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
With no “hawkers”, which is what we call food vendors in Singapore, when I have a craving, I invent ways of creating what will satiate.
Nasi Lemak is rice dish that is cooked in/mixed with coconut milk. It is commonly sold in any foodcourt, hawker center & even coffee-shops … but alas, not where I live right now. I craved Pandan Nasi Lemak yesterday, so to the garden, then to the kitchen, then the cooking began.
Long, fibrous Pandan leaves were cut up.
Put in my little cup blender with coconut cream.
Add 1 cup of water or what your “mini” blender allows, then blend away…
Blended concoction poured through a tea strainer into rice pot.
Add some salt and more water to your rice – up to the required (usual) level of cooking – then cover and press the “Cook” button. Pandan Nasi Lemak is in the making.
I decided to be really Singaporean and knocked up some dried anchovies and peanuts which usually accompanies this dish.
Dried Anchovies and Salted Peanuts
So what did I end up having for dinner?
My routine of cultivating the Pandan plant (Pandanus Amaryllifolius) from matured ones is to carefully clip off the babies which have strong aerial roots and (as in an earlier post) develop more roots in water.
Of late I have been receiving inquiries about what happens thereafter, what containers would be best to use and how to know when the roots are matured enough to be repotted or planted into the ground. This is not professional advice or what nurseries might do ~ it’s strictly my method, OK? (So no finger pointing and lawsuits please, try at your own plant’s risk.)
After sufficient roots have developed in water (in about 3 weeks) I plant them in potting soil with a pinch of epsom salt. I use disposal drinking cups as I find them deep, thin, pliable, light and reusable. I make a small hole in the base for drainage using a hot skewer.
The depth allows roots to grow with gravity ~ downwards.
And these soft cups allow me to wet the soil, gently press their sides and slide the “baby” plants out to monitor their root growth.
Nice long matured roots …
When the roots reach the cup’s base and grows in shape of its circumference, then I know it’s ready to leave its nursery-cup to go into a pot.
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.
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!
1 even had its own soil roots already, screaming to be repotted.
This one has matured soil roots …
Potted right away.
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.
On September 2nd, I clipped my pioneer Pandan plant (the Pandan Amaryllifolius) to propagate ~ yes, I still use the water method, i.e. without soil, to grow nice strong roots before potting them for actual growth of leaves.
Unlike last year when I used some rooting hormone and epsom salt, this summer I decided to do without them because some gardeners have told me they can’t find those items where they live. The growth is slightly slower but there still is growth.
18 days later, see the results.
Every cutting has sprouted new roots
Clean water-induced root growth
Some are sprouting new shoots too!
Lots of new growth…
So fellow Pandan growers seeking to propagate and those yearning to grow your own Pandan for aromatic, scrumptious and delectable cooking/baking, no fancy horticultural skills needed … just get a “baby” Pandan cutoff and let it grow some roots in water before potting.
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.
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.
In the past week I have received a few inquiries about Pandan or Pandanus Amaryllifolius. For those who have lived in the Tropics and are now in Temperate zones, I can only advise to treat your newly bought/acquired Pandan differently. Do not plant them in the ground in full sun or unsheltered. Where it is low in humidity, the air is thinner and the leaves will get sunburned or freckly.
Part sun, part shade in spring.
Do not over-water as undrained soil can cause root rot. It is best to plant in a container, move to a conducive spot in summer & bring indoors in winter.
Unfortunately I have a waitlist for the “babies” which I am right now cultivating. Should you have a matured pandan & want more to plant around your house, inspect your plants.
IF you have a pregnant plant, now is the time to watch and feed them with high nitrogen fertilizers. Type of fertilizer is your choice. Warm weather hastens baby plants’ growth.
IF you have a matured plant already branching out and with aerial roots, now is the time to be brave with cutters.
Keep the parent plant intact and cut off the ‘offshoots’ with as many aerial roots attached as possible. Help them to grow strong roots for their soil planting.
Parent plant with offshoots
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