Tag Archives: Growing Pandan in Florida

Pandan Growth Gusto

The Pandanus Amaryllifolius (not any other Screwpine) ~ Pandan for short breaks into a growth gusto when Spring is about to turn to Summer. It must feel like the Tropics to them so ‘babies’ and aerial roots appear at a crazy rate.

This is the time to carefully check between leaves because unless you separate the leaves and inspect, chances are, small young plants will not be seen until too late ~ dehydrated and stunted. Cut the long leaves hiding them if required, be merciless, as the ‘babies’ need light and growth space.

Pandan “babies” just springing up from parent plant and leaves cut off giving them breathing space.

A thick healthy root is about to spring forth.

When that healthy root grows up to 2″, it will be ideal to remove the baby plant from the parent to have more subaerial roots develop in water.

With so many leaves cut off today, what do I do with them? Continue reading


Pandan ~ It’s Time to Divide & Spread

As the Spring weather warms, Pandan plants will grow staggeringly fast, like in the tropics. As I went around checking what I call the big bunches, like the one below, I realized the “children” were just as big as their mother plants.

Overcrowding stuns growth.

Overcrowding stuns growth.

The young adult plants had matured aerial roots so it was time for them to leave home so that Mama-Pandan can build strength to produce more.

Those are big strong aerial roots!

Those are big & strong aerial roots!

1 even had its own soil roots already, screaming to be repotted.

I hope to get 12-15 young adult Pandan plants “harvested” in the next 2 days & they will be left in pots of water to develop roots as per my usual method. Then, into soil pots for about a month to be stabilized and after that my new project begins ~ a Pandan & Lemongrass hedge along the backyard boundary to hopefully repel those (darn) wild rabbits and raccoons in the area. It will also hopefully be my perennial supply of aromatic kitchen needs.

Pandan Plants Springing to Life …

Pandan plants, or to use its horticultural name ~ Pandanus Amaryllifolius ~ simply love Florida spring weather. They just come alive!

I got an e-mail enquiring about my Pandan which kind of reminded me to do a close check, which in turn got me “freeing” and repotting some Pandan “babies”. (Suddenly I know what else to grow along the border of my small ongoing Garden Project.)

Babies which are ready to leave home.

Babies which are ready to leave home.

The little plants on the side have developed firm aerial roots and are ready for re-potting.

To ensure strong root growth development, upon cutting off, dip them in root hormone powder and plant in potting mix laced with some coffee-grounds.  From my experience, coffee-grounds, with so much nitrogen, actually gives the young-transplants a growth boost.

Place the pot in some water and allow it to absorb as much as needed then remove excess water after about 2 hours.

Potted in potting mix for root growth.

Potted in potting mix for root growth.

During winter, I leave “babies” untouched on their mother plants no matter how big they grow to, in case of frost and chill fronts.  Today, I see thick aerial roots but they too will be leaving their mothers.

More matured babies with good, strong aerial roots.

More matured babies with good, strong aerial roots.

These matured “babies” are the ones that can be kept in water for about a month to develop nice clean roots (to avoid bugs).  Bug-free roots make them excellent for pots indoors* by a window or door for some mild sunshine.
*Note: You need clean potting mix IF you choose to plant indoors and stay bug-free.

To develop roots in water, do avoid direct sunlight, especially noon sun, or their roots can actually get sunburned, and it is very important to change the water in their container every 3 days to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.

Nice clean roots grown in water.

Nice clean roots developed in water from aerial roots … no soil ‘bugs’.

With lots of trimming and cutting, what better time to make some Pandan Pesto?!  Excellent for rice, cakes, puddings and even in green tea.  :mrgreen:


More Pandan Propagation before Winter comes

Another cold front is coming, temperature is now down to 68°F/20°C, and tonight it is forecasted to get to as low as 44°F/7°C.  In preparation for winter & possible frost I think it’s time to cut the young Pandan plants (Pandanus Amaryllifolius) free from the mother plant… so far 20 are matured enough to gain independence.

Young Pandan

Young Pandan still attached to the mother plant

More young Pandan

More young Pandan

In case anyone is curious as to how I select ones to be cut free & re-potted/cultivated, I check & follow the root flow to ensure it has reached and gone into the soil with at least 1 thick aerial root. This ensures that it is used to feeding itself & is strong enough to survive.

Roots which have gone into soil

Roots which have gone into soil


Once cut off, I will leave them in water for 48 hours (indoors, since it’s getting chilly) and then decide if I want to plant them in pots to share with friends & thrift stores or allow them to grow in water for a month or 2.

In a pot of water, going into the garage

In a pot of water, going into the garage




Many are probably wondering why I (& perhaps other Asians) are so obsessed with the Pandan Plant. Well, I use it in the wardrobe & the bathroom as it repels cockroaches, in the car as bug repellent and air freshener and as a herb and food wrap when baking & cooking. A simple “knot of leaves” while cooking plain white rice enhances its flavor 10 fold.


Pandan while cooking rice

Pandan while cooking rice

It is simply Mother Nature’s gift of many uses. Read this link for more information and if you are really curious about its chemical & repellent compound & strength, read this study done by researchers from the National University of Singapore.

(Yes, it is commonly used in Singapore taxis as a natural bug repellent & air fragrancer, cheap & natural … in Singapore, that is.)

Pandan Propagation ~ without soil

Pandan plant with young roots

Pandan plant with young roots

Specially for S.E. Asians who use Pandan leaves in their kitchen & want to grow more on their balconies &/or in small gardens.

I think I may have found a new way to propagate the ever popular, tropical, fragrant Pandanus Amaryllifolius.

Like my usual Pandan separation style, I cut off healthy young ones from a parent plant with at least 2 aerial roots and placed them in a container of water with enough room for the plants to stand upright with roots only partially submerged, then added a very little bit of rooting hormone. I changed the water every 3 days to ensure that no mosquitoes were breeding.

After 2 weeks, instead of planting them in potting soil, I placed them in unchlorinated water with that tiny bit of rooting hormone and added a pinch of Epson Salt

Young, clean Pandan roots

Young, clean Pandan roots

I’ve found that the plants  were not just surviving, but were sprouting new roots faster than they would in soil & the leaves were very healthy green.

This was just a 4-week backyard experiment but would this help if this method is used to propagate, resulting in clean rooted Pandan plants which can be sent by mail to friends &/or customers? Try it.


Pandan Propagation

I got an email asking about my Pandan (Pandanus Amaryllifolius) and if I propagate them & if so, how? I decided to check if the “mama” plant along the kitchen wall might have some matured babies.

Matured Pandan in zone 1 next to the kitchen door.

Mature Pandan in zone 1 next to the kitchen door.

Yes, there are some “babies” ready to be out on their own …

Mature Pandan "Babies" with firm aerial roots ready to be split from mama.

Mature Pandan “Babies” with firm aerial roots ready to be split from mama.

Continue reading

Growing Pandan with Taro ~ unusual companions

Who would have thought things would have worked out fine and they would get along with each other? Well, they did & still do enjoy each others’ company.

Elephant Ears, mostly grown in Florida as ornamental plants are edibles to us Asians ~ the Chinese call it Wu-Tau ( 芋頭) and the Indians call it Eddoe. Both roots & leaves are edible only when fully cooked!

Tropical companions in my garden.

Tropical companions in my garden.

Yam Dumpling

Yam Dumpling

I love using the root to make Wu Kok or Yam Dumplings.


The long sword leaves (in the pic) are what many Asians in America seek to plant for use in the kitchen ~ Pandanus Amaryllifolius ~ that is a fragrant prized plant which we simply call Pandan. I use it in savory and sweet dishes, drinks, in the car and bathrooms as air-freshener & cockroach repellent. This Pandan did get a bit sunburned on the south corner this summer but the others are doing fine.

This is my 1st experiment with tropical companions in a pot and it has given me courage to try more to achieve a real Food Forest with Asian greens I like.