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How to Grow Guarana

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

Guarana (Paullinia Cupana) is a climbing shrub in the maple family that is native to the Amazon regions of Venezuela and Brazil. It forms a berry that contains the same chemical constituents as caffeine. Guarana is made into a popular soft drink said to increase energy and promote weight loss. Some guarana products are mixed with ephedra, also known as ma huang–studies have implicated this plant in health problems such as increased blood pressure. If you want to try guarana in its purest form, you can grow your own if your climate is warm and humid year-round, never dropping below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Growing Guarana

Soak guarana seeds in tepid water for 24 hours before you plant them.

Fill small nursery pots with standard potting soil, water them well and then poke two or three holes (half-inch deep) into the soil of each pot. Drop one of your soaked seeds into each hole and cover with more potting soil.

Keep your pots in a warm, sunny area and water them every day until you see germination beginning to occur.

Transplant your guarana seedlings to their outdoor location when they are 2 to 3 inches tall. Test your soil with an inexpensive soil test kit to determine the pH–guarana needs an acidic soil with a pH of 4.0 to 6.0. To raise pH, add hydrated lime; to lower it, add organic sulfur.

Fertilize your guarana every other month with hydrochloric acid to keep the soil acidic.

Provide a trellis to support your guarana because it will grow into a sprawling vine. Prune damaged or broken limbs when your plant gets larger.


Things You Will Need

  • Warm, humid climate
  • Guarana seeds
  • Standard potting soil
  • Small nursery pots with drainage holes
  • Soil with pH of 4.0 to 6.0
  • Soil test kit


  • To use this plant, harvest ripe seeds, dry them and then grind them into a powder.
  • You can grow guarana in colder climates if you grow it in a large container with a drainage hole. Keep it outdoors in the summer and bring it indoors for the winter.


  • The Food and Drug Administration recommends that you speak with your doctor before consuming guarana or any other herbal remedies, especially if you have hypertension or cardiovascular disease.

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.