Cardamom is one of the most popular and expensive spices after saffron and vanilla. Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance. Growing cardamom is a little difficult but you can learn how to do it by reading this article. Let’s discuss how to grow cardamom from seeds.
Cardamom grows natively in the Tropical Ghat Mountains of southwest India and in Sri Lanka. There are two types of cardamom: Green, which is originating in India and Sri Lanka and the Other one is black, which is originating in Nepal and Himalayan states of India.
Cardamom is a perennial plant. It has rigid and erect aromatic leaves, which forms the aerial part of the plant’s stems. These stems are between 2 to 4 meters high and forms a canopy of leaves around the plant. Cardamom fruits are called capsules. Inside the fruits there are seeds of the plant, which are actually used as spice.
Growing Cardamom is difficult, it requires specific growing conditions:
- Cardamom is a tropical plant, so hot and humid climates are suitable for its growth. It grows in
humid or very humid subtropical forests. It can be grown at a place where the minimum temperature doesn’t fall below 18 C (65 F) and can tolerate temperature above 40 C (105 F) but the average daytime temperature of 25 C (77 F) is perfect.
- Humidity level for growing cardamom is usually near 75%.
- Cardamom loves Sandy, loamy and well-drained soil that that is rich in organic matter and manure. Never grow cardamom in a soil which is rich in clay.
- Cardamom requires little acidic soil and can tolerate PH level up-to 5 or 5.5.
- Cardamom requires at least 5-6 hours of filtered sunlight or partial shade. Keep it away from full direct sun as it grows up to 2 – 4 m in height under the canopy of much higher trees.
- Watering is very important. Keep the soil moist all the time, but not soggy. Don’t let the soil to dry out ever. In summer or when the plant is setting fruits, increase watering.
GERMINATE FROM SEEDS
Prepare fresh cardamom seeds for sowing and follow the following steps:
- First wash the seeds in lukewarm water to remove mucilage. Then, allow the seeds to dry in the shade.
- Keep the dried seeds in a refrigerator for 20-30 days.
- After that place the cardamom seeds in a jar and pour a solution of 500 milliliter of water and a cap full of 3% hydrogen peroxide over the seeds. Stir the seeds well. After two minutes of stirring, drain the solution from the jar with a strainer.
- Rinse the cardamom seeds under running water. Transfer the seeds to a bowl of lukewarm water and allow them to soak overnight. This scarification breaks the hard coats of the cardamom seeds.
- Cardamom prefers moist soil that seldom dries out. It thrives in filtered shade, so select a site accordingly.
- Sow the cardamom seeds about 1/2 to 1 inch apart on top of the soil. Cover the cardamom seeds with a thin layer of soil. Spread a thin layer of mulch, straw or grass over the seed bed. Water deeply until the soil feels moist.
- Watch for germination. Cardamom germination usually takes between 20 and 25 days, but can take up to 40 days.
- When germination occurs, remove most of the mulch, leaving only a thin layer around the seedlings.
- Provide overhead shade to protect seedlings from bright sun.
- When the seedlings are 5 to 6 inch tall, transplant them to their individual pots or location.
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Cardamom seeds purchased from the grocery store are probably not fresh enough to germinate.