Growing Betel leaf (Paan) plant is not difficult but you need to be aware of its requirements. This rare, mildly stimulant herb can also be grown in containers, in a balcony, and even indoors in partial sunlight!
Betel leaf plant is a creeper grown in India. It belongs to the pepper family. Its waxy green, heart-shaped leaves are used for medicinal and culinary purposes. When crushed, it exudes cool peppery scent. It’s used in making a famous dessert called ‘Paan’ which is chewed with betel nut as a mouth freshener. This mildly stimulant herb is popular in whole South Asia (Indian subcontinent), Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
How to Grow Betel Leaf (Paan), Plant
It’s a perennial herb, which can also be grown in containers and hanging baskets. You can grow it from cuttings and root division. It thrives well in a subtropical and tropical climate but growing betel leaf plant in a cold climate (as an annual, mostly) is also possible with extra care, in containers.
Growing Habit of Betel Plant
Plant’s primary stem grows up to 1 m. long, after that it forms creeping stems having heart-shaped leaves that contain mild scent and exotic white spike-like flowers. It can be either trained as a climber or grown as a ground cover.
Propagation & Planting Betel Plant
It’s better if you buy a plant from a nursery, however, if you want to propagate it from cuttings, take about 18 cm long stem. Make 45 degrees cut using a sharp knife just below the leaf node. Remove all leaves from the cutting except top 2 leaves. Put the cutting in a glass of fresh water and place it on a spot like a windowsill in indirect sunlight. Keep changing the water every 2 days. Once several roots appear, transplant it into a deep container or in the ground.
Requirements for Growing Betel Leaf Plant (Paan)
It 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 quickly. Pick a less windy spot with partial shade for planting. *Choose a medium sized deep planter, if you’re growing it in the container.
Care of Betel Leaf (Paan) Plant
- It thrives well in a hot and humid environment in partial shade. The betel plant needs regular watering.
- Prune regularly after it reaches 2 m. height to control the plant, regular pruning and plucking of leaves encourage new growth and sweet and tender leaves.
- Occasional feeding in every couple of month in the growing season of the plant with a nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer like manure or compost is recommended.
- Keep it indoors in winters when the temperature starts to fall below 41F (5C) in a warm and cosy room under grow light. It becomes dormant in brutal cold and sometimes shed its leaves too, but get to grow again in spring and remain in growth until fall.