Author Topic: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?  (Read 556 times)

kevinkay

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Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« on: July 18, 2021, 08:42:32 AM »
Grew from seed bought on Ebay, 3 out of 6 seeds germinated and only this one survived.  About 4-5 years old.  Living in zone 7a it is an indoor plant (i used to put it outside in the summer under canopy of bigger trees but it loves the heat of an attic bathroom closed off from the rest of the house.   In the winter its in my living room with the heat at 68 degrees daytime 60 night (I am frugal with heating costs).  It stays green in winter but no new growth.  Spring/summer it shoots up about 6" a year.  I would like a more compact shorter tree - can I drastically prune it - like half way?  And I would assume any pruning would be in the spring?   I have a Hass Avocado plant grown from grocery store fruit that I drastically pruned that put out side branches and filled out - but prob. will never get fruit so there was no risk.

I know the pot looks too small but I have checked and the root ball is small. 



Finca La Isla

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Re: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2021, 10:27:28 AM »
Iím general, cacao tolerates drastic pruning. We commonly prune a production seedling back to nothing then top work them with a high rate of success. But thatís in the equatorial tropics.
Peter

kevinkay

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Re: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2021, 11:06:26 AM »
Thanks Peter!

So its at an OK point/height/strength for a 'topping" next spring?

bsbullie

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Re: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2021, 11:30:32 AM »
Grew from seed bought on Ebay, 3 out of 6 seeds germinated and only this one survived.  About 4-5 years old.  Living in zone 7a it is an indoor plant (i used to put it outside in the summer under canopy of bigger trees but it loves the heat of an attic bathroom closed off from the rest of the house.   In the winter its in my living room with the heat at 68 degrees daytime 60 night (I am frugal with heating costs).  It stays green in winter but no new growth.  Spring/summer it shoots up about 6" a year.  I would like a more compact shorter tree - can I drastically prune it - like half way?  And I would assume any pruning would be in the spring?   I have a Hass Avocado plant grown from grocery store fruit that I drastically pruned that put out side branches and filled out - but prob. will never get fruit so there was no risk.

I know the pot looks too small but I have checked and the root ball is small. 



The tree will need more humidity or it will be a lifelong struggle.  I doubt you will ever get a rootball to develop in that pot.  It is too small for the roots to develop.  The tree may also struggle from this before too long.
- Rob

kevinkay

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Re: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2021, 11:43:08 AM »
OK Rob, going to repot it today but can't do much about the humidity except I regularly mist it.

thanks

bsbullie

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Re: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2021, 11:45:59 AM »
OK Rob, going to repot it today but can't do much about the humidity except I regularly mist it.

thanks

There are many creative indoor growers here.  Someone may be able to provide some input on how to create humidity inside your house in the winter without causing ill effects on your house.
- Rob

kevinkay

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Re: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2021, 12:14:40 PM »
while I have the attention of experienced/experts what is better summertime condition -

A.  Outdoors. 78 daytime/67 night with average humility about 70% and breezy
B.  Basically in the attic under a skylight.  About 5 degrees warmer, more consistent day/night temp, no breeze but a tad dryer. (where it is now and seems happy)

thanks!
« Last Edit: July 19, 2021, 08:08:11 AM by kevinkay »

Finca La Isla

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Re: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2021, 10:03:29 PM »
Rob's advice makes sense to me.  I know a lot about growing cacao but I know zero about growing it in an attic.
Suerte
Peter

TomekK

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Re: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2021, 12:25:46 PM »
Iíve grown lots of cacao indoors/outdoors for many years. I havenít gotten mine to fruit yet, but I did kill many plants, so thereís that. Only 2 years ago, after losing 50 seedlings in the winter, did I battle low humidity indoors, but more on that later.

No idea if itís better in the attic or outdoors. If it grows nice-looking new leaves, it should be happy. I keep mine outdoors during the summer. Also, cacao doesnít need or want lots of light, growing well in shade.

I agree you should transplant to a bigger pot-I tend to overpot, but I havenít had many problems with root rot killing my cacaos, even in very bad potting soil.

Temperature-wise, cacao does best with 60 degrees or more at night (so youíre good for the winter indoors), and up to 90 during the day (though less isnít always worse-around 80-85 is probably best).

Humidity is very important, during the winter especially. Misting a few times will probably not improve it much. How dry does it get indoors during your winter? Here itís always below 50 percent, probably closer to 40 or 30. Low humidity is the biggest killer of cacao, and very few plants will survive low humidity. Those that do will be very delicate, and with many years of low humidity will most likely eventually weaken and die. Some of mine are still recovering from low humidity problems, 2 years after I put them in my grow tent.

That is what youíll have to do, unless you can have a grow room (but that will rot your wallsÖ). My grow tent for the past two years was a pvc constructed, plastic-poly-film covered monster, sitting next to a window and being an eyesore. It wasnít even that good for the plants, as there was almost no airflow, some plants dried out while others sat in water (and I couldnít get to them, as I couldnít fully open the side), and something was off with the sun. But, I misted the inside once a day, and was able to keep a nice high humidity. With the sun shining, the inside got nice and warm and very humid-remember, plants transpire during the day and increase humidity.

Now, I am building a much better grow tent, with a Vivosun tent, circulation fans, grow lights (these black, completely opaque tents need grow lights, and better controls. Hopefully, it will work better.

How tall is your cacao, and how tall do you want to keep it? Cacao naturally branch (the growing tip becomes 3-5 tips growing almost horizontally) at a certain point, usually about 5 feet tall.

Highly recommend you to build a grow tent, without it growing cacao will be a losing battle. With a tent, it will still be troublesome, but at least it will be possible long-term.







kevinkay

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Re: Can I prune my indoor Cacao tree?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2021, 01:17:13 PM »
GREAT information - thank you all

I did repot it immediately after I was told - a pot 2 times as large.
It is 3 feet tall now, I guess I could handle 10-12 feet (cathedral ceiling) as long as I can lift it.
I looked up my average humidity levels in jan/feb as 62% but thats outside - not sure what indoor heating does (forced hot air).

I would LOVE to have a grow room but there are so many things on that "want" list. And my partner is getting less patient with all of my tropicals indoors (lime, lemon, fig, bay leaf, Vanilla, avocado and Stevia), there is no chance of me getting away with a grow tent.....

photo with new pot sitting next to my Vanilla plantifolia - chocolate & Vanilla  :D :D



 

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