The Betel leaf Plant is a herb that is a member of the pepper family. It is known for its shining green color and heart-shaped leaves. The Betel leaf plant is a versatile plant used for cooking and for medicine. It is native to India where it is widely known for its use in making a famous Indian dessert Paan. Learning how to grow Betel leaf plant is not difficult as long as have the adequate requirements.
This healthy herb is suitable to grow in containers and in hanging baskets. However, since it originates from Asia, it is difficult to find its seed and grow it from the seeds. Therefore, it is better to grow it from root division or cutting. Furthermore, it is an adaptable herb that can grow in cold and hot climates.
But before learning how to grow betel leaf plant, you should also know why to grow it. People are increasingly growing this herb for its beneficial effects on health. Chewing this plant alone will improve digestion, prevent carcinogenesis of the oral cavity, helps maintain proper oral hygiene, treat wart, cough, and headache, and Cure constipation.
1. Growing habit
The herb’s main stem grows up to 1 meter tall, thus, it is better to train it as a climber or a ground cover. Once it grows tall enough, it will form creeping stems with leaves on the form of hearts. These leaves contain mild scent and white flowers if you crush them, they will exude a cool peppery scent.
2. Propagation and Planting
Since it is extremely difficult to come across betel leaf seeds, there are two ways to plant Betel leaf plant. Either you purchase the plant from your 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 plant. Use a sharp knife to make a 45-degree cut beneath the leaf node.
Then you should remove all the leaves off them stem except for the top two. Once your cutting is ready, soak in water and place it on a windowsill where it can get indirect sunlight. You should change the water every couple of days. Once the roots appear, you can plant it in a deep pot or in the ground.
For betel leaf to grow and thrive fast, it requires an acidic, sandy and lightly damp soil. If you are growing this herb in a container, betel leaf prefers a deep container than a wide one. Make sure that you make drainage holes in your pot to keep the soil well-drained and place the pot in a partially shady spot.
4. Caring for betel leaf
Betel leaf needs regular watering to grow. Once it grows and reaches at least two meters in height, you should start pruning the plant. This will encourage the plant to grow new sweet and tender leaves. When the plant is in the growing season, it is highly recommended that you feed every couple of months. It prefers nitrogen enriched organic fertilizer. It is also possible to use a manure or a compost.
Since it is native to Asia, betel leaf prefers a warm climate. If the temperature falls to 41F degrees and under in winter, it is better to bring the plant indoors. You should place it in a warm area and for better results, you could use grow lights. Cold climate is harmful to the plant, it will make it go dormant and it will eventually shed its leaves.
5. Pests and diseases
Red mites are the biggest threat to your betel leaf. They occasionally attack this herb and cause severe damage. You should also water this plant carefully as overwatering cause fungal diseases.
Another problem that you may face while growing betel leaf is leaf blight. It is quite common when growing this herb. Once you notice that your plant’s leaves are covered with black and brown spots, pull them immediately in order to contain the infection and prevent it from spreading to other leaves.
The betel leaf is usually ready for harvesting after four to six months from planting it. Pick the fresh aromatic leaves my hands and leave the small ones to grow.
This is how to grow betel leaf plant properly. In this way, you will successfully grow this herb and enjoy its unique flavor and many medical uses. It is indeed one of the healthiest plants to grow. If you are growing this medical herb for personal use or for business, make sure you follow the above steps.
If you like growing herbs, you could read about these amazing herbs to grow indoors.
Enjoy your betel leaf plant and its medical effect.