Growing flavorful elaichi at home is the best way to enjoy it fresh all year round! Here is everything you need to know on How to Grow Elaichi from seeds!
Elaichi is a herbaceous plant, perennial in nature. It has lightly fragrant but hard leaves. Native to the Indian subcontinent, the fruits have a slightly pungent taste, known as capsules, containing seeds in them, which are used as a spice in a variety of Indian dishes. The flavor of cardamom is a favorite of people in many Indian delicacies; for example, chai made with Elaichi is the perfect way to start a day in Indian households! Let’s have a look at How to Grow Elaichi from Seeds!
Types of Elaichi
Mainly, two types of Elaichi are cultivated in India. The first is Green Elaichi, native to and grown mainly in India, and Sri Lanka. The other herb is the Black type of Elaichi. These are most commonly cultivated in Himalayan states in India and some parts of Nepal.
How to Grow Elaichi from Seeds
The Elaichi plant is an excellent choice to grow at home, as it is not only useful in the kitchen but also has beautiful and tiny yellow flowers with red stripes that look beautiful. Growing Elaichi plants can be a little tricky, but you can give it a try.
If you wish to grow the plants from seeds, then you should buy the seeds from a plant nursery or seed store. You can also grow them with the seeds from your kitchen, those seeds are, however, treated and not fresh. So, you are less likely to see the desired results. You can follow these steps to propagate the Elaichi plant from seeds.
- Wash the seeds in warm water and remove the mucilage, if any, and leave them to dry under shade.
- Take a glass jar, put your seeds into it and place this jar into a water tray, so that the water covers half of the length of the pot.
- After this, soak the seeds in a 2.5% nitric acid solution and cover all the seeds by stirring them with a spoon. Strain the seeds thoroughly in running water.
- Once clean, put the seeds back in a bowl of warm water. This will help in opening the hard coats of seeds, causing easy germination. This process is called scarification.
- The seeds are now ready to plant. Plant these seeds into small pots by filling them with potting mix.
- These seeds are likely to germinate in 3-4 weeks. Keep the plants in the shade, protecting them from harsh, direct sunlight.
Requirements for growing Elaichi
Place your Elaichi plant in an area where it gets a lot of dappled sunlight. The plant can grow up to a height of 2-5 meters when kept in shades of bigger trees. These plants usually require a daily temperature that ranges between 18-35° C to grow well.
Organic-rich, sandy loam soil is ideal for growing elaichi. It prefers the soils with a pH that is neutral to slightly acidic. The pH level of 6-6.8 is perfect. Though, it can also tolerate the acidic pH of 5.5-6. Another thing to keep in mind is that the soil needs to be well-draining for the plants to grow well. They require moist soil, but waterlogging may kill the plant.
Water your plants often to keep the soil moist consistently. Do not ever let the soil get dry. Water more thoroughly during the summers or when the fruiting occurs.
Provide a proper supply of phosphorous rich compost to your plant, twice a month. You can also use cow manure (Gobar khaad) if you wish to grow your plant organically. You can also apply neem cakes to your plants.
The plant generally starts fruiting three years after planting. You should harvest fruit manually when they start turning green and dry. Dry these pods for 7-8 days after harvesting and store them in an airtight container.
Pests and Diseases
Although the plant is not prone to pests, these pests and diseases can attack it sometimes.
- Cardamom Mosaic Virus: One of the most severe diseases that your elaichi plant can get. This is a viral disease that can be transmitted through aphids. Keeps your plants from aphids to save them from getting this disease.
- Rhizomes rot: This happens due to the lack of space between plants or waterlogged soil. Symptoms include yellowing of lower leaves, premature dropping of fruits, rhizomes decay, etc.
Thrips, capsule rot, and nematodes are some other pests that can attack your Elaichi plants as well.
Health Benefits of Elaichi
Including elaichi in your diet is a brilliant way to stay fit and active. Here are some proven health benefits of this nutritional herb.
- It improves liver health and protects the individual from getting fatty liver disease.
- It lowers blood sugar levels and may help in controlling diabetes.
- Its anti-bacterial properties are good for digestive health.