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How to Grow Gymnema Sylvestre

Mukulika Mukherjee May 13, 2019
The cow plant (Gymnema sylvestre) is a medicinal herb found in the Indian subcontinent. Also known as the miracle fruit, this climbing plant has numerous health benefits. What's more, you can grow it in your garden too!
The plant Gymnema sylvestre is one of those rare herbs that are high in medicinal value. Naturally found in the forests of India, this plant is known by different names in different parts of the country. One of the primary uses of the plant in medicine is to reduce blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes.
In addition to being used as a treatment for diabetes, it is also an effective antiseptic and even heals wounds caused by snakebites. An interesting fact about the plant is that if you ingest the leaves of this plant, the gymnemic acid present in the leaves inhibits the activity of the sugar sensors on your tongue and you find sweet things are sweet no more!
The effect, however, lasts for a few minutes only, but can help you control your cravings for sweet stuff. So, if you are already in love with this plant and wish to grow a few in your garden, keep reading.

Growing Gymnema Sylvestre or Cowplant

Gymnema sylvestre is a tropical plant that best grows in warm climate. So, if you wish to grow this plant you should plant the seeds outdoors so that the plant is exposed to maximum sunlight. Here's how to grow Gymnema sylvestre in your own garden, in a few simple steps.

Step 1: Selecting a Location

This step is all the more essential if you are planning to grow the cowplant in your garden soil instead of a container. While scouting for a suitable location, look for one that is close to a big tree that is strong enough to support the vines of Gymnema sylvestre.

Step 2: Preparing the Soil

The very first thing that you need to do if you are growing the plant in a container or pot, is preparing the mixture for the pot. Take 1 part of soil and 1 part of good quality manure and mix it with 2 parts of sand. Take a container or flower-pot and fill it with this mixture.
Now, water the soil till it is moderately moist. If you are growing the plant directly in your garden, as opposed to growing it in a pot, then you need to dig the soil till a depth of 1 foot and add large quantities of manure to the soil to make it fertile.

Step 3: Planting the Seeds

Once the soil is ready, plant the seeds and then add water to moisten the soil. Note that you need to plant the seeds at least an inch below the ground surface, if not more. Wait for the plant to grow.

Step 4: Watering the Plant

It is essential that you water the plant and the surrounding soil to keep it from losing its moisture content. It is recommended that you water the plant at least three times a week, for optimum growth under normal weather conditions. Remember that cowplant or Gymnema sylvestre cannot tolerate too much water in the soil.

Step 5: Fertilizing the Soil

Note that watering the plant at regular intervals alone is not enough to promote its healthy growth, and that fertilizing the soil with a rich organic fertilizer is also essential. If you have a compost pit in your garden, then you can add the compost thus formed, to the soil surrounding the plant.

Step 6: Mulching the Soil

Although mulching is an optional step, mulching the soil has many advantages, including checking the growth of weeds and helping the soil retain its moisture content. If you are growing the plant in your garden, mulch it at least once a year.

Step 7: Pruning the Plant

Lastly, it is important to prune the plant at regular intervals, once it begins to grow. Pruning is a term used for cutting or removing old and wilted branches to make way for new ones.
So, now that you know how to grow Gymnema sylvestre, you can plant a few seeds in your garden and watch the plants grow, in delight. However, remember that this plant cannot stand harsh winters. If you live in a region that witnesses extreme low temperatures, it is best advised that you grow the plant in a container and keep it indoors during the winter.