Last Updated on March 8, 2022
The Moringa (Moringa oleifera) tree is indigenous to India and Bangladesh’s Himalayan foothills. Moringa is a highly adaptable plant found in India, Egypt, Africa, Pakistan, the West Indies, the Philippines, Jamaica, Cuba, Florida, and Hawaii. It thrives in tropical or subtropical climates.
All portions – leaves, seeds, and young seed pods – are edible and consumed medicinally in various world regions. The seeds, like peanuts, are eaten in some areas. Meanwhile, salad leaves are highly nutritious, packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
Other common names of moringa include mallungay, munga, munge, shobhanjana, benzolive tree, horseradish tree, drumstick plant, miraculous tree, and the never-die tree.
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How To Grow Moringa Plant
Moringa tree cultivation is more straightforward than most people believe. Moringa trees grow and mature swiftly regardless of whether they are grown from seeds or cuttings.
Below are a few guidelines for growing a moringa tree.
When To Plant
Spring is the best time to grow moringa seeds in the United States. The seeds will germinate for an entire year if the soil combination is kept warm.
Temperatures between 77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit are optimal for germination (25-35 degrees C). Keep in mind that trees should not be planted in temperatures below 50 Fahrenheit.
How To Plant
Moringa plants germinate quickly from seeds, and the trees can be grown and cultivated in the ground or containers. Moringa seeds do not require dormancy and are best planted immediately after being gathered from the tree.
For up to one year, fresh seeds retain their excellent germination rates. Although moringa is relatively easy to propagate from seed, it does not tolerate being transplanted as saplings. It is critical to safeguard young plants and saplings against strong winds and stormy weather.
Wind barriers made of heavy sacks of rocks, potting soil, and sand can protect the plants. Decide where the moringa will be grown and follow these steps.
In a container…
Growing moringa in a small container can be difficult, but if no larger pot is available, start with a smaller one and then transplant it as it grows.
Avoid using plastic pots since, aside from the holes at the bottom, they provide minimal aeration. Use a terracotta container instead, which not only keeps the soil cold in hot weather but also absorbs excess water from the soil. If using a plastic pot, drill lots of holes in the bottom to let extra water drain.
Moringa can be grown in containers at least 20 inches in diameter from seeds or stem cuttings.
Choose a large diameter container and directly plant seeds in a hole dug to a depth of around 1/2 inch in light, sandy soil. Sow three (3) to four (4) seeds a few inches apart in the center of the container to increase the chances of a successful attempt.
Seeds should be put approximately 3/4 inches below the surface but no deeper. Planting too deeply dries up the radical’s base, harming the initial stem to emerge from the seed.
Germination might take between three and fourteen days in total. Select the healthiest seedlings and gently remove the remaining shoots when they reach 4-6 inches tall at the tip of the main stem. Remember to check soil moisture levels daily; the top few inches of the soil mixture should not dry out entirely while seedlings take root.
In the garden…
It is critical to prepare the soil before planting a young moringa tree sapling. Moringa trees have deep taproots and require lots of soil space to spread their roots. Excavate and loosen a 1-foot-wide and 3-foot-deep hole in a sunny spot. The minimum depth must be 2 feet, preferably 3 feet.
This depth helps determine the type of ground below the surface. Check whether there is heavy clay soil beneath. If considering changing the earth, now is a good time to do so. For proper drainage, combine one part sand and one part compost with the existing soil. If the soil is already sandy, simply mix some compost into it.
Backfill the pit with fresh compost or manure then spread moringa seeds. After planting, lightly water the seed, taking care not to overwater. Saplings require more water than mature trees. Water the soil around them every 2-3 days to keep it moist.
How to Care for Moringa
Listed below are conditions helpful in keeping a moringa tree healthy.
Sun and Temperature
Moringa prefers bright sunlight and mild temperatures. Keep on a balcony facing west or south with 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day, preferably full sun all year. As a subtropical and semi-arid plant, it prefers warm climates and can barely endure light frost; hence it grows best in US zones 9-10.
It should not be grown in locations with lengthy, cold winters as temperatures below 45°F can be harmful to moringa trees. Short spells at 45°F are fine, as long as the day warms up.
Water and Moisture
Like any other plant, moringa needs water to survive. It thrives in humid environments and is used to high levels of humidity. Water sparingly when the plant is young, and less frequently once it has established roots in the soil.
Water deeply rather than shallowly at the tree’s base. Using a soaker hose, slowly trickle water into the soil to hydrate it properly. If it doesn’t rain, water once a week with increasing frequency as the weather warms. Saplings require more water than mature trees. Water the soil around them every 2-3 days.
Although the trees may tolerate low or clay soil, moringa plants prefer loose loamy or sandy soils for deep root development into the earth or potting mix. Loose soil also aids drainage. Moringa demands enriched soil, so add compost or manure as needed.
Spread a 2-3 inches layer of compost around the tree’s base. The plants prefer slightly acidic or neutral soils with a pH of 6.5-7.5.
Moringa thrives in tropical climates with high nutrient erosion and requires less fertilization. A separate fertilizer will not be necessary if you consistently add 3″ of compost around the tree. Composted chicken, cow, or horse manure are good choices. Other than these, use a fertilizer rich in nitrogen and phosphate to promote growth.
Also, consider applying biochar, as moringa trees tend to respond well to it. If the plant is not growing well, apply general-purpose fertilizer.
Pruning is essential. Prune as needed to keep the tree at the desired size. If not managed, it will quickly grow to enormous heights, making pruning difficult. Remove damaged branches and other specific branches to expand the canopy and prevent crisscrossing.
Pruning also promotes leaf growth, primarily when moringa is grown in a container. Regular trimming makes the moringa bushier, denser, and produces more lateral branches. It is best done shortly before spring arrives.
Ready to grow moringa at home?
Each component of the moringa tree is valuable: its seeds may be used to filter water; its bark, roots, and blooms all possess extraordinary therapeutic characteristics; and its leaves are recognized to be rich in nutrients.
It is well-known for its ability to cleanse the body of toxins and impurities while also providing an abundance of vitamins and nutrients. It’s relatively easy to grow and rewarding. Hopefully, these tips on planting moringa will inspire you to get started.