Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum L.); Zingiberaceae


Malabar types – Mudigere-1 and Mudigere-2, PV 1, PV 2, ICRI 1, ICRI 3, TKD 4, IISR Suvasini, IISR Vijetha, IISR Avinash, Appangala-2

Mysore type – ICRI 2

Vazhukka types – Njallani Green Gold, Panikulangara – 1

Soil and Climate

Cardamom is generally grown in forest loam soil with medium to high available phosphorous and potassium. Well drained forest loamy soil and red lateritic soil rich in organic matter with good drainage is preferable. The soil pH of 5.5 to 6.0 is highly ideal for cultivation. Cardamom cannot tolerate water logging.

Small cardamom is a pseophytic plant and prefers to grow under warm humid climate. It requires 40-60 per cent shade. An annual rainfall with a range from 1500 to 4000 mm with even distribution is essential. Summer showers during February-April are very much important for the initiation of new panicles.  Temperature range of 10oC to 32oC and an altitude of 600-1200 m above MSL are suited for cultivation. However, good productivity is achieved when the cardamom is grown from 900-1200 m above MSL. Areas with heavy winds should be avoided

SeasonJune – October.

Seeds and Sowing

Propagation through seeds Collect seeds from healthy and high yielding plants. 

Seed rate600g/ha (fresh seeds)

  • 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 are 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 are provided and  32 – 42 suckers are obtained from each planting unit in 12 months

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


Mysore type: 3m x 3m (1,111plants/ha), Malabar type: 2m x 2m (2,500plants/ha) and Vazhukka type: 2.4m x 2.4m (1,736plants/ha)

IrrigationGenerally Cardamom is grown as a rainfed crop, but sprinkler irrigation may be provided during summer for increased yield.

Application of Manures – Basal application of 25 t of FYM or Compost and 2 kg each of Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria and top dressing of vermicompost @ 4 t/ha in 2 equal splits during June-July and August-September.

Foliar Nutrition – Spray 3% Panchagavya twice at 30 and 45 days after planting

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.

Weeding – Weeding is done 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.

Mulching – Fallen leaves of the shade trees are utilized for mulching .  Sufficient mulch should be applied during November – December to reduce the ill effect of drought which prevails for nearly 4-5 months during summer.

The practice of uncovering the panicles shortly offer the commencement of flowering improves fruit set in Cardamom

Pollination Management

In cardamom, cross pollination is mediated by activity of Honey bees.  The number of honeybee colonies required for effective pollination is minimum of four colonies (About 5000 foragers per colony per hectare). Bee pollination results in better quality capsules of uniform size and shape.

Plant Protection 


Shoot/Panicle/Capsule borer – Set up pheromone trap @ 12/ha to attract and destroy the female moths.


Damping off or clump rot or rhizome rot 

  • Pythium:Prophylactic drenching with 1% Bordeaux mixture immediately after germination 

Capsule rot or panicle rot or azhukal

  • Three sprays with 1% Bordeaux mixture during August – September
  • Drench the soil with 1% Bordeaux mixture

HarvestHarvesting commences from third year onwards. Economic yields from 5th year. Harvesting is 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.

Yield200 – 250 kg/ha.

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