Betel leaves play an important role in Indian culture. Be it any religious event or enjoyed after dinner as a dessert these heart shaped betel leaves, commonly known as ‘PAAN’ are loaded with many benefits. Growing betel leaves at home is not a cumbersome process. It can be grown in potted plants and is also used in cooking.
Betel plant comes from the pepper family. It is used all over South Asia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, etc. Paan is loved as it acts as a cooling agent and soothes your mouth.
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This plant is easy to grow at home and blooms well in a variety of conditions. Let us have a glance on how to grow betel plants at home.
If you live in north east, be sure to move your plant inside during winters. If you hail from hotter states, you need to be extra cautious of your plant during summers. Use green shade covers or commonly known as “green net” to protect your plant from scorching direct heat. Also, remember to water your plants regularly.
Betel plant can last up to three seasons or more. It blooms well in the humid and warm climate. Temperature ranging from 10-30 degree C is good for its growth. A few hours of mild sunlight helps the plant to grow.
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Betel plant can be grown in a wide variety of soils but the loam soil (the mixture of sand, silt, and clay soil) is ideal for its growth. One should go with a deeper pot rather than a wide one. Try making holes in the bottom of the pot for a proper drainage of water. One can also add some sand in the soil if you are handling with clayey soil.
One should be very careful with the watering process for betel plants. Betel plants require frequent watering but remember to not overwater the plant as it may lead to death of roots or stunted growth. Also maintain a proper drainage system to keep water logging at bay. They grow best in moist soil. They prefer hot and humid atmosphere.
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If you are growing a betel plant at your home, keep the plant at a place where it can receive partial shade. They thrive well in hot and humid climate. If grown outdoors, allow the plant to grow on the tree trunks.
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The betel leaf can be propagated by stem cutting. Take 5-6 inch cutting from the plant and remove the lowermost leaves of the plant. Keep the petals in a bottle filled with water and place the bottle where it can receive a good amount of sunlight. Also maintain a good drainage system to avoid water logging.
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The removal of a part of part that you find no longer pleasing and needed is termed as pruning. Pruning the betel plant is not necessary if harvesting is done regularly. Harvesting can be commenced once the plant reaches a height of around 2 metres. Harvesting boosts the growth of new tender leaves.
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Betel leaves do not require any fancy fertilizer. A regular compost or cow manure is more than enough.
Red spider mites can impact the growth of your plant but you can get rid of them by homemade pesticides like using neem oil spray or a mixture of liquid dish soap and water will also do to treat red spider mites. Betel plants can also be affected by fungal infection due to over watering.
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The betel leaves of the plant have a vital role in Indian tradition. Apart from its culinary uses it can also cure many diseases. The leaves of the plant can be used in prosperous occasions like wedding rituals, etc. The plant thrives well in partial sunlight. Also maintain a proper drainage system to avoid water logging.
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