Introduction: Hello gardeners today we are back with a great information of growing betel leaf in pots. Growing Betel leaf plant is not difficult but you want to be aware of its requirements. This rare, mildly stimulant herb can be grown in containers, in a balcony, and even indoors in partial sunlight.
A step by step guide to Growing Betel Leaf in Pots
Betel leaf plant (piper betel) is a creeper grown in India and it belongs to the pepper family. Its waxy green, heart-shaped plant leaves are used for medicinal and culinary purposes. It’s a perennial herb, which can be grown in pots and hanging baskets. You can grow Betel leaf plant from cuttings and root division. Betel leaf plant thrives well in a subtropical and tropical climate but growing this plant in a cold climate (as an annual, mostly) is possible with extra care, in containers.
The Betel leaf is an herb that is a member of the pepper family. It is known for its shining green color and heart-shaped leaves. And it is a versatile plant used for cooking and medicine. It is native to India where it is usually known for its use in making a famous Indian dessert Paan.
Growing Betel leaf plant is very easy. However, you want to know its requirements to ensure success. You can plant Betel leaf in your balcony or indoors where there is partial sunlight. Betel leaf plant is an evergreen, perennial creeper to 90 cm. It prefers rich, well-drained soil with partial shade and it likes to be kept moist but does not tolerate waterlogging. Frost will damage the leaves but not kill the Betel leaf plant once it is well established. It makes an excellent groundcover under trees in subtropical and tropical areas. It produces vigorously in the right position and because of its habit of suckering can be difficult to remove. It can be developed successfully in colder areas in a hanging basket or large pot and moved to a warm, sheltered position in winter.
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Types of Betel leaf
There are several types of betel leaves, the most popular being Calcutta, Banarasi and Magahi. The harvested plant leaves are used both for domestic consumption and for export to the Middle East, European countries, the USA, Pakistan, and Myanmar. Betel leaf is one of the major sources of income in rural Bangladesh. In Kerala, the most famous variety of betel leaf is from Venmony near Chengannur and is called Venmony Vettila. Betel leaf plant cultivated in Tirur in Kerala, and Hinjilicut in Odisha are of fine quality. Betel leaves exported from Tirur are famous in Pakistan as ‘Tirur Paan’ and in Tamil Nadu, a variety of betel leaves are cultivated at Madurai, Dindukal, Dharmapuri and Erode districts, Anthiyur Betel being particularly popular among betel chewers. A large number of farmers and other employees are involved both directly and indirectly in betel leaf farming and marketing.
Soil requirements for growing Betel leaf plant in pots
For Betel leaf plant to grow and thrive fast, it requires an acidic, sandy and slightly damp soil. If you are growing this herb in a container, betel leaf plant prefers a deep container than a wide one. Make sure that you create drainage holes in your pot to keep the soil well-drained and place the pot in a partially shady spot.
Betel leaf plant prefers slightly acidic, sandy-loamy and lightly damp soil but not waterlogged. Use the well-drained potting mix to plant it in a way that water will drain out from it speedily. Choose a less windy spot with partial shade for planting. Select a medium-sized deep planter, if you’re growing it in the container.
Propagation and planting Betel leaf plant
It is extremely difficult to come across betel leaf seeds; there are two ways to plant Betel leaf. Either you purchase the plant from a local nursery store or propagate it from cutting. The latter requires that you cut a stem of approximately 18 cm tall from a betel leaf. Use a sharp knife to create a 45-degree cut beneath the leaf node.
Then you must remove all the leaves off them stem except for the top two. Once your cutting is ready, soak in water and put it on a windowsill where it can get indirect sunlight. You must change the water in the plant every couple of days. Once the plant roots appear, you can plant it in a deep pot or the ground.
Fertilizer for Growing Betel leaf plant in pots
Betel leaf plant will be more than happy just with regular compost or cow manure. No need to add any fancy fertilizers and simple compost will do the trick.
Water and Sunlight for growing Betel leaf plant in pots
Betel leaf plant requires filtered sunlight or partial shade. This plant hates full or direct sunlight. Provide it enough water but don’t overwater else it will rot.
Take cuttings 25 cm long, strip the plant leaves off the bottom half of the stems and bury to half their length in potting mix and keep moist.
Growing the Betel leaf plant in containers
Growing the Betel leaf plant in containers or hanging baskets is possible. It can be hard to obtain Betel leaf plant seeds. Betel leaf plant’s primary stem grows up to 1 m. long. As such, growing it from root division or from cutting. It can also thrive well in tropical and subtropical climates. Growing it in a cold climate is also possible. However, it will require extra care and should be done in containers.
Train the Betel leaf plant as a climber since its primary stem can grow up to a meter long and will eventually form creeping stems with heart-shaped leaves that exude mild scent. On the other hand, you can produce it as ground cover.
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Procedure for growing Betel leaf plant in containers can be given below;
- Most balcony gardeners are unable to grow several plants due to a lack of sunlight. It’s the main issue which people face when growing plants in the balcony. But Betel leaf plant is one such completely shade loving plant and hence a must-have for every balcony gardener.
- Betel leaf plant can be easily grown in pots or containers almost any time of the year. One can also produce them in hanging pots.
- Betel leaf plants cannot grow in a hot climate and plant leaves start turning yellow and drop.
- It requires outside shade, not indoor shade and so avoids growing it indoors.
- The easiest way to grow this plant is by cuttings or saplings from the nursery.
- You can take a healthy stem and create a 45 degree cut below the leaf node. Now remove all lower leaves, leaving only the top two leaves. Put the stem in a bowl of water and keep it near the windowsill.
- Replace the water every two days. Once enough roots are formed shift them into pots.
- As betel leaf is a climber it should be grown over a moss stick for healthy growth.
- Betel leaf plant can be grown in any soil type. All it requires is a lot of compost and always keep moist soil.
- Remember to pluck plant leaves regularly to encourage new growth.
- This plant is not affected or troubled by pests. But it can sometimes be attacked by spider mites and which can be controlled by neem oil and soap solution.
Various uses of Betel leaves
The Betel leaves are popular in South East Asian cooking, being used raw and cooked. To eat leaves raw in a salad or use as a wrapping the young tender leaves are best. As the leaves are attractive, they are often used as a base to line platters, with foods arranged on top. The white flower spikes develop into a small fruit that can be eaten and Betel leaf has many traditional medicinal uses.
In India, the Betel leaves and areca nuts play an important role in Indian culture, particularly among Hindus. Many traditional ceremonies governing the lives of Hindus use these Betel leaves and areca nuts. For example, to pay the priest, devotees place the money in the Betel plant leaves and then put that beside the priest. The Betel plant leaves and areca nuts are used ceremonially in traditional weddings.
Tips for growing Betel leaf plant
Here are more tips to ensure successful growth of Betel leaf plant;
- Grow the Betel leaf plant in October, as this is the best time to grow the plant under the open system cultivation.
- Plant other support plants to give shade for your Betel plant. Or else, build rectangular structures that can serve as artificial support or as shade.
- Please maintain proper drainage during the rainy season.
- Pluck the mature Betel leaf leaves by hand during the harvest season. Wash and clean the harvested plant leaves according to their quality and size.
- Use manure and fertilizers during Betel leaf farming. Apply them in 4 to 6 split doses and with an interval of two to three months.
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Betel leaf plant care
- Betel leaf plant thrives well in a hot and humid environment in partial shade. The Betel leaf plant needs regular watering.
- Prune regularly after it reaches 2 m. height to control the plant, regular pruning and plucking of plant leaves encourage new growth and sweet and tender leaves.
- Occasional feeding every couple of months in the growing season of the plant with a nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer such as manure or compost is recommended.
- Keep Betel leaf plant indoors in winters when the temperature starts to fall below 41F (5C) in a warm and cozy room under grow light. It becomes dormant in brutal cold and sometimes shed plant leaves too, but gets to grow again in spring and remain in growth until fall. In such conditions keeps care of plant watering, overwatering can cause root rot.
Pests and diseases
It’s not pest-free of course, and it is attacked by red mites occasionally, which can be treated with insecticidal soap. It also suffers from fungal diseases; particularly in the rainy season or when overwatering is done. To save the plant, watering must be reduced. Leaf blight is another problem that affects the Betel leaf plant in which brown and black oily patches cover the leaf. Leaf blight problem can be treated by simply pulling off the infected leaf or stem.
Harvest Betel leaf plant
Within 4 to 6 months after planting, Betel leaf will be ready for harvest. You can pick off the fresh aromatic leaves for several uses.
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