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).
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
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:
- 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!
- Keep safe from pests, especially the Easter bunny (and maybe your family members).
- If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you might get W&W’s.
- Use non-GMO seeds or you could end up with Skittles or Reese’s Pieces.
- 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.