Growing from cardamom seeds

tim_13(11)January 11, 2005

I have recently taken quite a keen interest in gingers and I am trying my hand at anything that can be grown....seed, rhizomes...cuttings...etc.

Just like to find out if it is possible to grow Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) from the seed pots sold as spice?

There are two types I think, white and light green pods. The white type has been killed by steaming during processing, if I remember correctly.

Can anyone help me? Thanks very much!

Tim :)

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TimChapman(Z8 Louisiana)

If you get fresh seeds it is possible, but more often than not they don't work (old seeds, treated, etc). They have poor germination rates even from the field, but as long as the pods were treated then its worth trying. Its not the prettiest of species, but interesting.

Tim Chapman

    Bookmark   January 11, 2005 at 10:28PM
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Thanks Tim for the advice. I guess I'll try anyway cause the spice pods are the only available source I have locally.....can't beat my own curious nature :)


    Bookmark   January 11, 2005 at 11:29PM
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Hi Tim,

No harm in trying to grow it, although Tim Chapman is right, the Cardamom is a bit of "plain jane". You're in Singapore too, right? You can see them in the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

The white cardamom pods have been bleached, so it's best to get to the spice shops around Serangoon Road area, where you can pick nice fresh looking green pods from the sacks of spices.

The seeds are supposed to be difficult to germinate due to their hard coats. You can try a few techniques like soaking some in nitric acid (rinse throroughly afterwards!) or lightly scratching the seeds between two sheets of sandpaper, or shaking them in a container with some dry, salt-free sand. This process is called "scarification", and is useful in helping along the germination of any hard seeds. The coats of large, very hard seeds, like those of Canna Indica, can be nicked with a sharp knife (being careful not to damage the embryo), and will germinate in a few weeks, compared to six to nine months without nicking.

You can do a google search for "germinating Cardamom" and you'll find lots of info, as Cardamom is obviously grown commercially on a large scale, so lots of research has been published on the subject. Try the link at the end of the message.

Although I'm interested in all members of the ginger family, I like the Hedychiums the most, for the incredible fragrance and the pretty blooms. My other favourites are the Globbas. These tiny jewels of the rainforest fascinate me, and i'm trying to collect as many as I can, but they are hard to come by. Closely related, Heliconia are my other obsession!

Kind regards

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Cardamom

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 9:21PM
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TimChapman(Z8 Louisiana)

interesting enough, a friend of mine (the one mentioned above that did grow some from seed) e-mailed me recently to say that he finally got his to set seed. These were all hand pollinated, and nothing took til the mild temperatures of fall set in. For those interested in their own spice (again, most of the rhizome based spice gingers are a much easier option!) you most likely will have to hand pollinate, but apparently your best bet will be to wait until fall to do it. Things would most likely be different for those at higher altitudes that don't have 90-100F summer daytime temps.

Tim Chapman

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 9:40PM
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TimChapman(Z8 Louisiana)

I've promised this for awhile and finally have been labeling digitals while working on my site. (its nice to not see so many P139384 type files and actually know what things are now!) Anyway below is the link to some of the Elettaria cardamomum photos. I'll add more to the description and such later, but just got this up to have something.

This is the real one, I'll add a photo of Alpinia nutans foliage later on so people can see the difference more easily.

Tim Chapman

Here is a link that might be useful: Elettaria cardamomum description and photos

    Bookmark   January 14, 2005 at 10:06PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)


Just dropping by from the aroid forum and I couldn't make the link work!! I import these from India and so wanted to see what yours looked like. I know mine are the real thing becasue they are grown for the spice trade and wanted to have a look, although I do not have any pics of mine. Thanks for the info :o) Dan

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 10:28AM
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TimChapman(Z8 Louisiana)

the site is down apparently. the link should work, but it seems that nothing else is at the moment. downtime usually doesn't last too long so next time you check it should be up.

Tim Chapman

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 10:59AM
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Hey Mick and Tim, thanks again for all the help! I have also recently potted up some rhizomes of Bosenbergia rotunda (a common ingredient in Thai cuisine but uncommon in Singapore)and they are doing quite well now, no flowers yet.

One thing though, i have found that planting them with the "fingers", the rhizomes are more likely to rot. It only worked after i removed all the little fingers and dry the rhizome.

Tim :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2005 at 1:37AM
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TimChapman(Z8 Louisiana)

not totally sure what you are saying, but I'm assuming you are pulling off all of the storage roots of the boesenbergia. I've noticed some in the markets tend to be quite damaged. If the roots (i assume this is what you are calling fingers) are broken then they can rot, and of course aren't going to help the plant out. On a normally healthy rhizome though, removing the storage roots is only going to slow the growth down considerably. It may also be that you are starting with a dormant plant and watering too much in the beginning, causing the rot. The flower on these is attractive (at close up) but quite small and somewhat obscured. easy plant to grow though.

Tim Chapman

    Bookmark   January 17, 2005 at 9:09AM
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I have a cardamom plant in my front yard planted about five years ago. It's at least six feet square and about four feet high. I really have to hack it back to keep it from overrunning the entire front garden. Last year it flowered (only one single stalk) that looked like an orchid. I should have taken a picture, but didn't have a digital camera at the time. The flower did not set seed. Do you know if the leaves can be used in a recipe? I was thinking of making a custard using the leaves for flavoring. The fragrance is so mysterious and delicious, I would love to have a perfume made from it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2005 at 8:15AM
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arykmoore(8b (Seattle))

I know this message is long after the fact. But I thought I would share. Cardamom leaves are really good to wrap around chicken and fish while they cook, or to include in rice, etc. Use like bay leaves (only a litlte more delicately). They impart a great flavour. If you ever are looking to yank some of huge cardamom bush out of the ground, let me know.. I will take it off your hands :)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 3:17PM
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I have cardamom growing in may garden but I get no flowers at all. May I have a sterile type or do I have to use the seeds from MasterFoods to get a flowering (thus pod) form of it.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 10:44PM
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I am interested in growing cardamom...from rhizomes or seeds. Does anyone have any resources for rhizomes?


    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 7:39PM
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I started growing cardamom this year. Two acers 15K platns have been planted in December. Land is at 1500M altitude. Apparently this is one of the utmost needs that cardomom requires to grow effectively. In Sri Lanka cardomom is only grown in high altitudes! No one has grown else where as a cultivation!! They grow almost any where but it seems they do not give seeds....
Cordamon growing was only done by hadful of people and no one seems to know a lot abot it . I manage to buy my plats this time. Next I want to grow from seeds. I'm would like to do some experiments.
Regards- KC

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 4:31AM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

I know my post is long after the fact, but would love to start this conversation back up. Does anyone have any real experience with this plant, and could offer any special advice? The internet is crammed with conflicting advice on growing this plant. I live in zone 10A, and would like to place it in the landscape. Can I? Shade or sun? Enriched soil? etc, etc,

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 9:22AM
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