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Messages - TomekK

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Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What happened to Lilith-vzla
« on: February 21, 2020, 10:31:21 PM »
Well, I just got another update today about how the new fruit are growing.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: What happened to Lilith-vzla
« on: February 21, 2020, 06:12:31 PM »
I also placed an order, did not hear for awhile, finally sent an update request through email on this forum. Got a reply a week or more later, and communicated through email ever since. The responses were sometimes fast, sometimes very slow. Because what I ordered had some difficulties (the fruit was eaten) I am waiting for a new fruit to ripen. The last email I got was on 1/31, saying the fruit will take ~4 months to ripen, and that she will be giving me updates. Weíll see what happens.

Oh, of course my house isnít humid. My family wonít allow me to have a humidifier next to my plants, so Iím out of luck there. They say the house will rot away, cannot convince them, especially after ruining the wooden floor with my leaky watering. I grow my plants in front of a south facing double door (with pretty much all windows) that we never use. I get good light, good heat from the sun. Temp in the house is 68 degrees all the time during winter, but some additional heat from the sunlight. Light could be why the lychee doesnít grow and dies, because they are in a slightly shady location, but my Spanish limes grow well close by, so I donít know. Sea walnut, Iíll try the gypsum, it probably is salt buildup as for a long time Iíve been using tap water, must change that.

I am in the process of making a few YouTube videos about my garden and fruit experiences, but I donít want to make any promises as to when Iíll start releasing them. Hopefully in the next few weeks.


I have reached the point where I admit to myself that, although fruit would be nice, it will most likely never happen. Thatís why Iím so patient! One time I bought a grafted star fruit, and it almost immediately flowered! By the end of the summer, it even had a single fruit! Of course, the fruit was knocked off very underripe when a storm knocked the plant over, and then the plant died, either to scale or mites, Iíll never know. As for my trees taking off, maybe they will in my future greenhouse, but for now they are content to stay small, manageable, and try to survive. At least my dragonfruit and passion fruits grow well! And my avocado has become quite nicely branched with many growing tips.


Those of you with greenhouses are lucky! I have to deal with a small space for my plants, in a house without humidity (like 40%). Nevertheless, I still struggle on. Here is a list of what Iím growing. These plants can quickly move off the list, replaced with others.

Cara cara navel oranges (from seed)
Ugli fruit (from seed)
Dragon fruit yellow (from seed)
Dragon fruit red flesh (from seed)
Purple passion fruit (from seed)
Yellow passion fruit (from seed)
Spanish Lime (from seed)
Avocado (from seed, oldest current plant)
Tree tomato (hit ceiling, from seed)
Jaboticaba (from seed, very young and small)
Spanish tamarind (small and from seed)
Mamey sapote (from seed)
Coffee (from Home Depot for $4)
Rose apple (from seed)
Feijoa (from seed)
Bitter melon (round type from baker creek)
Jackfruit (from seed, may soon die)
Cacao forastero (pretty sure one plant, maybe thatís a Trinitario)
Cacao Trinitario Colorado (most of my cacao)
Cacao Trinitario from logees (my first cacao)
Cacao Trinitario medium red (Montoso, one plant)
Cacao round leaf jaca (one plant, almost died)
Cacao criollo (3 +/- one plants from montoso)
Iím sure I missed something

May soon have pomegranate, star fruit, and date, all from seed
Also allspice if I get lucky and they root (haha lucky)

Previous failures:
Lemon (under-watering)
Date (???)
Rambutan (too long in paper towels)
Star fruit (too long in paper towels)
White dragon fruit (too long in paper towels)
Mango (???)
Pineapple (forgot about it, left outside, froze)
Guava (???)
Papaya (damped off)
My poor Jarillas (damped off)
Naranjilla (died with 3 leaves)
Gac (could not germinate)
Papillo (could not germinate)
Tamarind (died with 3 leaves)
Meyer lemon (???)
Blood orange (???)
Soursop (could not germinate)
blackberry jam fruit (didnít germinate)
Mexican apple (could not germinate)
Cinnamon (bad plant from eBay)
Vanilla (bad plant from eBay)
Star anise (couldnít germinate)
Most of the cacao I ever grew
Iím sure many others too

Every year I have the following pests: aphids on dragon fruit and avocado, mites on citrus (this year they spread before I noticed them and drowned them in neem oil, the cure for everything except papaya damping off), and finally scale on citrus. I notice scale and aphids by the sign of an increased number of ants on my plants.

My wishlist:
Durio species
Articarpus species
Inga species
Theobroma/Herrania species
baccaurea angulata
If anyone has these available for me to buy, please let me know!

My adventures are not over and I still have lots I can do. Build a greenhouse, for one. Maybe then my cacao wonít give me sleepless nights and barely survive with 2 times 0.5 leaves left.


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 / Re: Sending plants throughout the U.S.
« on: January 18, 2020, 07:59:50 PM »
Well, for now I have no need to worry about pollination of cacao. My cacaos are all just barely surviving! My oldest one is most likely going to die, and the others never really prosper past a certain age. I get 100% germination but lose 75% of the plants the first winter. Sometimes Iím left with a twig that stays a twig for some months and then starts to grow again- I did not know some cacaos are deciduous! Oh well, such is life when you must bring cacao indoors for the winter into a 40-45% 69 degree environment. I really do need a greenhouse.

I did recently donate some of my cacao to the US botanic gardens, where the curator who took the plants showed me some of the cacaos in the growing facility (not the conservatory- a separate building where they actually keep most of the plants that is in my opinion much more interesting than the conservatory itself). He explained that they pollinate the cacao by first taking off all the open flowers on one day, then on the next day they take a few of the newly open flowers and touch them to some other newly open flowers on another tree. They only get good success when they do it in the morning. Supposedly some cacao varieties are self fertile, but I donít know much about that.

These are the three largest cacao I have. They look worse in real life than in the photos. On a more positive note, my cara cara navel oranges (from seed), mamey sapote, and rose apple all seem to be fine indoors for the winter, the cherimoyas survive (though they sometimes lose all their leaves, most come back), passion fruit and dragonfruit grows too fast for me, and my tree tomato is touching the ceiling!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Sending plants throughout the U.S.
« on: January 18, 2020, 06:57:02 AM »
Thanks for the replies! Carolyn, other than the prohibited items, do I need a permit for the unprohibited plants? I guess Iíll check each individual state.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Sending plants throughout the U.S.
« on: January 17, 2020, 10:30:29 PM »
Yes, sorry I wrote it too quickly and did not proofread. By the way, is it artrocarpus or artocarpus, I see it written both ways.


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.


Ok, no problem. Thanks!

Do you sell seeds of the theobroma and herrania species that you have during March/April to October (when the weather gets warm enough to ship seeds)? If so, can I preorder them? I sent you a PM but never got a reply, might be a problem on my end as I sent a couple people pms and got no replies.

Thank you,

My top 5, from someone who has never had a good mango (or really any other tropical fruit, other than the couple I had in the just-a-little-too-early-in-the-season trip to Puerto Rico):
1. Cacao
2. Brandywine tomato (homegrown, with a bit of salt and pepper, heavenly)
3. Alpine strawberry/homegrown raspberry (I had alpine strawberries once, in Poland, and they were like the most concentrated, sweetest strawberry you dream about)
4. Heirloom apple/pear (could not live without these)
5. A ripe, juicy white peach/a Polish plum (peaches in America, plums in Poland)

Honorable mention: mango (Iíve never had a good fresh mango, living in northern Virginia, but in PR I had an incredible mango smoothie, and I can understand why people love mangos.

Honorable mention 2: grape (only tried a bad rambutan once, never had lychee, so donít know if Iíd prefer them over grapes. Good grapes, especially the darker ones, are wonderful)

As for tropical, Iíve tasted quite a few of the ďfavorites,Ē but only from supermarkets where the tropical fruit section consists of three rock-hard fruits. I had a fermented cherimoya, a rotten soursop, unrepentant rambutans, unripe mangos, an unripe Mamey sapote, a bad jackfruit, a good but not amazing yellow dragonfruit, among others. In PR, I had a rose apple, that was really good but not as good as apples can get, a Spanish tamarind, also really good but just not a top 5 fruit, a jaboticaba, which for some reason I didnít find all that good, and a Spanish lime, which was good but the seed was too big, all (except the Spanish lime) thanks to Monstoso Gardens (wish I came a month or two later, then it would be really nice). I also recently had the opportunity to eat a slightly-unripe star fruit from a guyís ďinferiorĒ tree, and it was so incredibly juicy and flavorful, I was blown away. Not top 5 because I only had one and because the shape doesnít really help in eating, but still, Iím sure that there are a number of fruit that if I have fresh straight off the tree which could break my top 5.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Help me save my favorite plant
« on: January 07, 2020, 09:15:31 AM »
Thanks for the replies!

I agree that this is probably not enough humidity, unfortunately I only put it in a ďgreenhouseĒ or grow tent I quickly constructed a few weeks ago. Before that it was sitting in far too dry an area. The interesting thing is that usually it never comes close to dying, but for some reason this year, after itís best summer growing season ever, it is in severe danger of dying. I think it is quite small because of two reasons: one, that I got it from logees and it never grew fast anyway (each leaf would add maybe 2 or so millimeters of stem), and two, that it faces the shock of a dry winter every year. We will see if it survives, my best hope is that it developed a new growing tip quickly before it loses the rest of its leaves. Iím hoping my grow tent did not come too late.


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 / Re: Whatís killing my indoor cacao?
« on: October 20, 2019, 02:33:08 PM »
But would a disease show itself suddenly when taking the plants back indoors?  Deficiencies donít kill the plant so quickly, while the only disease that I saw that kind of resembles my dying leaves is vascular stream dieback, but my leaf scars do not show the discoloration that this disease causes. Could it be just shock from coming back indoors?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Whatís killing my indoor cacao?
« on: October 19, 2019, 03:25:23 PM »
Iíve repotted about every year to 2 years. Do you think itís the roots? I am seeing this a little on other cacaos of mine, just not to this extent. 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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