Tag Archives: Growing Pandan

My Tropical Asian Treasure Trove – Part 2

Apart from those hidden Asian treasures in the micro shady boondocks of my backyard, summer warmth has spurred the growth of aromatic foliage which I need, for home style cooking, dishes which I grew up with, taught by my mother and grandmother, food that makes a house smell like home.

Walking around in the morning, at times with coffee mug in hand, pinching or breaking a leaf or two, inhaling the aroma, makes me appreciate what a little bit of each plant can do to enhance our chemical sensing system of smell and taste.

The very easy-to-propagate Lemongrass, nothing to do with lemons, has a citrus flavor which can make a not-so-appetizing dish smell heavenly. In Asia, it is used in soups, spicy stews, sweet tea, curries, as a basting brush for barbecues, as an air freshener in cars, fragrance for soaps and hair oil, heck! it’s supposed to even attract Honey Bees (which is why Lemongrass essence is placed in swarm boxes).

Lemongrass does not like lemons

It looks like scrawny weeds but has very sharp-edged blades and hibernates to a brown clump in winter. It’s also supposed to repel mosquitoes but that aspect is one I can’t vouch for.

The Curry Leaf Plant (Murraya koenigii) to me is what makes a Curry taste and smell like real Curry!  It is a plant native to India and Sri Lanka … the land of Curries, of course! I grew up with this in my backyard ~ yes, déjà vu.

Curry Leaves do smell like Curry.

Can this be found in all Asia grocery stores? No, only Indian run stores, unfortunately, which is why I need to grow my own. I harvest and dry some when it produces its leaves abundantly, just in case there is a bout of winter frost, that’s when it gets bald.

But … there is so much more that can be concocted with this herb, not just curry,

Just a versatile herb.

and in case you are curious (and brave) enough, you might even like to try making Indian Shepherd’s Pie. 😀

Continue reading


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

Never Underestimate the Power of …

a dead looking Pandan plant (pandanus amaryllifolius).

Fellow Pandan growers/lovers, should your Pandan plant for whatever reason (you went on vacation, you forgot to water, the cat ate most of it …) look quite dried and dead, do not yank it out of the pot and dump it in your compost pile. You will be surprised what a tough plant it can be.

left in a corner of pots with soil used for re-growing cuttings.

left in a corner of pots with soil used for re-growing cuttings.

I plead guilty.  😳
I left this poor thing, for almost 3 months, in a pot which I had used for propagating younger Pandan cuttings with roots. It was an “old” parent which I thought had lived its productive potted lifespan and would dry up and turn to compost on its own. It proved me wrong.

Now it is getting worm poop, seaweed juice, 1 hr mild morning sun, grow for mama encouragement, the works!

It is my born-again Pandanette.

Pandan Plants’ Pregnancy Symptoms

Pandan growers in temperate zones, who wish to multiply your Pandan population, watch for signs, then try to shade this from long hours of afternoon sun. Hot sun and low humidity = not Pandan friendly.

New plants in formation

New plants in formation


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:


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.