Growing Moringa can be easy and fun...
As with all plants, optimum cultivation depends on producing the right environment for the plant to thrive. Moringa is a sun and heat loving plant. As a seedling, however, you must monitor the environment in the beginning until the root is established. They should remain in their original container until the tap root is 4 – 6 inches and has formed a bark. Seeds can be germinated year round but will only thrive in temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with summer sun hours.
Moringa has so many uses:
- Once established it sends a tap root down to the water table making it drought tolerant.
- It accumulates nitrogen and so can be used as a fertilizer.
- The young leaves act as a natural plant growth hormone
- It is a livestock feed
- It grows tall and lacy if left unchecked and so is good for forest gardening
- The seed cake is used to clarify water
- The seed oil never goes rancid and is used in fine machinery
- The seed oil burns clean and so is a good source for heat and light
- It is a sustainable food source for third world countries where malnutrition is prevalent.
Moringa needs well draining soil. Increase the drainage of your soil by adding perlite or other porous substance.
Plant an inch from the surface of the soil, cover and tamp gently. If your seed has the outer hull, pierce it gently with your thumbnail to open it. It will germinate faster this way
A seedling should not be transplanted until the tap root is at least 4 inches long. Dig a hole twice the depth of the pot. Be careful not to disturb the root when transplanting. Place the seedling into the hole with the top of the taproot 2 inches below the soil level. Back fill with soil, tamp gently.
Water frequently. Do not over water or let it stand in water. Moringa will die of root rot faster than anything else. Moringa will go dormant in the winter months in all but tropical zones. The leaf will fall off and the branches will wither . In the spring it will emerge when the sun and heat come again. In cold climates, Moringa must be kept warm. A freeze will kill it. You can unearth the taproot and keep it warm and dry through the winter. After the danger of frost, replant it in a sunny spot. You may need to keep it in a pot. And bring it indoors in the winter. Plant in as deep a pot as you can find. If you live in a warm climate you can plant the Moringa tree outside.
Moringa creates a taproot...
Sometimes the top plant may die out due to cold, dry soil, or a change in the environment. This does not necessarily mean the plant has died. Check the taproot to see if it is still firm. If it is, keep the seedling damp with filtered sun. Moringa is a very hardy plant and can revive itself given time and good conditions. If the taproot is soft, it is dead. Moringa will die from root rot, which is from poor draining soil.
Frost may cause the tree to drop leaves and even die down to the ground. Keep warm and slightly damp. It will revive in the spring. Freezing temperatures or continuous days of frost will kill Moringa. If you live in a cold climate you must keep the plant warm.
Signs of stress:
The leaves at the base of the plant will show signs of stress first. They may turn pale yellow to white. They may curl or pinch. Keep moist. If the plant dies down to the soil it can still revive itself in time. Once established, Moringa is drought tolerant. It sends a taproot down to the water table. You can cut back on watering and only water when the leaves begin to droop. That time cycle will vary depending on your climate.
To grow as a tree, prune from the bottom, To grow as a bush, prune from the top. Moringa can be grown intensively. Plant one foot apart. Let it grow to 2 feet and then cut to the ground. It will grow back with more leaf. The number of harvests depends on your climate.