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How to Grow Your Own Acai Berry

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

Acai berries (Euterpe Oleracea) come from a palm tree that is native to Brazil and other parts of South America. They contain a powerful antioxidant that is more concentrated in the fresh fruit than in processed products made from it, according to studies by the USDA and several U.S. universities (see References). Because you probably won’t be able to find fresh berries in even the most gourmet markets, you can grow your own to benefit from the health benefits. This tree can grow to 100 feet, so you’ll need an appropriate environment if you plan to grow your own acai berries.

Growing Your Own Acai Berries

Start seeds in a well-drained potting soil. Plant seeds ½ inch deep in nursery pots or flats and keep the soil constantly moist. Expect germination within two months of planting. When seedlings are 4 to 6 inches tall, transplant them into 1-gallon nursery pots, using the same type of potting soil.

Plant your young acai palm into its permanent outdoor home when it is about 1 foot tall. Choose a wet, swampy area in full sun. Then dig in several shovelfuls of cow manure to provide drainage and nutrients to the soil.

Dig a planting hole at least twice as large as the root system of your young acai palm. Backfill with some of the topsoil-manure mixture you dug out to ensure that your palm will sit with its crown above the level of the soil. Fill in the hole and pat the soil-manure mix firmly.

Water your newly planted acai palm well and keep it wet.

Fertilize six weeks after planting with a balanced plant food, for example 10-10-10. After this initial feeding, give it the same food every other month.

Harvest your first acai berries three years after you plant your tree. Be sure to use acai berries within 24 hours of harvest because they are thought to begin losing some of their nutritional value very quickly.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Acai seeds or starter plant
  • Wet, humid, frost-free climate
  • Well-draining potting soil
  • Nursery pots or flats
  • Swampy planting area
  • Cow manure
  • Shovel
  • Balanced fertilizer

Tips

  • When you begin to search for a tree to purchase, growers recommend that you look for one that is already 2 years old.
  • In its native environment, the acai palm grows in swamps and swampy areas. Try to provide a habitat close to its native home in order to have success growing this tree.
  • The acai palm is hardy to 35 or 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Warning

  • Claims have been made saying you can grow an acai palm as a houseplant, but it will succeed best if you grow it outdoors in a tropical climate.

About the Author

 

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.