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Tropical Companion Plants for Cacao?  RSS feed

 
Vincent Alexander
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Hi friends I'm visiting a sustainable community in Costa Rica where I will be practicing permaculture with the guys down there in Jaco. We'll be planting Cacao and I am wondering what plants make good companions for Cacao in a tropical food forest setting? I'll try and get some more info about the space, (whatelse is planted micro climate, etc.. ) But if you know of any please let me know. Thanks guys.
 
Dave Burton
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Here is a link describing the cacao tree and some of its habitat. Since cacaos require shade, midges, bats, mulch/leaf litter, acidic, and well-draining soil, some plants for companions can be fill in these needs. Midges can be attracted with one of their favorite plants- Dill. Raffle's Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes rafflesiana var. elongata) to attract bats for pollination because some bats use carnivorous plants as a toilet and bed. Tapioca and banana plants can provide shade to protect cacao plants. Comfrey could provide nutrients and lots of mulch. Some of your local canopy and emergent layer trees could be planted around the cacao trees to emulate the protective shadey habitats that cacaos grow in. I do not know what tropical plants will make the soil acidic and well-draining (maybe very thirsty plants?).
 
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