Tag Archives: tropical

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

Growing Kumquats- The Pop-in-Your-Mouth Fruit

By Laurelynn Martin and Byron Martin

The Kumquat is thought to have originated in Southern Japan and China.  It was originally known as the “gam kwat” with an early reference in the 12th century. Fortunella margarita 'Nagami'Kumquats are loved for their oval, oblong or round tiny fruit that produce abundantly on small trees in the ground or prolifically in containers. The bite-size, pop-in-your-mouth fruit have edible skin.  Some varieties are sweet on the outside and tart on the inside; others are sweet all the way through. In 1864, Robert Fortune, a collector from the London Horticultural Society introduced kumquats to Europe, and shortly thereafter to North America. In 1915, Kumquats were no longer classified as Citrus japonica but were named after Mr. Fortune and the new genus became  Fortunella.

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Filed under growing citrus, kumquat, tropical plants