How to Grow Chocolate M&Ms | The Old Farmer's Almanac

How to Grow Chocolate M&M's in Your Garden!


A fun, easy, colorful crop for sweet tooths!

The Editors

April 1 is the traditional day to plant chocolate M&M’s—just as St. Patrick’s Day is the traditional day to plant peas. If you plant this cacao bean crop too late in the summer, it will melt! Here’s how to plant, grow, and harvest this sweet crop. Kids love it!

The last time we planted M&M’s was back in 2014. It was just an experimental crop at the time, but we’ve decided to add it to our garden plan this season! Frankly, we’ve had a tough year, so this seemed like a fun, colorful crop to add to the mix.

Of course, M&M’s is a hybrid crop, carefully cultivated by cacao bean growers. (Cacao beans are the seeds of the cacao tree.) This means that you’ll never know if the same color that you plant will grow the same color harvest. In other words, you could plant a red M&M seed, but it will grow yellow and red M&M’s. That’s just part of the fun and surprise of this delightful crop. The taste is always the same, whatever the color (though some will debate that fact).

Recommended Varieties

Recently, a few new varieties of M&M’s have appeared on the market. For home gardeners, we recommend:

  • ‘Peanut’: produces larger M&M’s with a peanuty flavor; heat- and drought-tolerant
  • ‘Dark Chocolate’: shade-tolerant variety with a deeper flavor
  • ‘Minis’: dwarf variety that grows well in containers
  • ‘Smarties’: cold-tolerant, recommended for Canadian gardeners

Growing Tips

Over the years, we’ve also gained some valuable learning from readers. Here are our top five tips which we hope you’ll find useful:

  1. Soil acidity can affect the color of your M&M’s. As with hydrangeas, acidic soil produces blue M&M’s, while alkaline soil produces red ones. Always take a soil test before planting!
  2. Keep safe from pests, especially the Easter bunny (and maybe your family members).
  3. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you might get W&W’s. 
  4. Use non-GMO seeds or you could end up with Skittles or Reese’s Pieces.
  5. Be careful not to eat the seeds while planting; they’re delicious!

Please add your own tips below so we can all grow M&M’s successfully! 

After you watch this video, why not try our online Almanac Garden Planner for free here.

Gardening Calendar

Ron (not verified)

1 year 7 months ago

The idea of growing M&Ms in the garden is just plain silly. If you really want to grow something sweet in your garden you should try something more practical. After all threat of frost is past, I plant Cheerios, and by September I will have a fine crop of doughnuts.

Seriously, I very much enjoyed the video, it was very well done.

Elaine (not verified)

1 year 8 months ago

What a wonderful job you did with this video. One would actually believe it could be done, with all the information the gardener gives as he explains how to grow them. I knew it couldn't be done, but didn't think of this as an April fools trick until he said they had to be planted on April 1. Again, great job!

Rowan (not verified)

1 year 8 months ago

I write to compliment you on your witty article. I appreciate your humour and well-timed submission to the day's playfulness.

Well done, Editors! Well done!

Donna LaRocca (not verified)

1 year 8 months ago

Delightful video, and so timely! I laughed out loud, just love the concept! And the gentleman's pumpkin seed idea was great, too! Hooray for the Almanac, every day is fun and interesting. Happy April Fool's Day!

greg betts (not verified)

1 year 8 months ago

i find if you use a insulated greenhouse , you can grow them year round . winter crop is the best , they come out like ice wine... good vid , thanks ;)