Guide to Growing Acai Berries
Acai berries are now the craze among good health addicts and are considered to be a super food for their many qualities. They are a very effective weight loss product and a vital source for phyto-chemicals, anti oxidants, and plyphenols. All these are crucial as they clean the body and blood stream of free radicals. Its anti-ageing properties are also an added attraction and the reason why it is much in demand.
However, Acai berries and its downstream products are very expensive. This is caused by a limited supply as it is mainly grown in the sub-tropic regions of Central and South America and in the Amazon belt. This is the why growing Acai berries on your own patch of green is such an attractive proposition. But since it is a sub tropical fruit, growing this berry in frost prone or cold climates is not easy as they require the replication of hot and humid conditions.
Here is a guide to growing Acai Berries either for a personal or commercial level in different conditions.
- Ideal Climate for growth – Since the Acai palm is native to a subtropical climate it will tolerate temperatures around 50 degrees but not below. The ideal is an average daily temperature should be around 70 degrees. Hence if you are planning on growing it in your home ideally you should live in a warm climate zone. If not, the best tactic is to grow one in a greenhouse.
- Growing in a greenhouse, modifications required – However, you have to keep in mind that an Acai palm typically grows to about 100 ft in their natural environment which will cause problems in a greenhouse. However, it will be perfect for the first three years as the maximum height it will achieve by then is about 5 ft.
To avoid later problems it is recommended that you plant the palm in a container which will restrict its height. You can even trim the primary stalk and depend on the smaller sucker stalks for fruit production. If you are planning to go commercial and stay in favourable conditions, you can acquire land for a plantation but only if the legal aspects have been vetted by property lawyers in Melbourne or your local equivalent.
- Soil Preparation – Acai palms grow best in acidic soil which is prevalent in their native Amazon rain forests. So you need to amend the soil at home with organics like peat, moss and pine needles that are acid rich. Further, ensure that the soil has good drainage as the tree does not prosper if roots are left wet particularly if grown in a container.
- Germination of seeds – You can buy Acai Berry seeds from agriculture or horticulture centres in your town. Wet the seeds in warm water and keep them for two to three days. Allow the water to soak in well before transferring them to wet soil readied beforehand. Keep the soil warm for the next few weeks so that the original condition of Acai berry plants is replicated in your home.
In normal conditions, the fruit can be harvested in a year but in tropical conditions it takes about 4 years for the fruits to bloom.