Tag Archives: Pandanus amaryllifolius

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 Wrapped Chicken

Summer heat is on; humidity is high … it’s just like in the tropics.
Pandan plants are happy! In case Pandan growers run out of ideas as to what they can do with them apart from rice and cakes, try wrapping meat then steaming or baking.

Today's tropical vegetable harvest.

Today’s tropical vegetable harvest – Pandan, Chili-Pepper & Water Convolvulus.

I made Pandan Wrapped Chicken (again) and as usual this is when I really do not mind the lingering aroma emitted from the air-oven, of Pandan, hovering around the house for a couple of hours after dinner.

Chicken all wrapped up.

Chicken all wrapped up.

Baked Pandan Chicken

Baked Pandan Chicken

Tiny shredded Pandan pieces added to the marinade.

Tiny shredded Pandan pieces which were added to the marinade.

We had this with white steaming hot Jasmine rice and Spicy Stir-Fried Water Convolvulus, just a simple home style Asian meal.


Pandan roots ~ when to move from water to soil

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.

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 matured roots ...

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.

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.

Developing Pandan Roots in Water

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

Every cutting has sprouted new roots

Clean water induced root growth

Clean water-induced root growth

Some are sprouting new shoots too!

Some are sprouting new shoots too!

Lots of new growth...

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.



Not all Pandanuses are created Equal

The term Pandan, which is the Malay name for Pandanus Amaryllifolius has been used in general (for ages, in S E Asia) for leaves used for culinary purpose.  It belongs to the Pandanus family. Yesterday, I received an email from a fellow Florida gardener asking if she could use the Screwpine, which is Pandanus Utilis, growing in her neighbor’s yard to cook Pandan Wrapped Chicken.

That led to some web surfing (or should I say digging?) and the result of which I am sharing is strictly for layman’s information. According to Green Deane, my favorite foraging author, in his superb write-up on various Pandanus plants, I quote:
Pandanus amaryllifolius, uncommon in Florida, is the only species in the genus with fragrant leaves.” ~   do read the full article if interested.

Pandanus amaryllifolius

Pandanus amaryllifolius


(So, Mabel E, if you are reading this post, I would not advise using your neighbor’s plant ~ just in case.)

You can get this at an Asian grocery store if you would like to try using it to flavor  food.  It can be used while cooking rice with or without adding extra vegetables and is excellent in cakes, desserts and drinks.

Knotted Pandan leaves with Moringa Oleifera in rice.

More on Pandan

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.

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.

'pregnant' plants,

‘pregnant’ 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 'branches'

Parent plant with offshoots

Continue reading

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: