Elettaria cardamomum (cardamom)

Elettaria cardamomum (cardamom)

The plant that all lovers of custom houseplants and medicinal potted plants know as true cardamom actually belongs to the genus Elettaria. Amazing herbaceous perennials from the number of Ginger ( Zingiberaceae ) are represented in nature by several dozen plants. But as a decorative considering only species – the same Elettaria cardamomum real or elettariyu kardamomum ( Elettaria Elettaria cardamomumum ).

An evergreen perennial from among medicinal and spicy plants became famous for the beauty of stems and leaves. The rhizome of the cardamom is fleshy. The height of indoor Elettaria cardamomum is limited to 40-60 cm, but the plant does not seem miniature at all. Bushy, powerful, developing in the form of turf from numerous vertical shoots, it really reminds of genuine bamboos with its silhouettes.

They look like stems, false shoots, stretching up and covered with leaves, while real shoots remain almost invisible: leafless and creeping, they are hidden from prying eyes and are visible only up close. But it is the real second stem of the Elettaria cardamomum, not the false shoots, that produces the flowers.

Elettaria cardamomum
Elettaria cardamomum

Leaves are remarkably in harmony with the shoots – pointed, large, lanceolate-narrow. They are initially rolled up into a tube and unfold in an interesting way, opening to their full length. Elettaria cardamomum leaves sit on rather long graceful cuttings alternately, in length they can reach 60 cm with a maximum width of 8 cm. The rich dark green color is very attractive. But the main thing in the leaves is not at all their beauty.

This is a unique houseplant whose leaves are not only fragrant but also curative. They can be used as an alternative to tea and brewed in drinks or herbal infusions. Subtle and surprisingly exotic undertones of cinnamon and cardamom smells fascinate and invigorate. You can only appreciate the tart-spicy charm of Elettaria cardamomum by rubbing the leaves between your fingers.

However, Elettaria cardamomum became famous for the scent not of leaves, but of fruits. The flowering of the plant is an extremely unusual sight. The flowers of Elettaria cardamomum appear on a creeping shoot and are collected in a brush. They would be inconspicuous, if not for one eye-catching petal of snow-white color with bright purple veins, so strikingly contrasting with light green and small petals.

After flowering, in place of the Elettaria cardamomum ovary, original three-nested fruit pods up to 2 cm long develop, hiding the very richly fragrant, ribbed black seeds, which have become one of the most popular spices in the world. The flowering of cardamom cannot be called spectacular, but due to the unusual arrangement of flowers – under the main above-ground parts at the base of the sod from false shoots – and unusual fruits, it is more than original.

Home care for Elettaria cardamomum

Indoor Elettaria cardamomum is rightfully considered an unpretentious plant. Cool wintering is not necessary for him, but only desirable. Elettaria cardamomum will not cause trouble even for inexperienced growers, and for those who have an unstable work schedule or like to travel, it will become a godsend at all. It easily tolerates short droughts and missed watering. But the better it is looked after, the more beautiful the Elettaria cardamomum becomes. And if you maintain an even soil moisture, the amazing foliage of the cardamom will unfold in full splendor.

This is one of the most undemanding cultures for lighting, capable of adapting and maintaining decorativeness in radically different conditions. In principle, Elettaria cardamomum can be grown in any light from bright sunny areas to deep shade. But there is one big “but” in such loyalty: it all depends on the conditions to which the plant is accustomed “from childhood”.

If your Elettaria was grown as a normal houseplant and is accustomed to ambient light, then it should continue to be grown under the same conditions, even during winter. If Elettaria cardamomum was grown as a shade-loving perennial and at a young age was adapted to less light, it will pleasantly please with shade tolerance in the future. Therefore, when buying a plant, it is imperative to clarify what kind of lighting the Elettaria cardamomum is used to.

Most of the modern varieties that can be found in flower shops are photophilous, accustomed to diffused lighting and protection from direct sunlight.

Temperature regime

The ideal regime for keeping Elettaria cardamomum present involves a warm period of active vegetation and a cool resting phase. From spring to late autumn, the plant will be content with the usual room temperature, Elettaria cardamomum will be comfortable in any living space. The optimal temperature range is from 20 to 25 degrees. But the wintering of cardamom directly affects flowering and fruiting.

If the temperatures are cool, you can harvest your own flavorful seeds. If the plant remains warm, its attractiveness will not suffer, but it will lose its ability to bloom profusely. For wintering Elettaria cardamomum real, conditions from 12 to 15 degrees Celsius are most suitable.


Elettaria cardamomum reacts very positively to regular foliage hydration from a sprayer. It is also recommended to systematically arrange a shower, or the accumulated dirt on the surface of the leaves can be removed with a slightly damp sponge.

How to water

Elettaria can tolerate short-term drought well. This plant reacts worse not to the drying out of the earthen coma, but to its waterlogging. Stagnation of water should not be allowed under any circumstances. The more uniform the soil moisture is, the more attractive this plant will look. Regular watering of Elettaria cardamomum after the top layer of the substrate has dried during the spring and summer helps stabilize growing conditions.

With the beginning of a decrease in daylight hours and a cold snap, watering is reduced, the substrate is allowed to partially dry out in the middle layer. But it is better not to allow excessive dryness of the soil even when wintering in a cool place.

Like almost all plants of tropical origin, Elettaria cardamomum prefers high humidity. You cannot call vital measures to increase humidity, the plant does not need to be displayed in flower showcases or in special devices-humidifiers. But Elettaria responds to spraying with gratitude, the procedures have a positive effect on the attractiveness of its foliage. If you can spray on a daily basis, Elettaria cardamomum will only benefit.

As part of the procedures for caring for Elettaria, it is imperative to clean the foliage from dust. It is best to do this with a damp sponge, gently wiping off the greens and shoots. You can also resort to showering, especially if the air temperature exceeds 25 degrees Celsius.


True Elettaria cardamomum prefers regular, standard feeding. Fertilizers for this plant are applied at a frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks from spring to autumn. For cardamom, it is advisable to use either universal fertilizers or special mixtures for potted vegetables, which will increase the fruitfulness of Elettaria cardamomum.

Transplant features

Present cardamom flower
Present cardamom flower

Elettaria is related to bamboos not only in appearance but also in very fast, aggressive growth. With normal care, the plant fully masters the capacity in a year, therefore, regardless of age, indoor cardamom is transplanted annually.

For Elettaria, wide containers are used, in which the depth is less than the diameter. The wider and lower the bowl is, the better. It is desirable to provide the plant with large holes for water drainage.

The substrate for Elettaria cardamomum is selected from a number of simple, universal earth mixes with good water and air permeability. You can use a commercially available substrate (universal or for decorative deciduous plants) or independently compose the soil from humus and soddy soil with sand (ratio 2 to 2 and 1, respectively).

The procedure itself is standard. Elettaria is not afraid of contact with the roots, but if possible, it is better to carry out the transplant procedure as carefully as possible. A high drainage layer is laid at the bottom. The soil is compacted as little as possible. After transplanting, the plant is shaded for several days, if possible, the air humidity is increased.

Reproduction methods

It can be propagated by dividing the rhizome, seeds, and apical cuttings.

It is necessary to divide the rhizome during transplantation. At the same time, each division should have at least 2 buds and 2 growing roots. The sections are sprinkled with crushed activated carbon, and then the cuttings are immediately planted in the soil mixture.

To root the apical cuttings, maintain a constant temperature of 20-25 degrees.

The depth of planting seeds during sowing is equal to the width of the seed multiplied by 2. Sprinkle them with a substrate on top, watered a little, and the container itself is covered with film or glass. The required temperature is from 25 to 28 degrees. The chosen location should be well lit.

Elettaria cardamomum is considered a resistant houseplant. It can only suffer from specific viral infections (when a plant is bought already infected, it is necessary to deal with problems with systemic fungicides) and from pests. From insects, subject to dry air, careless care, and proximity to infected plants, Elettaria cardamomum is threatened by spider mites and scale insects. You can fight by mechanical washing, and correction of conditions, and treatment with insecticides.


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