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Elettaria cardamomum

Pronunciation: el-eh-TAR-ee-uh kar-duh-MO-mum
Family: Zingiberaceae
Common Name: Cardamom, malabar cardamom, ceylon cardamom
Cultivar: Cardamom, Malabar cardamom, Ceylon cardamom
Plant Type:
  • perennial
  • fruits, vegetables
  • bulb, tuber, corm
Height to: 10ft (3m)
Width to: 10ft (3m)
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
  • 60 to 50ºF ZONE 12
Sun Exposure:
  • full shade
Bloom Season:
  • mid spring
Bloom Description: The inflorescences of Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) develop on separate, horizontal stems that spread along the ground. They are loose panicles about 2 ft (0. 6 m) long, consisting of many small blossoms that have white or yellowish petals with lilac veins and pink or yellow margins. The fruits are thin-walled, smooth-skinned, oblong, greenish capsules about 3/4 in (1. 9 cm) long. Each contains 15-20 aromatic reddish brown seeds.
Soil Type: Under glass, grow in fertile, soilbased potting mix with additional leaf mold or ground bark. Outdoors, grow in fertile, open, humus rich soil.
Pests and Diseases: thrips, cardamom virus, pod rot, fungal root rot
Propagation: Sow Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) seed at 66-75ºF/19-24ºC as soon as ripe. Divide in spring.
Native to: India
Winter Sowing Zones: None
Notes for Identification:

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is an evergreen perennial with thick rhizomes bearing upright shoots with linear-lance shaped, pointed dark green leaves, 24in (60cm) long, paler and softly hairy beneath.

Care: It grows with its roots continually wet. It needs constant moisture. It does okay if the rain stops for a short period, once in a while!

Cardamom will flower and fruit only under tropical conditions. In sub-tropical or temperate regions it makes an attractive foliage plant in a warm green house. In areas that are frost-free, grow cardamom in a shady and moist border or bed. Cardamom is a principal ingredient in curry powders, and is used to flavor confectioneries, liqueurs and chewing gums. In some parts of the world, especially the Near East and Saudi Arabia, cardamom is ground and mixed with coffee. In southeast Asia cardamom is mixed with betel leaves for chewing. In the West it is used in perfumes. In Mexico and Guatemala you can buy cardamom chewing gum - it is delicious! Scandinavians use more cardamom than anyone else in the Western Hemisphere. They use it to flavor breads, cakes, candies, sausages and other meats. Add some ground cardamom to your next sweet pastry or apple pie


Cardamom is grown commercially in plantations under the shade of tall forest trees. It is a very labor-intensive crop to produce. The fruits are picked individually by hand before they are fully ripe, over a period of several months. Only saffron and vanilla are more expensive spices.

Ancient Indians, more than 1000 years before Christ, used cardamom medicinally to treat various maladies. Cardamom, like cinnamon and ginger, is a stimulant, and is said to relieve indigestion, flatulence and headaches. The Greeks and Romans used it as a culinary spice.

Source: Various sources including The American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Floridata and the USDA

USDA Heat Zones (days above 86ºF):
  • 150 to 180 days ZONE 10
  • 180 to 210 days ZONE 11
  • Greater then 210 ZONE 12
Seed photo: 1
Seed Label: 0
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