If you are an Indian, you must have relished a paan made out of the leaves of the betel plant! The betel leaf plant is a herb that is a member of the pepper family. It is known for its glossy green colour and heart-shaped leaves. The betel leaf plant is native to India, where it is widely known for its use in making the famous Indian dessert paan. This versatile plant is used in the areas of cooking and in the field of medicine. Chewing this plant alone will improve digestion, prevent carcinogenesis of the oral cavity, helps maintain proper oral hygiene and various other issues.
Common name: Betel leaf, paan, magai paan
Scientific name: Piper betle
Size: Main steam grows upto 1m tall
Where to keep the plant: Since they prefer indirect sunlight, they can be pretty much kept anywhere. Well lit indoors or balcony.
Once a week, deeply. Your betel leaf plant requires regular watering. It needs the soil to be moist. Reduce the frequency of watering during the rainy season as overwatering can cause root rot.
Indirect sunlight. Betel leaf plants love bright indirect sunlight and do well in partial shade conditions too. Avoid exposing them to direct sun for long durations of time and bring the plant indoors when required.
Acidic. Betel leaf prefers an acidic, sandy and lightly damp soil for fast growth. Make sure that you have a sufficient amount of drainage holes in your pot to keep the soil well-drained and choose a deeper pot rather than a wider one.
Warm. Since the plant is native to Asia, betel leaf prefers a warm climate. If the temperature falls during the winter seasons, it is best to bring the plant indoors. Cold climate is not favorable to this plant as it turns the plant dormant and makes the plant eventually shed its leaves.
Fertilize in the growing season. When the plant is in the growing season, it is highly recommended that you feed the plant every couple of months. It prefers nitrogen enriched organic fertilizer. You can also use manure or compost.
Cut a stem of approximately 18cm tall from a betel leaf plant. Remove all the leaves off them except for the top two leaves. Once your cutting is ready, soak in water and place it on a windowsill that receives an adequate amount of indirect sunlight. Once the roots start to appear, you can plant the plant into the ground or a newly prepared medium.