Pandan leaf plant (pandanus amaryllifolius ) originated from Southeast Asia. The leaves are extracted to make a fine natural green food coloring with a unique aroma that are used in many Thai and Vietnamese snacks and desserts. For newbie gardeners, there are different pandanus varieties, but this particular edible pandanus is Pandanus Amaryllifolius.
Where to plant pandanus:
Central Florida, Zone 9B: Here is my pandan striving very well in my backyard. I have tried to grow pandan for two years now. I planted a few plants in different areas in the backyard. When planting your pandan in the ground, find a spot were the soil can be kept moist to wet most of the time such like near a flood zone, wetland, or sprinkler spout. It did not respond well when I plant it near the AC drip line due to the cold temperature of the water. Most importantly, this plan need full shade to strive. Yellowing leaves and slow growth are signs that the pandan is not getting enough shade and water.
If you choose to pot up your pandanus amaryllifolius plant, I recommend buying those 15 gallon plastic barrel pot at Lowes. Where to drill the holes is important for your goal is to keep the soil moist at all times for this plant. I have tested out two ways. You can choose to drill two holes about 1/3 way from the top of the pot or two holes near the bottom of the pot. I am lazy when it comes to remembering to water my pots as often as I should so I have chosen to drill the holes one-third way from the top like this. This way, the soil holds in the water longer before drying out.
Where to buy pandanus plant:
I am currently selling pandanus amaryllifolius for $12 per plant plus shipping to help me maintain my edible gardening hobby. This price is good as long my favorite bag of potting soil (Lowe’s StaGreen Potting Soil), doesn’t increase. Each plant is about 10 to 15 inches tall. I am not a nursery seller and am limited in quantity. I just sell extra young pandan plants from my little garden to help me feed my edible garden. If you would like to support my garden and purchase the pandan plant from me, please contact me. Messaging me via Facebook Marketplace or Messenger would be the quickest way to reach me. I only ship within the United States except for the state of California, Hawaii, and Alaska. Shipping cost for one to three plants is $15 in a medium flat rate USPS box.
I originally bought the baby pandan plant from Van’s Nursery in Apopka, Florida. Potted pandan plants can occasionally be available at Vietnamese markets. If you are in Orlando area, check with Lotte and Tan Tien market. If you prefer ordering online, I recommend buying if not from me, then on Etsy or local Asian gardening group. Amazon is overpriced.
When and how to separate the pandan pups to pot up:
When I noticed my mother pandan plant (meaning the original one or mature pandan plant in my garden) is starting to produce pups and the pups are at least 6 inches tall with at least 3 roots forming at the base of the stem, I would separate it from the mother plant. Just carefully break the stem with the roots attached and stick it in a two-gallon pot or bigger pot. I set a big 15 gallon wide plastic barrel pot and just stick three or four pandan pups into the pot and wait for it to root. Once each pandan pup starts rooting in the soil which may take about a month, then I’ll take it out and plant each pandan in its own pot or in the ground. Make sure to give it full shade.
How to harvest the pandan leaves:
When it’s time to harvest the pandan leaves, we just need to harvest the leaves starting from the lowest base of the stem or stalk and going upward. Teaching a little gardener-in-training is a bit tricky. Model how to grasp a hold of the main stalk with one hand in place, while using the other hand to pull down the lowest leaf to yank it out one at a time. And watch them like a hawk! Don’t say I didn’t warned you. LOL!
Wash the pandan leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt and debris. You can freeze the leaves or use it fresh two ways. To use the fresh leaves, you can add it to coconut milk or tea for flavoring, or you can extract the leaves.
How to extract the pandan leaves:
Cut the leaves close to the stalk. Wash and rinse the leaves well to remove any dirt. Cut or chop the leaves into small pieces about 1/4th-inch length.
Using the big cup from a 900-watt NutriBullet blender, fill it up with the cut leaves to the max line. Pour in 3/4th cup of water. Blend well.
Pour the blended mixture through a cheesecloth laid over a mesh strainer.
Pour the pandan extract into a jar. Seal it with an air tight lid. Store it in the fridge for the next day to let it settle. Pour the clear liquid in the upper half portion of the extract out. (I used an empty OUI French glass yogurt jar here.)
I was able to store in the fridge for about three weeks. I use this much natural pandan extract for the following recipes:
- Pandan Flavored Soy Milk
- Flavored Pizzelles
- Pandan sticky rice – recipe coming soon
- Pandan Coconut Waffles