Cardamom, a highly aromatic and flavorful spice, is grown in tropical regions around the world.
If you’ve ever tried cardamom, you know how delicious it can be.
Did you also know that you can grow your own cardamom plants from seeds that you can buy at the store?
It’s easy to do, and in just a few months you’ll have your own crop of this exotic spice.
Cardamom is a tropical plant that needs plenty of sunlight and warmth to grow properly. If you’re able to provide those conditions, then growing cardamom at home is definitely possible. Just be sure to start with fresh seeds, as they won’t germinate if they’ve been stored for too long.
What is cardamom?
Cardamom is a tropical plant that is related to ginger.
It grows in hot, humid climates and is native to India, Sri Lanka, and other parts of Southeast Asia.
The plant has long, slender leaves and produces small, greenish-white flowers.
The fruit of the cardamom plant is a pod that contains several seeds. These seeds are what are used to flavor food.
Cardamom has a strong, aromatic flavor that is often described as spicy and citrusy.
It’s one of the most expensive spices by weight, and it’s used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Cardamom is commonly used in Indian cuisine, and it’s also a popular flavoring for coffee and tea.
How to grow cardamom
If you want to grow your own cardamom, you’ll need to start with fresh seeds.
You can find these at a specialty store or online. Once you have your seeds, plant them in well-draining potting soil.
Cardamom seeds need to be kept warm and humid to germinate, so it’s a good idea to start them indoors.
Place your pots in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist but not wet.
It can take several weeks for the seeds to germinate, so be patient.
Once the cardamom seedlings have sprouted, you can transplant them to a larger pot or outdoors if the weather is warm and sunny.
Cardamom plants are tropical, so they will need plenty of sunlight and warmth to thrive. If you live in an area with mild winters, then you may be able to grow cardamom outside.
Otherwise, you’ll need to bring your plants indoors over the winter and replant them in spring.
With a little care and patience, you can grow cardamom from seed and enjoy this delicious spice all year long.
Choosing cardamom seeds from the grocery store
You will often find that cardamom seeds from the grocery store are unreliable and unlikely to germinate.
There are several reasons for this with the main ones being that the pods are often harvested before the seeds have fully ripened and that they are often treated after harvest to reduce any risks of pests and diseases.
Although you can try the seeds from the groceries section you will get much better results if you buy seeds from seed suppliers rather than the grocery store.
Sowing cardamom seeds
When sowing cardamom seeds it is best to start them off in either pots or trays filled with a good quality seed compost.
Cardamom seeds are very small so be careful not to sow them too deep, around 1/8th of an inch (3 mm) deep is about right.
Once sown, gently water the compost and place either in a warm, well lit area or inside a seed propagator.
As cardamom seeds require high humidity levels you can use a plastic bag over your pots or trays to create a mini greenhouse environment.
Keep temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees F (18-25 C) and keep the compost moist but not wet.
If you follow these steps and keep an eye on your seeds, they should start to germinate within 3-4 weeks.
Once the first set of leaves appear, you can move your seedlings into larger pots or plant them directly into the ground if the weather is warm enough.
Either way, make sure that your cardamom plants have access to full sun and that the soil is kept moist but not waterlogged.
How long does cardamom take to grow?
Cardamom is a perennial plant, meaning it will grow back year after year.
Unless you live in a warm location with no cold weather, you will need to grow your cardamom in pots that can be moved indoors or in a heated greenhouse.
Cardamom will grow up to 6 feet in height and can take 2 to 3 years before it flowers and fruits, which is why you will need to protect the plant from cold weather conditions.
Once the plant flowers, it takes around 6-8 weeks for the fruit to mature and be ready for harvest.
Caring for your cardamom plants
Cardamom will grow in most soil conditions as long as roots are not waterlogged.
Your plants will need regular watering, especially during the warm summer months and the compost should be kept moist but not wet at all times.
A high nitrogen fertilizer can be applied to your cardamom plants twice a month during the growing season, between April and September.
Cardamom plants are relatively easy to care for and as long as they are kept in a warm, humid environment they will thrive.
Once your cardamom plant flowers, the fruits will start to mature after around 6-8 weeks.
The fruits are ready for harvest when they turn a brown color and are soft to the touch.
Using small pruning shears, carefully remove the fruits from the stem of your plant.
The pods need to be dried before you can use them for cooking but this is relatively easy to do by leaving them out in a warm dry place until they turn hard and brown.
Once dried, the cardamom pods can be crushed and used as a spice in both sweet and savory dishes.
You can also use the dried pods to make a delicious cardamom tea by simmering them in water for around 10 minutes.
Once your cardamom pods are dried, they can be stored in an airtight container and kept in a cool, dry place.
If you live in a warm climate, it is best to store your cardamom in the fridge where it will keep fresh for longer.
Dried cardamom pods will keep fresh for up to 6 months but they will start to lose their flavor after this time.
If you follow these steps, you should have no problem growing your own cardamom at home.
This delicious spice can be used in both sweet and savory dishes and is a great way to add flavor to your cooking.
Cardamom is relatively easy to grow and care for but it does need a warm, humid environment to thrive.
With a little bit of patience, you will be able to harvest your own cardamom pods and enjoy this delicious spice for many years to come.