HOW TO GROW AN
TREE IN FLORIDA
This page was last updated: September 5, 2012
So, you live in Florida, and want to grow an African Moringa tree? Well, you can - and relatively easily. We do. You do not have to have a greenhouse to grow them, you just have to know how to do it. If you live anywhere that has a tropical climate, you can successfully grow the Moringa Stenopetala tree. The African Moringa tree, also known as Moringa Stenopetala, is a tree of wonder. Unlike one of its relatives, the Moringa Oleifera tree, the African Moringa develops a trunk that looks a lot like a bulb. It is used by the tree, to store water. The Moringa Stenopetala is a fast-growing tree, so you can almost see it grow. Most of them are grown in a very hot climate, but again - you can grow an African Moringa tree just about anywhere - if you know how. You will need some fresh, viable Moringa Stenopetala seeds to plant. There are several places that sell them; just ask them to send you the freshest ones that they have. We sell them online, at our I Love Moringa website, but you do not have to purchase them, from us. The seeds should be light tan in color - almost blondish-looking, and they should be plump and full. They are normally about 1/2" to 3/4" long, but the size is not nearly as important, as the plumpness of the seed. Some of the seeds have a few "wrinkles" in them - that is okay. They will still grow. Put some loose, preferably organic, potting soil in a planting pot or other container, and make sure there are holes in the bottom for drainage. Moringas of all varieties, do not like their roots standing in soggy soil.
Plant your Moringa Stenopetala seeds about 3/4" to 1" deep in the soil, and cover them up with more soil. It is always a good idea to put a plant marker in the pot, so you know what you planted, how many, and when you planted them. A wooden popsicle stick works well, if you do not have any plant markers.
Now, give them a thorough soaking with water, and let them drain well. Put the plant in a warm place - over 70°F if possible - and in sunlight if you can. Now, just leave them alone, with the exception of a light watering, every other day. The best part about growing African Moringas in Florida, is that we usually have an abundance of sunshine and heat. The seedlings often come up for us, within 7 days, if conditions are right. Moringa Stenopetalas are just about one of the most beautiful seedlings to grow. They poke their heads out of the soil - a bright, lime green. Part of the seed comes up with them - giving them the distinct look of a "winged seedling". Lately, in Florida, we have had some really cold, unseasonable - we think - "unreasonable" weather. The winters of 2008 - 2010 were very rough on our African Moringas - but - they survived. In 2009, we actually strung large, white Christmas lights around the perimeter of the trees, and in between the rows. The rule of thumb is that one large Christmas light will keep one plant alive. In this case, the rule of thumb worked. We also kept lawn sprinklers on them for about 5 minutes, 4 times a day. They made it. The second year, we did not - nor, the third. Most of them survived. Here's a photo of one of our Moringa Stenopetalas that lost all of its leaves during the winter of 2008-2009, and how it budded out again - right down to the ground. The water sprinkling and the lights kept it alive.
If you live in a colder growing zone than ours, the tree will have to be in a greenhouse, or taken inside for the winter. Remember, Moringas are tropical trees, so they will need
plant lights and warmth.
~ ~ ~ IN FLORIDA OR LOTS OF PLACES! ~ ~ ~
ADVICE AND TIPS FOR THE MORINGA STENOPETALA - THE AFRICAN MORINGA TREE
Plant the seeds and leave them alone
Be sure that they are in a very warm place
Give them water every other day, after the initial planting
Once they are established, once a week watering is fine
When they are about 10" tall, you can start pinching back every other new growth
Harvest the leaves often - pruning always from the top. You will be rewarded with more leaves, than if you just let them grow tall.
Do not expect to get buds, flower blossoms, and seed pods from your Moringa Stenopetala tree for a few years. If you want to grow your own pods, for seeds - or have the buds and flower blossoms to eat - grow the Moringa Oleifera. In Florida, we have flowers in six months, and pods that are ripe, in eight months - from planted Moringa Oleifera seeds.