Category Archives: Theobroma Cacao

Grow Coffee, Tea, Chocolate and Other Popular Beverage Plants

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Roselle Jamaican Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)

Roselle Jamaican Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)

Popular beverages, such as Coffee (Coffea Arabica), Tea (Camellia sinensis), and Cocoa (Theobroma cacao), are world renown and easy plants to grow and harvest. A couple more plants that we recommend adding to your favorite beverage list are Yerba Mate’ (Ilex paraguariensis) much like green tea loaded with anti-oxidants, and Roselle Hibiscus Tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa), which is high in Vitamin C.

Let’s start with a well-known plant like coffee. The enjoyment and ritual around a morning cup of coffee has become an obsession, and now people drink coffee throughout the day. Growing your own coffee beans is fun and easy for the gardener.

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Check out our video on growing your own coffee and  Visit our You Tube channel for more great video’s on growing all types of tasty tropical treats!

How to Grow your own Coffee 

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Filed under Chocolate Plant, coffee, container fruits, Growing Tasty Tropical Plants, meyer lemon, Theobroma Cacao

Grow Your Own Delicious Chocolate (Theobroma cacao)

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

Chocolate, originally found in South America, is known as “The Food of the Gods.” The first record of chocolate or cocoa dates back to 1900 BC and  Cacao pods and chocolate barsthe Aztec people used chocolate seeds as a form of currency. Chocolate was served as a bitter beverage in the early days and was believed to be an aphrodisiac and have super powers. Later in Spain, and throughout Europe, sugar was added to the beverage and hot chocolate became a preferred drink even surpassing coffee. Chocolate is well loved today not only as a beverage but also when it’s made into candy bars and used in baking. Today, the health craze has brought us back to its natural form of consuming organic raw cacao nibs known for their antioxidant compounds called polyphenols as well as other health benefits. Growing your own chocolate tree is a relatively easy undertaking if you follow a few cultural requirements.

Tree Size

The chocolate tree is a small-to-medium sized tree and grows as an understory species in the rainforest so it tolerates and even thrives under dappled light or partial sun conditions.

Container Grown Chocolate
As a cultivated plant for the container gardener, the chocolate tree is easy to grow but it needs a bit of room to produce fruit. Plants are generally grown from seed and need 3-4 years to reach fruiting size. This means the tree will be 5-6’ in height with a trunk caliber of 1-1/2 to 2” in diameter. So to grow chocolate inside, a large, sunny and warm spot is needed.

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Filed under Chocolate Plant, Growing Tasty Tropical Plants, house plant, Plant care, Theobroma Cacao, tropical plants

>Logee’s New Fruit Book Launch on Martha Stewart TV

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Our fruit book “Growing Tasty Tropical Plants in any home, any where” will air on Martha Stewart TV (Hallmark Channel) this Friday, Nov. 5th. We travel to New York City on November 3rd to tape the show and the fruit plants that we have chosen for the show are pictured below.

First, our Black Olive plant (Olea europaea ‘Arbequina’). The plant pictured is two years old and is a 5 foot tree with unripe olives (green) and ripe olives (black). Growing an olive tree is easy as long as you have nighttime temperatures in the winter down to 40˚F. It is the chill down that brings on flowering and ultimately the fruit.


Next, our five year old Dragon Fruit(Hylocerus undatus) plant that is in fruit. The pink fruit when sliced open has a delicious custardy center that can be scooped out and eaten. If you just want to order the fruit and not the plant go to From the Farm, a tropical fruit grower in Florida does a really nice job of growing and shipping the fruit.


Our amazing Dwarf Starfruit (Averrhoa carambola ‘Dwarf Maher’) is an abundant producer of sweet juicy fruit. When cut in half a five-pointed star is created. Fruit starts forming at only 2 feet in height. Give plenty of sun, and water when dry and you will have your own starfruit in no time.

The Flower of chocolate. The ripe Chocolate pod.
Chocolate is a must and our Chocolate Plant (Theobroma cacao) will be featured on the show as well. Of course, the previous blog just talked about all the in’s and out’s of growing chocolate. We will be showing how to make chocolate nibs from the cocooned chocolate fruit. Basically, the chocolate beans need to ferment for a week and then roast and dry them. Then, you can eat the beans or use a mortar and pestle to crush them into chocolate nibs. Delicious. From the Farm also offers the roasted chocolate beans for the daring and curious fruit connoisseur.
Our Passion Fruit (Passiflora edulis ‘McCann’) is slotted to travel to NYC with its golden yellow fruit that is as sweet as they come. Passiflora is grown for its amazing flowers and delicious fruit. It is vining so needs support but is relatively easy care. Passion Flowers in their native habitat grow in poor soil and at time drought like conditions.

Finally the last plant is a pineapple that we will show how to cut off the top of a pineapple and put it in a pot for easy propagation.
All of these fruiting plants and many more can be found in our new book Growing Tasty Tropical Plants, which is available from Logee’s or your local bookstore.
Our shipment of books arrived and we learned today that it was voted in the top 10 for the Best Book in Craft and Garden for the 2010 year.

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Filed under Black Olive, Dragon Fruit, Growing Tasty Tropical Plant, passion flower, Theobroma Cacao

>How to Grow a Chocolate Plant

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Chocolate is a well loved commodity in our world and believe it or not you can grow your own Chocolate Pods. The ripe fruit or pods contain the raw chocolate pieces that can be made into chocolate nibs. Chocolate nibs are sited as the new super food for their anti-oxidant qualities. The chocolate candy bars that we know come from the chocolate pods as well but is a highly mechanized process.
To get started with growing your own Chocolate Plant which will produce the chocolate pods watch the video below.

Byron Martin shows how to grow Chocolate (Theobroma cacao) in containers and what to do with the inherent browning leaves that are typical of chocolate plants.
The chocolate pods can be cut in half once they turn an orange/golden color which indicates that they are ripe.
In our new book, Growing Tasty Tropical Plants, (available after Oct. 27th) has a nice section on how to grow chocolate and how to make your own chocolate nibs from the cocooned chocolate pieces inside the chocolate pod.


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>July Heat Wave at Logee’s

>Like most of the country, this past week and a half has been humid and hot. How do tropical plants do in this weather? Mostly the plants, as long as they are kept well-watered, do well and in fact, is a time that our plants rapidly grow. The workers on the other hand get here at 7 am to water plants and get their “hot” work done before the heat of the day is upon them. However, the greenhouses can reach temperatures up to 105 degrees and our staff needs to keep well-hydrated to complete their daily tasks. This year, we are in the middle of building an energy efficient greenhouse so many of our plants are growing outside this summer. Take a look.


Two Angel’s Trumpet standards with colorful hanging baskets on either side of our front entrance.


Pelargoniums adding a relief of color to the outside oppressive humidity.


Rows of Bananas growing fast in the heat. Musa ‘Dwarf Lady Finger and Musa ‘Double Mahoi’ are growing here in 4-inch pots.


A “Hardy Banana” Musa basjoo is rapidly growing in a 10 gallon pot.


Trays of Buddleia davidii ‘Peacock’. Some of the flower bracts have gone by and will be groomed before they are shipped.


Solanum quitoense “Naranjilla” a new variety with heart-shaped purple leaves is an unusual plant that produces small orange edible fruit.

Healthy looking “Chocolate plants” or Theobroma cacao are on a cart getting ready to find a growing spot for the holiday season.


A large specimen “clown fig” Ficus aspera grown for its variegated fruit.


“Angel’s Summer Dream” Brugmansia is known for its ability to grow and flower at less than a foot. Pictured here it is grown as a standard and is about 6 feet tall.


Papaya’s love the heat and can create fruit this size in less than a year. This Carica papaya ‘T.R. Hovey’ is about 6 feet tall and is a three-year old specimen.

Little papayas shown growing in 4-inch pots.

The new greenhouse structure on the left and hibiscus growing on the right.
Here’s a close-up of Hibiscus ‘Estelle K’. Its orange blossom is large and magnificent and glows the fiery heat of the sun.

A new colocasia to be released this fall called ‘Thai Giant.’ It has happily grown in our test gardens for two years. The leaf span will reach 4 feet across by the end of the summer.

Finally, this hardy perennial “Bouncing Bet” Saponaria officinalis ‘Flore Pleno’- is growing outside of Logee’s retail store and is perky as ever on this 95 degree day.

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Filed under Brugmansia 'Angel's Summer Dream', Buddleia davidii 'Peacock', Carica papaya 'T.R. Hovey', Hibiscus 'Estelle K', Musa basjoo, Pelargoniums, Theobroma Cacao

>Tropical Plants Photography At Logee’s

>Taking photos of tropical plants at Logee’s is a year-round task. The everbloomers are the simple ones to capture because they’re available anytime. The seasonal bloomers or fruiting plants require more attention and planning.

Recently, we had a customer and photographer visit from Marlborough, CT. His name is Stan Malcolm. Every time he travels to Logee’s he takes pictures. You can view his pictures at: www.performance-vision.com/Logees-3-5-10

He took a picture of this Thunbergia grandiflora on one of his visits.
While Stan was at Logee’s, he shared a few things about photography. Mostly, what I learned was don’t be afraid to experiment with the F stop, shutter speed and distance. He first took some pictures of a Bougainvillea in bloom in the Big House. Bougainvillea ‘Barbara Karst’ is an everbloomer and loves to climb and vine around any support.


We moved into one of our greenhouses where our succulents grow. It was close to 90 degrees, overcast, rainy and humid, a true tropical feel. Once the camera lens cleared from the humidity, we shot a picture of a new Euphorbia and a new Adenium.

Both will be offered in our fall catalogue. Euphorbia punicea “Jamaican Poinsettia” and Adenium “Tawaiin Beauty”are everbloomers and need lots of hot sun.

The Euphorbia is the close-up shot and the Adenium is the full specimen shot. We used a piece of black card board to highlight the flowers, although Stan thought a piece of gray cardboard would be better.


We tried photographing a Hibiscus called Hibiscus schizopetalus “Japanese Lantern” but the image was not sharp enough for publication. I tried using the auto settings but for close-up work or creating the right depth of field, manual settings work better. Thanks Stan for new photography ideas.


Lastly, Byron Martin, is our horticulturist, photographer and one of the owners. Here he is working on a picture of our Theobroma cacao or Chocolate plant that now has three chocolate pods ripening. The yellow pod is almost ready to be plucked. Although, we are on a temporary backorder, this one is worth getting on a waiting list. Grow you’re own Chocolate!!

He also, hybridized a Papaya that will be released sometime in the coming year. Here he is preparing it for a photo shoot by striping off the dead leaves. Our most popular Papaya is a dwarf variety called T.R. Hovey


As a small company, we try to learn everyone’s job but clearly some of us are more gifted at photography than others. I think I’ll stick to writing.

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Filed under Adenium 'Taiwaiin Beauty', Bougainvillea 'Barbara Karst', Hibiscus schizopetalus, Papaya, Theobroma Cacao