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BETEL LEAF GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Piper sarmentosum
wild pepper, kadok, bai cha plu,cha plu, bai som phou, sirih dudu, daun kaduk, betel
pepper, la lot
Thailand and Vietnam
Betel leaf is a completely different plant to Betel pepper Piper betle
, which is chewed with betel nut. It is
an evergreen, perennial creeper to 90 cm. It has shiny heart-shaped leaves with small white flower spikes. It prefers
a rich, well-drained soil with partial shade. It likes to be kept moist but does not tolerate waterlogging. Frost will
damage the leaves but not kill the plant once it is well established. It makes a good groundcover under trees in
subtropical and tropical areas. It grows vigorously in the right position and because of its habit of suckering can be
difficult to remove. It can be grown successfully in colder areas in a hanging basket or large pot and moved to a warm,
sheltered position in winter.
The spicy leaves are popular in south east Asian cooking, being used raw and cooked. To eat raw in a salad or use as a
wrapping the young tender leaves are best. In Thailand, these wraps are a favourite snack, 'mieng kum', using an assortment
of fillings, like peanuts, shrimps, shallots with lime and raw ginger. Soaking the leaves in cold water with a little sugar
for 2 hours before use subtly alters the flavour. As the leaves are very attractive, they are often used as a base to line
platters, with foods arranged on top. The white flower spikes develop into a small fruit that can be eaten. Betel leaf has
many traditional medicinal uses.
Recommended Planting Time:
It is easy to propagate from cuttings at hot times of the year.
Take cuttings 25 cm long, strip the leaves off the bottom half of the stems
and bury to half their length in potting mix and keep moist.
Space 60 - 100 cm apart.
Not to NORFOLK ISLAND, NT, SA, TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of Norfolk Island
. These restrictions are very important as they prevent
the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tubestock
can be sent to South Australia
. No tubestock can be sent to
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