Leaves and flowers of Henna plants are appreciated for their fragrance and coloring. Here’s complete info on How to Grow Maruthani Plant!
Maruthani is a tall shrub that grows from 6 to 25 feet, depending upon the pruning. Native to Africa, Asia, and Australia, this plant brought to India by the Mughal emperor, Babur. The tree grows in tropical areas with a hot and semi drought climatic conditions. Most gardeners grow this tree outdoors, especially on hedges as an ornamental and screening plant. But, some flourish in pots indoors as well. The leaves of this tree gained high popularity as these are the source of henna dye. After crushing the leaves, the red-orange paste is prepared that is useful in dying hair, skin, and even fabrics. If you too want to plant henna, here is all you need on How to Grow Maruthani Plant!
Botanical Name: Lawsonia inermis
Other Names: Henna, Hina, Mehandi, Egyptian privet, Mignonette tree
How to Plant Maruthani?
Purchase the seeds from the local nursery or the seed supplier. Whether you are growing it outdoors or indoors, first sow seeds in a small pot, then transplant later. To maximize the chances of germination, you should pre-soak the seeds in water for 7-10 days. Keep changing the water every 2 days. Then, fill the pot with the cactus mix, leaving some room at the top surface. Sow seeds at the depth of two times the diameter of the seed. Mist it lightly and keep it in the direct sunlight. After 3-4 months, you can transplant the seedling in your garden.
From Stem Cutting
Snip off a healthy stem from the node section of the Maruthani plant. Cut it at a 45-degree angle. Remove the leaves from the cutting except a few at one end. Dip the cut section of the stem in rooting hormone. Insert this stem in the soil a few inches deeper, with leaves above the soil surface. Mist it lightly and keep in the full sun.
Requirements for Growing Maruthani Plant
Since maruthani or henna is known for its drought-tolerant nature, it does not prefer consistently moist soil. Water it only when it is dry. In the case of this plant, less watering is fine. Overwatering causes root rot and invites aphides. Also, place a tray beneath the pot so as to discard the water collected in it while watering.
The plant prefers full sunlight nurturing for 6-7 hours. So, choose a sunny location in your yard, with no shade. If growing indoors, prefer a sunny window of south or west facing.
Maruthani plant prefers sandy loamy, well-draining soil with a pH of around 5-8. Amend the soil with sand to increase its draining capability. You can also mix some organic matter like garden manure, or cow dung to enhance fertility. For pots, prefer a soil mix available for succulent and cactus.
The average temperature for growing Maruthani should be around 19-25°C (66-77° F). But, it should not fall below 10°C (50° F), as it does not perform well in cold weather.
Spring to summer is the best season to sow its seeds or for planting stem cutting. The germination may take up to 3-8 weeks. Always sow the seeds or plant the stem in pots at first. Transplant the plant during the monsoon season from July to August.
Care for Maruthani Plant
Trimming allows the plant to become bushier rather than growing as a miniature tree. The bushier plant tends to have more leaves in the branches, hence acts as a screening hedge.
Note: As the shrub grows, its branches get covered with tiny spines. So, make sure to plant it in a manner so as to avoid human contact with this shrub, especially while growing in hedges.
During spring, the soil should be supplemented with a 1-2-1, water-soluble fertilizer at half strength or as per the instructions at the label. Fertilizer aids in encouraging more leaves growth. Moreover, to add fertility compost manure, compost tea or cow dung manure can also be used.
Pest and Diseases
Maruthani plant is susceptible to aphids and other insects. To combat this, a spray of neem oil solution or water and soap solution mix can be effective. Also, if scales are infecting your plant, remove the infected branch, and stem immediately.