Discussion in 'Coca' started by Alfa, Feb 10, 2004.
Does anybody have tips on Coca growing?
Growing From Seeds
In South America, seeds are mostly collected between the months of
December and April. Seeds for planting are collected from plants that are
at least two or three years old. If you are in the northern hemisphere,
you will get your fruit and seed in your summer months - if you grew your
plant from seed. If your plants were imported as cuttings or whole plants
from South America, they may be seasonally inverted for a year or two
before they adjust. If this turns out to be the case, you should put your
plants in a totally dark closet for about two weeks in early spring. Give
them an hour or two of light (fluorescent or window) every day to let
them photosynthesize enough to stay alive. This will put the plantsinto
dormancy. Then, after risk of frost is past, bring them outside.
The lengthening days and increasing warmth of spring should bring your
plants out of dormancy and help set their biological clocks onto a
northern hemisphere cycle.
To germinate seeds, first check the seeds to see that they are good. Coca
seeds do not have a long shelf-life once harvested. If they dry out, they
will die. They can die within a week or two from harvest. If you have
picked some coca fruit and won't be able to plant the seed in a few days,
its best to leave them in the fruit. Storing the seeds or fruit in some
moist moss helps as well. When you are ready to plant, make sure the seed
are removed from the fruit. Put the cleaned seeds into a cup of water.
Coca seeds should sink, so seeds which float probably have been damaged...
but it doesn't hurt to try planing them anyway. You can leave the seeds
soaking in water for a few hours before planting, which may help speed up
germination. Be careful not to over-soak them and drown them. If they
begin to swell, take them out and plant them.
It would probably be best to start each seed in its own individual starter
pot. You could use small plastic pots or plantable peat pots, but either
way, you will want to be able to put the whole set onto plastic trays. You
will want pots which are at least three inches deep and which have open or
absorptive bottoms. Place these pots all into a wide shallow tray. You can
probably find a tray with pots and a clear humidity dome sold together as
a kit for a few US dollars.
You will next need to get a potting mix and fill each of the pots to the
top. You could start with just a standard seed starting mix, or a humus
rich potting mix. Something that is light and loose is the critical list.
You could try experimenting with plain perlite, for example. Fill your
pots with the mix, and fill the tray under the pots with water. Keep
filling the tray until the potting mix is thoroughly damp.
Plant one seed per pot. You will want to plant the seeds about 1.5 inches
deep. Keep the soil moist, and add water to the tray below when the soil
starts to dry. If you're starting the seeds in winter or in a drafty
location, you may want to consider using some bottom heat for your tray.
Germination could occur anywhere from 10 to 30 days from planting.
Once your plants have germinated, make sure that your plants have good
light. If the weather allows, move the tray outside during the day. Strong
sun and the wind will help promote strong stems and healthy growth. If you
will be growing them indoors, you either want to hang a fluorescent tube
light directly over them (with about 1 inch clearance, keep raising as
needed) or put them in a very bright southern or western window.) You will
want to start giving them a good general purpose fertilizer.
When the plants are about two months old, or about a foot tall, you can
pot them up in larger pots. Six inch pots should be a good first step.
Make sure you bury the plant a little deeper than the original soil line.
You will probably want to use a more substantial soil than a seed starting
mix, which will be discussed later.
Growing From Cuttings
If seeds are unavailable, coca can also be propagated by cuttings. In
South America, coca cuttings are started in either of two ways. One is
to cut off a woody branch segment a few feet long and to simply stick it
into the soil. The other is to cut small branch segments with their own
small branches and to put them into a glass of water for a day or two,
and then put them into a loose soil or potting mix.
In reality, you should be able to treat coca like most other woody shrubs.
Take a cutting of a woody branch section - generally, woody cuttings of
srubs will root easier than new green shoots. I don't know for certain
that this is true of coca, but its a good bet. Take your cutting right
below a leaf node. Make sure your cutting has several nodes, or you will
not have a viable plant. Pinch off the large (if not all) leaves, since
they mostly just serve to lose water until the plant has roots. If you're
making smaller cuttings, you may want to put them in glasses of water for
a few days to start rooting. Adding some liquid rooting hormones may not
be a bad idea.
To root cuttings, its best to find a pot that's just large enough to be
able to support the cutting and get ths start on a root system. Don't use
too big of a pot right away! You may want to use a plastic or glazed pot
to reduce water evaporation. Use a well draining potting mix for rooting.
A regular commercial potting mix should work. Add some perlite for
drainage. You will want to keep the soil moist (but not soggy) until a
root system develops. Fertilize them with a fertilizer high in phosphorus
(the middle number). There are many formulas specifically made to
encourage root growth, such as Bonide Root & Grow (4-10-3). These often
have added minerals and B vitamins to reduce shock.
After you have a good root system, you can begin to ease back on the
waterings and fertilizing. After a root system has been established,
you'll want to switch to using regular fertilizer (discussed later). With
smaller cuttings, you will soon want to move the plants up to a larger pot
with a more substantial soil.
One final note on cuttings, be aware that coca plants are apparantly not
self-fertile, so if your plants are all clones with a common parent, you
will not be able to get viable seeds.
Maintaining A Mature Plant
Once you have a well established plant, it should be relatively simple to
care for. To do this, its important to have an idea about the natural
conditions of the plant. Even though coca growing in the wild has been
known to reach heights of up to 30 feet, that which is cultivated is
almost always pruned back to facilitate harvesting the coca leaf.
Cultivated fields are usually kept at a height of three to six feet.
In its native environment, it grows along side plants like coffee, ginger,
and banana. Coca grows on the lower slopes of the Andes, in a
Mediterranean type climate sandwiched between the tropical Amazon
rainforest below and the cold mountain desert above. The average yearly
temperature in coca growing areas ranges from 50 to 60 degrees Farenheit,
with daytime highs sometimes reaching the upper 80s. Most coca growing
areas have dry and rainy seasons. For example, in the Yungas de La Paz
located in Bolivia, four feet of rain falls on average per year, almost
all of which comes between December and April. The other seven months can
be dry and dusty. Coca is grown in semi-rainforest areas with nearly daily
rain, and also grows in arid regions that get only a little. They seem to
be most abundant in the mountain valleys that have seasonal rains dropping
three to twelve feet of rain per year. The soils it is found in range from
iron-rich volcanic or fertile alluvial (sedimentary) soils to nutrient
deficient eroded clays which are essentially dust.
Much is made of the altitude factor. There is a widespread myth that coca
only grows at enormous altitudes and won't produce any cocaine at the
altitudes found outside the Andes. This is quite far from the truth! The
Chapare region of Bolivia, which is where most of the black market coca in
Bolivia is grown, is a hilly plains area at about 660 to 1650 feet above
sea level. Virtually all coca is grown below 6000 feet, with many of the
farms being between 500 and 5000 feet. Coca isn't farmed at all up in the
high Andean peaks and plateaus. For example, the only coca plantsin La Paz, located at about 12,000 feet, were in the Coca Museum. In
other words, coca is grown at altitudes that are easily found in many
countries all over the world. It doesn't require extreme altitude to live,
and people have allegedly grown quite healthy plants even at sea level.
There has been some preliminary research that plants grown in lower
altitude areas are not as rich in cocaine and ecgonine as plants grown
higher up, but this could also be due to varietal differences, soil
nutrient value, farming technique, or just plain luck. I find it unlikely
that seeds from genetically good coca would produce worthless leaves just
because they are grown at low altitudes.
Thinking about what I have heard and read and seen, I think I could make
some educated guesses as to how to grow a happy and useful coca plant at
home in a pot. This is entirely theoretical and undoubtedly will need some
tweaking for optimal results... but not having actual plants to work with,
I'm unable to do more than offer some ideas.
For soil, I would make a custom mixture. I would mix two parts of a
standard commercial potting mix, one to two parts topsoil, and one part
perlite. Then, I would mix in some red volcanic rock. The idea is to have
a fertile, mineral rich soil that is well draining. It should not be too
heavy, so be careful with the topsoil. Add more volcanic rock and/or
perlite if the mixture is too dense. Avoid using vermiculite as it tends
to compact. Also avoid sand. River gravel may be an alternative or
supplement to the volcanic rock. There is certainly much room for
experimentation. The soils in some of the coca growing regions of South
America are horrible, and I suspect that coca plants would benefit greatly
from improving on nature. People interested in experimenting with soil
mixes for coca may want to research the different soils used to cultivate
coffee and bananas around the world.
As the plant grows, you will probably want to keep potting it up into
bigger containers. When the plant appears rootbound and there are roots
growing out the bottom of the pot, get a larger pot. Make sure when
transplanting up that you gently break up the root ball a little and plant
the root ball lower than its prior level.
For watering, I suspect coca would do best to be treated like a
semi-tropical succulent. From spring through early autumn, water it
thoroughly and often. When the top few inches of the soil is dry, that's
the sign to water again. Give it a good all purpose fertilizer at least
once or twice a month. In winter, when you bring the plant indoors, it
will likely go into a slight dormant period. Since these plants often grow
in areas with a dry season in winter, you probably should try cutting back
on watering to half or less of what you normally would give. Stop
fertilizing at least a week or two before you bring your plants in for the
cold season, and do not start again until it gets warm enough to bring the
plants back outside. Coca grows in pretty dry areas, so it should not
require high humidity or leaf misting, although an occasional misting to
wash off dust and check for spider mites doesnt hurt any plant.
For light, the more you can get the better your plant will probably be. If
possible, put it outdoors in full sun during warm months. Indoors, put it
in the sunniest window possible, and consider giving it supplemental light
from fluorescents or plant bulbs. I believe that coca is able to survive
in semi-shade, but it will definately thrive given more light.
As far as temperature, coca can handle a wide range of temperatures as
long as it stays above freezing. Its possible they could handle a light
frost if the plant is a very mature and established large specimen, but
its not something I would risk. They can certainly withstand temperatures
in the low 40s and high 30s Farenheit. As to the high end, they can
probably handle the hottest days of summer so long as they are given
enough water. You may want to move them into the shade on days where the
temperature gets over 95 degrees, if you see any signs of heat stress.
Most likely they will do fine as long as they are properly watered.
There is no way to simulate the effects of altitude on a houseplant, so
you will just have to go with what you have. It would be interesting to
see how potent different plants from seeds or clones of known potent
high altitude strains turned out when grown at lower sea levels. My
suspicion is that altitude isn't be as important as it is currently
As far as pests and diseases, most of the insects which are the biggest
natural enemies of coca only occur in South America. Some insects which
are found elsewhere in the world have been known to attack coca, but only
as a last resort such as a shortage of the plants they normally live on.
Some scientists have theorized that coca alkaloids act to repel these
insects in normal conditions. Among the insects in question are spider
mites, grass-hoppers, leaf-hoppers, and various beetles. It's also
possible that bugs not found in South America may discover your coca
plants and find them a tasty meal, so you will need to keep an eye out for
them. If you have an insect problem, you will have to be careful to use
only food-safe insecticides on your plants. Pyrethrin, nicotine, or neem
oil based insecticides are probably the safest. Be certain to thoroughly
wash leaves after you harvest them and before drying them to remove any
Most of the other insects which attack coca only do so when there are
shortages of their normal food supply. Some scientists believe that
cocaine and other alkaloids may present some natural defense against most
pests. Nevertheless, sometimes insects such as spider mites, grasshoppers,
leafhoppers, and beetles find it necessary to eat coca.
Various fungal problems can also harm coca, and are more likely to happen
if the plant is overwatered and the soil becomes soggy. Coca is also
succeptible to blight or wilt type leaf fungi such as Fusarium. If you
have any fungal problems, again, make sure you use a food-safe remedy.
Something sulfur-based, for example.
Seed are shipped around mid January-April and are about 15 USD's each
Damn! My coca sprouting has dried out after a few days of absence. Although it was still green, there was no way of rescue. I will try again with several seeds at once.
Does anybody have knowledge of a related species, which does not fall into the Erythroxylum genus and therefore is legal?
where can you buy coca seeds?
Is this an easy process?? I'm living in England, so will that make the process almost impossible??
Yes, the seeds are difficult to get and you need quite a few of the plants to yeild a small amount of the good stuff.
the plants will NOT grow outdoors in england or north america, period.
and i highly doubt you have acres of indoor space that would be suitable for growing
is it a plausible method of getting personal?
how long does it take and how much do u need, could u use a standard hydro kit to make lets say an ounce any one with any experience?
Cocaine is made from coca leaves. Coca isn't cocaine.
the answer to your questions are no.
you need a lot, it won't have enough alkaloidsif you do grow coca athome, and to make "an ounce" you would need hundreds of kilos of leaves, plus training.
forget it and read up on the forum, on coca that is....
this would so be a waste of time unless you have the skills to process the coca leaves and live in an enviroment where you could plant the coca outside...a friendly government wouldnt hurt anything either...
what about chewing the leafs??? if i was to grow coca i would
want to use it in a natural way, not process it into an extremely
potent drug. im wondering about methods of propigation and soil
mixes. do we have any columbian members????
if you google you can find an online version of a coca growing book, and info on coca growing, and even a coca houseplant selling site, but alkaloid production depends on a altitude which is virtually impossible to recreate artificially.the plant has been grown to some success in mounteanous areas of california, but there is little information on that.
if you're not based in the united states that is, you're better off buying a few hundred grams of coca leaves for chewing than going through the hassle of growing for a presumably meagre result...
And remember you can also "chew" cocatea bags as well...
You mention altitude there as an important part for the plant to get into the alkaloid production and its virtual impossibility to recreate artificially. Plants detect how far above sea level they are by temperature, atmospheric pressure and photosensitivity. I believe. Is there any other factors that I've missed? If so, then it should be physically possible (difficult - yes, but lets pretend we're not concerned by the money factor) to recreate a specific environment underground with the correct tools. Would genetics have any play in the potency? Has anyone ever heard of coca being grown for the production of cocaine in any way shape or form apart from the Andean triangle? (I live in a northerly part of australia, so perhaps I can find a physical location in my country that may be adequete... Ill go looking across google myself as well and post up links if I find any that seem to be worth looking at so that others can help authenticate them for or point out what they believe are inaccuracies in their information. (Ill have to do that another night though as I have to get some sleep for a fishing trip. ) Goodnight all, I look forward to any reply's.
well yes, coca has been successfully grown in Java and Ceylon / Sri Lanka, from what I remember alkaloid production was much lower than in the Andes, but this was compensated for by extensive production.
When the plant was first studied in the 19th century, some plants were grown in major botanical gardens across europe (kew gardens etc), but alkaloid production was minimal.
As for Australia, I think I remember that there is an indigenous erythroxylum plant in the country, but i don't remember any facts about its chemical makeup. The genus is quite large and incorporates plants like brasilian catuaba for instance, so maybe unknow gems are out there.
As for genetics, there was a genetically modified plant, coca negra, which was developped to resist american anti-coca spraying, but I have never heard of plants being modified to grow and produce alkaloids in less favourable environments. Considering the kind of money that the cartels have (and the fact that they have already worked on genetically modified plants), it seems likely that this is has proven impossible so far...
One fact to keep in mind is that one of the strongest coca plants actually grows wild in the amazon forests (peruvian side), not in the Andes, and it has very small leaves which are very rich in alkaloids, so this might be of some interest in the light of your request.
You need a huge growing area to make it work because the coca plant has very little actual cocaine in it. You need thousands of plants to extract the cocaine from to get a decent amount.
A kilo of leaves for an eightball if you're skilled.
but coca is a great plant, really healthy and energizing without the downsides of cocaine. Recently I has tried some leaves of a much higher quality than usual, it's amazing, makes you reconsider the desire to consume cocaine Hcl, and this is no joke...It's not the same as Hcl of course, but maybe with excellent leaves better...the dopamine kick is certainly there, that's for sure.
you could also look in to this story :
growing a coca plant
is it possible to grow a coca plant indoors harvest it an get some pure raw?
You would need to harvest kilos of leaves to make it worth your while.