Sesame plant is one of those plants that thrives in the tropical conditions and are easily adaptable to the environment. That is why it is mostly found in the countries lying in the tropical belt of the world. Sesame is a drought resistant annual plant and yields maximum when grown at temperatures 25 to 27 degree Celsius. Sandy loam, well-drained soil type with alkalinity ranging from 5.5 to 8 is required for the efficient performance of the plant but the crop can be grown on the various other soil types also.
Sesame is basically a crop of the warm regions of the tropics and subtropics and grows in the plains and at elevations up to 1,200 m. A temperature of 25-27°C encourages rapid germination, initial growth and flower formation. Low temperatures at flowering can result in the production of sterile pollen, or pre-mature flower drop. Sesame is extremely susceptible to water logging and heavy continuous rains. Sesame is susceptible to hail damage at all stages of growth. It can also not stand frost, continued heavy rain or prolonged drought. The proper time for planting of sesame under northern Indian conditions is last week of June to first week of July. A range of 25-27 Degree Celsius temperature is suitable for its proper germination. In South India sowing time during Kharif season may vary from May to July and for Rabi season from October to November.
Sesame can be grown on a wide variety of soils provided they are well-drained, but it thrives best on sandy loam with adequate soil moisture. Very sandy, alkaline and acidic soils are not suitable for its cultivation. Soils with a neutral reaction are preferred, but good results have been obtained on both slightly acidic and slightly alkaline soils. The crop will grow well in soils having a pH reaction in the range of 5.5 to 8.0. It can also be grown on loams and heavy clay loams, which are well-drained.
Kharif sesame is grown both as pure and mixed crop. In north India Sesame is generally grown mixed with arhar, jowar, bajra, groundnut, cotton and maize crops. A crop of linseed, gram, barley, lentil, etc. follows a pure crop of sesame in rabi season.