pot, put it in my car and covered with a plastic wrap for extra humidity. It's a different way of doing it, but we'll see if it works!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 12:55PM
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I live in zone 5A and grow citrus,tropical,and subtropical fruits..It is my oppinion that more folks should try new things! Kudos to you!!
I too had failure my first time trying to germinate Cacao seed. A good friend told me on the second time around that my failure was in not removing the white jelly membrane from the seed. It has been known to inhibit germination. It degrades over time inside the fruit so that is why some seed you may get inside the fruit is already germinating and the fruit if fallen from the tree and left will germinate by itself over time.. We can't afford that luxury and We usually can't wait to "see" so we open and try and plant.. What worked for me was to open the pod and litterally put the seed in your mouth and "suck" the membrane off(it is quite good, but obviously don't do it if it is rotted inside). You can just kinda scrape gently to remove and wash in some clean water if you are not sure about the "sucking off" method. When clean you can plant in damp long fibered sphagnum moss(I put mine in a big zip lock)and place on a germination mat to keep it warm. Since the germination success goes down each day you don't get them started,they only have about a 10 day window before they are no good after removing them from the pod. I would get them in moss as soon as you can.. You can then plant them in a good well draining mix(I use citrus type soil) when you see good sprouts coming up. Plant the ones that sprout as needed. You may get a bit of fungus, I use a dilute peroxide/water wash on what ever ones need it as necessary and return them to the bag after replacing the area of moss where it sat with new. I have also dropped the seeds in the same dilute mix before putting in moss with same success.. Good luck to you!!! If you do have extras, I'd love to get a few going again...Take care and let me know how you do!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 9:59AM
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I suppose there is such a thing as too much heat? I can do 90 degrees easy (even at night), but I assume that more than say 100 degrees would be unacceptable? Also, about how long does it take for seeds to germinate?


    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 2:27PM
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