Cardamom in flower!

Daisyduckworth(Aust)September 29, 2009

My cardamom is in flower, and I'm very excited because it's quite a few years old, and even here in the subtropics I didn't expect flowers because it doesn't get hot enough here (!).

The photo isn't the greatest, but consider the conditions under which it was taken. I'd intended to take a picture in the daytime, but clean forgot. So in the middle of the night, when I remembered, I actually got up, grabbed the camera, and groped my way around to the side of the house in complete darkness. I had no way of seeing what I was shooting at until I pressed the button and the flash went off - and this photo was the result!

http://s268.photobucket.com/albums/jj15/Daisyduckworth/?action=view&current=P9290009.jpg

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Daisyduckworth(Aust)
    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 11:46PM
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noinwi

maybe this will work...

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 1:17AM
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barbe_wa

Wow, Daisy! That's beautiful. I've grown cardamom for years but I've never seen the flower before. Of course, in my zone there's no chance it will ever bloom here, but just seeing the picture is great. Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 5:02AM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Thanks, Noinwi for helping out! One day I'll master the technique (though don't hold your breath!).

Yes Barbe, I'm tickled pink to see the flowers at last. They are pretty, aren't they?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 5:31AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Daisy, that is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. It is always interesting what people grow in climates so much different than my own.

barbe_wa's comments brings to mind a contest I saw once in a gardening magazine. It was if zone was no consideration, what would you grow and why? I never entered the contest but it was an easy answer, pomegranates and citrus, closely followed by figs (only "brown turkey" can survive where I live). Given my choices, the "why" is pretty obvious.

But in that "fantasy garden" I'm sure there would be a place for a beauty like cardamom! Thanks again!

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 8:43AM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

WOW! That is so cool! I've had cardamom in the ground for 5 years, and it has never bloomed. I didn't expect it to, but it would be a nice surprise. Congratulations Daisy!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 10:02AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Talking about tropical plants, I have planted Indonesian ginger (galangal) and turmeric. They have nice green stems and leaves.
But I have no idea if they will have roots by the end of season here and whether or not there is a chance for them to survive the winter. Our winters here don't get very cold.
Occasionally we might go down to 20F and very seldom under 15F.
Maybe Daisy can shed a light here. I would appreciate it.
cyrus

    Bookmark   October 1, 2009 at 7:41PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Cyrus, both galangal and turmeric are tropical plants, and neither will do well in a cool climate.

Even here in the subtropics, turmeric dies right down to nothing in autumn, and is one of the last plants to come back again in spring. Our temps NEVER get near to freezing. We consider it 'freezing cold' when it gets as low as 6C (42F). That might happen one or two nights in the middle of winter. Generally it's more like 8-10C (46-50F) as an overnight minimum. A very cold day here would be 18C (65F).

So I don't like your chances, Cyrus! But you could try this:

Protect from frost and place near a warm wall, in a greenhouse or in a large pot. It must be watered and fed often. In cooler areas, cover it with a grow mat or plastic bag in early spring to speed up new growth. Take the bag off as soon as new leaves appear.

I've also got galangal. It's doing nothing much for the same reasons - too cool for it here. However, it's happy enough in a large pot.

Both plants prefer dappled sunlight - the leaves burn easily if exposed to full sun - here in the subtropics, anyway. That's unlikely to happen where you are, however. Assuming you ever get leaves!! The ground temp has to be around 20C (68F) before the roots will sprout.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 5:45AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Hee! - 42 F is a rather tropical and balmy winter day for me!

I've got a turmeric plant I started from a bit of root 3 years ago. It dies back each and every winter. It doesn't winter outdoors - it comes indoors in a pot and I only water enough to keep the soil from turning to dust after it dies back. And even in my rather northernly place to live, it resents full sun. Found that out the hard way but it recovered. And yes, it comes up very late in the spring....just when I think that it has died, there's a green shoot popping up.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   October 2, 2009 at 10:17AM
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batyabeth

wow, Daisy,it's lovely, but will you get the pods of little seeds that you can actually use? If you can, then I'm all for trying it in Haifa, as that would be a fond dream come true. I'm with FataMorgana on her list of gee, don't I wish! I'm in sweet home Chicago till Xmas on sabbatical, but as soon as I get back to Haifa to the new house, I've got a totally new garden to create from scratch, and I'm making wish lists like you wouldn't believe.......Batya

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 12:44AM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Will I get pods and seeds? I await with bated breath to find out. I've waited a lot of years for these flowers - and more are coming along.

Cardamom can get to be a very large plant indeed. Average height is about 5 metres, but I've seen them much taller than that, and the clumps know no limits. When/if mine produces some pods and seeds, I'm going to have to dig it all out and start a new plant, because I have such a confined area for it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 7:04PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Daisy, thanks for your advice on turmeric and galangal.
I will pot them and bring the inside, until next spring.
But will they produce anything next year. I like their foliage, which look very similar.
Here in this part of GA, our winter lows can go down to 15F (minus 10C). But it may happen once or twice a year, for a day or two. But we get down to 25F(minus 4C) often.
I am also growing Horseradishes. All these I started from store-bought roots. I hope my horseradishes will survive.

It was informative to learn about cardimon, as it is one of my favorite spices. I put them in tea, coffee, jams, etc.
cyrus

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 6:46AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

cyrus, I would think if your horseradish, that you started from store bought roots, looks vigorous then you should be fine. Horseradish comes back every year for me since I planted it 5 years ago. Normally I avoid variegated plants but I did buy a variegated horseradish variety. It was just too interesting looking.

I've seen many older houses that have unwanted or unknown horseradish patches that come back unbidden, despite mowing and all manner of other destruction. It returns early spring with the chives.

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Variegated Horseradish

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 8:14AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

FataMorgana, thanks. You have quite alot of showy plants.
I like the flowers on them too. Can you get seeds from them? If yes, can you use the seeds like mustard seeds?

My horseradishes have only big leaves(no stems), some leaves are over 2 feet long and 4-5 inches wide. They are healthy and vigorous for sure. As I mentioned, I planted them from what I bough from store. They were real fresh when I bought them. A lot of times horseradishe sold are old, dry and not suitable for planting.
So , maybe next year I can harvest some ?!
Cyrus

    Bookmark   October 5, 2009 at 7:44PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

The pictures weren't from my garden but this horseradish is a showy variety and it does brighten the space it is in.

It is my understanding that horseradish very rarely sets seed. I've never seen it with my plant or others even though it does bloom. Propagation is via live roots. From what I understand, once you plant horseradish it is forever yours since it will eventually regrow from the tiniest root bits left in the soil. But if you leave only tiny bits, your harvest the next year will be rather disappointing. I linked an article on harvesting horseradish for you.

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Harvesting horseradish

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 9:19AM
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CA Kate

Just got back from our trip. Your Cardamon is beautiful.... and I want one!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2009 at 10:06PM
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judydu2(ZN 9b Louisiana)

Your flower spike looks very much like the flowers of Alpinia zerumbet - shell ginger. The leaves look like it, too. While cardemom does belong to the family Zingiberaceae, true cardamom is classified as Elettaria cardamomum or Elettaria repens. The flower spikes of cardemom are horizontal stems that spread along the ground. They get about 2 ft. long and consist of many loosely held small blossoms that have white or yellowish petals with lilac veins and pink or yellow margins.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shell ginger

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 5:06PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Well, I'm .... gobsmacked! That really throws a spanner into the works!

All I can say is that it was sold to me at the local botanical gardens (who should know their plants) as Cardamom, and the leaves have a strong and unmistakeable smell of cardamom.

Hoping this link leads you to a picture of the plant, taken some time ago.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 6:20PM
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CA Kate

Daisy: you might have been sold the wrong plant. See the site below:

Here is a link that might be useful: Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum White et Mason)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 6:46PM
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CA Kate

Also look at:

Here is a link that might be useful: Flicker

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 6:48PM
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judydu2(ZN 9b Louisiana)

Excellent links, westelle!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 11:25PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

SIGH!

Oh well, the plant Must Go anyway - it's getting too large.

But you must admit that the flowers are pretty!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 3:44AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Sure, flowers are very pretty. Why don't you wait and see what will become of it. May be there are different kinds of cardimon plants?
How about digging for the ginger roots?

O! by the way , not trying to spam, I dug up some galangal and turmeric from my 4 month old plants.I was surprized. Next year I will plant some real early. Maybe I will start them indoors first.
cyrus

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 12:54AM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Cyrus, I have the REAL ginger, so I don't need to use an imposter! You have to be careful with members of the ginger family - many of them are NOT edible.

Galangal is best harvested when plants are 4-6 years old and at the end of the growing season.

Turmeric: Rhizomes of 2 year old plants are dug up in autumn or early winter and dried. They are dull brown outside and deep yellow inside. If using fresh, the rhizome is crushed to extract the reddish-yellow, almost tasteless juice. To make powdered turmeric, scrape the rhizomes clean of all small roots and dirt, then simmer till tender. This may take 1-4 hours, depending on the size. Dry whole in the sun in warm areas or, in cooler areas, slice them into chunks and dry in a cool oven till brittle. Bash them with a rolling pin or put them in a blender till powdery and store in a sealed jar in a dark place.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 7:23PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Thanks Daisy.
I have been buying fresh turmeric roots and drying them raw,(cut to small thin rings first) then powder them when fully dry in food processor or coffee mill. I also use them fresh like ginger. I just bought couple of pounds the other day. This time I will follow your direction.
But wouldn't simmering take some of the flavor and color away?
Unfortunately I cannot have galangal and turmeric for longer than one season here. So I have to settle with that.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 9:21PM
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lilce51286

Day 2 from a co-worker giving me a cardamom plant. This pic was Monday sitting on my desk at work and now I've taken it out And potted it. I'll have the updated pic to follow. So far I researched about the care indoors and its mainly keep between 72-80F, partial sun, keep moist/well draining soil, and can't do cold. Is there anything I may need to know to help this new experience w/cardamom growing indoors? Also I wouldn't mind placing the plant under my deck (southern exposure) but I know it'll get too hot eventually. Maryland summer right now is so humid but under the deck it's partial sun as well.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:31PM
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lilce51286

Updates pic of the cardamom: in the kitchen where the blinds will allow me to adjust the sunlight coming in. It gets warm up here since its open and any suggestions are welcome on keeping the new 2 day old plant growing :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:34PM
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lilce51286

Up close an personal

Never heard of cardamom until my co worker asked me if I wanted one and I said yes. Extremely hot/humid here July Maryland weather. I keep my house spring-summer A/C daytime 75 & Night 73. Winter time heat gets set to 75f all season.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:40PM
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lilce51286

Forgot To add the plant is in my kitchen where it's in southern exposure: afternoon full sun only. In the morning suns out front for spring through summer. But I can adjust the light in the kitchen w/the sliding door blinds

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 4:44PM
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