Choose a country to see content specific to your location

A picture of a Cardamom

Cardamom

Elettaria cardamomum

Also known as

Cardamon, Elaichi, Ceylon Cardamom, Malabar Cardamom, Cardamum, Queen of Spices

Elettaria cardamomum flower Anamalai hills by Swati Sidhu (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Partial Shade
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Tender

H1b

RHS hardiness

10°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

5m

Max

2.5m

1m

Min

1m

5 years to reach maturity

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a strong fragrance

More images of Cardamom

A photo of Cardamom
A photo of Cardamom
Elettaria cardamomum 01
Cardamom flowers
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

Cardamom Overview

Elettaria cardamomum is an evergreen perennial from the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It grows from underground rhizomes, leaves are long and narrow, coloured dark green. This plant is commonly known by the names Cardamom, Cardamon, Ceylon Cardamom and Malabar Cardamom. Cardamom produces lovely white flowers which are orchid-like in appearance, with attractive markings in pink, purple and yellow. The pretty flowers lead onto small, pale green seedpods, these are aromatic and also known as Cardamom. Cardamom is often grown for its seeds, contained within pod-like capsules. Each capsule produces between 15-20 seeds which can be used as a food flavouring or spice. This tender plant grows best in partial shade and moist, well-draining soil, it needs protection from freezing weather. While Cardamom is considered a bit harder to propagate and grow, if you're up for a challenge, in three years you will have personal access to the most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla! It is also sometimes called the Queen of Spices.

Common problems with Cardamom

Generally not bothered by pests and diseases but can be affected by cardamom mosaic virus, cardamom thrips, capsule rot, nematodes, and rhizome rot.

    How to harvest Cardamom

    Cardamom starts to bear fruit in their third year. Harvest fruit by hand when they start to turn green, dry and break easily. After harvesting, dry the pods for 6-7 days and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight to be preserved.

    How to propagate Cardamom

    Seed

    Wash seeds in lukewarm water and dry in shade. Sow seeds directly or in a container, shallowly in moist soil, 1-3 m apart in rows 1-3 m apart. Germination takes 20-40 days.

    Division

    Cut the rhizome of a plant that has at least three shoots with a sharp knife, carefully separate it from the plant and plant where desired.

    Special features of Cardamom

    Attractive flowers

    Attractive leaves

    Attractive fruits

    Attracts bees

    Other uses of Cardamom

    Medicinal

    The seeds remove bad breath, improves digestion and is a remedy for coughs and nausea.

    Edible

    The seeds inside the fruit are edible and are used as a spice.