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How to Grow Bael Plant From Seeds and Cutting at Home

You can be grown bael plant at home from seed and cutting. The bael patra tree (Scientific name: Aegle marmelos, Family: Rutaceae) is native to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia [1]. Aegle Marmelos is known as Bael, Bael Patra, Bilva, Sirphal, Bengal quince, Japanese Bitter Orange, Stone apple, Wood apple and Golden apple. It can grow in US hardiness zones 9 through 12. The bael tree can grow up to 18 m hight.

Bael Plant is grown from cutting and seed.
Bale Plant and fruit

The Bel Patra plant is considered as a sacred and auspicious plant, that can remove negative energies from home. The bael plant can be kept inside home in the northeast direction.

The bael has abundance of vitamins that offers several health benefits including asthma, anaemia, dibetes, blood purification,constipation, digestion, healing of wounds, immunity booster, high blood pressure, diarrhoea, typhoid, jaundice, etc. The bael stem, bark, leaves, fruits, and roots, all have some use. The unripe as well as ripe fruits can be used in different ways.

Bael Tree Propagation

Bael can be propagated from seeds, cutting, grafting, root sucker, layering and budding. The plants multiplied through budding produces better shoot length and leaf number compared to grafting [2].

Growing Bael Plant From Cutting

Bael propagation from seed, budding and grafting are season dependent and slow processes. The seed grown bael seedlings are prone to insect  attack, although it is generally grown from seed. The vegetative propagation of bael patra plant through stem cutting can be a better option for multiplication to provide higher yield of quality fruit at considerably low cost [3].

Take bael stem cuttings from 3-4 year old bael tree having two node. remove the lower leaves and cut the top leaves into half. Immersed the lower ends of the cuttings briefly in a fungicide solution to avoid fungal infection. The cuttings were then rinsed and kept under shade for 10 minutes in open air for drying.

Dip the cut end of stem cutting in 0.4% IBA (Indole Buetaric Acid) and plant in a free-draiing potting mix like coarse sand mixed with fine gravel.

Enclose the cuttings in a polythene bag. Mist the cuttings after 4-5 days. The cuttings will be rooted in a few days depending on temperature.

Growing Bael From Seeds

A bael plant can be grown at home from fresh seed from a bael fruit. However, bael plants produced from seeds will not be true to type.

Ripe bael fruit to collect seeds for planting.
Ripe bael, Wood apple Fruit For Seeds

Bael Seed Dormancy

The bael seeds have no dormancy, they should be planted as soon as possible, within 10-15 days after extraction. The seeds deteriorates rapidly after harvest. The bael belongs to recalcitrant category, so their seeds cannot be stored for longer periods under normal storage conditions. So, use the freshly extracted seeds are used for sowing. However, they can be stored upto 132 days with proper treatment with fungicides such as Thiram or Captan and stored in polythene bags at room temperature [45].

Collect Bael Seeds

Get a fresh ripe bael fruit and collect its seeds. First remove the pulp, and wash the seeds. Let the seeds dry for a day or two in shade.

Bael seeds extracted from a ripe bael fruit
Bael Seeds

Planting the Bael Seeds

  1. You can sow the seeds directly in ground or in a suitable container. Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix.Sow the seed about 2 inch deep. Water regularly, but make do no overwater.
  2. Keep the pot in sun or in partial shade.
  3. Apply mulch on the soil with some dried leaves to conserve moisture in soil.
  4. The seedlings will appear in 10-15 days.
  5. Transplant the seedling at the final spot when it has grown strong roots.

Planting season

The bael can be planted from Spring to Autumn depending on hardiness zones 9-11, but all year round in hardiness zone 12 and above.

Where to Plant

Plant grows best in direct sunlight. being from the subtropical regions, the bael tree grows better in a warm and humid climate. It needs hot and dry summers and mild winters. However, it can adapt to a wide temperature range from 6 to 49°C.

Soil

The bael tree grows best in a well-draining sandy and loamy soil soil with a pH between 5 to 8.

Watering

The bael plants should be watered regularly for good growth and fruiting. Water the plant only when th soil feels dry to the touch, but ensure that it never dries out completely. Reduce watering during winters.

Fertilizer

Feed a general purpose fruit fertilizer. Feed cow manure or vermicompost during the winter season.

For a one year old plant, feed 10kg of manure, 50gm nitrogen, 50gm of potassium and 25gm phosphorus. Increase the quantity every year as the tree grows. water thoroughly after fertilization.

Harvesting

The bael tree begins to produce fragrant flowers in 4 years. The bael tree grown from seed bears fruits after 4-5 years after planting, whereas seedling trees will not produce fruit until 7-8 years. The raw fruits are greenish, they change their color slowly to yellowish green after ripening in about a year and harvested. A mature bael tree can produce from 400-1000 fruits [1].

Bael Seedlings
Bael Seedlings

Pruning

Cut the dead and weak branches after harvesting of fruits. To maintain its shape cut the tip of the main stem at 2 meter height.


Pests and Diseases

Aphids, spider mites and caterpillars can attack bael tree. Spray a neem oil solution to get rid of them.

A strong jet of water can keep caterpillars away.

Avoid overwatering the plant to prevent fungal diseases.


Medical Uses of Bael Fruit

How is Bael fruit used medicinally? The bael fruit, leaves, roots and branches are used to make medicine. Bael is used for constipation, diarrhea, peptic ulcers, dysentry, diabetes, as a laxative and other conditions. Eating in large amount may upset stomach.

Bael fruit juice helps improve heart health and reduce cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.

References

1. KK Misra, Bael, New Crop Fact Sheet, 1999.

2. SN Ghosh, S Roy and B. Bera, Studies on propagation of bael (Aegle marmelos L.) under Jhargram conditions, J. Hortl. Sci. Vol. 7(2):214-216, 2012. 

3.  Kabir, M.A., Karim, R., Rahman, S., Prince, M.H., Hasnat, G.N.T., and Jahan, S.M.H., Clonal Propagation of Aegle marmelos through IBA Treatment for  Sustainable Nutritional and Medicinal Supply for the Poor People of Agrarian Bangladesh, Int. J. Agr. Syst. 6(1): 45-59, 2018.

4. AK Singh, Sanjay Singh, PL Saroj, The Bael, Production Technology, Technical Bulletin No. 67.

5. Devendra Pandey, A.K. Misra, Neelima Garg, P.K. Shukla, Gundappa, S.K. Shukla and S. Rajan, Production, Protection and Processing of Bael, Pub. ICAR-CISH, 2020.