Cinnamon seed

How to grow a cinnamon tree.

Do you love cinnamon? Now you can grow your own tree in the privacy of your own home.

3 easy steps

1) Befriend someone living in Sri Lanka. You can probably do this using Social Media, as I am given to understand that anything worthwhile can nowadays be achieved this way (as an aside I was always under the cloudy impression that only birds, and here I’m recollecting from the insuperable annals of my childhood the spectacle of little budgies enlivening a pea-green cage, tweeted). Just don’t blame me if your Sri Lankan friend actually turns out to be some plumber holed up in Baltimore, having delusions of grandeur about owning a farm on some balmy island.

2) Convince the Sri Lankan to locate a cinnamon tree. Make sure he doesn’t mistake it for some other kind of laurel or a licentious weed with aromatic leaves—so easy to do. If your cohort is married, ask him to have his wife confirm the find, as wives are generally speaking better at practical botanical matters than humble workaholic plumber husbands.

3) Once the tree has been identified your contact should set up a makeshift tent near the site and wait patiently till the specimen blooms (this may take several months, and if your botanist is in fact in Baltimore, it may take considerably longer—still, hope springs eternal).

4) I realize this is more than three steps, but I find more and more that one has the tendency to underestimate the complexity of life. Some years elapse (nothing we can do about this) and the tree blooms fortuitously, setting seed. In the interim, quite regrettably, our Sri Lankan dies of some rare blood disorder. His wife, bless her heart, thankfully consents to send the fresh seed using Sri Lanka Express Post-what other choice does she have? All other methods of shipping, carrier pigeon and most couriers, involve interminable delays.

5) Once you receive the seeds, add water to the plastic sleeve (see accompanying photo) and wait.

6) In a few days a miracle occurs. Unfortunately you were occupied elsewhere and missed it. Still, there are more seeds awaiting divine inspiration and you should lickety-split be on your way to starting your own plantation.

Cinnamonum verum seedling

Cinnamonum verum seedling



  1. We can all use your sense of humour in this weather for sure! But your tree sounds very complicated to grow 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It only sounds complicated because you’ve had the misfortune of reading my semi-loquacious explanation; you should ask me one melancholy day to explain how one ought to tie one’s shoes, and you will find that even the most banal of daily rituals can be contorted into a behemothic tangle of false starts and high drama.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m most fond of cinnamon, but living in the sticks around the 44th parallel, and being of a certain age, I harbor no illusions of growing my own tree. Sure, the handcraft therapy of harvesting inner bark into lovely quills is something to think about, but to get there would just take too long. I will have to resign myself to surfing (serfing) the internet for good Sri Lankan cinnamon to grind, as I am wont to do, into my morning coffee. (Or, when that cute little tree of yours grows up, maybe you could send me a stick or two.)


    • Leave it to a poetess (I fully realize that this word is no longer in use, but certain habits are hard to break, especially for those of us well over the 300 year old mark–at some point you just stop counting) to make, or shall I say sprinkle, a cinnamon-pun–something about living in the sticks–in the course of her elegant reply.

      And if old sorcerers have learned one thing, it’s the value of patience, so I thereby feel reasonably confident that I will be able to grow a magnificent specimen of true cinnamon within this century, at which point I will gladly harvest a fragrant (and quite possibly aphrodisiacal) piece of bark especially for you. Does carrier pigeon work well in your area?

      Liked by 1 person

      • “As the crow flies,” is an oft repeated expression in these parts, by the locals, but they tell me nary a homing pigeon calls this place home.


      • I was afraid of that. Any chance of a caravan of dromedaries (Camelus dromedarius for the hardcore botanist) swinging by your place in the next decade or so?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well now, what an interesting project Prospero! I love my cinnamon and have it every day on my cereal.

    Need I tell you that for a time I was using a Vietnamese cinnamon, it was a bit hot – well not only did it burn out my taste buds (which haven’t totally recovered), but they started to fall out (oh yes, can you believe it).

    I have resorted to going back to using my faithful cinnamon that McCormick spices pack in their little containers and no more problems.

    If I had the patience to find a Sri Lankan I would absolutely get myself some seeds to start my own plantation.

    Have a wonderful 2015!


    • Happy New Year, Mary.

      There are different kinds of cinnamon: Indonesian, Chinese, Vietnamese (which you are now familiar with), and Ceylon cinnamon, botanically known as Cinnamomum verum. I am growing Ceylon cinnamon. McCormick cinnamon is Cinnamomum cassia. True cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon) has a sweeter, more subtle taste and is very expensive.

      Ceylon cinnamon is the healthiest since it has very low levels of coumarin, a substance they say is bad for the liver. In Germany, for instance, dietary guidelines have been issued to severely curtail the use of Cassia.


      • Oh my and now I’m depressed because I thought my daily dose was a good thing, but now find that I’ve been using the wrong kind (how awful is that!).

        Thanks for the information and link, I’ll be going back to it and study it some – I don’t want to give up cinnamon, but I’m not willing to have the harmful liver effects that the article refers too. I’m rarely sick, thank goodness.


  4. Your post made me smile, such a long and hard way to grow cinnamon. I love it, the powdered kind since it is the only thing available in supermarkets here.


    • Glancing at your profile I understand that you are happily addicted to dark chocolate–which gives me an idea (ideas I’ve come to notice often settle in the montane folds of the inveterate gardener’s cranium in the form of questions): Why not grow my own Theobroma cacao tree? Imagine–chocolate and cinnamon. I seem to be edging toward Eden more and more.


  5. How fascinating and ambitious. Like other readers, I too enjoy cinnamon in coffee, on cereals, and in baked goods. I am going to have to check where mine is from so I don’t get the wrong kind. Thank you for that important info! That’s one reason, among others, of why we blog. Please update us on the progress of your tree. The chocolate tree would indeed make a fine companion.


    • Now if I could only convince you and Mary to dump the cereal…

      p.s. The blue christmas photo was smashing. That’s why we seek blogs.


  6. Excellent! I was even IN Sri Lanka in November and WHY didn’t think of this?!


    • Why didn’t I think of this?

      Perhaps because it requires a devious mind, where circuitous thought finds a natural ally with the fuzzy and ill-defined tenets of obscurantism, and where time means about as much as a single– though hopelessly handsome–ant in a log funereal procession, making a purposeful egress from a danish-filled (cinnamon swirl) picnic basket. Happy New Year, Emily


  7. am thinking mayhaps it might be better that should a desire strike me to liven up my tea with cinnamon it might be a wee bit easier to simply catch a flight and land in colombo? :p


    • Simpler yes, but then one would not have the privilege of being confounded with the arcanum of the life, of witnessing the swell of an embryo, of noticing nascent leaves, like tiny hands, reaching heavenward, for the light, perhaps a small homage to the cloud of scintillating stardust whence it came.

      Liked by 1 person

      • weeelll in that case let us read your three steps instructions four more times! :p


  8. and iam delighted to see you…i hopes the new year brings with it many an adventure and some chai? 🙂


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