Jana likes to grow stuff, exercise, snack, and explore creative projects as a means to relax and grow.
Who Wants to Grow Cinnamon?
Three kinds of lovely people grow cinnamon. Like most other herbs and spices, cinnamon is grown for its distinctive aroma and taste by commercial growers. Ambitious herbalists, who enjoy their own home-grown remedies, also cultivate cinnamon. In both cases, the spice is valued for its bark, powder, and oil. The third kind likes unusual pot plants in the home. That’s right, as weird as it sounds, cinnamon can and do make beautiful indoor plants.
What is Cinnamon Used For?
Cinnamon is mostly used as a spice. It’s the heart of Chai tea and adds a pinch of warmth to cookies. Certain traditional meals also require cinnamon as an ingredient. But this spice is also a remedy from ancient times. These days, there’s evidence that the tasty wonder is packed with antioxidants, fights infections, supports heart health, regulates blood sugar, and maybe even protects brain cells in those suffering from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Here’s an aromatic footnote. There is also a rich tradition of cinnamon being used in incense oil blends and sticks.
Can I Grow Cinnamon From Seeds?
Yes, you can grow cinnamon from seeds. However, if you plan to go the seed route instead of cuttings, then you need to move fast. Once extracted from the tree’s berries, cinnamon seeds must be planted as soon as possible. You’ll find cinnamon seeds available online but make sure that they are fresh and that the delivery doesn’t take the slow road to China. When the seeds are harvested, you have a window of roughly 7 to 10 days to plant them successfully.
How to Grow Cinnamon From Seeds
- Gather medium-sized pots, good soil, your seeds, and a water spritzer.
- Fill the pots with soil.
- Make several holes in each pot, roughly a centimetre or half-inch deep.
- Place one seed in each hole.
- Lightly cover all the holes with soil.
- Tamp the soil down a bit.
- Spritz water until the soil is moist but not soggy.
- Place the seeds in a warm area, like a sunny corner of your home or garden.
- Spritz whenever the soil is completely dry.
- You can expect the seedlings to show within 15 to 21 days.
Growing tip: Use bottled water if you can. The chemicals in tap water might harm the seeds.
How to Take Care of Cinnamon Seedlings
Taking care of cinnamon seedlings are easy. Treat them like you would most no-fuss pot plants. Simply keep them in an area with enough warmth for most of the day. They only need water when the top inch of the soil is dry. At one point, the seedlings will sprout their first true leaves. You’ll recognize them because they are larger and darker than before. Once this happens, it’s time to transplant each seedling into its own castle. We’ll discuss how to care for older trees in a moment.
Can I Grow Cinnamon From Cuttings?
Yes, you can grow cinnamon from cuttings. Be warned, though. It can take several months for them to root. Also, any cuttings that manage to grow will also need to be kept indoors for months as they cannot handle the weather and temperatures of the outdoors. But if you’re lucky enough to have a cinnamon tree to take cuttings from, then, by all means, give this method a shot.
How to Grow Cinnamon From Cuttings
- Gather your cuttings, medium-sized pots, water, and potting soil.
- Fill the pots with soil.
- Add enough water to make the soil moist but not soggy.
- Remove most of the leaves from the cuttings.
- Plant them deep enough so that they stand steady.
- Only plant one cutting per pot.
- Move the pots to a warm, sunny location indoors.
- Add a little water when the soil seems dry.
- Be prepared to wait for several months.
How to Take Care of a Cinnamon Tree
These evergreen trees have a few requirements but luckily, they are not too exotic. A cinnamon tree needs full sun for most of the day. However, if you live in a hot region, it’s fine to plant your tree in light shade (or move the potted tree to a shady area). It also needs well-draining soil and regular watering. A good idea is to pack mulch around the roots to keep them moist and cool for longer so that you don’t need to take out the watering can every day. You can also give the tree a light fertilizer but cinnamon trees rarely need regular feeds.
When Can I Harvest My Cinnamon Tree?
You can harvest your cinnamon tree when it’s three years old and healthy. But extracting the inner bark is not a project for beginners. You might want to find an expert to help you harvest the bark without killing your tree.
Managing Cinnamon-Loving Pests
The pests that bother cinnamon include mites, insects, bacteria, and fungi. The most common problems to look out for include:
- Leafspot (bacterial): Remove all leaves with brown flecks.
- Stripe canker (fungal): Prevent this disease by using disease-free seeds and soil.
- Seedling blight (fungal): Avoid your seedlings from this browning problem by not overwatering and practice prevention with a fungicide.
- Leafminers (insect): This moth and its larvae damage the leaves and can be hand-removed or discouraged with an insecticide.
- Cinnamon gall mite (mite): These mites cause cone-shaped galls on the underside of leaves but they can be discouraged from attacking a tree by the use of an insecticide.
Precautions When Using Cinnamon
Cinnamon is relatively safe to use. However, despite its rampant use all over the world without any problems, there are a few precautions to keep in mind. Please avoid or limit your intake of large amounts of cinnamon if the following applies to you.
- Liver disease.
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
- Do not take cinnamon two weeks before surgery.
- If you use medication that can harm the liver (hepatotoxic drugs).
A Quick Summary
Cinnamon is a lovely evergreen tree native to the jungles of Sri Lanka. As one of the world’s most popular spices, it’s used in many snack foods, hot brews, and traditional dishes. Cinnamon also has therapeutic uses although patients with liver and blood sugar issues must take care when they consume this spice. The seeds are easy to grow and cinnamon trees make fuss-free garden and houseplants.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jana Louise Smit