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Saccharum Officinarum ( purple Sugar cane )

Purple Sugar Cane is an easy-to-grow clump-forming perennial which can reach up to 5m. It can be invasive in tropical areas, so taking care of where and how its planted is recommended. The Purple Sugar Cane provides excellent architectural interest and contrast to your garden, great if you're looking for a stylish contemporary feel. Perfect for growing in pots too. Strong stout stalks are unbranched and jointed like bamboo with long arching deep red-maroon coloured leaves. Care needs to be taken as the leaves have sharp edges and sharpish points.

  • Usage It is the stems that contain a very sweet sap that can be dried to make sugar and molasses. The flesh is chewed as a sweet treat to extract the juice, and then the fibrous cane is discarded. The stem can also be pressed to make cane juice or boiled to make pure syrup and raw sugar crystals. It also produces wax which can be used in the production of furniture, shoe, leather polishes, electrical insulating material, and waxed paper. Furthermore, the stem yields fibre used for paper-making. Cane residue once sugar is extracted is known as bagasse. It is used as a fuel and for manufacturing paper pulp, plastic, fiberboard, etc. In addition to boiling and syrup production, Sugar Cane can be cut, sliced, and used as skewers for beverages, fruit kabobs, shrimp, and other meats. It can also be used to make ice cream and cocktails. Sugar Cane pairs well with raspberries, pineapple, lime, cinnamon, plantains, peanuts, shrimp, fish, poultry, and steak. The stems will keep up to two weeks when wrapped whole, placed in a plastic bag, and stored on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. They can also be frozen up to three months.

  • How to grow Plant the cuttings upright burying 2/3 of them in the soil mix, or place the cuttings horizontally underground, lightly buried for a few millimetres. Keep them lightly damp. Another way to propagate is by sitting in a container of water with the water level around halfway up the stem. Cuttings of sugar cane grow their roots from the circular line surrounding the stem - see the photo in advert for example. Alternatively, put the cuttings upright in a tall glass filled with water and keep them somewhere warm but not in full sun. Roots will show up in one or two weeks

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