A low-growing, leafy tropical plant, which grows on the jungle floor in the wild: cardamom can only be grown indoors in this country.
Cardamoms have smooth green leaves on long stalks, which are spicily scented when bruised. The leaves don't smell the same as the seeds, but can be used to wrap around fish, rice or vegetables to add flavour during cooking. The long stalks are useful to tie the leaves together to make a neat parcel of food. The cardamom pods sold for cooking are picked when unripe so the seeds will not grow if you try to sow them.
Won't survive outdoors even in summer. Requires a heated greenhouse or a very warm, shady humid place inside a building...hot steamy bathrooms are ideal.
Minimum temperature 22°C, but will tolerate a little colder for a short time if kept very dry at the roots.
Usually by splitting a larger plant into small pieces. The roots are very tough - you may need to use a sharp knife.
Cardamoms can be fussy - they do not like draughts, sudden changes of temperature or direct sunlight. Grow them in a warm, steamy, shady place, like a warm bathroom and mist the plant daily with rainwater. Alternatively, stand the pot on a big saucer of pebbles which are kept moist, to encourage a humid atmosphere around the plant.
In winter, don't water as frequently as during the summer. Feed with a foliage house-plant food (high nitrogen, low potash) when the plant is growing.
Usually trouble free. If plants are too cold their leaves turn brown. If moved to a warmer place, with the brown leaves cut off, they often regrow although this can take a long time. Keep the plant fairly dry while it is recovering.
If the leaves develop brown tips at any time (even if the plant is kept warm) it is a sign of overwatering.