Botanical name: Glycyrrhiza glabra
Climate and Soil
- It grows well in sub-tropical climate in North-West India.
- Mulethi is a hardy plant and grows over rich forest soils, ranging from pH 5.5 to 8.2.
- In nature, it has wide distribution from dry cold temperate parts of Asia to Mediterranean climates, where annual temperature varies from 25°C in summer and 5°C in winter season.
- Sandy-loam fertile soils with pH 6.0 to 7.5 have been found to promote good root development in India.
- The plant thrives in cultivation, where the locality receives 50- 100 cm rainfall annually and cultivation is supported with irrigation.
- Propagation is usually carried through stolons cuttings of about 10-15 cm.
- Seed can be used, but seed-set is poor in India and seed germination is low.
- Vegetative method of propagation is, thus recommended.
- A variety “Haryana Mulhatti-1” released from Ch. Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hissar is recommended.
- Raising Propagules: The old crown of roots dry out in autumn may be divided into 10-15 cm long pieces having 2-3 buds. These are used as planting material. It could be placed in furrows mode in rows at planting. The crop remains in the field for 3-4 years duration for proper growth of stolon for high yield. It requires 300 kg of planting material for one hectare land.
- Propagule Rate and Pre-treatment: It was found that the capacity of seeds to germinate differ with the stages of their maturation. During milky waxy ripe stages, the seeds have poor germination capacity and the shoots have low survival capacity, but if seeds are collected in July, they show highest germinating capacity. This is a long duration crop and the preparation of field should be of good tilth and the fields be leveled well to avoid stagnation of water. It was observed in a particular case that scarified seeds germinated slowly and their germination reached upto 29.4% with the 75% survival.
Licorice doesn’t need fertilizer. Although, if the soil is poor, mix compost at the time of planting or mulch around the base of plant with compost.
Growing licorice requires regular and abundant watering during the growing period. Regular and deep watering is required to keep the soil slightly moist all the time. In winter, watering should be reduced.
Pests and Diseases
It usually remains pests and diseases free. Spider mites may invade the foliage, particularly in dry summers. Spraying the foliage with water helps to prevent them. Powdery mildew, slugs, and caterpillars can be a problem too.
Licorice roots are ready for harvest after two years of planting. Harvest the plant in fall. Extract the horizontal roots with a sharp spade and replant the plant so that it will regrow again. Preserve the main roots so as not to damage the plant.
Yield : The yield of dry root at Hissar (Haryana) is recorded around 7 t/ha.While at Anand (Gujarat) 10 to 20 months crop has given an average yielded of 2.5-5.0 t/ha.
Once dried, the licorice roots can be kept for several months.