Cardamom, elettaria cardamomum, like saffron, is probably one of the most expensive spices in the world. Native to India and Sri Lanka, cardamom can add an exotic flavor to any dish, and, for adventurous gardeners, cardamom can be quite the conversation piece!
The cardamom plant needs at least a temperature of 50F to thrive and you'll also need several cardamom plants in order to harvest enough pods for a bountiful crop of spice – one will not suffice! Learn how to germinate the cardamom plant with our easy to follow gardening guide.
The cardamom plant also goes by these other names: Amomum cardamomum, Bai Dou Kou, Black Cardamom, Cardamome, Cardamomo, Cardomom, Cardomomi Fructus, Ela, Elettaria cardamomum, Green Cardamom, Huile Essentielle de Cardamome, Indian Cardamom, Lesser Cardamom, Kardamom, chhoti elachi, lachie, illaichi and elam.
There are two types of cardamom: green, which originates from India and Sri Lanka, and black, which comes from Nepal and the Himalayan states of India.
Before we get into how to germinate a cardamom plant, it's important to know a little bit of information. Cardamom is a perennial plant with rigid and aromatic leaves. The stems of the plant are around 2-4 meters in height. These leaves form a sort of canopy around the plant. The flowers of the cardamom plant are small and white, with yellow and red strips on them.
The fruits of the cardamom plant are called capsules, and inside the fruits, are the actual seeds of the plant, which are used as a spice.
How to Germinate Cardamom Plant – A Simple DIY Gardening Guide
- Start by preparing fresh cardamom seeds. Wash the seeds in lukewarm water to remove any mucilage. Allow cardamom seeds to dry in the shade.
- Place dried seeds in a glass jar and place the jar in a tray filled with cold tap water. Leave the jar in the cold water until the jar feels cold to the touch.
- Slowly pour a 2.5 percent nitric acid solution over the cardamom seeds, just enough to cover the seeds. Stir the seeds with a spoon for about 2 minutes. After the 2 minutes, drain the solution using a strainer.
- Now, take the seeds out into a strainer and rinse the seeds under running water.
- Transfer seeds to a bowl of lukewarm water and let sit overnight.
- Choose a site or a pot with well draining, moist soil, and filtered shade.
- After all danger of frost has passed, plant the cardamom seeds in a thin layer of soil.
- Spread a thin layer of seeds over the bed.
- Water the soil deeply until it feels moist.
- Cardamom should germinate anywhere from 20-40 days.
- Once germination starts, remove the twigs and just keep the soil moist.
- Depending on the variety you've planted, cardamom can be ready for harvest in the fall or the year after.