How to Grow Cardamom (Elaichi)

Author : Muhammad Afzal
Working to advance the whole of Pakistani agriculture that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life by the use of Technology.
Studied at : KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden.
Co-founder : Nordic Experts AB Sweden
Lives in : Stavanger, Norway
From : Shorkot, Dist Jhang Pakistan
Timestamp: 31 December 2017 08:59 am

Learn How to Grow Cardamom, one of the most expensive spices in the world. Growing cardamom is not that difficult, learn how to grow it in this article.

Cardamom is one of the world’s most expensive spices after saffron and vanilla. It has a sweet, burning taste and a very distinctive spicy odor. Cardamom because of its variety of uses gained a reputation as the queen of spices (king, however, is black pepper).

Cardamom Types

Commonly, you can find two types of cardamom: Green (originating in India and Sri Lanka) and black (in Nepal and Himalayan states of India).

Cardamom Elettaria cardammommum is a perennial plant. It has rigid and erect aromatic leaves, which forms the aerial part of the plant’s stems. These stems are between 2 to 4 meters high and form a canopy of leaves around the plant.

Tiny cardamom flowers are beautiful and are usually white with yellow or red strips over them.

Cardamom fruits are called capsules. Inside the fruits, there are seeds of the plant, which are used as a spice.


From seeds

You can propagate cardamom from seeds. You can try seeds you get from glossary store, but those seeds are generally treated and not fresh. For best results buy seeds from a seed store or online.

How to grow cardamom plant from seed.

How to Germinate Cardamom

written by Melissa King; Updated December 28, 2018

Cardamom, also known as Elettaria cardamomum, is one of the world's most expensive spices next to saffron and vanilla. Cardamom grows natively in the Ghat Mountains of southwest India. The plant needs an average temperature of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive, and it grows hardy to Sunset climate zones 17 through 23 and zone 26. A single cardamom plant in your garden won't yield enough pods for a bountiful crop of the spice, but the plant makes an interesting conversation piece and a satisfying challenge for the adventurous gardener.

  1. Prepare fresh cardamom seeds for sowing. Wash the seeds in lukewarm water to remove mucilage. Allow the seeds to dry in the shade.
  2. Put the cardamom seeds in a glass jar, and then put the glass jar in a tray full of cold tap water from your sink. The water should come halfway up the sides of the jar. Let the jar sit in the water for a few minutes until the glass feels cool to the touch.


  1. Pour a 2.5 percent nitric acid solution over the cardamom seeds in the jar slowly. Coat all surfaces of the seeds. Stir the seeds with a spoon. After two minutes of stirring, drain the nitric acid solution from the jar with a strainer.
  2. Put a clean strainer in the sink, and then put the seeds in the strainer. Rinse the cardamom seeds under running water. Transfer the seeds to a bowl of lukewarm water and allow them to soak overnight. This scarification breaks the hard coats of the cardamom seeds.
  3. Select a site in the garden for the cardamom seeds. Cardamom prefers moist soil that seldom dries out. It thrives in filtered shade.
  4. Plant cardamom seeds directly in the garden after the danger of frost passes. Sow the cardamom seeds about 1/2 to 1 inch apart on top of the soil. Make rows 4 to 6 feet apart.
  5. Cover the cardamom seeds with a thin layer of soil. Spread a thin layer of twigs over the seed bed. Cover the twigs with straw or grass. Water deeply until the soil feels moist.
  6. Watch for germination. Cardamom germination usually takes between 20 and 25 days but can take up to 40 days. When germination occurs, remove most of the mulch, leaving only a thin layer around the seedlings. Provide overhead shade to protect seedlings from bright sun.


Things You Will Need

  1. Glass jar
  2. Tray
  3. 2.5 percent nitric acid
  4. Spoon
  5. 2 strainers
  6. Shovel
  7. Twigs, straw and grass



Sow fresh cardamom seeds as soon as possible to increase germination rate.


Cardamom seeds purchased from the grocery store are probably not fresh enough to germinate.

From Rhizomes

The easiest way to propagate cardamom is from the division. For this, cut the rhizome with a sharp knife and carefully separate it from the plant.

Replant it under similar conditions. Beware that this technique will also transmit the cardamom mosaic virus from the mother plant to a new plant if it is infected.

Growing Conditions

Growing Cardamom is difficult. It requires specific growing conditions: Tropical, hot and humid climates are suitable for its growth. It grows in humid or very humid subtropical forests. Where temperature ranges mostly between 18 to 35 C. Humidity level for growing cardamom is usually near 75%.

Requirements for Growing Cardamom (Elaichi)


Plant cardamom in a location with partial shade or filtered sunlight, away from the full direct sun as it grows up to 2 – 4 m in height under the canopy of much higher trees.


Sandy, loamy soil that is rich in organic matter and manure is optimal. It requires a slightly acidic to neutral pH level around 6 – 6.8. It can also tolerate acidic soils down to 5.5 – 6.

Key to growing cardamom is the right substrate, which should be well-drained in a way that water should drain out easily, but the soil must remain moist constantly. By moist it doesn’t mean damp or waterlogged soil, the clayey texture of the soil is also not recommended as it kills the plant.


Cardamom grows in the rainforest. These areas mostly receive rainfall 200 days annually. So it is essential to keep the soil consistently moist, don’t let the soil to dry out ever. In summer or when the plant is setting fruits, increase watering.


Supply organic fertilizer that is high in phosphorous. Apply it twice a month during the growing season. Also, apply 5 kg aged manure or compost per clump annually. Application of neem cake is also recommended.

Harvesting and storage

Usually, cardamom starts to bear fruit after the third year since planting.

Fruit harvesting must be done manually. You can start collecting fruits when they begin to green, dry and easy to break.

After harvesting, dry the pods for 6 – 7 days and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight to be preserved for a long time.

Pests and diseases

It is generally not attacked by pests. However, some of the pests and diseases that attack it are:

Cardamom mosaic virus: It is the most serious disease of cardamom. It is a viral disease transmitted by aphids. To prevent this disease, keep your plant healthy and never let aphids infect it.

Rhizomes rot:  Its symptoms include chlorosis of leaves, lower leaves become yellowish, premature fruit drop and decay of the rhizomes also happens. It can be caused by high planting density that prevents aeration or by waterlogged soil.

Other pests and diseases that might infect or attack it are cardamom thrips, capsule rot, and nematodes.


If the leaf tips turn brown, you either have underwatered it, or humidity is low, to increase the humidity level spray the foliage. If overwatered, the roots begin to rot, and plant starts to wilt.

Brown spots can occur on leaves if the plant is grown under too much sun.

Yellowing leaves are usually a sign of too little fertilization or deficiency of iron.


True cardamom or green cardamom belongs to the genus Elettaria, but there is also a plant from the genus Amomum costatum known as Nepal cardamom or black cardamom. Both of these cardamoms have distinctive uses: Green cardamom is more intense and superior and can be used in many dishes, whereas black cardamom is long and thick and is not used in sweet dishes and desserts.

Cardamom leaves also emit an aroma when you rub them. You can also make a tea of them.


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