Boldos: [Cultivation, Irrigation, Care, Pests and Diseases]

Boldo is a tree native to Chile, widely recognized as one of the forest species with the highest environmental and economic value in the country .

Its cultivation has spread to countries around the world due to its precious medicinal properties.

Peumus boldus has been used since ancient times by the native peoples of Chile to treat diseases known as «bladder disease». Since then, its leaves have been used as a remedy to treat liver diseases.

In the archaeological zone of Monteverde, chewed boldo leaves were found that were 12,000 or 13,000 years old.

Important points when planting a boldo:

  • Scientific name: Peumus boldus.
  • Common name: Boldo, Chilean boldo.
  • Height: 3 to 15 meters.
  • Light requirement: Direct light and partial shade.
  • Temperature: Temperate and semi-arid climates (14ºC).
  • Irrigation: Moderate.
  • Fertilizer: Organic fertilizer.

What characteristics does boldo have?

Boldo is a slow-growing perennial tree with a globose crown . It generally measures between 3 and 15 meters in height, even reaching 30 meters. However, due to its exploitation, it retains smaller sizes.

Its leaves are simple, aromatic and evergreen, grayish green. These measure 3 to 7 centimeters long by 1 to 5 centimeters wide.

Being a dioecious species, boldo develops male and female flowers in different specimens. The male flowers feature a pale yellow perianth.

The female ones have numerous carpels with round endings. These flowers, white and scented, are grouped in small inflorescences of short racemes composed of about 12 elements each.

In their natural environment they bloom during the months of August and September. The fruit of the boldo is an edible, fleshy and juicy green drupe, almost 2 centimeters in diameter. With them an artisan liquor called «boldeao» is prepared.

When to sow the boldo?

Boldo should be sown when the soil has the necessary humidity to facilitate the rooting of the plant. This usually happens during the first rains, in the first days of spring.

Where to plant the boldo?

The boldo tree is typical of sclerophyllous forests, with a climate similar to the Mediterranean, characterized by having rainy winters and very dry summers.

However, although these conditions favor it, it can adapt to almost any climate. Boldo grows very well on flat or gently sloping land, with minimal erosion, exposed to direct sunlight and shade.

A site should be chosen where temperatures range between 2ºC and 22ºC, with an average temperature of 14ºC. Although it tolerates the cold, the boldo must be protected from frost, especially during its first years of development.

How to prepare the land?

Boldo is a species of high plasticity and undemanding regarding the type of soil in which it will settle . For its cultivation, it is recommended that the soil has a sandy loam or loam texture, rich in organic matter, with medium or low water retention and good drainage.

Likewise, it establishes itself better in soils with a neutral and slightly acidic pH.

CULIVERS Organic Earthworm Liquid Humus of 5 l. Organic Matter Rich in Microorganisms. Soil Life Regenerator. Increases the quality and production of crops.

If you want to grow it in a pot, it can be planted in a substrate made up of sand and clay soil in equal parts. It is also recommended to mix the soil of the place with perlite and sand.

Wave Fine Sand Substrate, 5 kg, White

In the event that the soil needs to be improved, fertilizer with organic manure should be applied once a week, especially when the plant is growing.

Organic fertilizer pelletized 25 kg Ecocelta

How do we water the boldo?

It is necessary to keep the substrate moist for the boldo to fully develop. This is important because it will prevent twisting of the roots in search of moisture, or the death of the seedling.

The boldo is usually watered by means of 10 or 15 liter irrigation cups. However, if it is just a matter of growing a tree in the garden, irrigation can be done manually.

How often do we water the boldo?

Throughout the first year of life, it is recommended to water it every 20 days, from 10 to 15 liters. For the second, it is recommended to apply 5 to 10 liters, once a month. It will be necessary to increase the frequency of irrigation during very dry years, about 2 or 3 times a week, until the substrate is hydrated.

How to plant a boldo step by step?

The boldo is a species that does not reproduce easily. Greater success is currently achieved through in vitro culture. However, below are the steps to grow it from seeds.

by seeds

  1. In a container, place the boldo seeds at a depth of 1.5 times the diameter of the seed, on a moist universal substrate with sand, or on composted pine bark, and cover them with a thin layer.
  2. Moisten the substrate and keep the seedbed in an area away from direct sunlight, at a temperature between 20ºC and 30ºC. Wait for about 12 weeks for them to germinate.
  3. Transplant once the seedlings are large enough to handle.
  4. Plant definitively at the beginning of summer, in a place protected from direct sun and cold.

It is important to clarify that the boldo seed takes up to 2 years to germinate due to the internal dormancy that is activated by the high summer temperatures. For this reason, freshly collected seeds should be used, or else subject them to scarification.

What care does the boldo need?

Boldo is a difficult tree to cultivate, mainly due to the low germination rate of the seeds and the poor rooting success of the vegetative multiplication. However, if you have a plant, the following is recommended.

  1. Install a mesh of 50 or 65% shade at a height of 2 meters to protect young plants from cold and sunstroke.
  2. Eliminate weeds during the first 2 years of cultivation.
  3. Wait at least 5 years to reproduce it again.

What pests and diseases affect boldo?

The boldo is a tree that is not very susceptible to diseases and pests. Sometimes it is attacked by snails, aphids and some fungi such as Phytopthora and mildew. However, these pests can be easily controlled with potassium soap and fungicides.

Castalia Potassium Soap, K2O Potassium Solution, 5 L

How long does boldo live?

It is a species that regenerates continuously, so its life time becomes very long.

How long does boldo take to grow?

It can become an adult specimen between 8 and 15 years after being planted.

How long does it take to produce fruit?

The fruits can appear 5 years after sowing, although it is not common for it to be a good level production.

Can it be grown in a pot?

Yes, it can be worked in a pot, ensuring an effective pruning system that helps control growth.

How many times does boldo produce fruit?

The reproductive cycle of the boldo occurs only once a year.

Should boldo be pollinated to obtain fruit?

Pollination is necessary and is carried out with the help of insects.

This is a dioecious species, whose female flowers are fertilized by pollen obtained from male flowers that are on different trees.

How cold can boldo tolerate?

It is a kind of Mediterranean climate that does not do well with extreme cold or frost.

How many boldos can be planted per hectare?

Being small in size, the boldo allows the planting of 60 thousand specimens or more in one hectare of land.

What kind of fertilizer does boldo need?

It is necessary to work with organic fertilizers that contribute to the nutrition of the plant without altering its internal composition.

How much heat and/or drought can boldo tolerate?

He likes mild summers. It must be kept at temperatures that do not exceed 30 ° C.

It does not do well in drought. It needs a constant rate of irrigation.


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