How To Grow Pandan: The Secret Behind Indonesia's Favorite Fresh Spice
November 21, 2023
Pandan is a type of tropical plant usually found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It is also a common snack in many parts of the world. Pandan comes from the leaves of Pandanus odoratissimus. This plant can grow up to 14 feet high and has large arching green leaves with white streaks on them. The leaves have an unmistakable fragrance that some people describe as a combination of sweet, fresh citrus, and vanilla. Because of this unique aroma and flavor, pandans are often used for cooking. They are also very popular as a garnish or dessert. You will find dried pandans in most Southeast Asian markets along with fresh ones during the spring season (March - June). In fact, the word “pandan” is derived from the Sanskrit word panda meaning “to smell”.
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Pandan Growing Cheatsheet
Choose the Right Spot:
🌞 Plant in a well-drained, sunny area with indirect sunlight.
Start from Seeds:
🌱 Sow seeds in pots with a mix of soil, sand, and compost.
💦 Keep soil moist but not waterlogged by watering twice a week.
🌡️ Best grown in temperatures of 75-95°F (24-35°C).
🌿 Apply balanced organic fertilizer every 4-6 weeks.
✂️ Trim older leaves to stimulate new growth and maintain shape.
🔪 Cut stem sections, place in water until roots appear, then transfer to soil.
🌿 Cut leaves when needed, ensuring 2-3 remain for continuous growth.
- 💪 Boosts immune system
- 🌿 Rich in antioxidants
- 🩺 Promotes digestion
- 🧠 Enhances brain function
- 📈 Pandan has 100% increase in Google searches since 2018.
- 🏆 Often called the "vanilla of Southeast Asia".
- 🥇 It ranks as Indonesia's favorite spice.
- 💰 Pandan leaves can be sold for up to $5 per bunch.
🌱 Grow your own pandan to reduce reliance on store-bought supplies.
🍚 Enhance your rice dishes by cooking with pandan leaves.
How To Grow Pandan Plant?
Pandan plants can be grown indoors or outdoors. Indoors, pandan plants should be grown in a bright and warm spot with good air circulation. Indoors, pandan plants do not require much water, but they do need to be watered regularly. Outdoor pandan plants grow best in tropical climates, with warm temperatures, and good drainage.
The ideal temperature for pandan plants is between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. During the spring season, pandan plants like full sun but during the fall and winter months, they like the shade. Also, the soil should be well-drained, but not too dry. it is best to spray water once a week. sometimes, outdoor pandan plants like some mist, too.
Bunch Corner Method
this method is very common in southeast asia. it is also one of the easiest ways to grow pandan plants. the whole purpose of this method is to create bunches of pandan leaves through the practice of cutting and replanting the stems.
find a large pot with sufficient drainage holes. make a cut at the base of the pandan stem and place the base of the stem in the pot. add some soil to the bud’s base and then place the whole pot inside a warm but shaded spot.
ideally, the spot should be next to a heat source. the stem will start growing roots. it will take about 10 days for the stem to grow into a small stem and then get opened into leaves. you can use this stem to make pandan drinks and food.
Soak The Stems In Water
another important step when growing pandan plants is to soak the stems in water. it is better to soak the stems overnight than to do it during the day because the stems will absorb the water better at night and stay hydrated throughout the whole day. this is a very important step for growing pandan plants indoors.
you can also use this method to grow pandan outside if you have access to a pool. however, if you are growing pandan outside, you will have to protect it from strong winds, because the leaves of this plant are very delicate and can be easily damaged.
Traditionally, Grow Pandan Stem With A Process Called “Bunches Corner” Method
the traditional way to grow pandan stems is through the “bunches corner” method. you can grow pandan stems outdoors in a hanging basket. if you want to grow pandan indoors, you can use a hanging pot with a lid.
the ideal planting height is around 8 inches. this allows the pandan stems to grow upwards while they rest in the pot’s interior water reservoir. remove the water reservoir lid to let the stems get plenty of sunlight.
when the stems are long enough, make a bunch of them by pinching the stem tips together. this is a very important step for growing pandan plants indoors. you can also use a bunching knife to make the bunch.
Morning Glory/Lucky Bamboo Method
for indoor pandan plant cultivation, another method you can try is the morning glory method. morning glory plants are commonly used for indoor cultivation and lucky bamboo is used for outdoor cultivation. morning glory method is perfect for indoor pandan cultivation because the leaves of this plant have a strong flavor but no smell. it is also a very easy method to grow pandan plants indoors.
choose a pot with a low profile, as pandan leaves grow downwards. fill the pot with a good quality soil and moisten the soil with reserved clean water. now, plant the pandan stem in the soil and keep it under the pot’s light. water the soil regularly until the pandan plant’s leaves start to grow. this will take about 10 to 14 days. remove the pot’s lid and open the window to let the pandan leaves get plenty of sunlight.
Growing Conditions For Pandan Plants
the growth of pandan stems is triggered by a combination of heat and humidity. pandan plants grow well when there is a combination of 90 degrees fahrenheit and 85% humidity.
high temperature plays a very important role in the growth of this plant. you can achieve high temperature with a lamp and a thermostat or with a heat mat. mist the leaves from time to time to make sure that they are not getting too dry.
growing pandan at home is an easy task once you know how. these plants have a very interesting scent and can be used in many ways. you can use them as a garnish or in drinks, or you can also use them in cooking.
the key to growing pandan is to provide it with the right conditions, and they can do just that with a bit of effort. the best way to grow pandan is by using the bunch corner method or using morning glory or lucky bamboo plants as indoor pandan plants.
1. How do I grow pandan?
To grow pandan, start by obtaining pandan seeds or rhizomes from a reputable source. Plant them in well-draining soil and place the container in a warm, sunny location.
2. When is the best time to grow pandan?
The best time to grow pandan is during the warm season, preferably in spring or early summer when the temperature is consistently above 70°F (21°C).
3. How much sunlight does pandan need?
Pandan requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive. Ensure it is placed in a spot that receives ample sunlight.
4. How often should I water pandan?
Water pandan regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Aim to water it every 2-3 days, adjusting based on weather conditions.
5. Can pandan be grown indoors?
Yes, pandan can be grown indoors as long as it receives sufficient sunlight. Place it near a bright window or use grow lights to ensure it gets the necessary light.
6. How long does it take for pandan to grow?
Pandan can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to reach full maturity. However, you can start harvesting leaves for culinary use within 6-8 months of planting.
7. How do I harvest pandan leaves?
Harvest pandan leaves by cutting them close to the stem using a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears. Always leave a few leaves on each plant to ensure it continues to grow.
8. Can I propagate pandan from cuttings?
Yes, you can propagate pandan from stem cuttings. Simply take a healthy pandan stem and plant it in moist soil. Keep it consistently watered until it develops roots.
9. How can I prevent pests from attacking my pandan plants?
To prevent pests, maintain good airflow around your pandan plants and avoid overwatering. Additionally, you can use organic insecticidal soap to control common pests.
10. How can I use pandan leaves in cooking?
Pandan leaves are commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine to add a unique aroma and flavor. They can be used to infuse rice, desserts, beverages, and curries. Simply tie them into a knot and add to the desired dish while cooking.
Growing pandan is an exciting way to bring a unique flavor and playful aroma to any home cook’s kitchen. This plant’s unmistakable spicy-sweet odor and flavor will transport you to the palm-lined streets of Indonesia every time you use it. With its easy-to-follow instructions and low-maintenance nature, any gardener can now have a go-to supply of pandan in their own backyard.