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- Reviews (7)
Buy Khat seeds and grow your own Khat plants at home.
Khat is a large, slow growing, evergreen shrub, reaching a height of between 1 and 5 metres, in equatorial regions it may reach a height of 10 metres. It is native to East Africa and Arabia, but is now cultivated in many countries throughout Africa. It grows in arid environments, and once established thrives in full sun at a temperature range of 5-35C. It will not usually tolerate frosts, and overwatering will cause it to drop leaves and die. In certain areas it is often grown with coffee plants and in irrigated terraces.
Growing from Khat Seeds
It has been said that Qat is a difficult plant to grow from seed, but we have not experienced any problems germinating this species. Seeds should be planted in either, horticultural sand, cactus compost, vermiculite, or any mix of these three media. It is important that the choice of growing media is very free draining, as Khat seeds are prone to damping off fungus, which will quickly kill small seedlings. Plant the qat seeds about 5mm deep in pots or seed pans, mist the surface until slightly moist, and place in a warm bright place, out of direct sunlight. Mist the surface whenever the soil dries completely. In Summer this may be every day, in Spring it could be every 3 to 5 days. Alternatively, you can water them a bit more thoroughly, and apply Cheshunt Compound with every watering to prevent mould. With both methods, the seeds will probably germinate within a week, if not they may need more/less water, or warmer conditions, or maybe they might just need more time. Once the seeds have germinated avoid direct sunlight. Turn the pots regularly as the seedlings will grow towards the light. Once the seedlings are a 5-10cm tall, they can be transplanted into individual pots.
Potting / Re-potting Khat Plants
We use an equal mix of general purpose house-plant compost and perlite as our potting mix. Perlite provides excellent drainage whilst retaining enough moisture to keep the plant happy. Also, we put a 2cm layer of gravel or broken crocks (terracotta pots) in the base of the pot for extra drainage, and a 1cm layer of cactus top dressing or fish tank gravel on the surface. This helps to prevent the perlite from floating to the surface, cuts down on excessive evaporation, prevents the soil compacting when watering from above, and it looks nice too.
Khat Cuttings are fairly straightforeward, although rarely 100% successful. Cut a 5-20cm length from the tip of the branch. It should be the current years growth, green and pliable, not too woody. Place the cuttings in pots or seed pans, and treat either as freshly germinated seedlings, or freshly transplanted seedlings
Khat is a famous plant from the east of Africa and Arabia. Learn to cultivate your own Khat (or Qat) plants with our seeds!
FAMILY :: CELASTRACEAE
$400 pesos (rooted cutting)
Khat seed pods QAT, JÂT, CHAT, KHAT, ARABIAN TEA: Of all the plants listed for sale in this catalog, this is probably the most controversial (in legal terms). Although it is listed in a previous edition of The Sunset Garden Book as an ornamental, there are people in power in this world who think that the effects of chewing Khat are — how do I say this diplomatically — undesirable.
According to a grant sponsored by the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control, the main subjective effects of Khat use are “euphoria, improved intellectual efficiency and alertness.” The active principles are norpseudoephedrine and cathinone. It is non addictive, but excessive use can produce some symptoms of amphetamine psychosis. A synthetic diet drug related to cathinone is phenylpropanolamine.
The “War on Khat” has already been entered by the US, most noticeably by the invasion of Somalia a few years ago, partially in an effort to gain control of the Khat trade. How the citizens of any country tolerate the illegalization of any plant I find mind-boggling. I can understand a society needing to have individual actions (murder, violence, theft, abuse, etc.) be illegal, but I can’t understand the prohibition of the cultivation and personal use of any plant, be it Khat, tobacco, opium, coca, pot, etc. Well, I mean I do understand the economic benefits of such prohibitions: A select few people become extremely wealthy off of illegal sales. But I don’t understand the acquiescence of the populace. It appears that drug laws are enacted to create criminals, not to remedy social problems.
To further digress: I once lived in what is termed “the emerald triangle,” three counties in Northern California that grow a large quantity of marijuana. In the summer it’s a war zone. The military and police are constantly overhead in helicopters, the Highway Patrol routinely stop anyone in profile, and police wander the hills trespassing and searching without warrant wherever they want. Civil rights are non-existent, all because some people are growing a plant which produces fewer deleterious effects than beer. Everyone knows of this abuse of power, but, I’m afraid, we also acquiesce. Oh,well.
Back to Khat. While the Muslim religion (predominant in the geographical area where Khat is used) bans alcohol and other drugs “harmful” to the body, it doesn’t ban Khat. The illegalization efforts that have been made in the past in this area have all been by the occupying colonial powers (the English and Italians).
To the Muslims, Khat is known as “the flower of paradise.” It grows easily to a large shrub or small tree in sub-tropical locations. Mature specimens I have observed have survived temperatures down to about 25º f. It is widely adaptable to different conditions and soils but seems to grow best in rich, moist, well-drained sandy soil in full sun (coastal) or light shade (inland). In its natural habitat, Yemen and Ethiopia, it grows to tree size on hill sides at about 6000′ elevation where it has a relatively stable temperature of 80º f. It is very easy to grow in Puerto Vallarta and the rest of the tropical world.
Normally the leaves are not harvested until the plant is 4-5 years old, after the plant matures and flowers. It is customary to drink coffee or sodas while chewing the young, tender leaves and stems. Sometimes bubble gun is chewed simultaneously (especially by Yemeni college students). The taste of Khat is somewhat astringent, especially if older, lower quality leaves are used. The effects (lasting from 2-3 hours) range from a mild increase in energy to a full-blown speed-like high, depending, of course on the quality and amount consumed.
Khat is rarely grown from seed in its native habitat because, as with most commercially grown drug plants, much effort has been made to develop higher quality strains. That being said, seeds are often the only method of propagation available to people living in restrictive areas.
Khat is relatively easy to grow in sub-tropical or tropical regions of the world. It is easy to grow in greenhouse conditions in temperate regions as long as the low temperature to which is is exposed remains above freezing. It is happiest at 80-90 degrees (f) or 28-32 degrees (C) but will survive and often even thrive at lower temperatures.
Germination is simple. Plant the seeds near the surface of any well-drained soil and keep them moist. In 1-2 weeks, they should begin growth. During the first year, they grow slowly, reaching only a foot or so in height. After the first year, they grow rapidly to large bush or small tree size and are ready for harvesting in 3-4 years. Pruning tips helps increase leaf and stem production. After the first year, these plants are heavy feeders and require frequent fertilization to maintain their rapid growth. Never let their soil dry completely.
Catha edulis will grow well in full sun or part shade. It’s ideal is 80 degrees (f) at about the 6000′ elevation in the tropics. This translates well to part shade, 80 degrees (f) at lower elevations.
Generally, the more red on the stems and veins of the leaves, the stronger the Khat is considered to be.
Khat, Catha Edulis plants in Mexico