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How to Grow Khat in Containers

Khat ("Catha edulis") is a native plant of the Arabian peninsula with 2-inch long, elliptical, aromatic foliage. The small-sized tree or large shrub is thornless and often interspersed with coffee plants on coffee plantations. The leaves of the tree are used for making tea and also for chewing. Foliage is cultivated when trees are 4 years old, and are often used in their sun-dried form. Khat leaves from 6-year-old trees are of higher value. Khat is easy to grow with cuttings or seed. Khat is also grown in containers.

Fill a small pot with horticultural sand, vermiculite or cactus compost. Either use any one of these mediums by itself or mix in equal amounts.

Plant the seeds at a shallow depth of about ¼-inch. Mist the surface with a spray bottle filled with water. Use only enough water to moisten the rooting medium.

Place the pot in a bright, warm place that's not in direct sunlight. Mist the rooting medium only when it dries completely. Generally, this is about every day during summer and every three to five days during spring. Do not use excessive water, as khat seedlings are highly susceptible to the damping-off fungus.

Keep turning the pots toward brighter light, as new seedlings tend to turn toward light. It usually takes about a week for the seeds to germinate. Let seedlings grow 2 to 4 inches tall. Water the new plants by misting.

Place some broken pieces of terracotta pots in the bottom of a medium-sized container. Fill with an equal amount of houseplant compost and perlite.

Transplant seedlings to container using one plant per container. Water only when soil is on the dry side. Overwatering will lead to defoliation and root rot.

Provide support with small cane if you feel that the young plants are getting top heavy and are bending under their weight. Place in full sun for best growth. The plants also adapt to areas of partial shade. Khat plants have a slow growth rate.

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