Growing Betel leaf plant is easy. However, you need to know its requirements in order to ensure success. You can also grow the herb in containers if you want to. Perhaps, you can plant in your balcony or indoors where there is partial sunlight. Read on to find out more about the Betel plant, tips on how to grow the Betel leaf plant, and its benefits.
Learn More about the Betel Leaf Plant
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The betel leaf plant is an herb that is popularly grown in India. Furthermore, it belongs to the family of pepper and features a waxy green and heart shaped leaves. You can use the leaves for medicinal or culinary purposes.
When you crush the Betel leaf, it will exude a cool and peppery scent. You can also use the leaves in making a famous Indian dessert known as Paan. Otherwise, you can chew the leaf as a mouth freshener.
Also Read: 75 Types of Flowers you can Eat
Growing the Betel Leaf Plant
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Growing the Betel plant in containers or hanging baskets is possible. It may be hard to obtain Betel leaf plant seeds. As such, consider growing it from root division or cutting. It can thrive well in tropical and subtropical climates. Growing it in cold climate is also possible. However, it will require extra care and must be done in containers.
Train the Betel plant as a climber since it’s primary stem can grow up to a meter long and will eventually form creeping stems with heart shaped leaves that exudes mild scent. On the other hand, you can grow it as ground cover.
Propagate and Plant Betel
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Purchase a Betel leaf plant from a local nursery if you do not want to plant Betel leaf plant seeds. Otherwise, you can propagate it from cutting. Cut about 18-cm long of stem from a Betel plant using a sharp knife. Make a 45-degree cut just under the leaf node. Remove the leaves from the cutting except for the two leaves on top. Then place the cutting in a bowl of fresh water to soak.
Afterwards, put the bowl in a windowsill under partial sunlight and change the water after every two days. Transplant it in the ground or in a pot once the roots will start appearing.
Requirements for Growing Betel Plant
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Use a slightly acidic and sandy loamy soil that’s lightly damp but not water logged. If you choose to grow it in pot, choose a medium sized pot that has holes for water to drain out easily. On the other hand, choose a less windy area that has partial shade for the Betel leaf cultivation.
Caring for your Betel Plant
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Water your betel plant regularly. Once it grows about two meters high, prune the plant in order to encourage new growth of sweet and tender leaves. Feed the plants after every two months during its growing season. Use nitrogen enriched organic fertilizer for feeding. You may also use manure or compost.
Keep the plant indoors during winter when the temperature will start to fall below 41 degree Fahrenheit. Make sure to place it in a warm but cozy room and consider the use of a grow light. The plant could become dormant under brutal cold and will sometimes shed its leaves. However, it grows again in spring and will remain in growth until the fall season.
Also Read: How to use Banana Peels in your Garden
Prevent Pests and Diseases
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Treat the Betel plant with insecticidal soap since it is not pest-free and could get attacked occasionally by red mites. Avoid overwatering the plant as it could suffer from fungal diseases. Reduce the watering the moment you notice some fungal growth.
Leaf blight is another common problem among the leaves. When this affects your plant, the leaves will be covered with brown and black patches. Treat this by pulling the affected leaves off.
Harvest your Betel leaves after about six months of planting. Pick the fresh aromatic leaves gently and enjoy the many Betel leaf benefits.
More Tips on Growing Betel Leaf Plant
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Here are more tips to ensure successful growth of your Betel leaf plant:
• Grow the Betel plant in October, as this is the best time to grow the plant under the open system cultivation.
• Plant other support plants in order to provide shade for your Betel plant. Or else, build rectangular structures that can serve as artificial support or shade.
• Maintain proper drainage during the rainy season.
• Pluck the mature Betel leaves by hand during the harvest season. Wash and clean the harvested leaves according to their quality and size.
• Use manure and fertilizers during Betel leaf cultivation. Apply them in four to six split doses and with an interval of two to three months.
Also Read: 15 Natural Ways to Kill Weeds
Benefits of Betel Leaf
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More and more people are growing Betel leaf plant because of the various benefits that it gives. As mentioned, it is commonly used to make Paan, a famous Indian dessert. The Betel leaf Paan is not only delicious but it also comes with various health benefits. In fact, chewing the Betel leaf alone can come with several medicinal benefits and here are some of them.
1. Improves Digestion
Chew the Betel leaves regularly in order to stimulate the release of saliva, which is important for proper digestion. The various enzymes in the Betel leaf will break down the food easily, which makes digesting food much easier.
2. Prevent carcinogenesis of oral cavity
Gnaw the Betel leaves to prevent oral cancer. The leaves help to maintain the level of ascorbic acid in your saliva. Being an excellent antioxidant, the ascorbic acid can help to minimize free radicals in the body. As such, it protects against cancer.
3. Helps maintain proper oral hygiene
Wrap several spices with the leaf to come up with a Betel leaf Paan that can be used as mouth freshener. The leaves have compounds that are known for their bactericidal effects, which helps destroy the bacteria that cause bad breath. You can use spices like fennel, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon etc.
4. Use as aphrodisiacs
You can chew some Paan before getting intimate with your partner and you will have a more enjoyable experience. In fact, it’s a common practice in India to offer masala Paan to newly married couples.
5. Treat warts
Use the Betel leaves for Ayurvedic treatment in order to treat warts. In fact, the leaves are a major component in various Ayurvedic medicines.
6. Treat cough
Mix the Betel leaf with honey in order to relieve cough and remove phlegm from your chest.
7. Relieve headache
Apply the Betel leaf over your head and it will effectively minimize the pain that you feel. It is said to have analgesic properties that makes it effective for relieving you of your headache.
8. Cure constipation
Dip the stalk of betel leaves in castor oil and apply in the rectum area. This will effectively relieve you of your constipation.
There are several other Betel leaf benefits aside from those mentioned above. Because of the great demand, some people would even grow the Betel plant for business.
So if you are thinking of growing the Betel leaf plant whether for personal use or commercial purposes, make sure that you refer to the tips mentioned above.