The cardamom plant is a tropical plant that is typically grown in places like India, Vietnam and Guatemala. There are two basic varieties: Green cardamoms and black cardamoms. It is not easy to grow a cardamom plant and you need some serious knowledge before you dare to do so. You cannot grow a cardamom plant in most places in the world as it needs very unique conditions in order to blossom into its full glory.
The most important to know about growing a cardamom plant at home is that a cardamom seed generally has a pathetic germination rate. It is quite challenging to make it grow due to the hardness of the coating of the seed, which makes the bursting out of the plant a difficult task.
Perhaps the most common way to make a cardamom seed grow is to put it through a process known as seed scarification. Normally, this process happens naturally through fall seeding. The very low temperatures will often change the coating of the seed during winter. Scarification also happens naturally when animals eat the seeds.
We humans can mimic the scarification process by briefly using some kind of acid until the seeds become more moist. Be warned though, this can be dangerous if you’re using something like sulfuric acid. A safer method is to simply use some kind of oil, such as vinegar.
Another way is through the use of a sharp or blunt instrument and sandpaper. Rub the seed coating with sandpaper and use a sharp or blunt object to dismantle the seed coating a bit.
So the trick is to use a knife or some other sharp instrument to open up the coating of a larger seed. As long as you don’t harm the embryo this will work some of the time. Another way is to use nitric acid or sulfuric acid to reduce the hardness of the seeds. As mentioned before, this method should be used with extreme caution and it’s not recommended you do it unless you know exactly what you’re getting into.
Optionally, you can also use boiling water. This will dull the seeds. Personally I prefer this method as I’m not really very into the idea of using acid and knives on the coating of the seeds, but that’s just me.
Once you’ve grown the cardamom plant, it’s a simple matter of making sure it’s not in a windy area and that it gets a combination of sunlight and shade. The cardamom plant should not receive very high temperatures. Remove fallen leaves and stems from time to time. Do make sure the pot is of the appropriate size so as to not limit the growth of the plant.
I honestly applaud you if you are actually seriously considering raising a cardamom plant as this is not exactly the most eye-appealing plant. It’s very basic and doesn’t really attract any attention and most people wouldn’t really have any reason to grow one. To do so deserves a medal of courage.
On the bright side, you will usually have no problem with pests. Insects don’t seem to really care about cardamom plants much, so you’re home free.