You are reading this article to learn more about the Moringa tree and Moringa tree care. Want an unlimited superfood supply? Grow a Moringa Tree!
Table of Contents
Moringa oleifera, more commonly known as the Drumstick tree or Horseradish tree, is a native tree to the Indian Subcontinent and a pretty easy tree to grow if your climate supports it.
The rapidly growing species has incredible drought-resistant qualities. It is popularly grown for its young seed pods and leaves, prized as nutritious vegetables and herbal medicine.
This tree’s wide range of benefits has earned it the nickname Miracle Tree. The tree can be grown in a wide range of conditions if given ample sunlight and protection from the cold.
|Synonyms||Moringa tree, Drumstick tree, Horseradish tree, Ben oil tree|
|Soil||Well-draining soil mix|
|Watering||Every 3-7 days|
|Temperature||77.0 - 95.0 °F (25.0 - 35.0 °C)|
|Humidity||65.0 - 85.0%|
|Fertilizer||Ever 6 months using a slow-release fertilizer|
|Propagation||Seeds or cuttings|
Moringa Tree Care
Moringa Tree grows best in sandy or loamy soil that drains quickly. Growing well requires direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. Water deeply when most of the soil dries up. Ideal growing temperatures are 77-95 F (25-35 C). The ideal humidity levels for Moringa trees are 65-85%. Fertilize every 6 months using a slow-release fertilizer.
The Moringa Tree is famous for its ability to grow in poor soils and in almost any type of soil with adequate drainage. Moringa grows best in sandy or loamy soil. Ensure the soil is light and not too compacted, as it is susceptible to root rot in compacted soil with poor drainage.
Moringa is quite a resilient species regarding soil tolerance. It can grow equally well in various soil types and pH levels.
It grows naturally on the alluvial plains of Southeast Asia. Moringa trees can grow in clay to sandy soil types.
Although they can tolerate clayey soil, Drumstick trees will not withstand saturated soils, and their health will start to deteriorate if left in soggy, compacted soil even for a few days.
If you have clayey soil, special attention must be given to watering, as overwatering and heavier soils can be fatal for these plants.
That said, sandy or loamy soil is perfect for growing healthy Horseradish trees. These trees can tolerate a surprisingly wide and extreme range of soil pH levels from 5 to 9.
However, neutral soil pH between 6.5 – 7.5 is optimum. Any well-draining soil mix is good for growing a Drumstick tree. If the soil is too heavy, add sand or perlite to improve drainage and aeration.
Exposure to direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day is crucial for Moringa Tree growth. Choose a bright location for your Moringa that receives unobstructed sunlight throughout the day. Plants will show signs of distress and even die if not provided sunlight for most of the day.
You can think of the light requirements for a Horseradish tree to be similar to the light requirements for a small cactus, direct sunlight, all day, every day.
Moringa trees enjoy basking in the sun and will only grow well if their light-colored foliage is exposed to the direct sun all day.
If you’re planning to grow a Moringa tree plantation, you must maintain an adequate distance of at least 4-5 meters between each tree so that the trees do not face a lack of direct sunlight as they grow.
If you’ve got a brightly lit spot indoors that receives direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day, you can successfully grow this plant indoors.
However, a Ben oil tree will not be able to unleash its full potential indoors, so you are recommended to grow it outside all year round.
You will, however, have to overwinter it in a bright but warm location in the winter if you live in a cooler climate.
Moringa has amazing drought resistance, but only in mature plants. Generally, Moringa will grow best in consistently moist soil so that it has access to ample soil moisture. These trees are prone to root rot and will not tolerate too wet soil. Water deeply when most of the soil dries up.
While Moringa trees are not heavy water drinkers, their rapid growth speed is further boosted when grown in moist soil.
Young Drumstick trees must be watered as soon as the top few inches of the soil dry out to ensure the foliage does not wither off and maintain growth speed.
As the plant matures, it develops its drought-resistant qualities and can go for many days without water.
Infrequent but deep watering is always better for older Moringa plants than more frequent, light watering sessions.
These plants will grow better if you let the soil dry out, mostly between watering sessions. Waiting for a few days between watering sessions encourages the roots to grow deep into the soil in search of water.
When you feel like most of the soil has dried up, give the plant a hearty drink of water until the water flows out of the drainage hole.
If the soil is not quick draining, you need to be extra careful not to water these plants too much. Overwatered Moringa Trees will develop symptoms of root rot such as yellowing leaves and premature leaf drop.
Moringa oleifera is native to tropical and sub-tropical regions and prefers warm to hot temperatures. They grow in plains below 2000 ft altitude. Ideal growing temperatures are 77-95 F (25-35 C). These plants are hardy to USDA zones 9-10 and can tolerate temperatures as high as 118 F (48 C)!
Moringa Trees grow in naturally warm to hot climates. The heat-loving plant species will only fruit in areas with average temperatures between the 77-86 F (25-30 C) range or greater.
They tolerate the extremely hot Indian summer well and are suitable to grow in semi-arid and arid conditions.
On the other end of the thermometer, Moringa Trees do not perform well in cooler climates and will not fruit or even grow in USDA zones colder than zone 7.
They can take a light frost but not prolonged exposure to severely cold temperatures. If you live in USDA zone 9-10, you can grow these plants outdoors all year.
But in zones 7-8, they will only grow if you get warm summers and successfully overwinter the tree in a warm and bright location.
Like hot jungles and sub-tropical regions, Moringa plants thrive in high humidity. The ideal humidity levels for Moringa trees are 65-85%. These plants will grow the fastest in high humidity. Humidity should be a special consideration when growing Moringa as a houseplant.
Although the Drumstick tree can withstand severe drought periods, as in lack of soil moisture, they will not take well to dry air. These trees need moderate to high humidity to grow well.
If you are growing Moringa outdoors, there’s not much you can do about the atmospheric humidity, and will have to make do with whatever humidity nature gives your trees.
When growing the Moringa oleifera indoors, adequate humidity is the second most critical factor after adequate light levels for the plants.
Without the special humidity needs being met, Moringa plants will not live indoors for more than a few days. A pebble tray is recommended to notch humidity levels up for growing Moringa indoors.
Moringa Tree Growth
The Moringa Tree can grow 40 feet tall when mature. The tree has an upright growing behavior and does not spread much laterally. With deep growing roots and crooked trunk shape, foliage is sparse with tripinnate leaves with small, ovate leaflets. The ends of the branches are green and feathery.
Moringa Oleifera is a deciduous, fast-growing species with feathery leaves and grey, corky bark. The tree predominantly grows more in height than it does in width.
It does not have a heavy shade because the foliage is sparse with small leaflets arranged in 4-6 pairs on tripinnate leaves. The leaves are alternatively arranged on green, feathery stems.
Only the old wood, such as the tree’s trunk and primary branches, are woody. New, actively growing stems are green and still herbaceous with a feathery texture.
Moringa can start blooming as soon as 6 months after plantation and produces fragrant, yellowish-white flowers.
Pruning is an essential part of Moringa Tree care. Being a single-stemmed plant, it will grow very tall if not pruned to maintain a broader shape. Pruning keeps the plant in good health and induced denser foliage. Due to their fast growth, you must prune twice a year.
Pruning your Moringa Tree is the most fun part of Moringa Tree Care. Moringa Tree pruning is not a wistful or regrettable chore, unlike other plants.
On the contrary, it’s what we grow Moringa for! You can harvest foliage in various ways to utilize its nutritiousness.
Moreover, the hard stems can be propagated to grow new Moringa Trees!
Pruning should be done frequently to prevent the Moringa tree from growing too tall. Deadhead the taller stems to induce denser foliage growth.
Always use sharp and sterilized shears to prune off Moringa foliage.
Moringa Tree Propagation
Moringa Tree propagation is as easy as it gets. It can be propagated either through seeds or through stem cuttings. The latter is recommended plant the cuttings in a moist, sandy mix and place them in bright indirect light at a warm temperature. New growth will sprout in a few weeks.
To grow Moringa from seed, remember that these plants will not withstand transplantation at an early stage. So, sow the seeds directly in a bigger pot.
Moringa seeds can germinate within 3-14 days but need to be placed in a moist starting mix at warm temperatures, ideally between 75-90 F (24-32 C).
To propagate cuttings, obtain hardwood stems by making slanting cuts. You can successfully propagate Moringa stems as think as an inch in diameter.
Plant the cuttings in a moist, well-draining mix and keep them in bright indirect light.
To prevent the cuttings from drying, you can create greenhouse-like conditions by covering the pot or container with a clear plastic bag.
Let the cuttings grow in place for a few months until the root systems have developed well. Still, you are advised to carefully move the cuttings as the Moringa does not tolerate transplant shock very well.
Moringa Tree Fertilizer
Use a slow-release fertilizer every 6 months for a Moringa tree.
Common Problems with Moringa Trees
The Moringa oleifera is a remarkable disease and pest-resistant plant species, one reason why the tree is popularly cultivated worldwide as a superfood.
While common houseplant pests and diseases can’t harm these trees much, primarily due to their rapid growth pace, watching for potential pests and diseases is a good idea.
Although Moringa can tolerate all kinds of abuse and is not bothered by pest infestations, root rot is one disease that can kill a pretty healthy tree in a matter of days.
That being said, you need to avoid it at all costs. Plant a Moringa tree in only well-draining soil and keep special care not to overwater the tree.
If diagnosed early, you might be able to save your Moringa Tree through root rot treatment. Regulate watering immediately and place the plant in a warm, lightly shaded place to recover.
These pests can be easily dealt with with mild sprays of Neem oil solution every two weeks until the insects are eradicated.
Suppose you can provide this tree with sunlight, warm temperatures, and regulated watering. In that case, there’s nothing else you need to do except watch the Moringa tree turn into a beautiful green tree with incredible nutritional value.
Frankly, the care this tree requires is nothing compared to the dozens of incredible health benefits it offers. Harvest the leaves or cook the young seed pods as a veggie. Enjoy growing Moringa and consuming valuable vitamins.
I hope you liked my full Moringa tree care guide!
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.