A gorgeous plant that thrives in low light and tolerates soggy feet, betel plant (Piper betel) — is also known as paan. Betel leaf is an important plant in the Ayurvedic tradition. It is typically recommended as a stimulant, a general health tonic and as a breath freshener. Betel plant also plays an important role in Indian culture, and Hindus often wrap money in betel leaves before giving it to their priests.
Betel leaf is traditionally served after Indian meals because it is believed to help digest curried food and act as a mouth freshener. The leaves can be wrapped around spices like cardamom, anise, lime paste, or grated coconut. Since toothpicks are a relatively new invention, Indians traditionally seal the wrapped betel leaf with a clove.
Betel leaf is a vine so it can be grown to climb up a tree or fence during the summer, or be trained to spill over the edge of a pot in a hanging basket. It grows rapidly but appears to grow most quickly in the warm temperatures and long days of summer. Betel leaf will need protection from freezing temperatures but is an extremely attractive house plant with large heart-shaped, glossy leaves.
It’s also easy to root and share. Just place a node on very wet dirt, make a clip (we straighten out an old paperclip) to hold it in place. Leave it for a few weeks, then cut the rooted leaf off its mother. You also can make a big bushy plant using the same technique in a shallow bowl, particularly if you use the plant as a centerpiece or as a part of your meal.
Please be sure to read our Plant Replacement Policy before purchasing live plants.