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Growing Chacruna (Psychotria Viridis)

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Rising Star
I have a chacruna plant that a friend just gave me & I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on how to maintain & grow this beauty. I'm about to re-pot it in a bigger pot, but any suggestions for plant food, ph levels for the soil, ect.? any help would be awesome... thanks!!!8)
sorry nobody answered you, I hope there are other people with more experience that can help you out.. All I know is when I was growing chacruna I didnt take care of anything and it was growing fine (until a friend's dog destroyed it :( ). It started as a cutting, a small piece of a leaf that was stuck in a rich earth and it grew fine from that, I never looked at pH or anything else. This was in a tropical area, and I only watered it when it was very small, afterwards I just left the rain to do its job. I dont know how well it grows in other climates.

If I find more information about it Ill post here

good luck!
I don't know the "best" soil for it, but I've been growing plants for a long time.

My favorite personal mix is FoxFarm Ocean Forest, FoxFarm Light Warrior, Earthworm Castings, the clay hydrotron balls (use lots of those in the bottom of the pot and then mix some more into the soil) and some coconut coir.

The coconut coir comes in a brick and you have to soak it in water for a bit. I use a big rubbermaid container so that after the coconut is all broken down and soggy I can add the soils and mix it together easy. If your garden shop has the liquid compost tea, you can add it in the mix as well.

Like I said, add the hydrotron balls in the bottom of the container and then fill it up with the rest of your mixed soil.

You can use liquid plant foods to supplement the FoxFarm stuff and worm castings but it won't be necessary for quite some time. You can keep adding some earthworm castings right on top and it will find it's way to the roots.

I hope this helps!
Ha-ha, didn't see this thread originally.

I don't know the gritty details either, I've always just used a large pot with some perlite in the bottom and potting soil. I fertilize with a fish fertilizer about once a week; and make sure to water OFTEN! When I went on vacation, the plant caretaker only watered twice a week and it almost died. I tend to water every day... And it puts out new leaves a couple of times a week or so.

The only problem: bugs! Five or so kinds of unkillable bugs LOVE living on it, so my poor chacruna is constantly covered in insect life. They don't hurt it, at least not visibly, but still... there be so many of them. Probably using the spice to communicate with their hyperspatial insectoid friends.
As long as they don't hurt it then there shouldn't be a problem with it. We have huge locust/grasshoppers here that love chilling on my caapi vine. I never see any real damage or missing leaves, so I'll either leave them be or politely move them to another spot in my garden.
I've had two plants for a few years now and they're very hardy. It regularly gets into the 100's in summer and into the teen's in the winter. I just wrap them in plastic during winter, they're perennial in my area. Very easy to grow. Be sure to give them plenty of water in summer, they like lots of sun.
oh joy, I didnt think anyone was going to respond, thanks for all the advice!!! the plant has been doing great, I'm keeping it in a semi-shaded area, watering everyday & it's growing beautifully, still haven't re-potted it yet. It seemed to be getting burned in direct sun, so under the deck works great, & it made sense when i thought about it, chacruna is cousin to coffee, lots of coffee is shade-grown. So for the winter I'm thinking about bringing it indoors w/ a grow light, has anyone grown chacruna inside? Is a light necessary, or should i just leave it by the window? I've also had great success growing some desmanthus illinoensis this summer. It's a fun one to watch & its flowering right now, they'll be more seeds soon! love & light to all...
I've been growing mine indoors. She does love the shade, but tolerates the bright light. I have a 400 watt hps. She could take the direct light 12" from the glass, but she does really prefer to be shaded. If I water her everyday, she can easily do the bright light, but I water her about once a week and 3 feet from the light and shaded using other plants.

She looks just like the coffee that I've grown in the past. Coffee will reward you for being in the shade instead of the sun. I repotted her once when I got her, 2-3 months ago. I will repot her again, but she seems to be very happy. I keep pinching of the terminal to get her to branch out, and she is playing along. I. now, have about 6 "tops."

ps. Pinching the tops has worked wonderfully. I have more than a dozen tops, now. She's been moved to a 3 gallon bucket. Recently, I have a problem with distorted and pale leaves. It looks like insect damage, but I can't find any bugs. It may be because the light is so bright. I will be fertilizing soon, and I will edit this post to give you an idea if that was the problem. She's got yellow, distorted leaves that don't last long. I really doubt, that it is insect damage.
Thanks lawnboy, i think i'm going to bring her in over the winter & use your advice, sounds great! & for everybody else reading this thread, i scouted out (with the help of nexus links) a more than stellar place to read about ethnobotanical gardening for most plants, http://forums.ayahuasca.com/phpbb/, the ayahausca forums cultivation page, i remember checking them out a few years ago & was happy to re-discover this wealth of information... happy growing everybody!

Im not sure what your climate is where you live..

But generally ideal conditions are where/how the plant thrives in the wild.
The best chacruna sold on the market comes from hawaii. Hawaii has extremely nutrient dense soil, a warm humid client, and like coffee probably thrives best in indirect sunlight. So these are your ideal conditions. They can be accomplished if you are in a desert, you just need a big greenhouse!

Dont overwater, give it lots of love, and good luck freind :)
Lawnboy- Could you explain a little bit more about how you pinch the tops? I'm ordering a P. Viridis in a few days and would like to make cuttings from it when it's matured a bit and also promote big bushy growth. If I understand you pinching the tops will promote bushy growth?
Psikotrope said:
If I understand you pinching the tops will promote bushy growth?

I was just damaging the terminal growth, the top growth. If taking cuttings, then you are doing this already. By damaging the top shoot(s), the plant is forced to grow from the lower shoots. It's got to do with auxin, etc. You don't need to cut anything off of the plant to get it to bush out, just do enough damage to stunt the growth of the top shoot(s) and the lower shoots will take over. This tends to make plants in general "bush out."

"Topping" is a phrase used to describe this. But, it is very common technique among growers of all kinds of plants. By, taking a cutting, you will be pruning and propagating in one step.
LawnBoy- Thanks for explaining this technique. I wasn't familiar with it. I'm new to growing in general so I'm trying to soke up all the knowledge I can. I've started some common herbs and also Coleus from seed to wet my feet before undertaking a much more precious plant. Thanks for your help!
Has anyone tried Hydro? My buddy has a plant that's doing pretty good but not perfect. Successful specs would be nice.
It's been General Hydroponics Flora Series. General purpose formula diluted to half strength. TDS 384ppm Ph 5.5 to 6.5 under LEDS with a ultrasonic humidifier. He read somewhere they like TDS of 300 to 500.


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LawnBoy said:
The distorted wrinkly leaves became beautiful and smooth with some micro nutrient solution and fish emulsion.
Mine wrinkle when the humidity is low. The leaves seem to need moisture to separate into pairs as they branch out so daily misting is a good idea. I bring mine inside in winter and seem to do fine with filtered window light. Maybe better than the ones i have under t6 florescent.
Mine wrinkle when the humidity is low. The leaves seem to need moisture to separate into pairs as they branch out so daily misting is a good idea

I have several P. viridis plants indoors at home, some also with wrinkled leaves problem. I live in a region with an average of 70% relative humidity & the colder climate obligates us the use indoor heating which drastically degrades the relative humidity to an average of 50% with considerable variation. Consequently, the relative humidity is nowhere near ideal for these tropic plants so they develop these wrinkled leaves. Accordingly, some P. viridis plants are also placed in a humidity container (basically just a large empty aquarium :) ) and they develop just fine with normal leaves.

The wrinkling starts early on in the leaves' developmental and growing stage. Further growing to larger leaves just extrapolates the wrinkling. Mature leaves developed in high humidity (so without wrinkling) stay the same when placed outside the humidity box. So my guess is that high humidity is essential during leaf development and thereafter less important.

I don't have the room to place all my plants in a humidity box (and P. viridis make a great magical ornamental plant:) ) so I think about placing the growing stems inside a little transparent bag. This bag would provide high humidity during the developmental stage and could be removed once the leaves are of considerable size. Has anyone ever tried anything like this and could it be successful?
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