Scientifically known as Aegle marmelos, it is native to India, Nepal and Myanmar. It is considered holy in Hindu religion and the leaves are used as offerings for Lord Shiva. The leaves are also said to represent the three Lords, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
The plant has a hardy nature and can adapt to different climatic conditions. You can grow it in a bucket or container too. It does not require much attention and is easy to care for.
The tree prefers warm dry climates. Full sunlight is preferable. Plant it where it will receive ample amounts of sunlight.
The flowering season starts in late May. It has pale yellowish green sweetly scented flowers. The slightly pear-shaped fruits are green in colour and turn yellowish on ripening. The ripening process takes around a year.
The tree doesn't require frequent watering. Once in a month is enough. You can use basin ring irrigation system. Make sure to water after adding manure or fertilizers. Water it regularly during the first year.
The tree is very susceptible to waterlogging so make sure that water stagnation does not occur.
Loamy soil is most ideal for the plant but it can grow fairly well in any soil type. Soil should be well-drained.
The average height of the plant ranges from 12m to 15m.
The tree produces a lot of fruits so fertilizing is a good idea. Fertilize at the beginning of May right before the flowering season with a fertilizer containing nitrogen phosphorus and potassium. Also, apply FYM (Farm Yard Manure). Fertilize again in August. They tend to grow quite slowly without fertilizers.
The tree is mostly free of pests. However, it can get infected with leaf-eating caterpillars. Use an insecticide such as Thiodan (0.1%). Suckers might appear from the root and should be weeded out.
It is used in Hindu holy rituals. Drinks made from the bael fruit are quite popular. It also has medicinal properties and is used to treat scurvy, diarrhoea, cholera, haemorrhoids, vitiligo and gastric ulcers. Extract from the leaves is used to control cholesterol levels.
However one should avoid Bel during pregnancy.