I was given some Tamarind seeds some time ago, and although difficult to germinate, one of the three seeds I was given, did. I watched the little sprout develop, it grew a stem which carried its seed up with it.
Delighted to have got this far with it, I watched it carefully. When it started developing more leaves I repotted it into a more dignified pot, instead of the plastic drinking cup all my new starts get.
Looking fine, but still holding on to its seed, like a little comforter, it continued to grow throughout 2017.
As the colder weather approached, I wasn’t sure if this little plant would survive the cold at this stage. I felt it was starting to look a bit unhealthy and would need all the help it could get to survive.
I had already repotted it into a bigger pot, so I took the little tree indoors and put it on the windowsill. It still wasn’t looking a lot better at the end of the winter. Thinking it would be better putting it where it would get more daylight, I put it in the greenhouse, since summertime was approaching and the hours of daylight increased. I eventually decided to transfer it to the smaller greenhouse, where there would be less competition from the other plants for sunlight. It started to perk up and add more leaves after losing some of what little it had, over the winter.
Once again, it was repotted, watered, fed and getting plenty of sunlight, it started to look a lot better again.
When the days started getting shorter, I was concerned about the little tree. It was fine until our typical cool, wet weather returned. It’s a tropical tree and obviously not too keen on cold, dull weather because it folds its little leaves, and looks as if it sulks. Nyctinasty is a chain of events relating to light levels, and is the reason some flowers close their petals at night, so the Tamarind and many other plants, close their leaves.
They make excellent bonsai trees, and at least would have a better chance of survival than planting outdoors. However, no doubt, the worrying will start again when winter approaches.
Tamarind leaves are used in cooking and apparently have a tart and tangy flavour, they are best used when young and tender. A member of the Leguminosae family which include peas and beans. They are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, potassium and fibre. Since it likes full sun and heat we are setting it quite a challenge, but if it did survive, it would be at least six to seven years before producing fruits.
I look at my little Tamarind and can’t imagine eating it, nor it being 30 metres tall. However, it is slow growing and will not be soaring to any heights soon.