Tips for Growing Beautiful ayahuasca Plants in Your Garden

dahliasOur efforts seek to counter the trend of the over-harvesting of ayahuasca in some locations in the Amazon and the devastating effects of industrial development and agricultural practices that undermine the forest ecosystem in which this plant medicine grows. We have already planted over 1000 vines around the Temple property over the last threeSustainable_Ayahuasca_Production_2 years and if the current method proves compatible with the local ecosystem, we hope to increase production three-fold. Ayahuasca takes at least 10 years to grow in natural conditions, with the first five years typically being a relatively slow growth stage due to the young vine needing to grow to a sufficient height to reach the canopy and be immersed in regular sunlight. Usually after about 10 years the vines are then ready for sustainable harvesting, through cutting off sections of the branches and leaving the roots intact. The production of ayahuasca is part of the Temple’s broader mission to develop sustainable living systems that are not only self-sufficient, but also give back to the land. Though there is limited modern scientific information on how ayahuasca grows in its natural habitats, current evidence suggests that ayahuasca encourages biodiversity. Crucially, this is supported by traditional understandings about the numerous varieties and growth stages of Banisteriopsis caapi and where it grows under optimum conditions. We are committed to participating in further research into the impact of ayahuasca production on the local ecology and how to protect the plants from external environmental threats at In addition, over the last three years we have been experimenting with growing chacruna (Psychotria viridis), the medium-sized leafy shrub that is combined with Banisteriopsis caapi to make ayahuasca medicine. Most of the soil around the Temple is not optimal for the production of chacruna due to its high sand content, so we have been planting chacruna in many different locations to see which soil types work best. In 2014, we discovered an area on our property where chacruna grows well, so we are now focusing on planting many young chacruna plants in this section of the local forest. Working with local experts, we have also learned that chacruna is traditionally cultivated alongside yarina – an ivory palm (Phytelephas macrocarpa) that is commonly used for roofing in local communities. It was by observing and then mimicking the growth and diversity patterns found in the surrounding rainforest that we identified the ideal conditions and locations within the layers of the ecosystem for the production of our ayahuasca vines and chacruna plants. We are now monitoring the effects of our work and this ‘feedback’ from nature will inform our future management plan.