How to Grow the Pandan Plant at Home
- Select good quality soil, soilless growing media, or potting mix to grow Pandan. Growing media must be free from contaminants and gravels.
- Take a Pandan cutting from a healthy, disease-free, and mature plant to grow Pandan.
- Cut all leaves on the cutting to reduce dehydration by the transpiration so that cutting can survive well in the outdoor environment.
- There is no absolute requirement to cut the leaves for indoor plantation because transpiration rates are reduced in the enclosed conditions.
- Dig an optimal size hole for planting one cutting.
- Trench digging is recommended for planting few cuttings in the ground.
- Carefully place the cuttings in a trench or hole. Adequately fill it with good quality soil to grow Pandan.
- The soil should be properly tested before plantation to check the presence of contaminants and nutrients.
- Only good quality soil should be used to support soil biodiversity and microbial activities.
- Only ½ to 1/3 portion of Pandan cutting should be inserted in the soil to support ideal growth.
- Filled soil should be properly compressed by feet stamping or hoe.
- Carefully manage the cutting to avoid trampling.
- Add some water to the soil to support growth. Too little or too much water application should be avoided to protect the plant from water stress.
- Add some organic matter or compost to support water retention in soil.
- Regularly inspect the cutting for leaf growth, and to check the populations of insect pests.
- Pandan plant survives well in nutrient-rich and moist soils. Therefore, the addition of organic fertilizers, potting mix, compost, or properly processed kitchen leftovers is essentially helpful to provide nutrients organically.
- Indoor plants require watering when the top one-inch layer of the soil is dried. The watering requirements of indoor plants can be checked by inserting the finger in the soil.
- Adequate drainage holes should be provided in the bottom of containers for both indoor and outdoor Pandan plants. These holes favor the drainage and thereby offer protection from root rotting, fungal attacks, and disease development.
What is the Pandan Plant?
Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) belongs to the Pandanus family and is also known as fragrant screw pine, and fragrant Pandan. It is an Asian medicinal herb, aromatic, and ornamental plant. Pandan is categorized as shrub and can attain a height of about 1-1.5 m.
This plant has wooden aerial roots and spiral blade-like leaves. Its matured leaves are 3-6 cm wide and 40-50 cm long. Its leaves have acute or abruptly rounded tips. Pandan is a sterile plant, and its flowering growth is very rare. However, its leaves produce a pleasant aroma and can be used as a natural air freshener.
These younger fragrant leaves are also eaten as cooked food in many parts of the world. Moreover, these leaves are being utilized as flavoring agents in different sweets, deserts, and curries.
How to Grow the Pandan at Home
Growing Pandan at Home from Seeds
Growing Pandan plants from seeds require great care and attention and any mismanagement can cause poor germination. Pandan seeds must be soaked in the moist medium for 24 hours before seed sowing. The seeds must be sown in good quality and contaminant-free soil or any other growing media.
Germination of these seeds can be observed after two to three months and therefore growers must have to wait patiently. One Pandan seed should be sown in the individual pot as each seed can produce about three plants. Similarly, it is recommended to maintain a good distance among individual seeds for sowing in the gardening site.
The adequate distance among individual seeds is significantly important to ensure good space for the growth and flourishing of individual plants. Plants may not grow well if an adequate distance is not provided. Pandan seeds must be sown in the fresh propagating mix or good quality organic soil to ensure maximum germination and vigorous seedlings.
Propagating Pandan from Cutting
Select Disease Free and Healthy Cuttings
Pandan propagation from cutting is the simplest and easiest task due to quick growth and easy management. Growers should only select disease-free and healthy cuttings to disease development and insect pest attacks. Moreover, the selection of cuttings from plants with dying foliage and drooping is also discouraged. The cuttings having vigorous growth and developmental points are the ideal choice to grow healthy Pandan plants.
Finding Good Stems for Cutting
Growers should select the non-wooden stems to obtain cuttings. Newly growing stems can easily develop the rooting than the older stems. Selecting stems with the nods is essentially important as this is the point where new rooting emerges. The parent plant should be large and mature so that cutting its parts will not harm the plant itself.
Taking Plant Cuttings
Use alcohol sterilized and clean razor blades or scissors to take cuttings. The portion lying immediately below the node should be cut. The cutting must contain at least one node and two leaves to grow Pandan at home. Ideally, the cutting of about 4-6 inches size is enough to grow Pandan by cutting. The use of longer cuttings should be avoided as they quickly dry out in the growing medium.
Place the obtained cuttings on a hard and clean surface and get a clean slice in the middle portion of a node by using sterilized blades. This is known as scarification of node and greatly improves the rooting chances from this point to grow Pandan by cutting.
Application of Rooting Hormone
Some healthy and vigorous cuttings have easy rooting capacities, but some may need a hormonal application for rooting stimulation. Fill any container or pot with contaminant-free water, add some rooting hormone, and dip the node containing cutting in this water. The hormone will start its root stimulation activities soon after exposure with the cutting.
Fill up a clean container or gardening pot with the soilless growing media or potting mix. Insert the stem cutting in this media for rooting purposes. Soilless mixture offers good drainage than the gardening soil and helps to retain the optimal moisture contents.
The use of ordinary garden soil or soil without testing is not recommended as it may contain harmful pathogens and fungal spores. Furthermore, there are no requirements to use large-size containers as these cuttings must be repotted for good growth and development. The pots having 4-6 inches of depth can be easily used for repotting to grow Pandan by cutting.
Pandan cuttings can also be rooted in the water instead of soil or soilless growing media to grow Pandan at home. But usually, these cuttings don’t survive well after transplantation to the soil media. Therefore, rooting of Pandan cutting in soilless or soil growing media is recommended by gardening experts and agricultural extension workers.
Bore Hole in the Growing Media
A pencil or any other clean pointing object can be used to make a planting hole in the growing media. The diameter of the hole should large than the stem diameter to avoid the cleaning or wiping of rooting hormone.
Carefully insert the cutting in the growing media and firm the soil gently. It is possible to add more than one cutting in the container but Pandan plants need good space to grow. So, only one cutting should be planted in each container.
Covering Container with Plastic
Containers can be covered with a plastic bag to conserve humidity levels in areas where humidity levels are low. However, complete sealing should be avoided, and some holes must be placed in the bag to allow airflow. Improper air circulation may lead to fungal growth. Therefore, proper care must be ensured to support the good growth and development of Pandan plants.
How To Care For your Pandan Plant
Usually, all plants require good care and management for better growth and survival. Pandan plant also needs optimal growing conditions and management measures for good growth. Growers should keep a good eye on the growing environment to address the biotic and abiotic stresses to grow Pandan at home.
Pandan plants require about 60% humidity in the surroundings so growers should spray the plants at least twice a day. Moreover, the plant should not be placed near the radiators in winter. This can negatively affect the overall growth and development.
Pandan plants require bright diffusing light for about 8-10 hours a day. Pandan plants having greener leaves may tolerate shade up to some extent, but indoor plants must be placed in some sunny locations. Or else light-emitting diode (LED) lights can also be used to fulfill the lighting requirements.
Pandan plants require good drainage and nutrients and therefore use of organic soil, or good quality potting mix is greatly recommended. Growers can mix the potting mix, compost, well-processed kitchen waste, plant leaves, clay, and coarse sand to assure better physical, chemical, and biological soil properties.
The watering requirements of Pandan pants greatly vary according to the prevailing environmental conditions and plant age. It is better to keep the soil moist but over-irrigation and under irrigation should be avoided. Waterlogging or over-irrigation may cause fungal development and disease attack. Therefore, well-planned irrigation scheduling should be focused to grow healthy Pandan plants at home.
The use of organic fertilizers is essentially important to promote growth and development. Supplementing Pandan plants for 3-4 times often results in lush growth. However, organic fertilizers are slow-release in nature and therefore they should be incorporated in the growing media before cutting transplantation. Inorganic fertilizers offer quick release, and these can be added at each growing and development stage according to plant requirements.
Regular Infestation Checks
Pandan plants may get attacked by mites, aphids, and mealybugs. Infestation may cause white-colored powdery mildew, visible insects, or a tiny web on the leaves. Timely treat the infestation to reduce the further spread on the same plant and other plants. Don’t use synthetic chemicals and pesticides as they can harm the indoor environment and may kill beneficial insects in the garden. However, organic, and homemade pesticides can be used to cure the problem on a sustainable basis.
When to Harvest Pandan.
Pandan leaves can be harvested after six months of planting. However, harvesting can be continued for many years followed by good care and management. Its leaves can be simply trimmed from the base when the plant has attained 30-40 cm of height. Pandan leaves having less height should not be harvested as they can cause stunted growth.
According to the agricultural experts and results of scientific studies, only 25% of Pandan leaves should be harvested at any specific time. Complete harvesting is not a good approach as it will negatively affect the overall growth and development.
Tips for Growing Pandan Plants
- Pandan plants require good sunlight and cannot tolerate shady conditions. So, it must be grown in sunny locations.
- Pandan can tolerate drought in the older conditions, but over-irrigation must be avoided.
- The soil must be kept moist to ensure normal growth and developmental activities.
- Good quality potting mix or organic soil should be used for better growth.
- Inorganic or organic fertilizer must be applied according to the requirements of growing Pandan plants.
- Pandan can be grown both from seeds and cuttings. This plant rarely produces seeds so mostly cuttings are used for further propagation.
- There are many varieties of Pandan plants, and they are distributed throughout the globe. So, the best varieties should be used according to the instructions of the local agricultural extension department.
- Overfertilization, under fertilization, and irrigation stresses must be avoided.
- Plants leaves should be regularly inspected to check for disease development, rotting, and insect pest attacks.