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Growing Moringa In Containers: How To Get Started (Guide 2021)

Moringa

Moringa trees are resistant free, fast-growing trees local to India and widely planted in tropical and subtropical areas. The Moringa tree is also commonly known as “Drumstick Trees.”

Usually, the bark of the Moringa tree has a whitish-grey color surrounded by thick cork.

 Young trees, pods, and leaves can be used as vegetables. Young shoots have purplish or greenish-white bark.

This tree has an open crown of droppings, fragile branches, and leaves built up with feather foliage of trip-innate leaves. In cool regions, this tree flowers once a year in April and June.

In constant temperatures and rainfall areas, flowering happens twice a year or round the year. The Moringa trees are propagated from both the cutting and seeds. It is a great idea to use pots to get the trees started since you have more control over their care.

 Critters will eat the Moringa starters if given the opportunity. It is recommended that you let the potted plants grow at least eight weeks or longer before transplanting them into various other containers. When transplanting, try not to disturb the root system.

Like many plants, the roots are very vulnerable until they are well rooted in the soil.

Nearly all moringa plants are edible, from the roots to the leaves and flowers, to the large pods and seeds that grow from the branches. The leaves are often cooked like a vegetable or steamed for tea, while the ground pods are used for curries, and the oil extracted from the seeds can be used for cooking and in perfumes and soaps.

The pods can be harvested once they are about ½ inch in diameter and pop off the branches easily. Moringa leaves can be harvested at any point; however, the older leaves are better for making moringa powder than younger leaves.

It is one of the most nutrient-enriched plants globally and is commonly known as “the tree of life.”

Moringa tree of life

Moringa tree of life

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Are you among those who can attest to the effectiveness of Moringa? Do you want to continue enjoying its benefits but prefer to do it the natural way? If so, then I can help you with that. The following will talk about the steps you need in growing a container or indoors Moringa.

 It will help you understand the proper techniques for growing Moringa in a limited space.

How to Grow Moringa Trees Indoors

You require planting your Moringa tree in a sunny location because it needs sufficient light to germinate. So, the selected indoor location should receive a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day. Since it’s not tolerant of low temperatures, the Moringa tree will die if exposed to extreme cold weather conditions. 

Once you’ve decided the right place for your container, you can then fill it with soil. The container should be 12-18 inches in diameter with loose soil. One container can usually hold about five dwarf moringa trees, but it is a good idea to initially plant 7 or 8 in case a few seeds don’t sprout.

Its beautiful hanging seeds and delicate flowers give an alluring look to your indoor space it is an evergreen tree, and the best part about it is, you can make smoothies with its leaves all year round and cook them like spinach to prepare a healthy dinner. 

You can make the best herbal tea with its dried leave, and the seeds can also be consumed in so many ways, like you can eat them readily or roast them to eat like a snack. The difficulty with keeping Moringa trees indoors is that they’re fast-growing trees, and they can get pretty tall.

 If you never prune your Moringa, within the year, it could hit your ceiling. With a little care, however, you can grow a healthy, flourishing Moringa tree indoors without it taking over your entire greenhouse (or worse: your entire living room).

Moringa tree indoor

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Moringa tree

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How Deep to Plant Moringa Tree in Containers

Space out ¾- to 1-inch deep holes in the soil. Put a seed in each hole and lightly cover them with some soil. It can be a combination of 5% composted compost, 10% sand, and 85% soil. This is because Moringas can get easily waterlogged if placed in a potting mixture that doesn’t drain well.

Start digging holes that are 1-feet square and 1-feet deep, then fill them with loose soil. Also, make sure they’re 2 inches apart. Place around 3-5 seeds in each hole, ensuring that the roots aren’t planted deeper than half an inch. Cover them with soil afterwards.

 Once your Moringa saplings are around 6 inches tall, you’ll have to get rid of the unhealthy ones and keep only the healthiest. After that, apply a layer of compost to promote further growth. Also, don’t overwater the soil and make sure it stays dry to prevent choking the roots.

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How Often to Water Moringa Plant

Although Moringa is drought-tolerant, we still have to water it moderately to avoid droopy leaves. During the early stages, your Moringa plant will require just enough water to grow. Hence, make sure you water the surrounding soil enough to make it moist. 

However, don’t water too much as it will only cause the seeds to become waterlogged. Moreover, soil in containers gets dry quickly, so you will need to water it more frequently than Moringa plants growing in your garden.

Insert your finger into the ground up to the second knuckle. If it feels dry, water your plant. Don’t apply too much water as it results in yellowing of the leaves and root rot. After reaching at least 1-ft high, you may start transplanting your healthy Moringa plants into individual pots.

 When transplanting, make sure you use the right tools to prevent damaging the plant’s root system.

Source;https://www.wikihow.com/Grow-a-Moringa-Tree 

Growth response of Moringa oleifera (Lam) to water stress and to arid  bioclimatic conditions | SpringerLink

How Long Does it Take a Moringa Tree to Grow?

Moringa trees can grow up to 18 feet in less than six months, making it hard to harvest leaves and seed pods. If you “top” your tree at a height you are comfortable with; the tree will develop a lush bush-like habit in the warm weather months. Young Moringa trees will die back to the ground in cold weather.

To encourage better growth and fruiting, regularly prune the old branches. It is a fast-growing plant, so it needs regular pruning to promote leaf growth and maintain manageable height. Once it reaches 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 m) in height, cut it back to your desired level.

You can use the removed branches for propagation. Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to make smooth and straight cuts. Trim the top of the tree and cut the stems back to half of their length. New shoots will produce from the pruned parts and the base of the tree.

Remove the first year’s blooms to encourage the fruiting in subsequent years, and make sure to get rid of weeds and pests, if you observe any. Moreover, remove the flowers of the first year of growth; this practice encourages fruiting in the next years. The best time to prune the Moringa tree is after harvest.

Moringa

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Can Moringa Survive in Winter

Moringa can grow in cold climates and survive short periods of freezing (or even below freezing) weather. They go dormant in wintertime, leaves shriveling and falling once the temperature drops below 40 F or so. Once spring comes, however, new shoots begin to form.

Source: https://threepsandq.com/tag/how-to-sprout-moringa-seeds/ 

Proximate composition and calcium content of Moringa from different... |  Download Scientific Diagram

Growth rate in different temperature

FT-IR spectrum of Moringa oleifera seeds. The arrows indicate the... |  Download Scientific Diagram

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 In other words, if you live in an area where the temperature rarely drops below 32 F, your Moringa will probably survive without too much action on your part. If you live in a climate where the temperature does drop below freezing, though, you do need to take steps to ensure your Moringa continues to grow.

i. Protect the Roots (Best for Climate Zones 7-10)

The goal of this method is to keep your Moringa’s roots warm enough that they stay alive during the coldest parts of the year; that way, not only will you not have to start over, but your Moringa tree will also grow much faster, come spring.

ii. Creating a Micro-Climate (Best for Climate Zones 8-10)

Moringa trees work best in warmer temperatures. Your goal is to plant your Moringa in an area where you can artificially increase the temperature a few degrees. There are a lot of ways you can do this. Here’s a list of some examples:

  • Surround your Moringa garden with windbreak trees. Windbreak trees are fast-growing and durable, and they grow tall and thick enough to block the worst of a windchill from hitting your Moringa treeline.
  • Plant your Moringa trees against your house or a wall, typically along the west- or south-facing side. The heat from your home will keep your trees a little warmer, and the heat from the Moringa will bounce off the surface and raise the temperature around the Moringa tree a few degrees.
  • Figure out where the sun rises during winter, and then plant your Moringa trees where they’ll get the most of that sunlight. Remember: even a few degrees can mean the difference between life and death.
  • Use heat lamps or large Christmas lights to generate a little bit of warmth for your trees. Make sure to place them carefully; the goal isn’t to burn your garden down; it’s to keep them just a little warmer.
  • If your garden has slopes, plant your Moringa trees near the top of one. The cold air will flow down the hill and away from your trees, keeping them a tad warmer.

iii. Keep it Safe Indoors (Best for Climate Zones 1-6)

Unfortunately, many of us live in places where no matter what we do, our Moringa trees will likely die if we leave them outside in winter. In those cases, we need to bite the bullet and figure out how to keep them indoors.

Make sure to keep your Moringa near windows. Moringa trees require a great deal of sunshine; if you do keep them inside, make sure to either rest them by a window or by plant lights For this method to work, you’ll need to have regularly trimmed and pruned your Moringa trees. 

If you haven’t been doing so, they’ll likely be too large to move indoors.

iv. Take Cuttings and Plant Them (Any Zone)

Technically, this method is less about keeping your trees alive and more about making sure you can propagate them next year. 

If your trees are too large to bring inside, and if you know that the temperature will drop enough that there’s no way to keep them alive, your best choice is to take cuttings.

 Whether you’re pruning your Moringa to prevent it from growing tall enough to necessitate ladders or to prepare it for new growth come spring, a simple pair of pruning shears, a blanket, and an hour of time is all you need to keep your tree healthy.

 Pruning stimulates growth; it won’t hurt your tree, but it will ensure that you’re able to enjoy it (and its leaves) for years to come.

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Yield and quality under different cutting height

Yield and quality of Moringa oleifera under different planting densities  and cutting heights in southwest China - ScienceDirect

Source; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0926669016304307 

Conclusion

The seed of Moringa is considered as one of the most valuable seeds with so many benefits. It is used to create medicines that can cure multiple ailments. In various areas, Moringa’s seeds are used to purify water and as an animal feed.

 The seeds are trendy for their medicinal properties, but they are much more than that. You can consume its seeds readily or roast them to use as a snack, add them to soups, casseroles, stews, and sauces.

 Dried seeds can also be put into bread mixes and muffin mixes. These seeds are produced annually in the tropical and sub-tropical countries, and the best time to harvest seed pods is when they are dry and have turned brown, just before they split open and fall to the ground.

You might be interested in getting a head start on your Moringa Tree. So you may choose to buy a plant that has already started growing. Otherwise, follow the growing a moringa tree indoors.

A Moringa tree doesn’t require much fertilizer to grow. You can use manure or compost. However, if you are facing growth problems, you can use a general-purpose fertilizer.

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