It is a tropical evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka, Madagascar and southwest India. The inner bark of the plant is ground into one of the more widely used spices, cinnamon.
Although not commonly known as a houseplant, the plant can be easily grown as one. With proper care, the potted cinnamon plant can thrive for years.
The cinnamon tree should be planted in a sheltered region where it will receive a few hours of morning sunlight every day. Mature plants require full to partial sun.
The leaves are reddish when young and gradually turn green as they mature. It also has small cream to yellow coloured flowers which lead to small dark purple to blackish berries.
But the prize is, of course, the inner bark which is ground into the well-known spice. Harvest when the tree matures which usually takes about two years.
The tree does not require frequent watering. Allow the top of the soil (about 5cm) to dry before watering. Wet conditions can lead to root-rot in the plant so not over-water. Watering once a week should be enough.
They can grow quite well in sandy, loamy or gravelly soils. Well-drained, acidic soil should be used. Sandy soils should be enriched with organic material. Make sure the soil remains moderately dry.
It can reach a height of 30ft to 40ft. The size of the plant depends upon the container. Larger the container, larger will be the tree.
Fertilize the plant with liquid fertilizer once a month during growing season. Without fertilizers, the soil could lose its nutrient content which in-turn would lead to the lesser oil content in the bark.
Pest can cause significant damage to a young cinnamon plant. Most common pests are spider mites, caterpillars and leaf miners etc. Use appropriate herbicides and pesticides.
The tree might suffer from leaf spots and root-rot. Use fungicides to control leaf spot. Do not let the plant sit in wet conditions to avoid root-rot.
Cinnamon has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties. It is said to help with respiratory problems such as coughs, asthma and bronchitis and lowers high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.