Botanical name: Piper sarmentosum
How to grow it: Betel leaf is very easy to grow in warmer climates and if kept well watered is lush & attractive. Prefers a shaded position and so makes an ideal understorey plant. I’ve found that it burns easily in full sun & and the leaves aren’t as as tender.
Needs plenty of room as it will sprawl over a large area if allowed. Will slow right down in the cooler months.
Easy to propagate by root division or tip cuttings – spring & Autumn are your best times. In wet season you could easily take a rooted cutting and plant it out just before rain is expected.
Not really suited to container growing it needs quite a bit of space to spread.
Using it in the kitchen: Betel leaf is used in the classic asian dish Miang Kham where a variety of different fresh and cooked foods are wrapped in the leaves as a snack or starter.
When tender they can also be added to salads, soups and curries.
I’ve also seen them arranged on a plate and topped with food – a quite spectacular way to present dishes.
Great survival plant as an established plant requires very little care & the leaves are versatile in cooking.