Institution Education Research Extension News & Events Contact Us


Package of Practices Recommendations: Crops

Medicinal and aromatic plants

Medicinal spices

EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus citriodora)

KACHOLAM (Kaempferia galanga)

LEMONGRASS (Cymbopogon flexuosus)

PALMAROSA (Cymbopogon martinii var. motia)

VETIVER (Vetiveria zizanioides)


NEELA AMARI [NILI] (Indigofera tinctoria)


KASTHURIMANJAL (Curcuma aromatica)

CHITTARATHA (Alpinia calcarata)

JASMINE (Jasminum spp.)

TUBEROSE (Poliantha tuberosa)

MARIGOLD (Tagetes spp.)

CARDAMOM (Elettaria cardamomum)

CINNAMON (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

CLOVE (Syzygium aromaticum)

VANILLA (Vanilla planifolia)

GINGER (Zingiber officinale)

MANGO-GINGER (Curcuma amada)

NUTMEG (Myristica fragrans)

TURMERIC (Curcuma longa)

CAMBOGE [KUDAMPULI] (Garcinia gummi-gutta var. gummi-gutta)

TAMARIND (Tamarindus indica)











Medicinal and aromatic plants

Eucalyptus thrives both in the tropics and subtropics. High humidity and plenty of rainfall are conducive to its luxuriant growth. It can be grown in varied types of soils. The essential oil is used in the preparation of cosmetics, hair oil and soap and forms a raw material for menthol manufacture.

Preparation of land
Clear the land of jungle growth. Take pits of size 45 x 45 x 45 cm at a spacing 2 x 2 m at least one month prior to planting and allow to weather. Fill up the pits with soil completely so as to prevent water stagnation.

Nursery is raised and 4-5 month old seedlings are planted with the commencement of southwest monsoon. After planting, press the soil around the seedling and form mound to prevent stagnation of water.

Manuring is not usually done. However, application of 400 g ammonium sulphate, 60 g superphosphate and 25 g muriate of potash per plant per year during August from third year onwards is found to be useful in increasing leaf yield.

During first year, cultivate the rows in both directions to prevent weed growth. Hand weeding is done around the seedlings. Fire belts are to be provided all around.

Eucalyptus can be grown along with coffee, lemongrass and palmarosa. In the first four years, intercropping with pineapple, yam and vegetables can be done.

Harvest and curing
Pruning of side branches may be started from second year onwards. Lopping at a height of 2 m is done during third or fourth year and thereafter lopping is resorted to at half-yearly intervals leaving only one branch. For extracting oil, steam distillation is resorted to. Optimum time for distillation is two hours and the average recovery of oil is 1.5-1.8% of the net weight of leaves. Wilting of the cut leaves under shade for 24 hours before distillation will increase the oil recovery percentage.



KACHOLAM (Kaempferia galanga)

(Ad hoc recommendation)

An attractive medicinal plant used in various medicines. The aromatic essential oil of the roots is widely used in perfumery, as a condiment, and as a folk medicine. Asians employ the rhizomes and leaves as a perfume in cosmetics, hair washes and powders. They are used to protect the clothing against insects. They are chewed with betel nut.

Kacholam is a plant adapted for tropical climate. Fertile loamy soil having good drainage is ideal for the crop. Laterite soil with heavy organic manure application is also well suited.

Preparation of land
Prepare the land to a good tilth during March by ploughing or digging. On receipt of pre-monsoon showers in April, prepare beds of 1 m width 25 cm height and of convenient length with spacing of 40 cm between beds.

Seed materials
Whole or split rhizome with at least one healthy sprout is the planting material in kacholam. Select well developed healthy and disease free rhizomes. Rhizomes can be stored in cool dry place or pits dug under shade, plastered with mud or cowdung. Two weeks before planting of the new crop, smoking the rhizomes by spreading it on Glycosmis pentaphylla ('panel') leaves is practised in certain localities.

Mostly local varieties are under cultivation and they include collections from Koothattukulam, Thodupuzha, Varandarapalli, Kalladikode, Ponnukkara, Perumbavoor and Vellanikkara. Rajani and Kasthuri are newly released high yielding varieties with an yield potential of more than 2 tonnes dry rhizomes per ha and have good aroma and flavour.

Season and method of planting
Planting is done during the month `of May with the receipt of four or five pre-monsoon showers. Take small pits in the beds in rows with a spacing of 20 x 15 cm and at a depth of 4-5 cm and plant rhizomes with at least one viable healthy bud facing upwards. Adopt seed rate of 700-800 kg/ha.

Apply FYM or compost as basal dose at the rate of 20 t/ha, either by broadcasting and ploughing or by covering the rhizome in pits after planting. Apply N, P2O5 and K2O @ 50, 50 and 50 kg/ha at the time of the first and second weeding.

After planting, mulch the beds with dry or green leaves at the rate of 15 t/ha.

After cultivation
Remove weeds as and when necessary. Apply fertilizers and earth up the crop during the first and second weeding (45 and 90 days after planting). Avoid water stagnation in the beds. Further weeding will not be necessary because of the spreading of leaves on the soil surface in the beds.

Plant protection
During heavy rains, leaf rot disease occurs in certain localities. For controlling this disease, drench the beds with 1% Bordeaux mixture. Thiram 0.2% can also be sprayed.

Harvesting and curing
The crop can be harvested seven months after planting. Drying of the leaves is the indication of crop maturity for harvest. Harvest the crop carefully without cutting the rhizomes, remove dried leaves and roots, wash the rhizome in water and dry. With sharp knife, chop the rhizomes into circular pieces of uniform size except the end portion, which has to be cut separately. Spread the cut rhizomes uniformly on clean floor and allow drying for four days. On fourth day, heap the rhizomes and keep it overnight. On the next day it is again spread and dried. Clean the dried produce, bag and store in cool dry place or market it. Prolonged storage can cause insect and fungus attack.

↑  Top

Lemongrass prefers warm climate with a well-distributed rainfall and well-drained soil. Usually it is grown on poor, gravelly soils. Lemongrass is a perennial grass mainly cultivated on hill slopes as a rainfed crop. The crop provides maximum yield from the second to fourth year of planting and economic yield up to the sixth year. Thereafter, the yield declines considerably. The leaves yield an aromatic oil, containing 70-90% citral. This oil is used in soaps, cosmetics and disinfectants and is a raw material for manufacturing ionones and vitamin A.

Seeds and sowing
The crop is propagated mostly through seeds. It can also be propagated vegetatively through planting of slips.

OD-19 is the improved variety of lemongrass recommended for cultivation.

Seeds can be sown directly in the field or seedlings are raised in a nursery and then transplanted. Transplanted crop is found superior to direct-sown crop in respect of grass yield, oil content and citral content in oil. Seeds are sown in well prepared nursery beds during April-May with the onset of pre-monsoon rains and covered with thin layer of soil. The seed rate is 3 to 4 kg/ha. Seeds collected in the season should be sown latest by August of the same year. The seedlings will be ready for transplanting in 2 to 2.5 months.

Preparation of land
The land is prepared by digging. Raised beds of 75-80 cm width and of convenient length are formed with a spacing of 30-35 cm between beds. On sloppy terrain, the beds are formed along the contours. At the early southwest monsoon (June-July), two or three seedlings or slips per hill are transplanted on the beds at a spacing of 15-20 cm in 4-5 rows. Before planting, the top leafy portion of the seedling is cut off leaving the plant stalk about 15-20 cm length.

Application of compost made of spent lemongrass (refuse obtained after distillation) and wood-ash at the rate of 2500 kg/ha and 1875 kg/ha respectively is found beneficial. Application of nitrogenous fertilizers @ 100 kg/ha in four splits (each after 1st to 4th harvest) has been found to increase oil yield considerably.

After cultivation
Regular weeding depending on weed growth and earthing up at least once in a year along with manuring is recommended. Serious pests or diseases do not generally infest the crop.

Harvesting is done by cutting the grass 10 cm above ground level. During the first year of planting, three cuttings are obtained and subsequently five to six cuttings per year are taken subject to weather conditions. The harvesting season begins in May and continues till the end of January. The first harvest is taken about 90 days after planting and subsequent harvests at intervals of 40-50 days. The optimum interval between harvests to obtain maximum quantity of oil is 40-45 days for local types of lemon grass. For OD-19, the optimum interval was found to be 60-65 days when grown in hill-tops and 45-55 days in valleys and lower areas.

Seed collection
The crop for seed production is left without cutting to get maximum seeds. The crop flowers during November-December and the seeds are collected during January-February. The whole panicle is cut and dried for one or two days and then threshed and sieved to collect the seeds.

Lemongrass is distilled in copper stills of about 100 kg capacity by steam distillation, or water and steam distillation process. Time required for one distillation is about two hours including the time required for charging and discharging, provided the firewood is well dried and of good quality. For one distillation, about 40 kg of firewood is required. A light yellow, lemon-scented volatile oil is obtained. Providing a perforated disc just above the water level in the copper still will be helpful to produce oil of better quality. This method is known as water and steam method. When crop area is large enough, steam method is found to be more economical. Coal is used as fuel.

The cut grass is chopped into smaller pieces before feeding to the distillation unit. It can be stored up to 3 days under shade without any adverse effect on yield or quality of oil.

Storage of oil
Lemongrass oil can be stored up to 3 years without affecting the quality of oil, if kept in aluminum containers sealed air-tight using wax. The containers are to be kept in darkness.

The grass yield during the first year will be about 10 t/ha, which gives about 28 kg of oil. From the second year onwards, the grass yield will be about 25 t/ha giving about 75 kg of oil. The average recovery of oil is 0.30-0.35% with 70% citral for local types of lemongrass while OD-19 variety gives 0.40-0.45% oil recovery and 85-90% citral content.

↑  Top

Palmarosa (rosha grass) is adapted to marginal areas and poor soils; can be grown under dense canopies of trees and used for soil conservation.

The flowering tops and foliage contain sweet smelling oil emitting a rose like odour and is widely used in soaps, cosmetics and perfumery industries. The oil is also used as a raw material for producing geraniol, which is extensively used in the perfumery industry.

The crop can be propagated by seeds and slips. Seedlings establish quicker and are better than slips from clones. So seedlings are preferred as planting materials under Kerala conditions. Prepare the seedbed in well-pulverized soil after 15th April. Four to five kg of seeds are sown in one hectare of land and covered with a thin layer of soil. Give frequent watering till the onset of southwest monsoon. Seeds collected in January-February must be sown latest by August.

Prepare the main field for planting, form beds and plant the seedling, two on a hill, at a spacing of 30 x 20 cm. Apply organic manures like compost made of spent grass and wood ash @ 6 t/ha and 2.5 t/ha respectively at the time of formation of beds.

By about 3.5 to 4 months, the plants attain a height of 150-200 cm and they start producing inflorescence. The grass is cut one week after flowering. Generally two cuttings are made during the first year of planting. From second year onwards 3 to 5 cuttings are possible.

As in the case of lemongrass, extraction of palmarosa oil is done by the steam and water method. It takes two hours to complete one distillation. The average recovery of oil from Amaravathy variety is 0.40 to 0.45%. Allowing the cut grass to wilt in shade for 24 hours during monsoon seasons and 48 hours during the post-monsoon will increase the oil recovery.

Plant protection
Pink globular root aphids (Tetraneura) occur on the roots and cause withering of the crop in patches due to de-sapping. Dig out and burn the affected patches and irrigate with water charged with fish oil soap or emulsion spray oil to control the aphids.

↑  Top

Vetiver is a perennial grass, commonly known as 'khus' plant and mainly cultivated on hill slopes as a rainfed crop. The essential oil is extracted from the roots and known as 'khuskhus oil'.

It prefers a warm climate and grows in areas up to 600 m elevation. Even though vetiver grows almost in all soils, a rich and fairly well drained sandy loam is the best. An annual rainfall of about 100 to 200 cm, temperature ranging from 25 to 40șC and moderate humidity are ideal for its growth.

Its root contains fragrant oil, which is a perfume by itself. The dry aromatic roots are made into curtains, mats, fans, etc. to emit scented cool aroma when moistened. The oil is used as a valuable fixative for blending perfumes and cosmetics.

Two types of vetiver namely, South Indian and North Indian (khus) are generally under cultivation. South Indian types produce higher root and oil yield, but North Indian types have superior oil quality. Among the South Indian types, the Nilambur type (ODV-3) on an average produces 5 t/ha of root, yielding 20-30 kg oil/ha.

The crop is propagated through slips. June-July is the optimum period for planting. Two to three ploughing are given so that the soil is well loosened and ridges or beds of convenient length are made. Slips are planted in two rows on 1 m wide beds.

Usually 5 t/ha of FYM or compost is applied at the time of bed preparation. Application of 22.5 kg each of P2O5 and K2O per ha is found to be beneficial for increasing root and oil yield.

Harvesting and distillation
The optimum period of harvest of roots to get the maximum oil yield is 18 months. Harvesting is done with the digging forks. The roots are washed gently to remove the earth and are chopped into bits of 4-5 cm length. The oil is extracted by hydro-distillation.

Vetiver as a soil binder
Vetiver has a deep, dense and strong fibrous root system. The perennial and sterile characteristics of the crop with its hardiness and un-palatability to livestock make it an excellent soil-conserving crop. It may be planted as a contour hedge on sloppy lands or can be used to protect the banks of major irrigation canals.

↑  Top

This is an attractive erect rambling shrub with long tuberous roots and bright red flowers in long terminal spikes. The root tubers are the medicinally important parts. This is an esteemed remedy for leucoderma and other skin diseases. The synonyms of fire like 'agnih' 'analah' etc. are attributed to this drug to indicate the caustic action of roots causing blisters on the skin. The drug is used only after adequate curing and purification. Roots contain plumbagin, which is responsible for the therapeutic action of the drug.

Planting materials
Propagated by single, double or three node semi-hard wood stem cuttings. Cuttings are planted in nursery beds of convenient length and 1 m width for rooting.

Land preparation
Prepare the land to a good tilth by ploughing two or three times. Make ridges of about 30 cm height and 50 cm apart for planting rooted cuttings. Two to three month old rooted cuttings can be planted on the ridges at a spacing of 15 cm in June-July.

Cattle manure or compost @ 10 t/ha may be applied as basal dose at the time of land preparation. The fertilizer dose for chethikoduveli is N:P2O5:K2O 50:50:50 kg/ha. Entire P2O5 has to be applied as basal dose and N and K2O in two split doses, 2 months and 4 months after planting.

Weeding has to be done two or three times depending on weed growth. Earthing up may be done two times along with topdressing of fertilizers.

The crop can be harvested in about 18 months after planting. After digging out, the root tubers are cleaned by washing in water and marketed.

↑  Top

Nili is a reputed drug for the promotion of hair growth. Due to antitoxic property it is also a good remedy for poisons. This plant, which is the original source of natural indigo, is an erect shrub with imparipinnate leaves. Leaves are important in medicine and form a major ingredient of preparations like 'Nilibhringadi'.

Land preparation
Prepare the soil to fine tilth by ploughing two or three times.

Seeds and sowing
Seeds are very small and the seed rate is 3 kg/ha. Seeds require pretreatment for good germination, as the seed coat is hard. Seeds are mixed with sand and ground gently to break the seed coat. An alternate method for enhancing germination is dipping the seeds in boiling water for a second. After pre-treatment seeds are broadcasted. Broadcast the seeds preferably mixed with sand 2-3 times its volume to ensure uniform coverage. Seeds germinate within a week.

The best time for sowing is September-October.

Apply cattle manure at the rate of 10 t/ha as basal dressing and incorporate into soil along with last ploughing.

Weeding has to be done twice, three weeks and six weeks after sowing.

Plants start flowering 2-3 months after sowing. Harvesting is done by cutting the plants at this time, at a height of about 10 cm from ground level. Irrigate plants after harvest. Subsequent harvests can be made at 1.5-2 months interval. Four to five cuttings can be taken in a year depending on the growth.

Seeds collection
A few plants per plot are left without cutting to set seeds. Ripe pods are to be harvested in the early morning to prevent loss of seeds by shattering during harvest.

The psyllid Arytaina puctipennis infest top shoot causing curling up and drooping of leaves and shoots, and wilting of plants.

↑  Top

Indian crocus, also known as bhucampaka in Sanskrit, abhuyicampa in Hindi and chengazhinirkizhangu in Malayalam is a medicinal herb with aromatic rhizome. The rhizomes are used for the treatment of tumours, swellings and wounds. It helps to remove blood clots and other purulent matters in body. It is used in many ayurvedic formulations including 'Chyavanaprasam' for improving complexion and curing burning sensation, gastric complaints, mental disorders and insomnia.

Climate and soil
The plant is distributed in the tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa. It grows wild in wet, humid or shaded forest ecosystems of south India. It is also cultivated as an intercrop with other commercial crops. Moist loamy soil is ideal for the crop. Laterite soil with heavy organic manure application is also well suited.

It is propagated through rhizomes and tissue culture methods.

At present, only local types are available for cultivation.

The optimum time of planting is with the receipt of four or five pre-monsoon showers in May-June.

Land preparation
Plough the field to good tilth. Incorporate organic manure at 10-15 t/ha. Prepare raised seedbeds of 1 m breadth and of convenient length.

Seed rate
Use rhizome bits of size 10-15 g for planting. About 2500-3000 kg rhizomes are required for planting one hectare. Smoking the rhizomes for 2-3 weeks is good for the development of healthy sprouts. At times, rhizomes are stored in Glycosmis pentaphylla leaves in underground pits covered with coconut fronds.

Pits are made at 20 cm spacing on the seedbed. Whole or split rhizomes with at least one healthy sprout is planted 5 cm deep with the sprout facing upwards and covering the pit with FYM.

Mulch the beds thickly with green leaves or straw @ 15 t/ha immediately after planting and again after two months along with weeding and topdressing. Mulching is absolutely essential for good growth.

Fertilizer application
Fertilizer application can be skipped in fertile soils. In poor and marginal soils a moderate dose of 50:50:50 N:P2O5:K2O kg/ha may be applied; P2O5 as basal and N & K2O in two or three split doses.

Remove weeds, apply manure and fertilizers and earth up two and four months after planting, followed by mulching.

Plant protection
During rainy months, rhizome rot is noticed which can be controlled by drenching 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Harvesting and yield
The crop matures in 7-8 months. Drying up of the leaves is the indication of maturity. Dig out the rhizomes carefully, remove leaves and clean. The rhizomes with attached tubers are usually marketed afresh. Prolonged storage may cause insect and fungus attack. The average yield is 12-15 t/ha and dry rhizome yield 27-30%.

↑  Top

Curcuma aromatica known as vanharidra in Sanskrit jangali-haldi in Hindi and kasthurimanjal in Malayalam is a rhizomatous herbaceous medicinal plant. The rhizome is an odoriferous ingredient of the cosmetics used for the cure of chronic skin diseases caused by impure blood. It is used as appetizer and tonic to women after childbirth. It is also useful against high fever and worm infestation.

Climate and soil
It is distributed in Southeast Asia. The plant grows wild in the eastern Himalayas and in moist deciduous forests of Kerala and Karnataka. It is grown as a subsistence crop in backyard, kitchen garden and interspaces of other crops in areas with good rainfall. Well-drained rich loamy soils are ideal for the crop.

It is propagated vegetatively by rhizomes and by tissue culture methods.

At present, only local types are available for cultivation.

Land preparation
Clear the areas, remove all the pebbles and stones and plough the field to good tilth. Incorporate FYM or organic manure @ 10-15 t/ha. Prepare raised seedbeds of 1.2 m breadth and of convenient length.

Seed rate
A healthy disease free mother rhizome with at least one germinated sprout is the planting material. It is required at the rate of 1500 kg/ha.

Take small pits at 60 x 40 cm spacing on the seedbed and plant seed rhizomes with the germinating sprout facing upwards. Cover the rhizome with FYM and mulch the bed with leaves or straw.

Fertilizer application
Apply fertilizers @ 100:50:50 N:P2O5:K2O kg/ha; entire P2O5 as basal and N and K2O in two equal splits at planting and two months after planting.

Carry out gap filling if necessary within one month. Remove weeds two months after planting followed by topdressing, earthing up and mulching.

Plant protection
No serious pests and diseases are encountered in the crop.

Harvesting and yield
The crop matures in 7 months. Drying up of leaves is the indication of maturity. Dig out the rhizomes without causing damage. Remove the dry leaves and roots. The cleaned rhizomes are either marketed or dried and stored. The average yield of fresh rhizome is 28 t/ha which on drying gives 27% recovery.

The rhizome is thinly sliced and steam distilled for 3-4 hours for extracting the essential oil and the yield is 90 litres per ha. Oil recovery is 0.33% on fresh weight basis and 1.05% on dry weight basis.

↑  Top

Alpinia calcarata (galangal) is also known as rasna in Sanskrit, kulainjan in Hindi and chittaratha in Malayalam. It is a perennial herb with non-tuberous pungent rootstock. It grows to a height of 1.5 m and produces around 24 suckers per clump per year. The economic part is rhizome, which is a major constituent of many formulations of indigenous system of medicine for relieving throat inflammation, stimulating digestion, purifying blood, improving voice and marinating youthful vigour.

Climate and soil
Alpinia comes up well in tropical climate. It grows on a wide range of climate and soil. Well-drained hilly areas and places up to 1400 m altitude are good for its cultivation. Fertile red loams to forests soils are suitable.

It is propagated vegetatively by rhizomes and by tissue culture methods.

At present, only local types are available for cultivation.

Rainfed crop is planted with the onset of monsoon in May-June. Irrigated crop can be planted at any time.

Land preparation
Plough the field to good tilth. Remove all pebbles and stones. Incorporate FYM or organic manure at 10-15 t/ha. Prepare raised beds of convenient length and breadth to facilitate drainage.

Seed rate
Fresh healthy disease-free rhizome bits with at least one shoot is the planting material, which is required @ 1000-1500 kg/ha.

Take small pits on the seedbed and plant 5 cm long rhizome bits. Cover rhizome with FYM and mulch the seedbed with leaves or straw. The optimum spacing is 30 x 20 cm under good fertility and 40 x 30 cm under poor fertility conditions.

Fertilizer application
Apply fertilizers @ 100:50:50 N:P2O5:K2O kg/ha per year in two or three split doses. Application of biofertilizer Azospirillum @ 10 kg/ha and in situ green manuring with cowpea are beneficial for the crop.

Carry out gap filling, if required, within one month; remove weeds two months after planting followed by topdressing, earthing up and mulching. Thereafter no weeding is required as the crop smothers the weeds.

Plant protection
Usually pests and diseases are not serious enough to take up any control measures. Occasionally shoot borers and leaf eating caterpillars are observed which can be controlled by spraying 0.1% monocrotophos. Blight disease can be controlled by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Harvesting and yield
Though the crop can be harvested after 18 months, the optimum stage of harvest for obtaining maximum rhizome and oil yield is 36-42 months after planting. Cut and remove the shoot portion and carefully dig out the rhizomes and roots. Harvesting is very arduous due to strong and extensive root ramification. Separate the roots, clean the rhizomes and cut into 5 cm long pieces, which are dried in the sun for 3-5 days to 10% moisture for marketing. The average yield of rhizomes is about 23 t/ha, which on drying gives 25% recovery.

The fresh rhizomes on steam distillation for 3-5 hours give 0.22% essential oil. The oil recovery on dry weight basis is 0.93%. Root is also a significant contributor of essential oil.

↑  Top

Jasmine is an important flower crop that could be grown on a commercial scale in Kerala. Jasminum sambac is the most ideal species for cultivation in Kerala. The flowers are used for preparing garlands. The jasmine oil has great export potential in addition to its use for medicinal purpose.
Important cultivars
There are trailing, climbing, and erect growing species and cultivars. Three important species and their varieties are given below:

1. Jasminum sambac: Gundumalli, Motia, Virupakshi, Sujimalli, Madanabanam, Ramabanam.

2. Jasminum grandiflorum: Co-1 Pitchi, Co-2 Pitchi, Thimmapuram, Lucknow.

3. Jasminum auriculatum: Co-1 Mulla, Co-2 Mulla, Long Point, Long Round, Short Point, Short Round.

Soil and climate

Jasmine can be planted on a wide range of soils. Well-drained sandy loams and red loams are ideal for its cultivation. In clayey soils, there is increased vegetative growth and reduced flowering. They give good yield in low rainfall conditions.


Layering and cutting are the main propagation methods. Better rooting of cuttings can be obtained by planting in coarse sand and also by using any of the rooting hormones like IBA (5000 ppm), IAA (1000 ppm) and NAA (5000 ppm). Simple and compound layering methods are followed during June-July to October-November. Layers will be ready for planting within 90-120 days.


After ploughing the land, pits of about 40 x 40 x 40 cm size are taken and filled with topsoil and 15 kg well-rotten FYM.
Planting distance depends on the species and also on soil and environmental conditions.


Planting distance

J. sambac

1.2 x 1.2 m
 1.8 x 1.8 m
 2.0 x 1.5 m

Planting is usually done during June-August.


Each plant requires a fertilizer dose of 120 g N, 240 g P2O5 and 240 g K2O. The fertilizers are mixed together and applied in two split doses during January and July. This has to be supplemented with organic manures like neem cake, groundnut oil cake etc. at the rate of 100 g per plant per month.


Pruning is essential and is done at a height of 45 cm from the ground level during mid December-January.

Weed control

Manual weeding is effective but expensive. Use of weedicides like paraquat is also practised. Mulching also reduces weed population.


Constant and adequate water supply during
peak flowering season (March-October) is essential for high yield of flowers. After flowering is over, the water supply can be cut off. During summer, irrigate twice a week.


Jasmine is comparatively a hardy plant. Major pests are bud and shoot borers and blossom midge, which can be controlled by spraying 0.15-0.20% carbaryl.


Leaf blight: Can be controlled by spraying 0.2% mancozeb or 0.1% benomyl

Fusarium wilt: Drench the soil with 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Rust: Controlled by spraying 0.2% zineb.


Yield of flowers and jasmine oil vary according to the species and management practices.

Species Flower yield (t/ha) Oil yield (kg/ha)

J. sambac
J. auriculatum J.grandiflorum


15.44 28.00 29.00


Tuberose occupies a very special position among the ornamental bulbous plants because of its prettiness, elegance and fragrance. It has good economic potential for loose/cut flower trade and essential oil industry.


There are four groups of cultivars as given below:

1. Single: Flower is pure white and has only a single row of corolla segments. Cultivars are Sringar, Culcutta Single, Mexican Single and Suvarna Rekha.

2. Double: Flowers are white, tinged with pinkish red. Petals are in several whorls. Cultivars are Suvasini, Culcutta Double and Pearl.

3. Semi-double: Similar to double but with only 2 to 3 rows of corolla segments.

4. Variegated: This has variegated leaves with yellow margins.


Porous, well-drained sandy loam soils are the best suited for tuberose cultivation.


Propagation is by bulbs. Boat shaped bulbs of size 2 to 3 cm are preferred for planting. About 1.25 to 1.50 lakh bulbs (800 to 900 kg) are required for planting one hectare.

Cultural practices

Land is prepared well by ploughing two or three times. FYM @ 30 t/ha is mixed well with soil. Best time for planting is May-July. The bulbs preferably those of size 2-5 cm or above are to be planted at a depth of 7-10 cm, with a spacing of 20 x 25 cm. A fertilizer dosage of 100:50:50 kg/ha N:P2O5 :K2O is recommended. Of these, half N, complete P2O5 and K2O are applied at the time of planting. Remaining N is applied when the flower spikes start to appear. A heavy irrigation once in 5-10 days is necessary depending upon the weather conditions. The peak flowering is between June and October.

Ratoon crop

After the harvest of the main crop, the flower stalks are headed back and the plot is manured and irrigated. Three or four ratoon crops can be taken from single planting. If the bulbs are not uprooted and replanted after three or four ratoons, the spikes tend to become smaller and unattractive.

Plant protection

Slugs and grass hoppers, which feed on the leaves, and thrips which damage and cause distortion of the spikes are the major pests. Malathion and carbaryl are effective against these pests. Wherever nematode problems occur, application of carbofuran is recommended. No major disease is noticed. Sclerotium fungus, which attacks the leaves and flower stalks at ground level causes defoliation and toppling of spikes. This can be controlled by drenching of soil around the plant with fungicides.

Harvest and yield

Tuberose is harvested by cutting the spikes from the base for table decoration or the individual flower is picked from the spike for making garlands and other floral ornaments. The average yield of flower is as follows.
Plant crop:                       5-10 t/ha
First ratoon:                     9-12 t/ha
Second ratoon:                 4-6 t/ha

↑  Top

Marigold is a popular annual flower that could be grown on a commercial scale. It has gained popularity on account of its easy cultivation and wide adaptability. Free flowering habit, short duration to produce marketable flowers, wide spectrum of colour, shape, size and good keeping quality make marigold an acceptable commercial crop.


There are two species of marigold, namely, African marigold (Tagetes erecta) and French marigold (Tagetes patula). Inter-specific hybrids between these two species also have been evolved, which are known as Red and Gold hybrids. Varieties under this group are Nugget, Show Boat and Red Seven Star.

African marigold varieties

Apricot, Primrose, Sun Giant, Guinea Gold, Fiesta, Golden Yellow, Hawaii, Crown of Gold, Honey Comb, Cupid, Pusa Narangi Gaintha and Pusa Basanti Gaintha.

French marigold varieties

Rusty Red, Naughty, Marietta, Flame, Star of India and Harmony.


A wide range of soils with good drainage is suitable for cultivation of marigold. Sandy loam soil with pH 5.6 to 6.5 is ideal for its cultivation.


Seeds are used for raising the crop.

Cultural practices

Seedlings are prepared by sowing the seeds in the nursery beds as follows: Prepare nursery beds of 6 m length, 1.2 m width and 10-20 cm height. Apply 30 kg FYM along with 0.5 kg of 15:15:15 fertilizer mixture and mix them well in the soil. Sow the seeds in rows 7.5 cm apart. Cover the seeds with fine FYM and irrigate. The seedlings will be ready for transplanting within one month.
For the main-field, the land should be ploughed well and FYM @ 20 t/ha should be incorporated to the soil. Apply a basal dose of fertilizers @ 112.5 kg N, 60 kg P2O5, and 60 kg K2O per ha. Transplant the seedlings at a spacing of 30 x 30 cm in case of French marigold and 45 x 45 cm in case of African marigold on one side of the ridge and irrigate. Topdress the crop with 112.5 kg N per ha at the time of pinching (30-45 days after transplanting) and earth up. Pinching is done to increase the total yield. It consists of removing terminal portion of the plant 30-45 days after transplanting.

Irrigate once in 4-6 days depending upon soil moisture and weather conditions. Weeds have to be removed at monthly intervals.

Plant protection

Marigold is not attacked by many pests. However, flower beetles, leaf hoppers, stalk borers, mites etc. cause occasional problems. These plants are rarely attacked by diseases. In poorly drained soils, foot rot caused by Phytophthora may occur. Stem rot caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is also reported. Drenching with copper oxychloride is helpful in checking foot root, while stem rot is controlled by soil drenching with fungicides.

Harvest and yield

Marigold flowers will be ready for harvest in about 21/2 months time from the date of transplanting. The plant continues to bear flowers for another 2-21/2 months from the date of first harvest. The flowers are harvested when they have attained full size. Harvest the flowers in the evening along with a portion of stalk. Yield of French marigold will be 8-12 t/ha and that of African marigold 11-18 t/ha.

↑  Top

Medicinal spices

The habitat of small cardamom is the evergreen forests of Western Ghats. It is grown in areas where the annual rainfall ranges from 1500-4000 mm with a temperature range of 10-35 șC and an altitude of 600-1200 m above MSL.

Cardamom is generally grown in forest loam soils rich in available phosphorus and potassium. The crop is raised mainly on well drained, deep, good textured soils rich in humus.

ICRI-1, ICRI-2, PV-1 and PV-2.

Malabar:        Suitable for areas from 600 to 1200 m elevation
Mysore:        Suitable for areas from 900 to 1200 m elevation
Vazhukka:    Suitable for areas from 900 to 1200 m elevation


Cardamom can be propagated vegetatively and by seedlings. For vegetative propagation, rhizomes with not less than three shoots are used. Plants propagated vegetatively come to bearing one year earlier than the seedling-propagated plants. But this method has the disadvantage of spreading the `katte' disease, which is of viral origin. This disease is not transmitted through seeds. Hence in areas where the disease is widespread, it would be safer to use seedlings for propagation.

Ripe capsules of the desired cultivar are collected from high yielding plants during September-October. The seeds are extracted by gently pressing the capsules. In order to increase the germination percentage, seeds can be treated with concentrated sulfuric acid or nitric acid for not more than two minutes. The extracted seeds are washed in cold water four times to remove the mucilaginous coating. The washed seeds are drained and mixed with ash and allowed to dry in shade for 2 or 3 days. The seeds should be sown in the nursery within a fortnight. Sowing in September is the best for high germination. Sowing during southwest monsoon and winter should be avoided.

When it becomes necessary to store the seeds, it is advisable to store them in capsule form. It can be preserved in this form for one month, without deterioration of viability. Polythene lined gunny bags can be used for this.

In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, 18 month old seedlings are used for planting. The seeds are sown in primary nursery from where the young seedlings are transplanted to a secondary nursery and maintained for one year before planting in the main field.

Primary nursery
The nursery site is selected in open, well-drained areas, near a source of water. The land is dug to a depth of 30 cm, cleared of all stubbles and stones; and clods are broken. Beds of size 6 x 1 x 0.3 m are then prepared. Jungle soil is spread in a thin layer over the nursery bed. Seeds are sown on the bed in lines. For an area of 1 m2, 10 g of seed is required. Sixty grams of seeds will be required for a nursery bed of 6 m2. The seeds are covered with a very thin layer of fine soil. The nursery bed is mulched with dry grass. Potha grass (Grenetia stricta) commonly seen in high range areas is a suitable material for this purpose. Grass is spread to a thickness of about 2 cm. Paddy straw can also be used for mulching. After sowing, beds have to be watered every day in the morning and evening. The mulch should be removed on commencement of germination. The seedlings have to be protected by providing shade pandals. Regular watering, weeding and protection from pests and diseases are to be attended to. During June-July, seedlings from the primary nursery are transplanted to the secondary nursery.

Secondary nursery
After preparing the site properly, form nursery beds of 6 x 1 x 0.3 m. Mixing of well decomposed cattle manure and wood ash with the top layer of the soil will help the seedlings to establish well and to grow vigorously. During June-July, the seedlings from the primary nursery are transplanted at a spacing of 25-30 cm. Shade pandals should be provided before transplanting. Overhead pandals or individual pandals for each bed may be erected. Mulching the bed with dry leaves will help to conserve soil moisture. Regular watering during dry months, weeding, application of fertilizers, control of pests and diseases and mulching are the essential operations for the maintenance of the secondary nursery. One month before uprooting, the pandal should be removed to encourage better tillering.

Polybag nursery
Polybags can be used for raising secondary seedlings. For such nurseries, seeds are to be sown in beds in primary nurseries in September and transplanted to polybags in December-January. These seedlings would be ready for planting in June-July. In this case, nursery period could be reduced by 6 to 7 months.

Rhizome multiplication
This may be taken up from the first week of March to the first fortnight of October. The site is selected in open, gently slopping and well-drained areas near a source of water. Trenches of 45 cm width, 45 cm depth and convenient length are taken across the slope or along the contour 1.8 m apart. They are filled with equal quantity of humus rich topsoil, sand and cattle manure. Uproot a part of the high yielding disease free mother clump identified in the plantation. Trim the roots and separate the suckers so that the minimum planting unit consists of one grown up tiller and a growing young shoot. Plant them at a spacing of 1.80 m x 0.60 m in filled up trenches. Provide sufficient mulch and stake each planting unit. Provide overhead pandal as in the case of seedling nursery and remove shading material with onset of monsoon rains. Provide irrigation once in a fortnight and adopt necessary plant protection measures. Apply fertilizers @ 100:50:200 kg/ha N:P2O5:K2O in six splits at an interval of two months. Apply neem cake @ 100-150 g/plant along with fertilizers. On an average, 20 to 30 suckers / initial planting unit can be produced within one year of planting. Care should be taken to identify and collect mother clumps only from areas totally free from 'katte' disease.

Soil treatment in nursery
It is recommended that the primary and secondary nursery soil may be drenched with formalin 2% solution and covered with polythene sheets for 3 days. Planting should be taken up only 15 days after treatment to avoid phytotoxicity.

Control of pests and diseases in the nursery
Rhizome weevil (Prodioctes haematicus)
This is a serious pest in the secondary nursery especially where seedlings are raised continuously year after year. The grubs feed on the rhizome and basal portion of the stem. This results in drying of leaves and breaking of stem at the base. Drenching the nursery beds with chlorpyrifos at 0.04% can control the pest.

Shoot fly (Formosina flavipes)
The pest is observed in the nursery during January to May. Dead heart or decay of the central spindle is the external symptom. Spraying of quinalphos 0.025% or application of phorate granules @ 1 g ai/m2 is recommended for the control of the pest.

Shoot borer (Conogethes punctiferalis)
The caterpillar bores into the stem and feeds on the internal contents. This results in the decay of the central spindle and production of dead heart. Faecal matter of the caterpillar can be seen coming out through the holes. Spraying with quinalphos 0.025%, carbaryl 0.1%, monocrotophos, fenthion or dimethoate at 0.05% or endosulfan or phenthoate at 0.1% is recommended against the shoot borer.

Nematodes are observed as serious pests in cardamom nurseries. Roots of cardamom seedlings are infested mainly by root knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita). Lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus) are also seen in cardamom roots and soils. The main symptoms of nematode infestation are galls on the root tips, profuse tillering, stunted and weak tillers, yellowing and drying of leaves and production of narrow, brittle and abnormal leaves. Treatment of soil as detailed above is an effective method to control nematode.

Fumigation of primary and secondary nursery beds with methyl bromide is another effective method for the control of nematodes in the nursery. Five hundred gram of methyl bromide is required for 10 m2 area. The treated area has to be kept covered with polythene sheet for two to three days. Pruning of infested roots tips before planting is also recommended.

Treat the plants in the nursery with carbofuran @ 5 kg ai/ha after 10 days of germination and this is repeated after 3 months. In secondary nurseries, the plants may be treated with carbofuran @ 10 kg ai/ha after transplanting and every three months thereafter.

Damping off
This disease is caused by Pythium vexans and Rhizoctonia solani. Infection is observed at the collar region. Provide good drainage, and spray and drench the nursery with 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.2% copper oxychloride.

Nursery leaf spot
This disease is caused by Phyllosticta elettariae. Pale specks appear on the leaf lamina, which dry up and become paper white. Spraying the plants with mancozeb 0.25% at fortnightly intervals is effective in controlling the disease.

The other diseases are Sphaceloma leaf spot, Cercospora leaf spot, rust and sooty mould.

Main field planting
Cardamom plantation is raised in forests under the shade of tall trees. For raising a new cardamom plantation, the undergrowth of bushes is cleared. When open areas like marshy valleys and grasslands are selected for raising new plantation, shade trees have to be raised before planting cardamom seedlings. The quick growing shade trees like dadap (Erythrina lithosperma) is generally used for this purpose. Cuttings of this tree are used for planting. But this tree is a host of root knot nematode, which infests cardamom. Other quick growing trees like Albizia can also be used. Useful trees like jack and eucalyptus can be used along with red cedar, wild nutmeg, kurangatti etc.


Mysore and Vazhukka: 2 x 2 m to 3 x 2 m depending on the fertility of the soil
Malabar: 1.5 x 1.5 m to 2 x 2 m depending on the fertility of the soil.

The recommended size of pits is 60 x 60 x 35 cm. The pits are filled with rich topsoil at least two months in advance of planting the seedlings. Application of well decomposed FYM or compost or leaf mould and 100 g of rock phosphate with the topsoil in the pit will help in proper establishment and quick growth of plants. If the selected site is a hill slope, terraces may be formed before digging pits.

Planting can be done with the commencement of southwest monsoon, before the heavy rains. A small pit may be formed inside the pit by scooping out soil at the centre of the pit for planting seedlings. The soil may be put just to cover the rhizomes. Care should be taken to ensure that the rhizomes do not go deep into the soil.

Cultural operations
A regular schedule of cultural practices consisting weeding, mulching, trashing, shade regulation, fertilizer application, irrigation, etc. will have to be undertaken.

Sufficient mulch should be applied at the base of the plant during December to reduce the ill effects of drought during summer months and to conserve soil moisture. Sickle weeding is essential which has to be carried out frequently depending upon the intensity of weeds. Forking is necessary in hard soils, which is to be carried out in October-November.

Trashing (removal of old and dried shoots, leaves and dried panicles) should be taken up once in a year during June-July, with the commencement of monsoon. This will help to prevent the spread of diseases and expose the panicles to easy visit by honeybees.
Soil conservation measures, maintenance of drainage channels and such other operations may be taken up promptly.

Application of organic manures such as FYM, cowdung or compost @ 5 kg / plant or neem cake @ 1-2 kg / plant may be done during June-July. The present recommendation of nutrients for cardamom in Kerala is N:P2O5:K2O @ 75:75:150 kg/ha. The fertilizers may be applied in two split doses, before and after the southwest monsoon, in a circular band of 20 cm wide and 30-40 cm away from the base of the clumps, and mixed with soil.

Since inadequate as well as excessive levels of shade are harmful to the crop, regulation of shade is inevitable. There should be sufficient shade to protect cardamom plant during the hot season. By regulating the shade before the monsoon, more light becomes available to the plant during the rainy season. Red cedar or chandana-vempu (Toona ciliata) is an ideal shade tree. It sheds the leaves during rainy season and thus provides natural shade regulation. Some of the other shade trees are kurangatti (Acrocarpus fraxinifolius), vellakil (Dysoxylum malabaricum) and thelli (Canarium strictum).

Bee-keeping for better pollination
The main pollination agent in cardamom is honeybee (Apis cerana indica). Maintaining four bee colonies per hectare during the flowering season is recommended for increasing fruit set and production of capsules.

Harvesting and processing
Cardamom plants normally start bearing capsules from the third year of planting. Picking is carried out at an interval of 30 days. After harvest, cardamom capsules are processed.

Cardamom capsules with green colour fetch a premium price in foreign countries. Hence emphasis has to be given on the preservation of green colour during curing and subsequent storage. Capsule should be processed within 24-36 hours after harvest to prevent deterioration. By curing, the moisture of green cardamom is reduced to 8-12 per cent at an optimum temperature so as to retain its green colour to the maximum extent.

Harvesting season in Kerala is October-February and the peak period of harvest is September-November.

Capsules are dried directly under sunlight for five to six days or more. Frequent turning is done. This method can result in surface blemishes and may not give an attractive green colour. This method is practiced if the cultivar yields fruits that turn yellow before they are ready for picking and where facilities for green curing are not available.

Artificial drying
Processing of capsules is done in specially built curing houses. The harvested capsules are washed in water to remove dust and soil particles. Then they are spread on wire net trays in curing chamber. Burning firewood in the iron kiln produces heat required for drying. The heat thus produced is passed through pipes made of galvanized iron sheets. The process of drying takes about 18-24 hours, depending on the ambient temperature. The capsules are spread thinly in the wire net trays and stirred frequently to ensure uniform drying. They are initially heated at 50 șC for the first 4 hours and heat is then reduced to 45 șC by opening ventilators and operating exhaust fans till the capsules are properly dried. Finally the temperature is raised to 60 șC for an hour.

The dried capsules are rubbed on wire mesh to remove the stalk and dried portion of flower from the capsules and then graded according to size by passing through sieves of sizes of 7, 6.5, 6 mm etc. The graded produce is stored in polythene lined gunny bags to retain the green colour during storage and also to avoid exposure to moisture.

A relatively new innovation in the curing procedure is blanching by soaking the fruits in 2.0 per cent washing soda for 10 minutes prior to drying. This inhibits colour loss during drying operation and extends colour retention during subsequent storage from three months to ten months.

A proportion of the crop is bleached after sun drying by exposing the capsules to fumes from burning sulphur to get uniform colour and appearance. Steeping capsules in a dilute solution of potassium metabisulphite solution induces a slight improvement in keeping quality.

Solvent extraction of ground spice yields 10 per cent oleoresin. Cardamom oleoresin is used for flavouring food after being dispersed in salt, flour etc. One kilogram of oleoresin replaces 20 kg ground spice.

Decorticated seeds / seed powder
Decorticated seeds command a lower price due to rapid loss of volatile oil during storage and transportation. Seed powder is marketed to a limited extent.

Control of pests and diseases in the plantation

Cardamom thrips (Sciothrips cardamomi)
This insect is a serious pest of cardamom. It colonizes and breeds in unopened leaves, leaf sheath, flower bracts and flower tubes. It lacerates and feeds on the exuding sap from the aerial parts. Infestation on the panicle and flower buds results in stunted growth of panicles, shedding of flower buds and warty growth on the surviving capsules. The infested capsules are light in weight, inferior in quality and fetch very low price in the market. Since the pest population is high during dry months from December to May, pesticide application during this period is important. Four sprayings or dusting of insecticide during this period is recommended. Insecticide application can be skipped during rainy months of June and July. Three more sprayings are to be given during the period from August-November. Any of the following insecticides are recommended for thrips control.

EC formulations: Quinalphos 0.025%, fenthion 0.03%, phenthoate 0.03%, phosalone 0.05%, monocrotophos 0.025%, fenitrothion 0.05%, formothion 0.03%, dimethoate 0.05%.

Dust formulation: Quinalphos 1.5%, carbaryl 10%, phosalone 4% or phenthoate 4% each at 25 kg/ha

Shoot/capsule borer (Conogethes punctiferalis)
It is a serious problem to cardamom growers of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. At the early stage of the crop, the caterpillars of this yellow coloured moth bore into the core of the aerial stem resulting in the death of central spindle, which appears as characteristic dead hearts.

At the time of flowering, when the caterpillars attack the panicles and spikes it may lead to flower shedding and drying up of the attacked portions. At a later stage of the crop, the caterpillars bore into the capsules, feed on the seeds and make them hollow. The presence of excreta at the region of attack indicates presence of the caterpillars in the pseudostem, inflorescence and pods.

Pest infestation is pronounced in three seasons viz. January-February, June and September-October.


Late stages of larvae bore into the pseudostem and remain there. Insecticides sprayed at this time may not give adequate control of the pest. For an effective management of the pest, the insecticides have to be targeted on early stages of the larvae, which are usually present within 15-20 days after adult emergence in the field. Spraying fenthion 0.05% or monocrotophos 0.05% is recommended during the months of February-March and September-October.

Leaf eating caterpillars
There are 10 species of caterpillars feeding on cardamom leaves. Out of these, seven species are hairy and appear in large numbers during certain seasons causing extensive defoliation. For controlling the leaf caterpillars, mechanical collection and destruction and spraying of any contact insecticide are recommended.

Cardamom whitefly (Kanakarajiella [Dialeurodes] cardamomi)
It is a serious pest in cardamom growing tracts of Kerala. The adult is a small soft-bodied insect, about 2 mm long and having two pairs of white wings. The nymphs are elliptical and pale green. The nymphs secrete sticky honeydew, which drops on to lower leaves. On these, black sooty mould develops, which interrupts photosynthesis of the leaves.


The flies are attracted towards yellow colour. So metal sheets painted yellow and coated with sticky materials, such as castor oil or poly-venyl butanol would serve as traps. By placing such yellow sticky traps between rows of cardamom plants, population of adults can be monitored and adults trapped to some extent. Nymphs are effectively controlled by spraying the lower surface of leaves with a mixture of neem oil (500 ml) and triton (500 ml) in 100 litre of water. Acephate 0.075% and triazophos 0.04% are equally effective. The spray may be repeated two or three times at 15 days interval.

Cardamom root grubs (Basilepta fulvicorne)
The grubs of a small, greenish blue beetle cause damage. The grubs are short, stout, pale white in colour and often assume a shape resembling 'C', which feeds on cardamom roots. The symptoms start as yellowing of leaves, which later result in the drying up and death of the plant


Collect the beetle with hand nets or sticky traps at the time of mass emergence (March-April and August-September) and destroy. Early stages of the grub which are usually present in soil during May-June and September-October can be controlled either by drenching chlorpyriphos 0.04% @ 3-4 litre per clump or by applying phorate @ 2-4 g ai/ha 10-15 cm around the plant.

Cardamom scale (Aulacaspis sp.)
This scale insect is found on the lower surface of leaves, leaf sheath, panicles and fruit stalk. As a result of damage, capsules get shrivelled, panicles become dry and the leaves become yellow. The pest is mostly seen during summer months.


Spray monocrotophos or fenthion @ 0.05 % during the peak season.

Nematodes (Meloidogyne sp.)
Root knot nematodes are the most common nematode species associated with cardamom plantations. Common symptoms are necrosis of leaf tips and margins, narrowing of leaves, thickening of veins, reduction of internodal length and consequent appearance of leaves as rosette. Roots branch heavily and galls appear on them. Plant becomes highly stunted.


Frequent change of nursery beds will help to reduce nematode infection in nurseries. In case of infection in primary nurseries, application of carbofuran @ 80 g per 6 m2 bed and in secondary nurseries, application of carbofuran @ 200 g / 6 m2 bed will control the pest. In plantation, carbofuran @ 60-80 g/plant or 20-40 g of phorate with 300-500 g of neem cake per plant may be applied. Application may be repeated after three months.

Katte or mosaic
This is a virus disease, which is transmitted by the banana aphid, Pentalonia nigronervosa. The symptoms consist of discontinuous stripes of light green colour running almost parallel to each other from the mid-rib to the margin of the leaves, which form a mosaic pattern. On young shoots, such stripes are seen on the leaf sheath also. The infected clumps will be smaller in size with fewer tillers.


Eradication of the source of inoculum by destroying infected plants and destruction of the vector by insecticide application are effective. Regular application of insecticide against cardamom thrips controls the aphids also. Avoid using katte-infected rhizome for planting.

Destruction of plants showing symptoms of the disease should be done promptly once in two months. Removal of all alternate hosts of virus is also recommended.

This is a fungal disease caused by Phytophthora sp. occurring during the rainy season. It affects the leaves, tender shoots, panicles and capsules. On the infected leaves, water soaked lesions appear first and rotting and shedding of leaves along the veins occur thereafter. The infected capsules become dull greenish brown and decay. This emits a foul smell and subsequently shed. Infection spreads to the panicles also.


Trashing and destruction of the infected parts should be done as a phytosanitary measure just prior to the onset of southwest monsoon. Remove the trash (dried leaves and leaf sheaths) from the basal region of the plant to the extent possible.
Spray the shoots with 1% Bordeaux mixture with adhesive (rosin soda or any other sticker) by the commencement of the monsoon and continue the spraying operation two or three times up to November-December according to the intensity of the disease and rainfall. Give a copious spray to the panicle with 1% Bordeaux mixture @ 3 l/plant during July-August when the disease intensity is maximum.

can be used along with cowdung for controlling this disease.

Clump rot or rhizome rot
This disease is caused by Pythium aphanidermatum, P. vexans, Rhizoctonia solani and Fusarium oxysporum. The affected shoots become brittle and easily break off from the rhizome at the bulbous base.


Drench with 0.2% copper oxychloride (2-3 litre per plant) and repeat this two times at monthly intervals.

As a bio-control measure, inoculate seedlings with native arbuscular mycorrhiza, Trichoderma and Pseudomonas fluorescens at the time of planting in the nursery and main field, and apply during pre-monsoon period in established plantations (see the chapter on biocontrol agents against plant pathogens).

Leaf blotch disease

The fungus Phaeodactylium venkatesanum causes this disease. The disease is characterized by the appearance of large blotches of irregular lesions with alternating shades of light and dark brown necrotic tissues. This is mainly observed on mature leaves. On the lower surface of the lesions ash coloured white superficial growth of the fungus appears during moist weather conditions.


The fungicides, Bordeaux mixture (1%), mancozeb (0.3%) and carbendazim (0.1%) are effective in controlling the disease.

Chenthal disease
Chenthal disease is characterized by the appearance of rectangular linear reddish brown lesions mainly on the lower surface of the leaves. The lesions are clearly visible even on dried leaves. The incidence of the disease appears to be more severe in areas, which do not have proper shade. Even though Corynebacterium and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides have been isolated from the infected leaves, the pathogenicity of these organisms could not be established.


Providing adequate shade is the only measure recommended pending confirmation of etiology of the disease.

Waiting period of insecticide / fungicide
Quinalphos          30 days
Monocrotophos    30 days
Mancozeb           30 days

↑  Top

Cinnamon grows in areas up to an altitude of about 1800 m. Humid tropical evergreen rain forest conditions favour the best growth of cinnamon. Well-drained, deep sandy soil, rich in humus is suitable for the crop. Avoid marshy areas and hard laterites.

Navasree, Nithyasree and Sugandini.

Seeds and sowing
Cinnamon is usually propagated through seeds. Sow seeds immediately after harvest on raised beds. Pot seedlings when they are six months old.

Select seedlings with green leaf petioles. Plant seedlings in the main field when they are 1-2 year old with the commencement of southwest monsoon. Planting is done in pits of size 60 x 60 cm at a spacing of 2 x 2 m. Dig the pits sufficiently early to allow weathering. Fill the pit with leaf mould and topsoil before planting.

Apply N:P2O5:K2O @ 20:20:25 g/seedling in the first year and double this dose in the second year. Cattle manure or compost at 20 kg / plant / annum may also be applied. Increase the dose of N:P2O5:K2O gradually to 200:180:200 g / tree / year for grown up plants of 10 years and above.

Apply organic manures in May-June and fertilizers in two equal split doses, in May-June and September-October.

Weed regularly in the early stages of growth. Irrigate the seedlings till they get established, if there is long drought period.
Prune plants when they are 2-3 years old at a height of 15 cm above ground level. Cut the side shoots growing from the base to encourage growth of more side shoots till the whole plant assumes the shape of a low bush.

Harvesting and curing
The plants will be ready for harvest in about 3 years after planting. Harvesting is done during two seasons, the first in May and second in November. The correct time for cutting the shoots for peeling is determined by noting the sap circulation between the wood and corky layer. Peelers can judge this by making a test cut on the stem with a sharp knife. If the bark separates readily, the cutting is taken immediately. Stems measuring 2.0 to 2.5 cm in diameter and 1.5 to 2.0 m length are cut early in the morning and twigs and leaves are detached. The outer brown skin is first scrapped off and the stem is rubbed briskly to loosen the bark. Two cuts are made round the stem about 30 cm apart and two longitudinal slits are made on opposite sides of the stem. The bark is separated from the wood with curved knife. The detached pieces of bark are made into compound quills. The best and longest quills are used on the outside while inside is filled with smaller pieces. The compound quills are rolled by hand to press the outside edges together and are neatly trimmed. They are dried in shade as direct exposure to sun can result in warping. The dried quills consist of mixture of coarse and fine types and are yellowish brown in colour.

The quills are graded as Fine or Continental, Mexican and Hamburg or Ordinary. The Fine consists of quills of uniform thickness, colour and quality and the joints of the quills are neat. Mexican grades are intermediate in quality. The Hamburg grade consists of thicker and darker quills. The lower grades are exported as: (a) Quillings: The broken lengths and fragments of quills of all grades are bulked and sold as quillings; (b) Featherings: This grade consists of the inner bark of twigs and twisted shoots that do not give straight quills of normal length.

Chips: This includes the trimmings of the cut shoots, shavings of outer and inner bark, which cannot be separated, or which are obtained from small twigs and odd pieces of thick outer bark.

Cinnamon oleoresin is prepared by extracting cinnamon bark with organic solvent. Oleoresin yield varies form 10 to 12 per cent. The oleoresin is dispersed on sugar, salt and used for flavouring processed foods.

Cinnamon bark oil
A pale yellow liquid possessing the delicate aroma of the spice is obtained by steam distillation of quills (0.2 to 0.5%). Its major component is cinnamaldehyde (55%) but other components like eugenol, eugenyl acetate, ketones, esters and terpenes also impart the characteristic odour and flavour to this oil. Cinnamon bark oil is used in flavouring bakery foods, sauces, pickles, confectionery, soft drinks, dental and pharmaceutical preparations and also in perfumery.

Cinnamon leaf oil
Cinnamon leaf oil is produced by steam distillation of leaves yielding 0.5 to 0.7% oil. It is yellow to brownish yellow in colour and possesses a warm, spicy but rather harsh odour. The major constituent is eugenol (70 to 90 %) while the cinnamaldehyde content is less than five per cent. The oil is used in perfumery and flavouring, and also as a source of eugenol.

Cinnamon root bark oil
The root bark contains 1.0 to 2.8% oil containing camphor as the main constituent. Cinnamaldehyde as well as traces of eugenol are found in the oil, having less commercial relevance.

Plant protection

Leaf spot and dieback disease
(Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)

On young nursery seedlings, small brown specks appear which gradually enlarge resulting in drying of the leaf. From the leaves, the infection spreads to the stem, resulting in necrosis from the apex downwards.

On old seedlings and mature trees, light and dark brown concentric zonation occurs. Spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture during rainy season controls the disease.

The other diseases of cinnamon include grey blight caused by Pestalotiopsis palmarum, sooty mould caused by Phragmocapnius sp. and algal leaf spot by Cephaleuros sp.

↑  Top

Clove requires a warm humid tropical climate with an annual rainfall from 150-250 cm. It grows well from mean sea level up to an altitude of 800-900 m. Deep loam soils with high humus content and black loams of semi-forest regions with good drainage are suited for the cultivation of the crop.

Selection of site
Select partially shaded sites having adequate protection from high winds. Avoid exposed and shady locations.

Seeds and sowing
Clove is propagated through seeds obtained from fully developed fruits known as mother of clove. Collect fully developed fruits from regular bearing mother trees. Dehusk the fruits immediately after collection by soaking in water and peeling. Prepare raised nursery beds with fertile soil rich in humus under the shade of trees. Sow the seeds flat at a depth 2-5 cm and a spacing of 12-15 cm. Water the beds regularly. Seedlings can either be retained in the nursery till they attain a height of 25-30 cm when they are ready for transplanting or potted when they are six months old and transplanted after another 12-18 months.

Select 18 month old seedlings for planting. Prepare pits of size 60 x 60 x 60 cm at a spacing of 6 x 6 m about a month in advance of planting. Allow to weather. Fill up the pits with mixture of burnt earth, compost and topsoil. Plant the seedlings during the rainy season, May-June or August-September. Provide shade and irrigation during breaks in the monsoon and summer. Banana or glyricidia may be planted to provide shade.

Clove is generally grown as a mixed crop with coffee, coconut, arecanut etc.


Apply cattle manure or compost at the rate of 15 kg / tree / annum during May-June.

The recommended fertilizer dose is N:P2O5: K2O @ 20:18:50 g/plant during the first year and N:P2O5:K2O @ 40:36:100 g/plant during the second year. Increase gradually the N:P2O5:K2O dose to 300:250:750 g/plant/year for a well grown tree of 15 years or more. Apply organic manures in May-June with the commencement of southwest monsoon. Apply fertilizers in two equal split doses in May-June along with the organic manures and in September-October in shallow trenches dug around the plant about 1 to 1.25 m away from the base.

Conduct weeding and intercultivation whenever necessary. Cut and remove dead and diseased branches of full-grown trees to prevent over crowding. Spray 1% Bordeaux mixture to control dieback.

Harvesting and curing
The trees begin to yield from 7-8 years after planting. The stage of harvest of flower buds determines the quality of the final dried product. Buds are harvested when the base of calyx has turned from green to pink in colour. If allowed to develop beyond this stage, the buds open, petals drop and an inferior quality spice is obtained on drying.

Prior to drying, buds are removed from the stem by holding the cluster in one hand and pressing it against the palm of the other with a slight twisting movement. The clove buds and stems are piled separately for drying. Buds may be sorted to remove over-ripe cloves and fallen flowers. Drying should be done immediately after the buds are separated from the clusters. If left too long in heaps, they ferment and the dried spice has a whitish shriveled appearance (khoker clove).

The traditional method of drying is by exposing them to sun in mats. The green buds are spread out in a thin layer on the drying floor and are raked from time to time to ensure the development of a uniform colour and to prevent mould formation. In sunny weather, drying is completed in 4-5 days giving a bright coloured dried spice of attractive appearance. During drying, clove loses about two-third of its original fresh green weight. When properly dried, it will turn bright brown and does not bend when pressed. The dried cloves are sorted to remove mother of cloves and khoker cloves, bagged and stored in a dry place. The stem after separation of buds is dried in a similar manner as the spice, without allowing mould formation and fermentation.

Clove bud oil
The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of comminuted buds or whole cloves. On distillation, about 17 per cent essential oil is obtained which is a colourless or yellow liquid possessing odour and flavour characteristic of the spice. Finest oil contains 85-89 per cent eugenol. Clove bud oil is used for flavouring food and in perfumery.

Clove stem oil
Clove stem oil is obtained from dried peduncles and stem of clove buds (5-7%) on steam distillation. The eugenol content of the oil ranges from 90-95 per cent. This oil possesses a coarser and woodier odour than bud oil.

Clove leaf oil
Clove leaves on distillation yield 2-3 per cent oil as a dark brown liquid with a harsh woody odour. When rectified, it turns pale yellow and smells sweeter with a eugenol content of 80 to 85 per cent.

Clove oleoresin may be prepared by cold or hot extraction of crushed spices using organic solvents like acetone giving a recovery of 18-22 per cent. The oleoresin is chiefly used in perfumery and when used for flavouring it is dispersed on salt, flour etc.

Plant protection

Infestation of shoot borer Sinoxylon sp. on tender shoots of young plants can be prevented by prophylactic application of carbaryl 0.15%. Prune off the laterals of old trees showing dieback symptoms. Do not allow dried glyricidia and other twigs to remain in the plantation, to ensure that the beetles will not multiply on these materials and subsequently initiate infestation in cloves.


Leaf spot, twig blight and flower bud shedding (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)

Three types of symptoms are seen viz., leaf spot, twig blight and flower bud shedding. On the leaves, necrotic spots of variable sizes and shapes are noticed. Severely affected leaves wither, drop and dry up. In the nursery seedlings, dieback symptoms are seen. Extension of the symptoms from the leaves through petioles results in the infection of twigs. The affected branches stand without leaves or only with young leaves at the tips. The flower buds are attacked by spread of infection from the twigs. Shedding of flower buds occurs during periods of heavy and continuous rainfall.


Spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture at 1-1.5 month intervals reduces disease intensity, defoliation and flower bud shedding. The spraying has to be commenced just prior to flower bud formation and continued till the harvest of flower buds for effective control. Destruction of the weed Clerodendron from the clove garden is recommended to reduce the disease since the pathogen survives on this weed during adverse conditions.

The other diseases of clove are:
Grey blight of clove (Pestalotia palmarum)
Leaf spot of clove (Cylindrocladium quinqueseptatum)
Leaf spot of clove (Alternaria citri)
Sooty mould of clove (Phragmocapnius sp.)
Algal leaf spot of clove (Cephaleuros sp.)
Little leaf of clove (suspected to be due to phytoplasma).

↑  Top

Vanilla is a tropical orchid requiring a warm climate with frequent rains, preferring an annual rainfall of 150-300 cm. Uncleared jungle areas are ideal for establishing vanilla plantations. In such locations, it would be necessary to retain the natural shade provided by lofty trees and to leave the soil or the rich humus layer on the top undisturbed. Vanilla is cultivated on varied type of soils from sandy loam to laterites. It requires filtered sun light. In the absence of natural shade, trees should be grown to provide shade.

Preparation of land

Clear the land of jungle growth and prepare for planting. Being a creeper, the plant requires support up to a height of about 130-135 cm. Cuttings of Plumaria alba, Erythrina lithosperma, Jatropha carcas and Glyricidia maculata are suitable as live supports. The growth of live standard is to be adjusted to make them branch at a height of 120-150 cm to facilitate trailing of the vines and artificial hand pollination.

Time and method of planting
Vanilla is propagated by planting shoot cuttings in situ. Plant rooted cuttings of 60 cm length. Longer cuttings bear earlier than shorter cuttings. Rooted cuttings as well as tissue culture derived plants can also be used for planting.

Plant the cutting with the onset of monsoon rains. Set out the cutting at a spacing of 2.7 m between plants and 1.8 m between rows in pits of size 40 x 40 x 40 cm. Trail the vines on the live supports and when they attain a height of 135 cm trail them horizontally on bamboo poles tied to vertical supports or branches of support plants in loops touching the ground.

Being a surface rooting plant, manuring should be confined to the surface layer of soil. Provide heavy and frequent mulching to the vines. Apply 120 g of N in the form of leaf mould or FYM in two split doses in June-July and September-October.

Vanilla cannot withstand even the slightest root disturbance. Hence remove weeds from the plant base by hand-weeding and use them as mulch.

Being closely planted, no intercrops are raised in a pure plantation of vanilla. But vanilla can be planted as an intercrop in coffee, coconut, arecanut etc.

Pollination, harvesting and curing
Flowering of vine commences usually by about the third year. The inflorescence is produced in the leaf axils. There is a tendency for some of the vines to maintain only vegetative growth. A light nipping off or pruning of the terminal shoots hastens flowering. Due to the peculiar structure of the flowers, self-pollination is impossible. Hence hand pollination is adopted for fruit set. Best time for pollinating the flowers is between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. and a success of 80-85% can be obtained. Successful fertilization is indicated by the retention of calyx and the stigma even after four days of pollination.

The pods ripen in about 9-11 months time. Before attaining maturity the fruit is dark green in colour and when ripe yellowing commences from the tip of the pod. Collect the pods at this time, as this is the optimum time for harvesting the pod. If allowed to remain on the vine further, the pods split. Free vanillin is not present in the beans when they are harvested. They also do not have the aroma. Vanillin is developed as a result of enzyme action on a glycoside occurring during the process of curing of beans.

Harvested beans are subjected to curing which is characterized by four phases.

1. Killing or wilting beans to arrest the vegetative development in the fresh beans and initiate the enzymatic reactions responsible for the production of aroma and flavour. Killing is indicated by the development of a brown colouration of the bean.
2. Raising temperature of the killed beans (sweating) to promote the desired enzymatic reactions and to achieve rapid drying so as to prevent harmful fermentation.
3. Slow drying at ambient temperature until the beans have reached about one-third of original weight for the development of various fragrant substances.
4. Conditioning the beans by storing them in closed boxes for three months or longer to permit the full development of desired aroma and flavour.

Curing of vanilla involves immersing the beans (2-3 days after harvest) in hot water at a temperature of 63 to 65șC for three minutes for the cessation of vegetative life. After a rapid drying on woolen blankets, when the beans are still very hot, they are kept in chests lined with blankets. Next day they are spread out in sun on blanket for three to four hours and rolled up to retain the heat. Repeat this for six to eight days during which beans lose their weight, become supple and can be twisted on finger without breaking. This is followed by slow drying in the shade for a period of two to three months.
Properly dried beans are kept in trunks where the fragrance is fully developed. Finally, they are graded according to size and bundled and placed in iron boxes lined with paraffin paper. The vanillin content of properly cured beans will be about 2.5 per cent.

Plant protection

The occurrence of a wilt disease caused by Fusarium oxysporum has been observed. For control of wilt disease adopt the following measures.

1. Remove diseased plants along with surrounding soil where the disease is observed.
2. Remove weeds around the plants.
3. Mulch the base of the vine with dry leaves before and after monsoon.
4. Avoid injury to roots during cultivation.
5. Drench soil around the base of vine with 1% Bordeaux mixture.

Fungal diseases like shoot tip rot, stem and bean rot caused by Phytophthora sp. as well as immature bean drop are noticed. The disease-affected portions are to be removed regularly and 1% Bordeaux mixture should be applied on the affected plants.

↑  Top

Ginger is a tropical plant adapted for cultivation even in regions of subtropical climate such as the high ranges. It prefers a rich soil with high humus content. Being an exhausting crop, ginger is not cultivated continuously in the same field but shifting cultivation is practised. The crop cannot withstand waterlogging and hence soils with good drainage are preferred for its cultivation. It is shade tolerant / loving crop with shallow roots and therefore suitable for intercropping and as a component in the homesteads where low to medium shade is available.

Preparation of land
Clear the field during February-March and burn the weeds, stubbles, roots etc. in situ. Prepare the land by ploughing or digging. Prepare beds of convenient length (across the slope where the land is undulating), 1 m wide, 25 cm high with 40 cm spacing between the beds. Provide drainage channels, one for every 25 beds on flat lands.


Dry ginger:
Maran, Wayanad, Manantoddy, Himachal, Valluvanad, Kuruppampady, IISR-Varada, IISR-Rejatha and IISR-Mahima

Green ginger: Rio-De-Janeiro, China, Wayanad Local and Tafengiya

Rio-De-Janeiro is preferable for extraction of oleoresin

Planting material

Ginger rhizomes are used for planting. For selection and preservation of seeds, adopt the following methods:

Mark healthy and disease free plants in the field when the crop is 6-8 months old and still green. Select best rhizomes free from pest and disease from the marked plants. Handle seed rhizomes carefully to avoid damage to buds. Soak the selected rhizomes for 30 minutes in a solution of mancozeb and malathion to give terminal concentration of 0.3% for the former and 0.1% for the latter. Dry the treated rhizomes in shade by spreading on the floor. Store the treated rhizomes in pits dug under shade, the floor of which is lined with sand or saw dust. It is advisable to spread layers of leaves of Glycosmis pentaphylla (panal). Cover the pits with coconut fronds.

Examine the stored rhizomes at monthly intervals and remove the rhizomes that show signs of rotting. This will help to keep the inoculum level low. Provide one or two holes for better aeration. Treat the seed rhizomes similarly before planting also.

Season and method of planting
The best time for planting ginger is during the first fortnight of April, after receipt of pre-monsoon showers. For irrigated ginger, the best-suited time for planting is middle of February (for vegetable ginger).

Plant rhizome bits of 15 g weight in small pits at a spacing of 20 x 20 cm to 25 x 25 cm and at a depth of 4-5 cm with at least one viable healthy bud facing upwards. Adopt a seed rate of 1500 kg/ha.


Apply manures and fertilizers at the following rates.


30 t/ha


75:50:50: kg/ha/year

Full dose of P2O5 and 50% of K2O may be applied as basal. Half the quantity of N may be applied 60 days after planting. The remaining quantity of N and K2O may be applied 120 days after planting.


Immediately after planting, mulch the beds thickly with green leaves @ 15 t/ha. Repeat mulching with green leaves twice @ 7.5 t/ha first 44-60 days and second 90-120 days after planting. Grow green manure crops like daincha and sunn hemp in the interspaces of beds, along with ginger and harvest the green manure crop during second mulching of ginger beds.

Remove weeds by hand-weeding before each mulching. Repeat weeding according to weed growth during the fifth and sixth month after planting. Earth up the crop during the first mulching and avoid water stagnation.

Plant protection
1. For control of shoot borer spray dimethoate or quinalphos at 0.05%
2. For control of rhizome rot adopt the following measures:
a. Select sites having proper drainage.
b. Select seed rhizomes from disease free areas.
c. Treat seed rhizomes with 0.3% mancozeb.
d. When incidence of rhizome rot is noted in the field, dig out the affected plants and drench the beds with cheshunt compound or 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.3% mancozeb.
e. Inoculation with native arbuscular mycorrhiza, Trichoderma and Pseudomonas fluorescens at the time of planting is recommended as a biocontrol measure.
3. For controlling the leaf spot disease, 1% Bordeaux mixture, 0.3% mancozeb or 0.2% thiram may be sprayed.
4. For control of nematode in endemic area, apply neem cake @ 1 t/ha at planting and carbofuran 1 kg ai/ha at 45 DAP.

Harvesting and processing
For vegetable ginger, the crop can be harvested from sixth month onwards. For dry ginger, harvest the crop between 245-260 days. After harvest, the fibrous roots attached to the rhizomes are trimmed off and soil is removed by washing. Rhizomes are soaked in water overnight and then cleaned. The skin is removed by scrapping with sharp bamboo splits or such other materials. Never use metallic substances since they will discolour the rhizomes. After scrapping, the rhizomes are sun-dried for a week with frequent turnings. They are again well rubbed by hand to remove any outer skin. This is the unbleached ginger of commerce. The peeled rhizomes are repeatedly immersed in lime solution (2%) and allowed to dry in the sun for 10 days while rhizomes receive a uniform coating of lime. This is the bleached ginger of commerce.

Ginger oil
Ginger oil is prepared commercially by steam distillation of dried powdered ginger. The yield of oil varies from 1.3 to 3.0 per cent. The major use of ginger oil is as a flavouring agent for beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

Ginger oleoresin

Oleoresin from ginger is obtained conventionally by extraction of dried powdered ginger with organic solvents like ethyl acetate, ethanol or acetone. Commercial dried ginger yields 3.5-10.0 per cent oleoresin. Ginger oleoresin is a dark brown viscous liquid responsible for the flavour and pungency of the spice.

↑  Top

It is an under-exploited spice crop, which grows luxuriantly in tropical soils with good drainage. The rhizomes of mango-ginger are used for preparing pickles, chutney, preserve, candy, sauce and salad and in meat and other culinary preparations. The rhizome has excellent medicinal properties and finds extensive use in the indigenous system of medicine. It is, appetizer, antipyretic, aphrodisiac and laxative. It is useful in biliousness, itching, skin diseases, bronchitis, asthma, hiccough and inflammation due to injuries. The rhizomes and roots are carminative and stomachic and in crushed pulp form they are applied over contusions, sprains and bruises for rapid healing.

Mango-ginger is botanically related to neither mango nor ginger, but to turmeric (Curcuma longa). Morphologically mango-ginger plant is similar to turmeric, but has shorter crop duration of six months. The rhizomes are pale yellow inside with lighter colour outside, have sweet smell of unripe mango when crushed. The crop comes up well in open conditions, but tolerates low levels of shade and therefore partially shaded situations can also be utilized for its cultivation. It can be well accommodated as an intercrop in coconut gardens and in rotation with other short duration crops like vegetables and also as a crop component in homesteads.

Preparation of land

Prepare the land to a good tilth during February-March subject to the availability of pre-monsoon showers. Prepare beds of convenient length, 1.2 m width, 25 cm height and 40 cm spacing between beds.

Seed material and varieties
Whole or split mother rhizomes or well developed, healthy and disease free finger rhizomes weighing 15-20 g are suitable for planting. In Kerala, local varieties are used for cultivation. Amba is a released variety from High Altitude Research Station, Pottangi, Orissa.

Season and method of planting
Plant during April with the commencement of pre-monsoon showers. Take small pits in the beds with a spacing of 25 x 30 cm and at a depth of 4-5 cm. Adopt a seed rate of 1500 kg/ha.

Apply cattle manure or compost as basal dose @ 30-40 t/ha, spread over the beds and mix well. Apply N:P2O5:K2O fertilizer @ 30:30:60 kg/ha. Full dose of P2O5 and half dose of K2O may be applied as basal. Apply two-third dose of nitrogen 30 days after planting and remaining N and K2O at 60 days after planting.

Mulch the crop immediately after planting with green leaves @ 15 t/ha. Repeat mulching after 50 days with same quantity of green leaves.

The rhizomes germinate within 3-4 weeks. Remove weeds 45 days after planting and repeat if necessary. Earth up the crop after 60 days of planting.

Plant protection

Compared to the related crops ginger and turmeric, the crop is free from pests and diseases. But when large-scale cultivation is taken up, the attack of shoot borer (Conogethes punctiferalis) causes, damage to the crop. Appearance of dead heart in the field is the main symptom. To reduce the pest population, pull out the dead hearts with the larvae inside and burn it. If infestation is severe, spray dimethoate or quinalphos at 0.05%.

↑  Top

Nutmeg requires a hot, humid climate without pronounced dry season. The soil should be rich in organic matter and well drained. The tree prefers partial shade. Sheltered valleys are the best suited. It can be grown up to about 900 m above MSL.

Variety: IISR-Viswashree

Seeds and sowing
Fully ripened tree-burst fruits are selected for raising seedlings. The fleshy rind and the mace are removed before sowing. The seeds should be sown immediately after collection. If there is any delay in sowing, the seeds should be kept in baskets filled with damp soil. The seedbeds of 100-120 cm width, 15 cm height and of convenient length may be prepared in cool and shady places. A mixture of garden soil and sand in the ratio 3:1 may be used for preparing nursery beds. Over this, sand is spread to a thickness of 2-3 cm and the seeds dibbled 2 cm below the surface at a spacing of about 12 cm on either side. Seeds germinate within 50-80 days after sowing. When the plumule produces two elongated opposite leaves, the seedlings are to be transferred from beds to polybags.

Since the nutmeg trees require shade, suitable fast growing shade trees like Albizia, Erythrina etc. are planted in advance. Banana can also be grown as a shade crop in the early stages. Pits of 90 x 90 x 90 cm are dug at a spacing of 8 x 8 m with the onset of southwest monsoon. The pits are filled with topsoil and compost or well-decomposed cattle manure and seedlings are planted.


Apply 10 kg cattle manure or compost per seedling during the first year. Increase the quantity gradually till a well-grown tree of 15 years and above receives 50 kg of organic manures per year. Apply N:P2O5:K2O @ 20:18:50 g/plant during the first year. This may be doubled in the next year. Gradually increase the N:P2O5:K2O dose to 500:250:1000 g/plant/year to obtain full dose from 15th year onwards.

Fruits are available throughout the year, but the peak period of harvest is from December to May. When fruits are fully ripe, the nuts split open. These are either plucked from the tree or allowed to drop. The two major products are nutmeg and mace. Dried nutmeg and mace are directly used as spice and also for the preparation of their derivatives.

After de-rinding the nutmeg fruit, red feathery aril (mace) is separated from pericarp. The mace is detached, flattened and dried in sun on mats for 3-5 days.

The nuts are dried in the sun for six to eight days till they rattle in their shell. They are stored in warm dry place prior to shelling.

Nutmeg and mace oleoresins are prepared by extracting the ground spice with organic solvents. Yield of oleoresin is 10-12 per cent for nutmeg and 10-13 per cent for mace. Mace oleoresin possesses a fine, fresh fruity character.

Nutmeg butter
Nutmeg contains 25-40 per cent of fixed oil that can be obtained by pressing the crushed nuts between plates in the presence of steam or by extracting with solvents. The product, known as nutmeg butter, is a highly aromatic, orange coloured fat with the consistency of butter at ambient temperature.

Nutmeg oil
This is obtained as pale yellow to white volatile liquid possessing a fresh warm aromatic odour. The yield ranges from 7 to 16 %. The unshelled nuts are coarsely crushed in a mechanical cracker and steam distilled.

Mace oil
The mace yields 4-17 % colourless to pale yellow liquid possessing organoleptic properties similar to nutmeg oil. Nutmeg and mace oil are also used for flavouring.

The hard scale Saissetia nigra occurs on the pencil thick branches and desaps the tissues. The infested shoots invariably develop sooty mould cover. It can be controlled by spot spraying with quinalphos 0.025%.


Leaf spot and shot hole
(Colletotrichum gloeosporioides)

Sunken spots surrounded by a yellow halo are the initial symptoms. Subsequently the central portion of the necrotic region drops off resulting in shot hole symptoms. Dieback symptoms are also observed in some of the mature branches. On young seedlings drying of the leaves and subsequent defoliation are seen. The disease can be controlled by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture two or three times during rainy season.

Fruit rot
This is caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Botryodiplodia theobromae. Water soaked lesions are seen on the fruits, the tissues of which become discoloured and disintegrated. Premature splitting of the pericarp and rotting of mace and seed are the main symptoms of the disease. The internal tissues are found rotten. The fallen fruits become enveloped with the growth of the organism. The disease can be controlled by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture.

The other diseases include leaf blight (Botryodiplodia theobromae), leaf spot (Alternaria citri), sooty mould (Phragmocapnius sp.) and the algal leaf spot (Cephaleuros sp.).

↑  Top

Turmeric is a tropical herb and can be grown on different types of soil under irrigated and rainfed conditions. Rich loamy soils having good drainage are ideal for the crop. It is a shade tolerant crop with shallow roots suitable for intercropping and also as a component crop in the homesteads where low to medium shade is available.

Preparation of land
Prepare the land to a fine tilth during February-March. On receipt of pre-monsoon showers in April, prepare beds of size 3 x 1.2 m with a spacing of 40 cm between beds.

Seed material
Whole or split mother rhizomes are used for planting. Select well developed, healthy and disease free rhizomes. Treat the rhizomes in any of the copper oxychloride fungicides and store in cool, dry place or in earthen pits plastered with mud and cowdung.

The important varieties are Duggirala, Tekurpetta, Sugantham, Kodur, Armoor, Alleppey, Suvarna, Suguna, Sudarshana, Prabha, Prathibha, Kanthi, Sobha, Sona and Varna.

Season and method of planting
Plant during April with the receipt of pre-monsoon showers. Take small pits in the beds in rows with a spacing of 25 x 25 cm. Plant finger rhizomes flat with buds facing upwards and cover with soil or dry powdered cattle manure. The seed rate is about 2000-2500 kg per ha.

Apply cattle manure or compost as basal dose at 40 t/ha at the time of land preparation or by spreading over the beds after planting. Apply N:P2O5:K2O @ 30:30:60 kg/ha. Full dose of P2O5 and half dose of K2O may be applied as basal; 2/3 dose of N may be applied at 30 days after planting; and 1/3 N and remaining K2O may be applied 60 days after planting.

Mulch the crop immediately after planting with green leaves @ 15 t/ha. Repeat mulching after 50 days with the same quantity of green leaves.

Weed the crop thrice at 60, 120 and 150 days after planting, depending upon weed intensity. Earth up the crop after 60 days.

Chilly, maize and colocasia can be grown as intercrops.

Harvesting and curing
Time of harvest depends upon variety and usually extends from January to March. Harvest early varieties at 7-8 months, medium varieties at 8-9 months and long duration varieties at 9-10 months after planting.

Improved method of processing

Cleaning: Harvested turmeric rhizomes are cleaned off mud and other extraneous materials adhering to them and subjected to curing within 2-3 days after harvest so as to ensure the quality of the end product.

Fingers and mother rhizomes will have to be boiled separately. Boiling is usually done in MS pans of suitable size. Cleaned rhizomes (approximately 50 kg) are taken in a perforated trough of size 0.9 m x 0.55 m x 0.4 m made of GI or MS sheet with extended handle. The trough containing the rhizomes is then immersed in MS pan (1 m x 0.62 m x 0.48 m) containing clean water sufficient to immerse the rhizomes. The whole mass is boiled till the rhizomes become soft. The correct stage of cooking can be judged by piercing a wooden needle through the rhizome. If the rhizomes are properly cooked, the needle will pass through the rhizome without resistance. The cooked rhizomes are taken out of the pan by lifting the trough and draining the solution into the pan.

Drying: The fingers are then dried in the sun by spreading them as a thin layer on bamboo mats or drying floor. Artificial drying at a maximum temperature of 65șC gives a bright coloured product than that of sun drying especially for sliced turmeric.


In order to smoothen the rough and hard outer surface of the boiled dried turmeric and also to improve its colour, it is subjected to polishing. There are two types of polishing, hand polishing and machine polishing.

Hand polishing: The method of hand polishing is simple, which consists of rubbing turmeric fingers on hard surface or trampling them under feet wrapped in gunny bags. The improved method is by using hand-operated barrel or drum mounted on a central axis, the sides of which are made of expanded metal mesh. When the drum filled with turmeric is rotated, polishing is effected by abrasion of the surface against the mesh as well as by mutual rubbing against each other as they roll inside the drum.

Machine polishing: This method consists of an octagonal or hexagonal wooden drum mounted on a central axis and rotated by power.

Boiled, dried and half polished turmeric fingers (half polished turmeric is more suitable since colour does not stick to the rhizomes that have been polished fully to smooth finish) are taken in bamboo basket and shaken with turmeric powder. For coating 100 kg of half polished turmeric 200 g of turmeric powder is required. When fingers are uniformly coated with turmeric powder, they are dried in the sun.

Turmeric oleoresin
This is obtained by the solvent extraction of the ground spice with organic solvents like acetone, ethylene dichloride and ethanol for 4-5 hours. It is orange red in colour. Oleoresin yield ranges from 7.9 to 10.4 per cent. One kg of oleoresin replaces 8 kg of ground spice.

Plant protection
No major incidence of pest or disease is noticed in the crop. Shoot borers can be controlled by spraying 0.05% dimethoate or 0.025% quinalphos.

Leaf spot and leaf blotch can be controlled by spraying 1% Bordeaux mixture or 0.2% mancozeb. If symptoms of early wilt or rhizome rot appear, drench the soil with cheshunt compound or 1% Bordeaux mixture.

↑  Top

Garcinia, the camboge tree is a big sized glabrous and evergreen forest tree commonly seen in the Western Ghats of Kerala, Karnataka, and also in Sri Lanka. The tree is very much adapted to hill tops and plain lands alike. But, its performance is best in river banks and valleys. It grows well in dry or occasionally waterlogged or flooded soils. The economic part of the plant is its mature fruit, which is highly acidic. The extract obtained from the mature fruit rind, (-) hydroxy citric acid, attracts foreign markets, for its use in medicines controlling obesity.

Planting materials
Grafts prepared through soft wood grafting or side grafting and healthy seedlings raised in the nursery are used for cultivation. If seedlings are planted, 50-60% will be male; and female takes 10-12 years for bearing. Hence planting of grafts is advocated as they ensure maternal characters including early bearing tendency.

Propagation by seedlings

Selection of mother trees: Locate mother trees that give a steady annual yield with a mean fruit weight of 200-275 g, high acid and low tannin content. Collect seeds from freshly harvested and fully ripe fruits and wash in running water and spread in a thin layer under roof. By the 20th day, seeds will be ready for sowing. Sow seeds at the rate of two per bag in polybags during the month of August-September. Usually seeds start sprouting in the month of December but the sprouts become visible above the soil surface only by February. In order to avoid delayed germination, simple seed treatment methods can be employed.

Method 1: In this method, the processed seeds (after drying under shade) are given a mechanical treatment. Remove seed coats of such seeds using a sharp knife without injuring the ivory coloured cotyledon. Sow these ivory coloured cotyledons afresh in polybags at a depth of 3 cm. Germination starts in 20-25 days after sowing.

Method 2: After removing the seed coats, treat the seeds with gibberellic acid @ 250 ppm for 6 hours, and thereafter soak them in mancozeb @ 4 g/l for 2 hours. Sow the seeds in nursery bags and irrigate daily. Seeds germinate in 16-20 days.

Method 3: Second method followed by transfer of the seeds to a white polypropylene cover of size 20 cm x 25 cm along with 30-50 ml of filtered water. Tie the polybag along with the air inside tightly using a rubber band. Such seeds germinate in 10-12 days after sowing. In a polybag, about 500-750 seeds can be incubated at a time. Pick up the sprouted seeds and sow in the nursery bags kept under shade.

Keep the seedlings under shade. Irrigate them regularly on alternate days during summer months. After 3-4 months, place the seedlings under direct sunlight to trigger robust growth. At this age, apply FYM @ 50 g per bag. In six to seven months time, seedlings will be ready for planting.

Propagation by grafting

Two types of grafting methods are employed viz. soft wood grafting and approach grafting.
Soft wood grafting
Select scions only from specific elite trees regular in bearing, which produce high yield of large and quality fruits.

Collection of scion
: Select straight growing, healthy, young shoots emerging from the primary branches with whorled leaf arrangement. Cut them to a length of 6-10 cm and store in polybags under humid condition. Remove leaves partly and shape the cut end to a wedge of 3-4 cm length by giving slanting cuts on two opposite sides.

Preparation of rootstock: Stock-plants having 3-4 mm stem thickness are ideal for grafting. Behead the selected plants at two nodes below the terminal bud and remove all the leaves at the graft union. Use scion and rootstock of same thickness for grafting.

Grafting: Insert the wedge of the scion into the cleft made on the rootstock and secure the graft joint firmly with a black polythene tape, 1.5-2 cm wide and 30 cm long.

Care in the nursery: Immediately after grafting, cover the plants with a transparent polypropylene cover and keep under shade. By the 30th day, grafts will establish and new leaves will start emerging. Remove the polythene cover and keep under shade. Water the grafts daily using rose-can or micro-sprinkler. Care should be taken to remove sprouts emerging from rootstock at frequent intervals. Three months after grafting the plants will be ready for planting in the main field. Just before planting in the main field, leave the grafts under open condition in 10-15 days for hardening.

Approach grafting
Here also stock plants having 3-4 mm thickness are preferred and they are brought to the place where the mother tree is located. Grafting is done as in other crops and is kept intact for 45 days by which time union occurs. Graft is detached from the mother tree in three steps. The main disadvantage is that only a limited number of grafts can be produced in this method. Forty-five days after grafting, they will be ready for transferring to the main nursery for hardening. Grafts are to be watered daily using a rose-can or micro-sprinkler. Care should be taken to remove sprouts emerging from rootstock at frequent intervals. Leaf folding pests common in the nursery can be controlled by spraying with quinalphos @ 2 ml/l at monthly intervals. One-year-old grafts can be used for field planting.

Prepare pits of size 1 x 1 m at spacing of 10 m. Refill the pits with a mixture of topsoil and compost / FYM. Proper care should be given to avoid water stagnation in pits.

The plants can be raised as a pure crop or as a mixed crop in coconut and arecanut gardens. Take pits of size 0.75 x 0.75 x 0.75 m in hard and laterite soils; 0.50 x 0.50 x 0.50 m in sandy and alluvial soils, at a spacing of 4 m x 4 m for grafts and 7 m x 7 m for seedlings. In slopes of 15% or more, for planting grafts, rows are spaced at 5 to 5.5 m and 3.5 m between trees in a row. For planting seedlings, rows are spaced at 8 to 12 m and at 6 to 8 m for trees in a row. Planting is generally done at the onset of monsoon showers. Under existing coconut plantation of 25 years and above, spacing shall be so adjusted that it should alternate with the palms in the rows. Under Kuttanad conditions, where bunds and channels alternate, planting can be done in between two palms. Fill the pits with topsoil and 5 kg of compost or well-decomposed cattle manure and 10 g of carbaryl 10% dust, to avoid white ant attack, before planting. The graft union shall remain just above the ground level. Provide support to the young plants. One month after planting, gently remove the polythene tape around the graft union.

Management of plantation
Clean the field free of bushes and thick shades. Weed once in three months and mulch the basin with black polythene or dry leaves to avoid drying.

Apply 10 kg cattle manure or compost per seedling / graft during the first year. Gradually increase the quantity so that a well-grown tree of 15 years and above receives 50 kg of organic manure per year. Apply N:P2O5:K2O mixture at the rate of 20:18:50 g/plant during the first year. Double the dose in the second year and gradually increase it to 500:250:1000 g / plant / year at the 15th year.

Grafts will grow fast from the second year onwards. Give strong support with casuarina poles at this stage. By fifth year, the tree will have 3 to 4 m height. At this stage, height of the plant may be maintained at 3.5 to 4 m and by seventh year at 4 to 4.5 m by pruning.


Seedlings start bearing generally at the age of 10-12 years. Grafts start bearing from the third year onwards and will attain full bearing at the age of 12 to 15 years. Flowering occurs in January-March and fruits mature in July. There are reports of off-season bearers, which bear two times a year, i.e., during January-July and September-February. Mature fruits, which are orange yellow in colour, drop off from the tree. Harvest mature fruits manually before they fall. Immediately after harvest, wash the fruits in running water and separate the fruit rind for processing.

Separated fruit rind is first sun dried and then either smoke-dried or oven-dried at 70-80șC. In order to increase the storage life and to impart softness, mix the dried rind with common salt @ 150 g and coconut oil @ 50 ml per kg of dried rind.

Pests and diseases
Hard scales and beetles are found to infest the crop. Hard scales desap the leaves and tender shoots. Both the adult beetles and their grubs defoliate the crop inflicting heavy loss of yield. Control these pests by spraying dimethoate or monocrotophos @ 1 ml/l. Leaf folders are very common in the nursery against which quinalphos @ 2 ml/l may be sprayed. Incidence of hoppers is observed on grafts and large trees. This causes withering of leaves, drying up of branches and yield loss. Control them by spraying carbaryl 50 WP 2g + dichlorovos 1 ml per litre of water. Sooty mould is seen associated with hard scales. Seedling blight in the nursery stage is very common. Control it by drenching nursery bed with 1% Bordeaux mixture or using mancozeb @ 5 g/l. In grafts and large trees, sometimes, fungal thread blights have been observed to cause leaf and twig blight. Adopt proper pruning and spray 1% Bordeaux mixture or mancozeb 0.3 %.

↑  Top

TAMARIND (Tamarindus indica)

(Ad hoc recommendation)

The tree is particularly well adapted to semi-arid tropical regions, but can be grown in heavy rainfall areas too, provided the soil is well drained. It is adaptable to poor soil also.

Propagation technique
It is propagated by means of seeds, grafts and budding. Healthy seeds are sown in polybags and seedlings are transplanted at 40-60 cm height. Due to erratic bearing of seedling progeny, grafts are successfully used as propagules. Side grafting, inarching and patch budding are commonly practised. Budding is done on nine-month-old saplings for higher success.

Cultural operations
Plants of 40-60 cm height are planted during June to November at 10 x 10 m spacing in pits of 1 m3 size incorporated with 15 kg of FYM. Regular watering till the plants establish in the field is a must. Leader shoot is cut at 3 m above ground level to induce scaffold branches. Organic manures are generally used. Intercropping with vegetables, groundnut and sesame can be done till the fifth year.

Pests and diseases
Insects like Tribolium castaneum and fungi are serious problems in storage and field respectively. Spray application of endosulfan at 0.05% at the time of fruiting, when infestation starts, can control the storage beetle. Against powdery mildew damage, 0.1% dinocap is recommended.

Harvest and yield
Seedlings start to yield 8-10 years after planting whereas grafts and budded seedlings give yield after 4-5 years. Stabilized yield of 250 kg/tree is obtained from 9-10 years onwards. Harvesting is done from January to April. There is also a tendency of alternate bearing as in the case of mango.

↑  Top

Kerala Agricultural University. 2002. Package of Practices Recommendations: Crops. 12th Edition
(eds. A. I. Jose et al.). Kerala Agricultural University, Trichur. 278p.

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Tel: +91-484-2658221, FAX: +91-484-2659881, URL:
Best viewed in IE 5.5 or above, 800x600 screen, scripts enabled.
Webmaster: Dr. P. P Joy,  Last modified: 01/22/07. All Glory to God.