Last weekend, I embarked on another urban gardening project: to propagate pandan. I’ve had this plant for over six months now, and I must say that I haven’t given it enough attention that it deserves. I bought the young plant from a local garden shop, and immediately replanted it in a larger pot. Since then, it has grown very lush and healthy, with large green leaves and several new suckers appearing on all different sides.
Pandan is a tropical plant which is very popular in Southeast Asia. Like vanilla to western cuisine, pandan adds a pleasantly sweet smell to a lot of Asian recipes. The pandan extract is usually combined with coconut milk and added as flavoring to rice-based pastries, desserts and beverages. For me, I like adding a rolled up pandan leaf to our steamed rice to enhance the flavor.
Pandan is usually propagated from cuttings, as it rarely produces any flower. In my case, I had to uproot the entire plant so I could separate each of the suckers from the parent plant. The larger ones have grown their own air roots, so I just had to cut them off the parent and transfer them in individual pots For the parent plant, I had to trim off most of roots to allow space for fresh soil which I added when I transferred it to another pot.
There were also several smaller suckers growing out of the parent’s base. I simply detached them from the parent and planted them in smaller pots. Make sure to water the plants deeply since pandan thrives better with moist soil. To protect them from drying, I covered the newly transferred suckers in transparent plastic which helps them preserve the moisture while their roots are not yet well established. In about three weeks, I intend to transfer these plants to bigger pots.
Pandan can be a nice ornamental plant in your urban garden. When grown in pots, its roots and new growths tend to overcrowd the pot, so it needs to be transplanted every 2 years depending on the size of the pot. It is not a good companion plant as it tends to crowd out the other plants.