Now is the time of year that areas of the Northern Hemisphere experiencing distinct seasons bring plants indoors. It’s also a traditional time of year for many Westerners to love the taste – and fragrance – of cinnamon. Yum! But cinnamon in its natural environment isn’t just available at Christmastime. In fact, it’s a semi-tropical plant, though technically an evergreen.
If you’re a cinnamon lover, did you know that you can actually grow this seasonal, delicious spice in your own home or apartment? Cinnamon grows quite large – between 3 and 8 feet tall (indoors, it usually grows 4-5 feet) – but yes, you can grow a single plant in a pot indoors and enjoy this wonderful spice all year long. It requires patience – you won’t be able to use the spice of this plant until its second year – but in the meantime, it makes a lovely ornamental.
Here's how to grow your own cinnamon tree indoors:
Buy a large container. You'll want a container approximately 24" in diameter. Don't go smaller than this, as cinnamon grows quite tall and needs a good amount of root room.
Make sure the container has holes for drainage; if it doesn't, drill holes into the bottom of the container.
You want a good, draining potting mix for cinnamon. Buy a pre-mixed fast draining soil or combine, in equal thirds, peat moss, perlite and compost.
It's easiest to grow cinnamon if you purchase it already grown into a sapling. Your local nursery may not carry cinnamon, so consider ordering online from a reputable source.
DO NOT OVERWATER cinnamon. Cinnamon is a semi-tropical tree that thrives best in sun, heat and a somewhat dry soil. Too much water will cause the roots of your cinnamon tree to rot and will destroy the plant. Rewater only after the top two inches of soil are dry.
Place your planted cinnamon sapling in a sunny area. It's best for cinnamon to receive 12 hours of sunlight per day, but you should get some growth and have success on at least 8 hours per day.
Grow until the plant's second year, then cut the trunk down. Tiny shoots will then appear. These are the twigs you will eventually be harvesting and using as a spice.
The part used as a spice in cinnamon is usually the bark. Cut off a twig/shoot of your tree. Peel/scrape away the dark outermost bark. An orangey inner bark will be revealed.
Set out in a dry area and allow to dry for approximately one week. As the bark dries, it will curl up into the cinnamon stick you are familiar with seeing.