Some people just do not have the space to grow a big
full-grown, full-blown Moringa tree, so...we'll show you how to grow one, and keep it "dwarf-size".
It isn't that hard to do, but you'll have to keep up with it, until the Moringa tree realizes that it is not going to be 30 or 40 feet tall. They really seem to want to just grow into a huge tree, but with a bit of care, you can persuade them to believe that "good things come in small packages". The dwarf Moringa Stenopetala trees shown to the right, were about 2 years old, when we took this photo. They survived some very cold weather, for our area anyway, and are thriving in their 16 inch pot. The pot helps "dwarf" them. If we had planted them in the ground, they would probably be over 20 feet tall, by now. We prune ours back frequently, so they do not get "out of hand". These are the African variety of Moringa, Moringa Stenopetala. They produce lots of large, green leaves for eating, but you will not have blossoms or pods from them, for a few years.
~ ~ ~ TO GROW A DWARF MORINGA TREE ~ ~ ~
HOW TO GROW
The first thing you need to do, is to plant some Moringa seeds and let them grow into seedlings. Any variety of Moringa will work; we are featuring the African Moringa tree, Moringa Stenopetala. Plant your seeds into loose potting soil, preferably organic potting soil, as you will want to eat the leaves, buds, flower blossoms, and young pods. Keep the soil loose, as you will find that Moringas do not like heavily compacted soil or clay-like soil. If that is all that is available to you in your area, get some sand, and mix it into your soil. You can also use perlite, which they like - but - do not use vermiculite. Moringas simply detest it. We do not know why...
THINGS YOU WILL NEED
- Planting container, 12 inches to 18 inches wide
- Moringa seeds of any variety
PLANTING THE SEEDS
Fill the pot that you plan to use, for your dwarf Moringas, with loose soil as referenced above. You can grow about 5 dwarf Moringa trees, in a pot of the size recommended. We usually sow about 7 or 8 seeds, because some of them may not sprout. The goal is to end up with 3 to 5 dwarf Moringas, per pot. Make holes in the soil, well spaced apart, and about 3/4 to 1 inch deep. Put a seed in each hole, and cover lightly with the soil. Water the soil thoroughly, and put in a sunny location - preferably, but not necessarily, outside. Within 10 days, you should have Moringa sprouts from the seeds.
* If you are planting Moringa Oleifera seeds, do not despair if they do not sprout in that time. Our consistent experience with them, is that they are "fickle sprouters"!
WHAT TO DO ONCE THEY HAVE SPROUTED
The photo to the right, is of little Moringa Stenopetala sprouts. You see, that
they still have their seeds attached to their stems. That is called a cotelydon.
They will eventually fall off, after they wither. The Moringa Oleiferas will
not have those: they come up with just their leaves showing.
Wait until the Moringa seedlings have at least two tiers of branches, and then you should start to pinch back their tops. New leaves sprout at the tops of Moringas and in the junction or "crotch" of the branches. Even though Moringas grow fast, you will have to be patient while training them to stay small. Because they just love to grow, and are one of the fastest growing tropical trees, you need to check them for new leaves at least once a week.
When they are about 18 inches tall, we chop the branches' length off, to about 1/2 of their size. This forces new growth down along the trunks, as seen in the photo to the right. >>>>>>
When they are still young, the trunks will be green. As your Moringa seedlings mature, if you follow the directions in the two paragraphs above, you will notice that the trunks start to become "woody" in texture, and brown. Now, you have a small tree.
Your Moringas can stay in their pots, and will remain small, if you continue to pinch back the top growth, and cut the branches' length in half. To insure that they get the proper nutrients, a light application of an organic fertilizer can be applied about once a month.
We rarely fertilize ours, and they thrive. If the leaves start to "yellow", it means that they need some magnesium, which can be in the form of Epsom salts, or you can use powdered oyster shell, or egg shells, or dolomite. Just sprinkle some around the base of your Moringas, and water it in.
Please remember - Moringas do not like their roots standing in soggy soil. The roots will rot, so be sure that wherever you plant your Moringas, provide them with good drainage. Be sure that the bottom of you pots have holes in them, to allow excessive water to drain off. Pebbles in the bottom of the potting containers is effective, or spaghnum moss, or a layer of broken clay pots or crocks.
FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE DIRECTIONS, AND YOU WILL HAVE A DWARF MORINGA TREE
We have had some Moringa Stenopetalas in their original pots, for four years now. They are hearty, and productive. This method works wonderfully with that variety. With the long pods that grow from the Moringa Oleifera trees, and other varieties, it is much more of a challenge!
This page was last updated: 2/21/2014