How to Grow Cardamom | Growing Cardamom (Elaichi)

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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).

USDA Zones — 10 – 12

Difficulty — Moderate to Hard

Other Names — Amomum cardamomum, Bai Dou Kou, Black Cardamom, Cardamome, Cardamomo, Cardomom, Cardomomi Fructus, Ela, Elettaria cardamomum, Green Cardamom, Huile Essentielle de Cardamome, Indian Cardamom, Lesser Cardamom, Kardamom, chhoti elachi, lachie, illaichi and elam.

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).

Characteristicsgrowing cardamom (2)_mini

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.

Read this to learn how to grow cardamom plant from seed.

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)growing cardamom (1)_mini


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.

Also read: How to Identify Plant Problems from Leaves.


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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  1. I found this article after reading a page in Jekka McVicar’s “New Book of Herbs” relating to the Cardamom, the part that drew my interest was that she said ” In cool temperature climates, cardamom plants will grow successfully in a conservatory or greenhouse. They will not flower or produce seed pods in these conditions, but, in my opinion, their beautiful leaves more than make up for it.”

    I was mainly wondering what would prevent the plant from flowering and producing seedpods even under ideal conditions?

  2. ईलायची का पौधा कहाँ से प्राप्त करें?अधिक जानकारी के लिए कृप्या मो०न० उपलब्घ करावें ।

  3. Im also a man from North Eastern states of India in Arunachal pradesh. My home town is in border to Myanmar & Assam where I would like to grow cardamom. So, please suggest the type and quality of the cardamom to be grown in this region……from

  4. I found it very very informative.almost every thing you wanna know is here. Thanks a lot.i wool must share your web page again thanks.

    • No, actually it starts fruiting after one year. But after 2 or 3rd year it gives proper fruiting to it’s fullest. It grows till ten years or more depending on your nurture.

  5. Hi, is it ok to have cardamon plants indoors, such as bedrooms etc?…i really love the foliage of this spicy plant and think it makes a striking indoor plant. TIA

  6. The article and Qs/Answers are quite infrmative. Thanks to all contributors.
    Please let me know if i can plant cardamom in north hilly (cold and humid) areas of Pakistan. Though this place is heaven for European Tourists. (e.g Abbottabad surroundings).
    Best Regards


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