ias-calea-flowers_1200There are few things I adore more than tending my own shaman’s garden.  In early 2016, I got the largest harvest of Calea zacatechichi seeds ever, and I’m super excited to talk about the bet way to grow, harvest and handle them.  My business has several plots of land that we have contracted out to grow various plants (one patch is land owned by the founder of Bluetech), including some 4-2-6 Kava that was planted in late 2015.  But one of my favorite things is seeing the results in the form of seeds that I use to grow some of the plants that are personally most important to me.
One of those plants is most definitely Calea zacatechichi, also known as Dream Herb.  Read on and find out how you can get some of these seeds for free from me just by asking.
First, though, a few tips on growing Calea zacatechchi:
01. CALEA LOVES SHADE: Calea loves shade, but loves stretching to reach the light!  Yes, it’s one of those plants that grows best when it’s under a canopy.  It’s a gangly, very non-graceful plant that likes to curve and stretch and angle in all kinds of strange patterns.  It’s like a tiny bamboo that can’t figure out where the sunlight is, and it often will curve around on itself and use itself as a trestle.  Usually, when a plant is stretching for the sun, we think it needs more sunlight.  This isn’t necessarily true of Calea.  It will be spindly and gangly no matter how much light or sunlight you give it, so you definitely need a lot of “UP” space to grow this plant properly.
Speaking of, this plant LOVES to vine!
02. CALEA LOVES VINING: If you plan to grow some Calea, know that you need LOTS of space, especially UP space, as this gangly thing likes to stretch, stretch, stretch!  You’ll think that you’re doing something wrong, and perhaps wonder how on Earth this plant was able to survive in the wild, but you’ll see this fast grower do all kinds of acrobatics.  So, the best way to help guide it into a mature plant, is to give it plenty to grab onto as its growing.  It doesn’t choke out other plants, but it will even use other plants to reach some amazing heights.  The delicate, spindly purples flowers that happen in bunches are definitely a satisfying payoff.
03. CALEA HATES PUDDLES: Another thing I realized as I spent way too much time growing my Calea plants is that they don’t like a ton of water.  At first, I was killing them with attention by watering them way too much.  Calea has roots that reach very deep very quickly (kind of like it’s tall, gangly stems), so it’s happy with the water table when it finds it.  This is one of those plants that you can “Water by Wilting” if you’re really a brown thumb.  All this means is that you can wait until the leaves (which get SUPER BIG) start to wilt, only then be kind and give it some water.
STRESS THAT PLANT: On that point, if you don’t already know, most plants will produce more alkaliods and terpenes when they’re stressed.  So, stressing you Calea a little bit only really helps you dream in the end.  It’s plant, so it doesn’t seem to be traumatized by the stress, so I say stress it as much as you wish to make as potent a dreaming herb as you wish.  (Just remember to say some kind words to it so it knows you really do love it.)
By the time the plant starts to flower, there will be tons of leaves to have made a smoke or tea out of.  In happy, healthy plants, some Calea leaves will get as big as an iPhone!  Calea is a plant that gives back the entire time it’s growing.  The flowers, though; they’re stringy, delicate little purple flowers that appear in bunches, and last for weeks.
calea zacatechichi flowers
And this is also where I have to force myself to be patient.
HARVESTING THE SEEDS: Not only do the Dream Herb flowers last a long time, they take a long time to die off to allow the seeds to fully form.  The seeds are flyers, though; they are individual mini-aircraft that take to the winds, so I’m sure it takes Mother Nature a while to get them ready for flight.  I’ve had to wait 4-6 weeks for the flowers to go from flowering to harvesting! – Talk about learning patience.  So, take a look at a seed; see the wings?
calea dream herb seeds
The good news is, is that Mother Nature also lets you know when the seeds are ready to be harvested.  If there are any stringy flower-like petals remaining, like in the below picture, the seeds are not yet ready to be harvested.  What will happen is the seed pods will completely close, the flower material will completely disappear, and you will be left with bunches of tiny packages of seeds.  Each pod holds about 30 seeds, and it’s fun to break them open and fluff up the seeds to see them in their natural state, ready for flight.
The pods also turn a dried-out tan, blended with spots of darker brown.  That’s another indicator that the seeds are ready to be harvested.  And, when the Calea seeds are ready to be taken from the plant, Calea is such a strong grower, that you don’t have to be too careful in how you harvest.  With our latest crop, we cut off entire branches full of flower bundles; some of the branches had as many as 20+ flower bundles!  The Dream Herb plant actually seems to like being forced to grow new stems and shoots and flower locations.
Something to note is that the plant will reach for the sun, even if you have it under bright lights.  And, the flowers will mostly only occur at the ends of the plant.  Some plants, like Damiana, will flower wherever there’s a node.  But Calea tends to flower only along the edges.
GET SOME FREE SEEDS: We’ll see how this goes, but if you’re interested in growing your own Calea, feel free to send off an email request for seeds, with an address to send them to Keith, dreaming at dreamherbs dot com.  I have such a massive harvest that most have been sold to ShamansGarden for sale, but I kept plenty to share with all of you.
Best of luck with your lucid dreaming journeys! I do believe very deeply in the plant teachers that are found all over this beautiful planet of ours, and firmly believe that they have co-evolved with us humans in a symbiotic relationship that helps both the plant and the human evolve.  Try some evolving on your own, and please report back!  I’d love to see some pictures of plants people have grown from these Calea seeds!
Dream On,
Keith Cleversley