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How to Grow Cardamon — Elettaria

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Elettaria–commonly called cardamon–is a handsome leafy shrub with linear to lance-shaped bright green leaves. When grown in tropical regions, Ellettaria bears violet-veined white flowers which give way to aromatic seed capsules. The seed capsules are used as a spice called cardamon.

In temperature regions and indoors, Elettaria makes an attractive foliage plant. In frost-free regions, it can be grown outdoors in a shady bed or border. Indoors, Ellettaria grows well in bright light but can adapt to limited light.

Elettaria is a genus of four species of evergreen rhizomatous perennials. Elettaria is native to tropical rainforests in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Sumatra.

Get to know Elettaria 

  • Plant type:  Perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zone 11
  • Hardiness:  Tender, hardy to Zone 11
  • Temperature: It needs a cool temperature and medium humidity. 
  • Height and width: 3 to10 feet (1-3m) tall and wide grown outdoors 
  • Foliage: Erect shoots of linear to lance-shaped leaves
  • Flowers:  Large-bracted spikes of 3-lipped, 3-petaled flowers followed by spherical capsules
  • Bloom time:  Summer
  • Uses:  Fruit is used as a spice; attractive shrub and houseplant
  • Common name: Cardamon.
  • Botanical name:  Elettaria
  • Family name:  Zingiberaceae
  • Origin:  Inida, Sir Lanka, Malaysia, Sumatra
Cardamon plant, Elettaria cardamomum
Cardamon plant, Elettaria cardamomum

Where to plant Elettaria 

  • Light outdoors: Grow in full sun with some midday shade.
  • Light indoors: Cardamon thrives in bright light and can adapt to limited light. 
  • Soil outdoors:  Grow Elettaria in fertile, humus-rich soil.
  • Soil indoors: Use a soil-based potting mix.

When to plant Elettaria 

  • Set Elettaria outdoors in spring and autumn,

Planting and spacing Elettaria 

  • Space  Elettaria 10 feet (3m) apart.

How to water and feed Elettaria  

  • Water: Allow the soil to dry to the touch between thorough watering. 
  • Feeding: Apply a balanced fertilizer monthly in spring and summer. 

Elettaria care  

  • Elettaria needs tropical conditions to flower and fruit. It is a handsome leafy plant grown in temperate regions. 
  • Trim away lower leaves as they wilt and dry.
  • Use an all-purpose potting mix to repot Elettaria.

Growing Elettaria as a houseplant

  • Elettaria thrives in bright light and can adapt to limited light.
  • Elettaria needs a cool temperature and medium humidity.
  • The soil should dry between thorough waterings.
  • Fertilize Eletarria monthly in spring and summer.

Elettaria pests and diseases  

  • Elletaria is susceptible to attack by mealybugs and spider mites. 

Elettaria propagation  

  • Elettaria can be propagated by division in spring.
  • Sow seed in warm soil as soon as ripe.  

Elettaria varieties to grow  

  • Elettaria cardamomum, also known as Amomum cardamomum, cardamon. Perennial grows to 3 to 10 feet tall and wide: has bright green leaves that grow to 15 inches long and 3 inches wide; violet-veined white flowers are followed by aromatic, pale green capsules.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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