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Topics - TomekK

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So, just as one cacao is starting to grow again after threatening to die, my other cacao are losing leaves! Ah well, such is life when you try to turn zone 7 to the tropics.

I wanted to ask about several different plants that either never grow well for me or always die. First up is my pineapple guava/feijoa. I have tried to grow guavas several times, and the same thing always happens. The plant grows well, but then the leaves start to wither away, new tips wither away, and the plant dies. Iím down to 2 feijoas from an original ~10. Please help, as a guava may be the only thing that, if I can solve this problem, may have a chance of fruiting for me.

Jackfruit never grows well in the winter. For one thing, most of the leaves fall off. Nothing special, except that one of my two survivors had all the leaves one by one droop, turn yellow in a weird way and fall off. I sprayed with neem oil, and the leaves stop dropping, but in a few weeks droop again. Spraying with neem seems to help, would like to know what is causing this. May be too late to save that one, as I knocked off a tip (long story), but am considering growing other artocarpus this year.

My lychees from supermarket lychees are just about dead, with no hope. They grow 2 new leaves, then the growing tip dies. They may try again, but if they fail they end up dying. Iím down to my last one, which reduced two sickly leaves that are quickly browning. Funny thing is, I treat my Spanish limes I got from PR the same way (most likely terrible soil, bad watering, etc.) but they seem to grow quite nicely, though that may be because itís their first year.

No photos for this, but my coffee is not growing well, putting out leaves as fast as dropping leaves. Cherimoyas drop leaves, hopefully those that dropped all will recover outside, I never throw away dead sticks! One of my round leaf cacao that I thought had no chance, where all of my other round lead cacao (over 10) all died, is putting out new growth.

Thanks for the help,

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Sending plants throughout the U.S.
« on: January 17, 2020, 10:04:42 PM »
So, I soon want to start a YouTube channel about mainly watches but also a lot about my indoor tropical fruit growing experiences (and other plant-related experiences). I want to start a Patreon page at the same time, and I want one of the rewards to be that I send the patron some plants. I would most likely send things like cacao, passion fruit, dragonfruit, perhaps some autocarpus and lychee family fruit seedlings. No citrus for now. Can anyone tell me what the rules are about sending plants/do I need special permits? I know how to get seed permits, I have a USDA aphis account that allows me to get permits online, is the process for plant permits the same as for seeds? I live and would send out shipments from Virginia, if that makes a difference.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Help me save my favorite plant
« on: January 05, 2020, 06:12:30 PM »
So Iíve been growing this cacao that I got from logees for many years; it was my first tropical fruit tree I ever got except for the lemon I grew from seed. It always grew slowly and lost basically as many leaves as it grew, but it never came close to dying. I grow the plants indoors for half the year as it gets too cold outside, and the humidity levels are not very ideal for cacao (unfortunately about 45-50 percent). Even so, it has always survived the winter. This year, shortly after I brought it inside (after doing spectacularly outside) it suddenly lost about half of its leaves, the leaves yellowing and falling off all in a matter of days. 9 leaves were left, and they did not really change for a while. That is, until a few weeks ago when the browning of the edges seemed to quickly speed up and a couple leaves started yellowing. I think all of this is a humidity deficiency problem, but correct me if Iím wrong. I put it in a small ďgrowing tentĒ I constructed, where I can keep the humidity at 70-80 percent, though at the cost of much less air circulation. It is in there for about 3 weeks, but leaves are still falling off. The ones that did fall off I expected to die, as they were already yellowing. I am now left with 4 leaves, all of which are starting to look like they will soon yellow and fall off. There is one growing tip left, but it doesnít look very promising for quick new growth. There do seem to be many very small growing ďnubsĒ (they are not yet growing tips) where leaves once were, but they have browned at the tips. I donít know what to do, I am keeping it in my ďgreenhouseĒ for now and any help would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Whatís killing my indoor cacao?
« on: October 19, 2019, 12:35:26 PM »
So Iíve grown cacao in northern Virginia for about 4 years now, starting with a nursery seedling and a few years ago getting fresh pods from Montoso gardens. I take my plants out during the summer, and have just taken them back inside last week. As usual, the growth of the plants momentarily stops (except for the smallest seedlings). I have recently discovered that my plants are severely iron deficient, and have to do something about it. I do know how an iron deficient cacao looks, and the problem I have I think is not any nutrient deficiency (though I do need to buy some iron supplement). The original nursery seedling has grown fine in the summer outside, but immediately after taking it indoors a number of leaves fell off. The leaves start to have a sort of discoloration at the tips, and then turn yellow all over and fall off in a matter of a couple days. All the leaves now have that yellowing at the tips, and are falling off one by one. Is this just shock from coming indoors, or something different. I really donít want to lose this cacao, please help.

Thank you,

Tropical Fruit Discussion / How do I get my cacao to flower?
« on: October 07, 2019, 09:00:04 PM »
So Iíve had a couple cacao trees growing for over 5 years now, one from Logees and a few more that I grew from seed. Three of them have branched out naturally over a year ago, but none have any flowers yet. I live in northern Virginia and take my plants inside for the winter. Are there any known methods for helping or ďforcingĒ cacao flower? I donít need fruit (yet), just flowers.

Thank you,


In recent months, my tropical fruit plant collection has grown wildly out of hand, mainly due to me planting most seeds from each of the fresh cacao pods I got (cacao is my favorite plant and is one of the few that reliably grows from seed for me). I will soon have to take my plants indoors, but I do not have enough space for all the cacao seedlings and some other plants.

I want to swap some plants and give away others. I live in Vienna Virginia and cannot send the plants by mail, so you will have to either pick up the plants or I can drive to a location up to about 30 minutes away (I would drive only for trades).

Included with all the plants I give away or trade I will include some marigold seeds, some year-old papaya seeds from trade winds fruit (Papaya seedlings always die on me. They grow, but eventually all the leaves fall off) and, if you want, a small dragonfruit cutting.

These are my plants that I want to give away. I am giving them away and you donít need to give me anything for them, but if you can spare some (heirloom) tomato seeds I would be grateful :)

1. Small Trinitario cacao seedlings. These are either from a medium red pod or a large red(ish) pod. Most are from the small red cacao. Giving away around 14 seedlings, plus a couple less nice ones. These are all around 3 months old.

2. 1 half-dead (but putting out new shoots) purple passion fruit I grew from a seed.

Some plants I will not give away, but will trade for some seeds. I am looking for heirloom tomato seeds and seeds from tropical solanum fruits, as well as some other tropical fruits.

1. Medium Trinitario cacao seedlings. I have 6 larger seedlings of the large podded Trinitario variety, these are 5 or 6 months old. I also have 2 more with some chlorosis (probably nitrogen difficiency and easy to fix). Would like some kind of plant or cutting for these, but not necessary.

2. A couple small yellow passion fruit (from Puerto Rico) seedlings.

Finally, here are the plants I want to trade for other plants. I am looking to trade for most tropical fruit trees of any size (can be smaller than my plants). I do not want any jackfruit, lychee, avocado, fejoia, coffee, mamey sapote, tree tomato, lemon, orange, rose apple, jaboticaba, and Spanish tamarind because I already have them. I also could trade for shampoo or torch ginger and heliconias. Some of my most wanted plants include the jarilla, theobroma gileri, and the porcelana cacao. I would happily trade a few of my plants for one of those (or another special plant).

1. 5 two year old passion fruit plants. These were pruned heavily several times, have not flowered yet.
2. 1 Ugli fruit seedling I grew from seed. For this I want a different citrus, preferably a blood orange.
3. I may consider trading this cherimoya I am growing.
4. Round leaf jaca cacao plants. I have 5 two-month old seedlings to trade. For these I would rather have a different rare cacao, theobroma, or herrania plant but will consider other species.
5. Criollo cacao plants. I will trade 2 of my 6 month old seedlings. Again, would like to trade for a different cacao/theobroma/herrania but other species also considered.

If interested, please contact me at

Thank you!

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