How to Grow Betel Leaf
Botanical Name: Piper betel.
Betel vine is a perennial dioeciously creeper native of Malaysia.
Betel vine leaves have a strong pungent aromatic flavour and are widely used as a masticatory. Mature leaves are used for chewing with smeared hydrated lime plus catachu, arecanut, clove, cordamom, clove, funnel etc. Betel chewing is considered as a good and cheap source of dietary calcium. Betel oil has several medicinal used. Leaves has also religious importance.
Bangla, Mitha, Sanchi, Korpuri, Ujani, Maghi, Deshi, Barisal, Jali, BARI Paan 1, BARI Paan 2, BARI Paan 3.
Betel leaf grows very well in tropical climate with high rainfall and a shady places are the best for its vigorous growth. It flourishes in areas with a rainfall of 225 to 475 cm.
Betel Leaf or Paan can be grown in wide range of soils such as sandy loam, heavy clayey loam. Supplementing the soil with good organic matter results best growth and higher yield. Soil should have good drainage as well. Land should be raised by 5 to 10 cm from the adjacent areas.
Land should be prepared by 45 ploughing. Land should providing proper drainage. Afterwards, field beds of sizes (15 cm height and 30 cm wide) are prepared. Soil should be sterilized thoroughly before planting the betel leaf cuttings.
When the soil temperature rises during the months March to May, soil is covered by polyethylene sheets in order to eradicate the inoculum of soil borne pathogens.
Application of neem cake (0.5 tonnes/ha) or carbofuran @ 1.5 kg/ha Plus carbofuran (0.75 kg/ha) is also preferred to minimize early soil nematode population for new betel plantation. However, carbofuran should not be recommended or preferred in established betel plantations at any stage, because a time gap of 65 to 75 days as safe waiting period is mandatory between harvesting of betel leaves and the application.
The monsoon season is ideal for planting betel leaves plants under closed system cultivation. However, planting season of betel leaves varies from region to region.
♣ November – December and January – February are optimum for cultivation.
Propagation and Cultivation
In betel leaf propagation, stem cuttings having 3 to 5 nodes are used and these are planted in such a fashion that 2 to 3 nodes are buried in the soil. A single node cutting with a mother betel leaf is also planted. Apical and middle portions cuttings of the betel vine are used for planting. There are 2 types of betel leaf cultivation is practiced in India and Bangladesh.
1) Open system cultivation using support plants.
2) Closed system cultivation using rectangular structures (artificial) called boroj.
Growing of support plants for natural support and shade
Plants of Moringa or Sesbania or Erythrina are raised to provide support and shade. These support plants are sown in 45 to 60 cm rows at least 45 days before planting the cuttings of betel leaf.
Building rectangular structures for artificial support and shade
Rectangular structures are normally made on slightly sloppy field, near to a source of watering at a higher level than the adjoining place. Make sure to have slopes in all directions for quick water drainage. Boroj are just rectangular structures made up of sticks or bamboo which are normally having a height of 2 to 2.5 meters. These rectangular structures are covered with using straw or coconut leaves or similar kind of material.
Planting of Betel Leaf cuttings
Basically Planting is done in rows and spacing between plants varies region to region. An average spacing is 75 cm to 100 cm. 42,000–75,000 cuttings are planted per hectare under open cultivation system whereas 1,00,000–1,25,000 cuttings per/ha are sufficient in rectangular closed cultivation system.
Manures and Fertilizers
Linseed cake, Oilseed cakes like Castor cake, neem cake or sesamum cake can be applied. The cake is first soaked in water in a big earthen pot for a week or so. Then this slurry is applied at frequent intervals of crop. Oil cakes in powder form can also be applied in the monsoon season.
♦ FYM: 15 Q/ ha/ year. ♦ N: 200 kg/ ha/ year. ♦ P2O5 : 100 kg/ ha/ year. ♦ K2O: 100 kg/ ha/ year.
The manures and fertilizers should be applied in 4 to 6 split doses at 2 to 3 months interval period.
Sets establishes within 3 weeks. The first leaf comes within a month. From this time, it requires constant cutting by expert hand. Following operations are required to be carried out
1) Thinning & pruning of leaves.
4) Irrigation and drainage.
Lowering of Vine
When the vines reach a height of about 3 feet, they not only loose their vitality but also become difficult to harvest. They are often regulated by ‘Lowering them’. It is a process in which vines are united from their support & their lower portion coiled and buried in the soil, leaving free only a few
nodes at the growing end. Best time of lowering is summer season. This also, helps in producing more tillers & vigorous growth of vines.
Training and pruning
One month after the plantation of betel leaf, young shoots begin appearing and these are trained along the support and tied with them using jute fiber or banana fiber once in every 2 weeks to 3 weeks.
Since betel vine needs high soil moisture content, frequent light watering is required depending upon the season of the crop. Irrigation should be given on need base and proper drainage should be maintained during rainy season.
Pest & Diseases
▲ Pest: Aphid, mites, Scale insects, Nematode, Mealy bug etc.
▲ Diseases: Foot rot, leaf spot, anthracnose, powdery mildew etc.
• Select well matured (more than 1 year old) seed vines free from pest and diseases.
• Remove the affected vines away from the garden and burn them.
• Application of Trichoderma viride @ 5 g/vine.
• Spraying 0.2% Wettable sulphur after plucking the leaves for powdery mildew.
• Soil application of Bacillus subtilis (BbV 57) or Pseudomonas fluorescens @ 10 g/vine for the control of root knot nematode and quick wilt of betel vine.
• Spraying Malathion 50 EC 1 ml/lit.
Harvesting of leaves starts from 6 months to 18 months after planting depending of soil, varieties; each vine is picked thrice or four times in a year. Expert hands are needed for picking. Artificial nail are also used for picking. The crop yield is less in first year, maximum in middle and less towards. The picked leaves are washed cleaned, counters and sorted in different grades according to size, colour, texture and maturity and their chewing quality.
An average annual yield of a good betel leaves crop is about 60-75 leaves/plant and 6-7 million leaves/ha.This yield also depends on cultivation methods and variety of betel leaves.
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