Acai berries taste like a cross between tangy pomegranate and raspberries, if you want to try this popular superfood, learn how to grow them with this guide!
Acai berries are native to South and Central America, and they are renowned for their weight loss and anti-ageing benefits. They have more antioxidants than blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries. They also help lower cholesterol and enhance brain function.
If you in subtropical or tropical climate (USDA zones 10 and 11), you can grow an acai berry palm tree to enjoy the many health benefits of acai berries. You will also enjoy/ love the attractive appearance of the acai palm tree.
How To Plant Acai Berries
To plant acai berries, you need to get fresh seeds from a reputable online or brick and mortar store. After getting the seeds, soak them for at least 24 hours before filling a big pot with a mix of perlite and peat and planting them there.
Once you do this, enclose the pot with a large plastic bag and set it on a seed-starting heating mat to encourage germination. The seeds will germinate within two months. When they do so, remove the bag and set the pot somewhere where it gets light daily.
Remember to always ensure the soil in the pot is moist as water is important for germination. It is also important for subsequent growth.
Once your acai berry seedlings start to outgrow the pot, separate them in different pots. And when they grow twenty inches tall, transplant them outside to sites with well-drained soils. Keep the seedlings at around 15 ft. apart to minimize competition for nutrients.
How To Care For Acai Berries
Acai palm trees grow best in tropical and subtropical regions. Like most palm trees, they are hardy plants. They can pretty much survive on their own.
However, to ensure they look great and produce good fruit, you should water them at least twice every week.
You should also fertilize them at least twice a year. The best fertilizers for growing acai palm trees are time-release palm tree fertilizers such as the Jobe’s Organics Palm Tree Fertilizer.
How To Harvest Acai Berries
Acai berries usually mature about three years after planting. Some varieties produce crops twice a year, while others produce crops only once.
You will know your acai berries are ready for harvesting when they start changing colour and giving a strong aroma. You can confirm they are ready by pressing them to see if they give a bit.
To harvest acai berries, cut off the stem of bunches that are ripe using sharp scissors. Leave the fruit bunches that are not ready for picking on your acai berry palm tree or trees.
Tips & Common Problems
Acai berries are hardy and, therefore, they are not affected by many issues.
To make sure the berries that you harvest taste great, you should let them get fully ripe on the acai palm trees. This is because if you pluck them early, they will not ripen any more in storage.