-->

How to Grow Cinnamon Plant at Home

Find a detailed guide on how to grow cinnamon at home from seed and cutting and how to care for cinnamon in a container.

Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, India and Myanmar. Cinnamon needs a warmer climate, lot of moisture and plenty of light and can be grown in pots or in ground.  It is a tropical plant, grows best in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12. It can be grown in tropical and even sub-tropical areas of Australia. In India, it is grown in Malabar Coast. The cinnamon grown in Sri Lanka is considered as the best quality cinnamon, and is known as Ceylon Cinnamon.

Cinnamon Stick and Powder
Cinnamon Stick and Powder

Growing cinnamon is easy, the spice will be ready for harvest in two to three years after planting. The bushy evergreen tree grows to a height of 15 metres (49 feet) in height if growing in ground, but can be pruned to control its height if growing in pots. It has a non-invasive root system, and can be grown as shrub.

The cinnamon tree has a moderate growth rate with crown having many branches with evergreen glossy pointed leaves with a leathery texture. It grows small pale yellow-green color. Cinnamon trees have a lifespan of about 10 years. The bark and leaves are aromatic due to oils.

Cinnamon Types : Cassia vs. Ceylon Cinnamon

Two types of cinnamon is available, Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon.

Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is “true” cinnamon from Sri Lanka and Madagascar has a lighter, brighter and spicier flavor than cassia cinnamon. It has 63 times less coumarin than cassia so it is safer to use.

Cassia Cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureirii) from Indonesia, China and Vietnam and is less expensive than Ceylon cinnamon.

Ceylon vs. Cassia Cinnamon

The cassia cinnamon is high in coumarin. Having coumarin in excess (more than 0.05 milligrams of per pound (450 gram) of body weight ) can lead to liver damage and even cancer cell formation. Thus, just 1.5 teaspoons of Cassia cinnamon will exceed the daily limit for a person who is 150 pounds (68kg).

Visually, the Cassia cinnamon sticks are darker in color with a thick layer of rolled bark. On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon sticks are lighter in color with thinner fibrous-looking layers. But it is difficult to distinguish between the two in powder form. Most of the cinnamon powder in market is Cassia type, unless it is labeled as Ceylon.

Cinnamon Plant Propagation

Cinnamon Verum can be propagated from seeds and cuttings, but it cannot be grown from cinnamon sticks. Growing cinnamon from cutting is faster and more reliable than growing from seeds.

Propagate Cinnamon from Cuttings

Cinnamon plants can be propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings in late spring to early summer. Take about 6 inch long cuttings from a healthy cinnamon plant. The cuttings should have at least one leaf nod. Remove lower  leaves and apply rooting hormone and plant them in a well-draining rooting medium. Enclose the pot in a polythene bag and place it at a warm location.

Growing Cinnamon From Seeds : Cinnamon Propagation From Seeds

The cinnamon grows quickly from fresh seeds, however, older seeds will take long time to germinate or may not germinate at all as they lose viability quickly. If you buy fresh cinnamon seeds online, plant them as soon as you receive them.

Grow Cinnamon from Seed, fresh seeds germinate quickly.
Cinnamon Seeds

You can always harvest the seeds yourself from a healthy cinnamon tree. Harvest the fully ripe berries  black in color, then split them open. Let them dry in the shade for 2 to 3 days, then separate the seeds.

Once you get seeds, follow the steps given below:

  1. Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours, throw away any floating seeds as they are not good for germination.
  2. Fill a pot with free-draining acidic soil and plant the seed about 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) deep. Spray water until the soil is moist but not soggy.
  3. Enclose the pot in a polythene bag to maintain high humidity for the seeds to germinate.  Place the pot in a warm location. This mimics their native tropical conditions.
  4. Spray water whenever the top 2 inch soil becomes dry.
  5. The seed will germinate and seedling will appear in 2 to 4 weeks.
  6. Transplant the seedling to a larger pot when it grows about 5 leaves.

Care For Cinnamon Plant

Cinnamon From Seed Growing in a Pot
Cinnamon From Seed Growing in a Pot

Cinnamon is a tropical plant, so it grows best in warm and humid conditions. If you live in a cooler climate, grow the cinnamon plant indoors grow it in a greenhouse environment to maintain the necessary warmth and humidity. Continue reading below on how to care for your cinnamon plant at home:

Position: Sun and Temperature

As the true cinnamon tree is a tropical plant, it grows best at temperatures between 21 to 32°C  (70 to 90 °F). If the outside temperature is lower than 20°C (68°F), you can grow your cinnamon plant indoors in a warm, humid and damp place. You can move the plant outside when the temperature rises again.

The best place to plant a cinnamon tree is where it can get at least 8 hours of direct sun.

Provide some afternoon shade In areas with intense afternoon sun to prevent sunburn of leaves.

Humidity

High Humid environment is very important for cinnamon plants. Increase the humidity around plants by misting. You can place a water tray near the plants. Providing a humid environment will promote better growth and overall health of the cinnamon plant.

Watering

Water young plants regularly, then water only when the top 1 inch soil gets dry. Do not let the soil dry out completely, Reduce watering during winter.

Overwatering can cause foliage turning yellow and leaves beginning to drop.

Soil For Cinnamon

The True Cinnamon tree grows best in well-drained, slightly acidic sandy loam soil with a pH between 4.5 and 6.5. To make the soil well-draining mix some sand or perlite in the soil.

You can use a pH meter to test the acidity of your soil. If the pH is too high, mix some sphagnum peat in the soil. Mix some limestone into the soil if the pH is lower than 4.5.

Add compost or composted manure to the soil to improve its nutrition.

Fertilizer

Fertilize your cinnamon plant with a balanced fertilizer every 6 weeks from spring to summer when the plant is actively growing. Reduce fertilization during winter.

Cinnamon Flowers

Cinnamon tree produces small, inconspicuous flowers that are pale yellow-green in color. These flowers give way to small, berry-like fruits that ripen to a dark purple color.

Pruning

  1. Cinnamon plants do not require regular pruning. But you should prune it to maintain its shape, promote bushy growth.
  2. You should also prune off any dead, damaged, diseased branches.
  3. Prune any overgrown long and leggy branches to encourage a compact, bushy growth.
  4. Use sharp disinfected pruning shears to prevent spread of any disease.

Pests and Diseases

The cinnamon plants are relatively resistant to diseases, they can still be susceptible to common pests and diseases.

  1. Aphids, scale insects and spider mites can attack the plant. Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and root rot can also be a problem.
  2. Use neem oil spray and insecticidal soap to repel pests, when you signs of pests.
  3. Remove and destroy any branches or foliage showing signs of disease, such as discoloration, brown specks on leaves, wilting, or unusual growth.
  4. Keep the area around your cinnamon plant clean and free of fallen leaves.
  5. Good air circulation prevents the development of fungal diseases.
  6. Do not water on foliage.

Cinnamon Harvesting

Cinnamon is harvested after the tree has grown for two or three years. You can harvest the cinnamon any time throughout the year. You can cut off branches and peel the outer bark using a sharp knife and then scrap off the inner layer. The inner layer will curl up as it dries and form the cinnamon sticks.

You can also harvest by cutting down at the base, then its bark is harvested and dried. The tree grows back from the cut stalk. Many people harvest the cinnamon twice a year. Harvesting more than two times a year will affect the growth of the tree. The bark of cinnamon tree is dark grey-brown in color.

Growing Cinnamon in a Pot

Cinnamon plant can be grown in a pot quite easily in free-draining slightly acidic soil, and you keep it in a warm and humid environment,


Pot Size

Plant the cinnamon plant in a pot with a diameter of at least 12 inches, 24 inch will be better to accommodate the plant’s roots adequately. The pot should have drainage holes at the bottom to drain excess water preventing root rot.

Planting

Whether you have grown your cinnamon from a seed or bought a cinnamon seedling from a garden shop, plant it in the soil at the same depth as it was growing in its container. Press the soil around the seedling gently to secure it in place.

Mist your potted cinnamon plant regularly to increase humidity for better growth of the plant. You can place the pot on a tray filled with water and pebbles. In growing indoors, use a room humidifier to maintain optimal humidity levels, especially during the drier winter months.