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Piper methysticum, commonly called kava, is an upright, dioecious, evergreen shrub.
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Description for Kava Kava
Plant height: 3 - 6 inches
Kava or kava-kava is a crop of the western Pacific. The name kava is from Tongan and Marquesan. Piper methysticum, commonly called kava, is an upright, dioecious, evergreen shrub with heart-shaped glossy dark green leaves.
Common name(s): Kava or kava-kava
Flower colours: Creamy white
Bloom time: Seasonal bloomer
Max reachable height: 10 to 15 feet
Difficulty to grow: Easy to grow
Planting and care
This shrub is best grown in deep, organically rich, well-drained soils in moist, humid, tropical conditions with frequent rainfall. If you want to try growing kava at home, search for a kava vendor selling live seedlings or rootstock. Keep in mind that domesticated Piper methysticum (kava kava) plants are sterile, meaning they produce no seed and new plants must always be grown from cuttings or the root bundle of the plant.
Sunlight: Part shade
Soil: Well-drained soil
Temperature: 75 to 80 degrees
Fertilizer: Apply any organic fertilizer
Caring for Kava Kava
- Pot your kava kava plant in loose soil that allows for water drainage to prevent root rot: growers usually recommend a blend of 50% organic compost and 50% Perlite or coconut coir.
- Best located in shady areas that are protected from drying winds.
- Remember, kava evolved to expect regular rainfall in its jungle habitat, so water your kava regularly!
- If you are growing it in a drier environment such as indoors, you will probably want to mist your kava leaves with a spray bottle to maintain a good level of humidity.
Typical uses of Kava Kava
Special features: This tropical shrub is infrequently grown in the U.S. except for Hawaii. In temperate climates, it may be grown in containers that are overwintered indoors from fall to spring.
Culinary use: NA
Ornamental use: The plant is used for an ornamental purpose. In temperate climates, it may be grown in containers that are overwintered indoors from fall to spring.
Medicinal use: Arthritic and rheumatic conditions
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