Pandan Plant Care & Growing Guide

Have you eaten South-East Asian food? You may have or not, but if you did, then you may have tasted the pandan plant without knowing. Yes, chefs refer to it as the “vanilla of the East.”

You find these tropical plants in Asian cuisine but more about that later. Today we want to help you care for the Pandanus if you decide to get one or perhaps already have one.

Exciting Facts About Pandan Plants

By now, you know the pandan plant comes from South East Asia. It is also a flagrantly scented perennial evergreen. When grown as an outdoor plant, it grows into a shrub, and you can harvest the leaves.

Thus, picking the leaves prevents them from forming a tree, helping keep it small and ideal for growing as an indoor plant.

Eventually, you notice a trunk forming with a long yet strappy leaf canopy, and it has thick aerial roots seen down the trunk.

The best part is those leaves you snip off you can use in your food. For example, you can use it to wrap fish, glutinous rice, and poultry.

When eaten, it has a floral, sweet vanilla almond taste. Still, you need to bruise or boil the leaves to help bring out the flavor.

While chefs use the pandan leaves in stews for soups, it also adds the most delicious flavor to a chiffon cake. While boiling, the leaves give food a glowing green tint.

pandan cupcake

But that is not all this tropical plant native to Malaysia has many medicinal properties to treat rheumatism to restlessness.

Still, that is not all. The pandan leaves are also a pest repellent containing 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline to repel cockroaches.

Still, the Pandanus amaryllifolius Roxb. is the only Pandanus species with fragrant leaves used for cooking, as seen above.

Pandan Tropical Plants Care

pandan plant

Okay, now, before taking care of your young plants, we need to inform you that the tricky thing is keeping the Pandanus species alive in chillier climates. But it is not impossible by following some screwpine plant care available here.

pandan plant care card

Best Potting Mix To Grow Pandan

To provide the best-growing conditions for your indoor plants, it prefers fertile, well-drained soil.

In warmer climates, you can grow pandan in the garden, but it is best to grow them in a pot with a quality potting mix in cooler temperatures. So, using rich, slightly acidic soil is ideal.

Ideal Lighting for Pandan Plants

Pandan plants do not enjoy basking in too much sunlight or wind grown outside. So, if you grow them as outdoor plants, it prefers part shade.

pandan lighting condition

Choose a spot where your plant can enjoy the direct morning sun with dappled sunlight at midday. Another thing is this garden specimen is not frost or drought-tolerant.

Thus, you need to keep the soil moist in warmer seasons and protect it from the cold. Another excellent tip for growing as an indoor plant or outside is to keep it in a black plastic pot.

Doing this allows it to get heat over winter to keep it thriving. The same applies when choosing an indoor location, and best not to place it where there is ducted heating.

Also, place your plant pot to receive enough light during the day. But do not place them too close to your window as the direct sun can damage the leaves.

Further, the glass can get very cold at night in colder months.

Watering Needs for Growing Pandan

Your new plants need to be kept moist during summer but not too wet. So do not leave your new plant standing in water as the roots rot.

You can spray the leaves to keep them moist when it is hot. Yet, we recommend reducing the watering schedule to keep the soil moist as winter arrives.

Temperature & Humidity 

Planting your pandan helps keep the plant in the same steamy climate as in the tropics to survive.

When growing in high humidity and warm temperatures, the foliage multiplies fast. As a result, you will find your plant indoors grows fast in the summer months, while in winter, it comes to a halt as the leaf turns yellow.

The truth is this is normal as it is adapting to the cold. You can keep your plant drier during the winter months and never leave water sitting on the crown.

Providing a moist environment helps to place a humidity tray underneath your pandan, or you can group it with your other tropical plants.

Propagating Pandanus

The fantastic thing is you can propagate your Pandanus plants with offshoots and cuttings.

Offshoot Propagation

When your pandan plants establish you will find them growing extra visible aerial roots known as offshoots. You can notice them fast as the leaf grows in bunches.

Pull off these new leaves using your hands instead of cutting them.

  1. Remove the bottom leaves to provide some space for the roots to grow.
  2. If the offshoot has bunches of aerial roots, you can plant them in moist soil, leveling them up to the neck of the shoot.
  3. Keep your baby in a small pot in a semi-shaded area for a couple of days before introducing it to full sun. The best is to keep the soil moist but not wet.

If you find the offset your removed has no roots fill a bucket with water to help encourage it to grow some roots first. We recommend changing the water daily.

Cutting Plants For Propagation

When your plant is actively growing, it can get leggy as the top leaves absorb more of the light. An excellent way to keep your rare plant pretty is to remove the top section by cutting them in the middle.

Doing this leaves you with two indoor plants you can grow. Next, remove the bottom leaves of the top, leaving the stem exposed.

Next, bury the neck into the soil as growing your offshoots. You can still keep the lower section of the mother plant in the same pot to grow new shoots.

USDA Zones

usda map guide for growing pandan

You can grow your pandan in the hardiness zones 8a to 11 outdoors. Still, it is best to move your plant indoors when it gets colder.

Potting Pandanus

When the time comes to repot your pandan, we recommend investing in a pot size bigger. The best time to transplant your plant is when they are actively growing in early spring to summer.

When repotting your pandan, it helps to use some seaweed extract to water them to help with root growth. You can water your plants with the extract when planting and then a week later.

Another notable thing is that you can only harvest leaves from a larger plant for cooking.

Pandan Varieties

Pandanus tectorius

Pandanus tectorius

The small multi-stemmed evergreen tree has a prickly stem with prop roots. The sword-like leaves grow long and form clusters at the top that ends in branches.

In Asia, the local people use this outdoor plant as a staple food as they eat the fruit by cooking it and removing the pandan seeds.

Pandanus utilis

Pandanus utilis

The Red Edge Pandanus grows fast and has foliage with a red splash of color at the base. The tree is drought-tolerant to some extent.

Pandanus pygmaeus

Pandanus pygmaeus

The dwarf screwpine is more of ornamental foliage that has green-yellow variegation. The spines are sharp and need a tropical climate to thrive.

Pandan Plant Diseases & Pests

Some of the common nuisances that can bother your plants indoors are aphids, mites, and mealybugs. When you notice powdery residue or an insect, treat the infestation immediately with an organic insecticide.

The other problem is overwatering as it can lead to root problems and it the best to let the soil dry out a bit but not too much.

Frequently Asked Questions

It can be of moisture stress caused by under or overwatering. Still, it also depends on the time of the year as pandan plants tend to turn a bit yellow in winter.

Unfortunately, no the yellows pandan leaf will not turn green again if it is overwatering, and best to remove the strappy leaves. Another cause can be a nutrient deficiency, and providing your plant with fertilizer can help rectify this problem.

If you can salvage the roots, you can remove the dead leaves and stems. Provide your plant with less sun than average and water it lightly for up to four weeks. Also, remove the branches that are not producing new leaves.

Yes, you can grow pandan indoors, provided you create a suitable environment with proper lighting, humidity, and care to ensure it remains pest-free.

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