How to grow sandalwood trees in a garden in North India
The best way to have sandalwood in your garden is by nurturing sandalwood saplings in pots till they are mature and acclimatized to the change in weather conditions. Once the plant is over a foot tall, it will readily thrive in a garden in North India, just as easily as the native Neem, Mango, Jamun, Guava or Papaya.
Though, it is easy to buy white sandalwood seeds online or order at a nursery, the germination rate is low, given the weather conditions of hot, North India. If you are lucky to find these trees already growing in your city, it is a great opportunity to ask the owner to let you take their saplings from under the trees in the rainy season. Nurture in partial shade, rich soil and keep moist in pots.
Despite your anticipation, a sandalwood tree does not give away its identity as the famous scented tree takes over 20 years to mature and give scented oil on processing. India, especially Karnataka is still the largest exporter of Sandalwood, not just because of its scented oil and wood used in Ayurvedic medication, Hindu ceremonies, aroma therapy. Many ancient Indian statues were also hand carved in sandalwood, as the grain of sandalwood is very fine, and resistant to pests.
I love to see sandalwood saplings and trees growing in hundreds at The art of Living ashram, Bangalore. In Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) I found many mature sandalwood trees not just at the NBRI, Lucknow University, La Martiniere girls and boys colleges, I find them being nurtured from seed and sapling at CIMAP and forest department nurseries.