We recently covered the 20 health benefits of pandan leaves and discussed how the extract could be prepared for consumption and topical use. Its fragrance makes it a popular ingredient in traditional Asian cuisines, and is a very useful plant that could be used in cooking, baking and overall wellness, and as such, makes it an ideal plant to be grown in your backyard or in an indoor pot.
“I recommend getting it for anyone that is into cooking Asian cuisine because nothing beats it right fresh from the plant. You can get it from the store that is dry in a powder, but it honestly does not compare to the actual leaves…”
– Luke Marion, MIgardener
Today, we look at how you can grow pandan plant in your own home, making it within easy reach for you to tap on its health benefits whenever you need to. It is an easy plant to grow and requires little maintenance other than some water and a little sunlight. There are a couple of ways to grow pandan plant, as we will discuss below.
Growing Pandan Plant from Cuttings
The following video posted by Country Life shows how you can plant the pandan plant on the ground using a cutting from another plant.
The steps involved in carrying out the above are:
- First, you will need to obtain a cutting from a matured pandan plant.
- Cut all the leaves to reduce dehydration to increase the survival chance for the cuttings if planting this outdoor at a yard. If planting indoors in a pot, you can retain some of the leaves on the plant as the transpiration rate will be lower and more controlled.
- Next, dig a hole (if planting one) or a trench (if planting a few) in the ground.
- Place a cutting in the hole and fill up with soil. The portion of the cutting that is buried shall be between ⅓ to ½ of the overall dimension of the cutting.
- Compress the filled soil with a hoe or by stamping with your foot. Be careful not to trample on the cutting.
- Add water to the soil and always keep the soil moist.
- That’s it! Now, just wait for your pandan leaves to grow. Young green leaves should sprout from your cuttings in about a couple of weeks and you can harvest it for use.
N.B. Pandan plant thrives in moist soil rich in nutrients, but can also grow in poor soil provided that there is sufficient moisture level in the soil. It can grow well in the shade, as long as it gets a few hours of sunlight daily.
Growing Pandan in a Pot
In this video posted by AuSable Botanicals Ltd, we learn about the essential points and critical requirements on how to grow pandan plant in a pot indoors. A few key points to note are:
- Pandan is a shrub that grows more like a grass and is a member of the Screwpine family.
- Pandan is grown for its foliage and hence it will require nitrogen as a component of its nutrient needs in fertiliser.
- In the video below, Blood MealA fertiliser made from dried animal blood, typically cow blood or other animals, that helps to raise the level of nitrogen in the soil. is a recommended fertiliser for raising the nitrogen level of the soil, so that the pandan leaves would grow green and well.
- Pandan is widely grown in the tropical climates of South Asia and Southeast Asia. It does not do well at temperatures below 10oC (50oF), and if placed in a pot outdoors, should be taken indoors during the winter season (including late autumn and early spring) and kept above that temperature level.
- The pandan plant also requires sufficient moisture level in the soil. This is usually provided by rain and watering in tropical and subtropical climates where this plant natively grows. If you’re living in a region of drier weather, active watering would be required to keep the soil moist and damp. On the other hand, the soil should not be soggy and soaking wet in a puddle of water too, which could lead to root rot.
- The pandan plant requires a generous amount of sunlight daily – 6 to 8 hours a day is optimum, and should at the minimum get at least 4 to 5 hours. Placing them out at the patio under some sunlight and shade is good, and if grown indoors, it is ideal to place the pot at a south-facing window. Non-acclimatedPlants which have not been given sufficient time to adjust to a change in environmental factor. pandan plants should not be exposed to direct strong or harsh sunlight to prevent scorching.
Harvesting the Pandan Plant
The pandan plant grows very slowly, and if allowed to grow without obstacle, can grow to its large growth form of 2m to over 4m in height with a developed trunk or stem. It is interesting to note that the fragrance of the leaves is similar whether the plant is large or small.
In harvesting the pandan plant for its leaves, it is always best to harvest the leaves around 4 to 6 months after they are planted, when the plant is around 30 to 40 centimetres in height. This is to allow the plant to grow properly before they are harvested, so that the harvesting will not stunt its growth thereafter. Still, it is alright to cut the leaves for use before they reach their maximum height, which is quite a common practice in Southeast Asia. In any case, at least 3 or 4 fully grown leaves should remain on the pandan plant at all times in order for the plant to continue to thrive and function properly.
To use pandan leaves in cooking and baking, as well as to prepare its juice, tea and liniment, be sure check out our article on the 20 Health Benefits of Pandan Leaves.