This is a series of the same title, with each part featuring a vegetable.
Part 2: CINNAMON
Ok, cinnamon is a spice, not a vegetable. But, I decided to feature it because:
- We cook many vegetable soups with cinnamon;
- Cinnamon is quite expensive in our island, as most are imported from abroad (which doesn’t make sense since we have the Philippine cinnamon);
- Cinnamon does grow as a tree up to 6 to 10 meters high, and because I have a small yard, I can’t plant cinnamon in the ground, lest the cinnamon tree takes over it. I know that many people have small spaces, too, and they could use this information;
- It’s a multi-faceted medicinal plant, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of the National Institutes of Health (USA), which is “an:
- cardiovascular-disease-lowering compound
- Cinnamon has also been reported to have activities against neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.”
How big should the container be for Cinnamon?
My container is 18 inches tall and 23 inches diameter. I holed the sides and bottom of the container, as well as mounted it on top of 2 cinder blocks.
I have to note that what I have is the Philippine cinnamon (Cinnamomum mercadoi), which is endemic to the Philippines. Aside from it is suited to our climate and grows easily, it is also listed as “vulnerable”, per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. I plant cinnamon for food, medicine, and conservation.
The Philippine Cinnamon belongs to the Lauraceae family, which contains about 45 genera and 2000-2500 species.
Other records of container sizes are:
- 12- to 14- inch pot, per Mother Earth Living
- 18-24 plus inches in diameter and 20 plus inches in height, per Botanical Growers Network
What’s the ideal climate for Cinnamon?
Per the UCLA Biomedical Library, Cinnamon originated in Ceylon, Western India (Malabar Coast), and cultivated in:
- Sri Lanka (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone or USDA PHZ 11b)
- East and West Indies
- southern India
- Burma (USDA PHZ 11b)
- Malaysia (USDA PHZ 11b)
- Vietnam (USDA PHZ 11b)
As you can see, the ideal climate for Cinnamon is “Moist Tropical” or USDA PHZ 11b.
I am located in Bacolod City, the Philippines, and our USDA PHZ is 11b.
Per the Sri Lanka Department of Export Agriculture, Cinnamon grows best at 25C to 32 C (77F – 90F).
Can cinnamon grow in less ideal, or even cold, climates?
There are records that Cinnamon could grow in less ideal, or even cold, climates:
- Cinnamomum zeylanicum/verum (native to Sri Lanka):
- grown in Winnipeg (Canada) by Sage Garden: “In pots, especially indoors, the brightest location is the best location.”
- grown in New South Wales (Australia) by Daley’s Fruit: “Highly ornamental tree and the source of cinnamon spice. The spice itself is the bark that is peeled from the branches after 2 years. Scrape the bark leave for a day so that the inner bark curls into cinnamon sticks as it dries. The base of the leaf can be chewed for a cinnamon flavour. Cinnamon is a very elegant and useful aromatic, much kinder to the palate than the other spice trees.”
- Customer 1 – Marginal where I am but it has grown enough to produce a reasonable spice. Needs extra care in non tropical areas to even survive much less flourish. Keep as warm as possible, mulch and water well and cross your fingers. | David White – Newcastle, NSW 28-May-2006
- Customer 2 – Planted mine in summer where it gets semi-sun to full sun, then it became semi-shade, mainly skylight in winter time. Place a plastic sheet barrier to protect if from the cold wind. planted some chamomile as a ground cover for it. So far so good. | Chrissie Eckersley – Kahibah, NSW 21-Aug-2010
- Customer 3 – 3m high in 2 years Tony Roland Kingscliff nsw 25/04/2013 | Tony Roland – Kingscliff, NSW 24-Apr-2013
How is Cinnamon grown?
Unless specified, all information in this section were taken from Sri Lanka Department of Export Agriculture.
- Soil – silver sands, loam, lateritic gravel
- Temperature – 25C-35C (77F-90F)
- Rainfall – more than 1750mm per year
- Sun – sun loving plant and high sun shine
- Planting – by seeds and cuttings.
- “Well ripened seeds are selected, thoroughly washed to remove pericarp and plant in 12.5 x20.0cm poly bags filled with equal parts of top soil, cow dung, sand, and coir dust. Five to eight seeds are planted in a bag but thinning out is done to keep 4-5 vigorous plants after about two months.”
- Fertilizer – 2 parts Nitrogen, 1 part Phosporous, 1 part Potassium.
- rough bark disease (brown spots in bark) – stem must be removed/peel diseased bark
- clorosis in leaves (yellow leaves) – add iron, per Loggee’s
- white root disease (Yellowing and subsequent shedding of leaves) – apply sulphur powder
- Pests – pink stem borer (remedy by covering the plant base by earthling up and through proper soil conservation)
As for me, I bought the Philippine Cinnamon (Kalingag) from a local gardener. Then, I filled up the container with 1 part top soil, 2 parts saw dust, 1 part vermicast, and 1 part rice hull ash. The container is in the sunny area (full sun), and is exposed fully to rain. I’ve not observed disease and pests, so far.
How is cinnamon harvested?
- First harvest of cinnamon can be taken after three years of planting and two harvests can be taken per year. Harvesting is done when the bark color of the stem turn into brown and stick diameter is about 3-5cm diameter. Branches and leaves are removed from harvested sticks before peeling and harvested stems should be peeled on the same day. During peeling outer skin is scraped and rubs the bark with a brass rod to be loosened bark from the hard wood. Then peel the bark, part by part, with a special knife and peeled bark is allowed to dry under sun for few hours and when rolling of the bark starts, pieces of bark are connected together and to make a pipe like structure (called as a quill) and the standard length of the tube is 42 inches. The hollow of the tube is filled with small pieces of stem and the tubes are left for in-door drying for about 4-7 days. – Sri Lanka Department of Export Agriculture
- Here’s a video by Foodie, “Cinnamon: Harvesting Cassia in the Jungles of Sumatra“.
How is Cinnamon used?
There are many answers in the internet, but I will mention my favorites:
- Vietnamese Noodle Soup, by Food Network
- Cinnamon Roll, by All Recipes
- Cinnamon Infused Hot Chocolate, by Joy The Baker
- Secret Detox Drink Recipe, by Dr. Axe
I’m totally loving my Philippine cinnamon (Kalingag) plant, and we hope to have unlimited supply of cinnamon once we harvest.
I hope I’ve convinced you to plant cinnamon in containers!
Oh, would you want to grow papaya in container? Kindly check out Part 1 of the series. Thanks!
P.S. – In case you’re looking for a good property in Bacolod City of the Philippines, please check out the beautiful Megaworld Forbes Hill. These are lots for sale by owner. Thank you.