Horticulture :: Spice Crops :: Cardamom

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum Maton.)

Malabar : Mudigree 1, Mudigree 2, PV 1, ICRI 1, ICRI 3, TKD 4,IISR Suvarna, IISR Vijetha, IISR Avinash, Mysore : ICRI 2, Vazhukka : PV2, Njallani (Green gold).

Cardamom Plantation

Cardamom Plant

Soil and climate
Thick shady areas with loamy soil are ideal for cultivating cardamom. This crop can be grown at an elevation from 600 to 1500 m. Areas exposed to heavy winds are unsuitable. Adequate drainage must be provided. It is grown in forest loamy soils which are usually acidic in nature with a pH range of 5.0 – 6.5

June – December is found to be optimum.

Seeds and sowing
Seedlings/suckers can be used for propagation.

Propagation from Seeds

  • Collect seeds from healthy and high yielding plants.

  • Seed rate – 600g/ha (fresh seeds).

  • Treat with commercial grade Sulphuric acid or Hydrochloric acid for 20 minutes.

  • Wash with water.

  • Prepare the beds with equal quantity of well rotten cattle manure, wood ash and jungle soil.

  • Sow the seeds in beds and cover with a thin layer of fine sand.

  • Mulching and shading may be provided to seed beds. The beds should be kept moist but not too wet. Germination starts usually a month after sowing and continues upto three months. One year old seedlings are transplanted to secondary nursery.

Secondary nursery:

  • Prepare the beds. As that of primary nursery, shade is provided by erecting overhead pandal.

  • Seedlings planted at a distance of 20 x 20 cm.

  • 18-22 months old seedlings are used for transplanting.

  • Polybags of 20 x 20 cm size can be used

Propagation from suckers:

  • Suckers from high yielding plants are planted in clonal gardens.

  • Spacing 1.8 m x 0.6 m (6800 plants/ha of clonal nursery)

  • Shade and Irrigation is provided, 32 – 42 suckers obtained from each planting unit in 12 months

Preparation of the field
Dig pits of 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm size and fill with compost and top soil.  Contour planting may be done in slopy areas.

Larger types    : 2.5 x 2.0 m.
Smaller types  : 2.0 x 1.5 m.

Generally Cardamom is grown as a rainfed crop, but provide sprinkler irrigation during summer for increased yields.

Apply compost 25 t/ha; 75 kg N; 75 kg P and 150 kg K/ha in two split doses during June ‑ July and October - November.

After cultivation

  • Shade regulation : Moderate shade : 50-60 %, Rainfed : 40 – 50 %, Irrigated : 55-60 %

  • Mixed population of medium sized shade trees- Karona, Red cedar, konikonna, Jack, Vellakil, Thempavu, Thambahom, Bolongi, Elangi.

  • Weed the field as and when necessary. Towards the end of monsoon rains, a light raking or digging and mulching is given around the plant to a radius of about 75 cm to conserve moisture during the dry period.

  • Pollination can be enhanced by keeping bee hives at 10 – 15 Nos./ha.

Plant protection

Pesticide Dose
Diafenthiuron 50 % WP 8 g/10 lit
Monocrotophos 36 % SL 10 ml/10 lit
Phenthoate 50 % EC 5.0 ml/10 lit.
Quinalphos 25 % EC 12 ml/10 lit.

Hairy caterpillar
Hairy caterpillar can be controlled by spraying Phosalone 35 EC 1 ml/lit.

Shoot and fruit borer
Setup pheromone trap @ 12 Nos/ha to attract and destroy the female moths.

Mites can be controlled by spraying Dicofol 18.5 EC 2 ml/lit.

Fumigate the primary and secondary nursery beds using Methyl Bromide (@ 500 g/10 sq.m) or Ethylene-di-bromide (@ 20 lit/ha) or Durofume (@ 30 lit/ha) under polythene cover for 2-3 days or drench the nursery beds with 2 % Formalin.
Apply Carbofuran 3 G @ 5 kg a.i/ha

Mosaic or Katte disease
This is a serious disease affecting the productivity of Cardamom.
This is transmitted by banana aphid which can be controlled by regular spraying with Methyl demeton 25 EC or Dimethoate 30 EC or Phosphomidon 86 WSC at 750 ml/ha.

Damping off or clump rot or rhizome rot
Drench nursery with 1 lit of Formaldehyde in 50 lit water for 3 sq.m. before sowing. Prophylactic drench with 0.25% Mancozeb or 1% Bordeaux mixture immediately after germination to control Pythium and 0.05% Carbendazim after 15 days to control Rhizoctonia.

Capsule rot or panicle rot or Azhukal
Three sprays with 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.25% Copper oxychloride or 0.2% Mancozeb just before onset of South West monsoon in early August and in September. Drench the soil with 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Cardamom Flower

Cardamom Immature Capsules

Harvesting commences from the third year onwards. But good yields are expected from 5th year. Harvesting is generally done once in a month. Pick only those fruits which are just ripe but not fully ripe. Fully ripe fruits tend to split on drying and do not develop the desirable dark green colour.

Cardamom Capsules

Cardamom Seeds

The yield ranges from 200 - 250 kg/ha.

Market information

Growing districts Theni
Major markets in Tamil Nadu Bodinayakanur, Kumily, Thekkady, Kumbum
Preferred varieties Alleppey Green Extra Bold' (AGEB)
Grade specification Freshness, colour, aroma and size

Last Updated: April 2015

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