How To grow a dwarf Moringa Oleifera tree.
The problem with Moringa Trees is that they do not grow well in most of the United States except for California, Florida, Hawaii, some parts of Texas, and a few other areas that have mild winters with no frosts. They die when they freeze. They are a tree that loves heat and grows leaves prolifically when the temperature rises above 75 degrees. They don't do well in areas of high winds and no humidity. So most people cannot grow the trees outside.
So those of us in the business who love Moringa trees are working on the best technique for growing a dwarf tree. We have lived in two areas of Nevada and now Indian Mound, TN. I have grown them as dwarf trees in every area we have lived. Growing them indoors/ outdoors gives anyone the ability to grow a Moringa tree and benefit from the fresh leaves for their salads or tea.
If you are in an apt you can use a sunny window in the living room or grow lights.
How much room do you have? How much room will you devote to the trees?
The first consideration is where you will keep the container in winter. Pick a room that will be warm in winter and will get adequate sunlight. You can keep them alive indoors but they will not keep their leaves without sun and warmth. Do you have room for a 20 gal container or a 33 gal container? They do not grow well in small containers. They develop long and deep tap roots.
How many dwarf trees are planted to a container?
You can grow 3-5 dwarf Moringa seedlings in a 20 gal or 33 gal black plastic container.
You can also buy beautiful large decorator plant containers as well.
You want the trees to be about 4-6 feet tall in the end with lots of branches which will give you lots of leaves.
Your dwarf trees may not develop flowers or pods, it just depends. I have two of them that did at one point.
How strong are you?
If you are not strong, grow them in 20 gallon containers.
33 gallon Cons: The 33 gallons are hard to manage and move. I do have 4 of those but they are difficult. We had to pay two strong teens to move them from the old house and pay to have them moved into this one. I paid 10 dollars a piece for the hard plastic saucers that they sit in. Then there is the cost of the potting mix.
Pros: The trees can be allowed to get much larger in the 33 gallon trash cans. You have to drill drainage holes in the bottom as well. They can be decorated with paint to make them look more attractive. I did not bother.
Container Soil and Drainage issues:
Use organic, loose potting soil intended for containers. DO NOT use miracle grow potting mix. Do not use soil meant for plants planted directly into the ground.
Make sure the container has adequate drain holes. You don't want your seedling root to rot. One sure way to kill them is leaving their root with soggy soil. Always keep the area well drained of water.
Plant the seeds 3/4 to 1 inch deep. Space them far apart. Then cover them lightly with soil.
Water the soil well. Keep them in a warm room.
They should sprout within 10 days.
When the seedlings have two tiers of branches, pinch the top back. The leaves sprout at the tops or at the crotch of the branches.
When they are 24 inches high, chop the branches off to half their length. The tree will then send out growth along the trunk. The trunks will be green when young, 'woody' and brown when older. Keep pinching the tops off and pruning the branches back.
If you have them in a 20 gal or 33 gal you can let them get 4 feet high before you pinch them back. In a 10 gallon pot, I would pinch them back at 18 to 24 inches.
When you grow it in the house, cut the top off when it reaches three to four feet high. You will not hurt the tree, and it will reward you with growing new branches from the base and trunk. It will be more like a bush with many branches. This will give you more leaves for your diet. The main reason you are growing it ...is for the leaves, flowers, and pods. When less tall, you will be able to have more of all its beneficial leaves, flowers, and pods. Picking will be easier too.
Indoor Pest Problems:
The worst problem I have had with the trees has been soil gnats and aphids. Two tablespoons of Neem oil dissolved in a gallon of water works well against the aphids. We kept the gnats killed with those hanging sticky traps. Those worked very well.
Published by Kate Freer
We do not sell Moringa products at this point. Our main focus now is education on Moringa and how to buy it safely and know how to determine the quality of the products you purchase.
Copyright: Kate Freer, the Herbladyisin All rights are protected on this article. You do not have permission to use this article or its contents withour my express permission.
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