Sugar is the thing which is found commonly in our homes. The main source of sugar is sugarcane. Sugarcane belongs to the Poaceae family and it is a perennial grass.
You can grow them indoors if you are living in a tropical or subtropical region of the world. But you can still grow sugarcanes in containers if you are not living in tropical regions.
If you are facing the problem of shortage of area for growing sugarcanes then don’t worry you can also grow sugarcane in containers or pots. The question arises in your mind how is it possible to grow sugarcane in containers or pots.
Yes, you can grow sugarcanes in containers and make a mini sugar plantation. Now you can’t make an excuse that you can’t grow sugarcane at home.
This article is going to help you a lot with growing sugarcane at home, you will find all the necessary information in it. First, we will discuss what are the pros and cons of growing sugarcane indoors.
There are many positives of growing sugarcane
- You can easily grow them and propagate them outdoors as well as indoors.
- It looks cool because it is just like bamboo with longer leaves.
- You can eat sugarcane or make healthy juice from them.
- You can also make a slice of stalks into segments and turn them into great skewers.
- The interesting thing is that you can also use them for making a good privacy screen to hide your activities from neighbours.
There are few negatives of growing sugarcanes
- This plant has sharp leaves so you should be careful.
- Pruning is very necessary because dry leaves removal is required. To do this, you should use gloves and long sleeves.
- Ants love sugarcane so keep an eye on your sugarcane plants otherwise you will be in trouble.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT CONTAINER
You should select the right container for growing sugarcane at home.
- For this purpose, you should select a 12 to 14 inches deep container. The width of the container should be according to the number of plants you are going to grow in it.
- You can also use a deep pot in which you can easily grow two plants. Your pot has drainage holes, remember, heavy and tall sugarcanes require efficient drainage.
- You can also use a grow bag, big tub, barrel, or bucket for growing multiple plants together.
- Choose that indoor sites for your pots or containers where they get full sunshine and the temperature should be between 70 to 90°F.
- It is suggested that sugarcane plants should be kept away from the fireplace and heating vents because it can dry the air.
BEST TIME TO GROW
If you are living in a tropical or subtropical climate then you can plant sugarcane throughout the year. If you are living in a cold climate then the best way of growing sugarcane is to plant in a pot. Remember, plant sugarcanes in spring and choose that variety that matures early.
PROPAGATION AND PLANTING
There are two ways of growing sugarcane: one is from seeds and the other is from cuttings. We will discuss both methods one by one so you can understand them easily.
The interesting fact is that the seeds of sugarcane are very small in size. It is not difficult to get the seeds of sugarcane, you can buy them from any nursery or online store.
- The first step is wrapping the seeds in a paper towel. After that freeze them for a day or two. This will help to kill bacteria in the seeds, you can also skip this step, it is optional.
- Before planting them, make it possible that the temperature of the seeds should be normal.
- The next step is sowing the seeds in a tray or pot. Make sure your pot or tray will get ample light so the seeds will germinate easily. It is necessary to provide bottom heat to the tray so the soil gets a suitable temperature for sprouting.
- Make sure that your seed mix is evenly moist. So use sprayer to make the soil moist in the tray.
- The germination time of seeds is 2 to 3 weeks.
The best way of growing sugarcane is from cutting because it is the fastest way of growing sugarcane and you will get the plant identical to the mother plant.
In this method, you will use stalks of immature cane for planting which has two or more buds, this is called seed cane. Each bud germinates and starts to produce a primary shoot under favorable conditions.
- For growing sugarcane from cuttings, you need a young and healthy 6 feet sugarcane. You can easily buy it from a nursery or local grower.
- Make sure the stalk must be fresh and green and stalks are with 10 to 12 nodes.
- Now cut the sugarcane into equal parts of 3 feet each.
- Now you need a container that is three to four feet wide.
- Now fill the container with three-quarters full of the potting mixture. For better results, you can use one part peat moss, one part of sand, and one part of the bark. Pure organic compost is also an option for providing all the basic nutrients and moisture to the soil.
- Put all the cuttings horizontally in the container and cover it with a plastic sheet.
- Remove the cover when you see your cuttings are developing.
- If you don’t have a large container then you can cut the cuttings 5 to 6 inches in length. Make sure each cutting has at least one node.
- Plant all the cutting individually in 12 inches deep pots. After that cover the cuttings with 2 inches layer of soil.
- Remember the bud side of the cuttings will be facing up.
REQUIREMENTS FOR GROWING SUGARCANE IN
For your potted sugarcane select a sunny spot in your home, where your plant gets good sun exposure. As you know light is very important for any plant so your sugarcane plant also needs proper sunlight.
Because the more sunlight your plant receives the more chances of healthy development. You may need an LED grow-light to supplement the sunlight because sometimes you cannot expose your indoor plants to sunlight according to the requirements of plants.
It is interesting to know that sugarcane grows well in a variety of soil. It can grow from sandy to loamy soil. But the best soil which provides it a suitable environment is a well-drained soil mix. Saline, acidic, and alkaline soil should be completely avoided.
As mentioned above sugarcane is a tropical plant so the best temperature for its growth is 70 to 95°F or 21 to 35°C. It can tolerate easily the temperature above 100°F or 38°C.
Remember, it can’t grow well at temperatures below 65°F or 18°C. The best time for ripening the sugarcane is when the temperature is 53°F or 12°C because it reduces the vegetative growth and improves the quantity of sucrose. A long frost-free season is needed to flourish your sugarcane.
Moisture is very important for your sugarcane, so keep your soil moist by regular watering. Remember don’t over water so the soil becomes soggy. Don’t let your potting soil dry throughout the season so your sugarcane plant will flourish.
Make sure sugarcane gets 1 inch of water once a week so you can easily maintain the soil moisture. The shoots of sugarcane plants will emerge within 1 to 3 weeks. After that increase the amount of water to 2 inches a week.
Granular 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 fertilizer is best for use at the time new growth of plants appears. Once in 4 to 5 months sugarcane plants need fertilizer.
When you see dead leaves on your plants, remove them as soon as possible. Make it possible that your pot is weed-free and clean.
PESTS AND DISEASES
Every plant has the danger of pests and diseases. In the same way, sugarcane can also become a victim of some pests and diseases which are going to be mentioned below.
Some common diseases of sugarcane are Eye Spot, Pineapple Disease, Red Rot, and Sugarcane Smut Disease.
When you see small water-soaked spots on the leaves, these are symptoms of eyespot disease. It means your sugarcane plant is infected by fungus due to high humidity and low night temperatures. You can use a fungicide to control this disease.
If you see setts not rooting, discoloration, and cavities in infected internodes, these are symptoms of pineapple disease. The reason behind these symptoms is a fungus. If you want to avoid such problems then use resistant sugarcane varieties or plant sugarcane in dry and well-drained soil.
Yellowing, drawing leaves, and reddish patches are the symptoms of red rot diseases. The reason behind this disease is a fungus and you can avoid these problems by planting resistant varieties of sugarcane.
This is the best way of controlling the disease. Fungicide application is also recommended in this situation.
If you see stunted growth of sugarcane stools, shortened internodes, or black whip-like structure emerging from terminal buds. It means your plant is infected by sugarcane smut disease, the reason behind the transmission of this disease is infected sets or by the wind.
You can avoid this disease by planting resistant varieties. Before planting, you should prefer hot water treatment to the seed. Remove infected plants immediately, so the disease will not spread.
After the 10th to 14 months, you can harvest sugarcane but it depends on the variety which you are growing. The best time of harvesting sugarcane is late fall when it attains peak maturity.
When you see the leaves turn pale or start yellowing or drying and canes are thick then this is the time to harvest your sugarcane.
Sharp tools are needed for harvesting sugarcane, it may be a hand knife or hand ax. Do your work after wearing protective clothes and gloves because the leaves of the sugarcane have sharp edges.
After harvesting, rinse the canes well with water and cut them into small sections so you can easily store them. The interesting thing about sugarcanes is that you can store them for a longer duration.