What are some uses of sugar cane plants

Sugar cane

Genus Saccharum

The genus sugar cane (bot. Saccharum) belongs to the sweet grass family (Poaceae). The genus includes 36 species. The common sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) is of economic importance. They are known to be the cutest plants in the plant world. The sugar cane plants provide the basis for numerous dishes and drinks. But the plants have more to offer than the sweet food.

The exotic pieces of jewelry inspire with a magnificent appearance. Their thick stems are reminiscent of a jungle of bamboo plants that stick out of the earth like matches. The widely overhanging leaves are reminiscent of the expansive foliage of the reed plants. Sugar cane impresses with its versatility in use and cultivation. Taking into account their special requirements, sugar cane plants can be grown in your own garden.


The plants develop typical sweet grass leaves. The leaf blade is drawn out linearly. A leaf sheath encloses the stem at the base. A clearly protruding central rib can be seen on the upper side of the leaf.


The species of the genus Saccharum have dense inflorescences, which are composed of numerous small spikelets. The inflorescences reach lengths between 40 and 60 centimeters. The small spikelets stand on a shaft like a string of pearls. They are hermaphroditic and wind-pollinated. Therefore, they do not need sepals and petals, because the plants do not attract animals to pollinate.
At the base of the three stamens there are cavernous bodies. They spread open the flower and release the pollen. When the spikelets open and bend outward during flowering, the entire inflorescence is reminiscent of a soft feather tail. The red-brown coloring of the inflorescences provides a striking and decorative aspect.


After the flowering period, numerous small fruits form in autumn. The grains are around 1.5 millimeters long. They serve as food for birds, which ensure the further spread of the seeds.


Sugar cane species grow as grass-like and monocotyledonous plants. They are perennial and develop a thick stalk with a diameter between 20 and 50 millimeters. The sweet grasses impress with a mighty height. They grow between 150 and 300 centimeters in height. The plants develop an underground rhizome as shallow roots. It is thick and lies horizontally in the substrate. With the help of this organ, the plant reproduces underground. They are not frost hardy. Their minimum temperature is between 3.0 and 5.0 ° C. A sugar cane plant can reach a maximum age of 20 years.


The plants need high humidity. They prefer loamy soil that provides sufficient soil moisture. The rhizomes do not tolerate waterlogging. Enriching the substrate with sand, styrofoam flakes or lava granules improves permeability. Normal garden soil is ideal as a plant substrate.
At a temperature between 25 and 28 ° C, the grasses show a lush growth. Their growth is restricted at cooler temperatures. If the temperature is below 15 ° C, the grasses stop growing completely. They love a location in full sun. Partially shaded conditions do not cause the plants any problems. The increase is less in a darker location. As vigorous plants, their nutrient consumption is extremely high.


The original distribution area of ​​the sugar cane species extends from the tropical to the subtropical to the temperate zones. The sweet grasses occur worldwide. Your area stretches from Africa via Europe to Asia. The plants grow in Australia and America. Some species grow in the Canaries and the Caribbean. The sugar cane species are now cultivated and cultivated worldwide.


Sugar cane plants provide a decorative aspect in the garden. Since they are not winter hardy, the sweet grasses are not suitable for permanent planting in beds. It is advisable to keep the plants in a bucket so that they can be relocated in winter. A bucket with handles is perfect for sinking into the floor. This creates the appearance that the sugar cane plants are growing in the garden.
By digging out the sunken pots, the buckets come to the surface in autumn. In this way, sugar cane plants exude an Asian character. They make a good picture in Chinese and Japanese arrangements. Due to their imposing height, the grass is ideal as a privacy screen. A group of several individuals creates an oasis of relaxation.

Plants with similar location requirements prove to be optimal neighbors. Such arrangements create the appearance of a natural habitat as it occurs in Asia. Between reeds (phragmites) and bamboo (Bambusa), the sugar cane species create an exotic image.

Care / cut

The most important aspect of care is a good balance of water and nutrients. Regular watering is necessary. Collected rainwater or decalcified tap water is suitable for this. The water requirement also increases in full sun locations. Due to the high biomass, evaporation is much higher under direct sunlight. The daily thumb test provides certainty about the level of moisture in the substrate. Between June and September the plants enjoy weekly fertilization. Liquid fertilizer, guano sticks or fertilizer cones are suitable. These variants provide sufficient nutrients to support biomass formation. It is also possible to add long-term mineral fertilizers if the plants are used for decoration.

Four months after planting, the stalks are ready for harvest. The individual stalks are cut close to the ground. If the plants are used for purely decorative purposes, no pruning is necessary. The stalks remain on the plant through the winter. Rejuvenation of old plants takes place via the extraction of cuttings from healthy stalks. This measure ensures timely reproduction before the plant loses its beauty. Wintering takes place in a warm and bright place where the temperature does not drop below 15 ° Celsius.

Diseases / pests

The sugar cane plants are a popular food source for some insect pests. The caterpillar is one of the most dangerous pests. She eats her way through the sugary pulp. If the infestation is severe, the growth of the plants is impaired. It dies over time. Spreading birdseed attracts birds who cannot miss a caterpillar as a treat. Alternatively, it is advisable to read and move individual caterpillars so that their development into beautiful butterflies does not stop.

Plants within the sugar cane genus Saccharum