About Moringa Trees – Moringa Tree Care And Growing
Moringa trees are native to South East Asia. They are widely grown all over the world for their beautiful flowers and edible fruit. There are many varieties of moringas, but they have one thing in common: they’re all members of the genus Morus (meaning “tree” in Latin).
All species of moringa belong to the family Moraceae, which means “tree”.
The plant grows naturally in tropical regions of Southeast Asia, India and Indonesia. Some species of moringa are cultivated for their ornamental value or medicinal properties. These include the Indian mulberry (Morus alba), the Malaysian mahogany (Morus glabra) and the Indonesian kudu (Morus nigra).
There are two main types of moringa trees: those with hardwood branches and those without. Most plants in the genus Morus have woody branches, while some species lack such features. For example, the Australian creeper (Morus aculeatus) lacks any kind of branch structure at all; it’s just a single trunk topped by leaves.
Growing Moringa Trees Indoors?
The flowers of moringa trees are the most common part used in cooking and herbal medicine. The flowers are often dried and ground to make aromatic, flavorful powders. While it’s possible to grow several species of moringa from cuttings or seed, the best way to grow a moringa tree is from a terminal cutting. This is a piece of branch which is allowed to air-root after making contact with the soil.
This process is called air-layering. It’s a good idea to transfer the cutting into a pot before it develops root hairs, which happens quite quickly (1-2 weeks). The process isn’t too difficult and doesn’t take long, but it requires a few supplies you might not have lying around.
To start, you need a small knife, some un-potted moringa cuttings, rooting hormone and some pots. Ideally, the pots will be bigger than the cuttings and have a drainage hole in the bottom. These pots can be old yogurt containers, plastic bottles or anything similar.
It’s important to sterilize all of your tools before you start: use a solution of 1 part bleach mixed with 9 parts water. Rinse everything thoroughly after you’re done.
After you’re done sterilizing, take your cutting. Look closely at the bottom of a leaf. You’ll see a small, thin, white tube there.
This is a root primordia: it will develop into a root if you take good care of the cutting.
Make your cut just above this white tube. (The closer to it, the larger the root—but the more leaves you have to remove). Make sure to sterilize your knife or use a clean blade between cuts.
You’ll need to coat the bottom 1/3 of the cutting (basically, from the cut you just made up) in rooting hormone. Use your clean finger to rub the hormone into the woody part of the cutting.
Take a pot (the bigger, the better). Firmly pack some sterile, lightly moistened soil at the bottom. This is called a “packing medium” and will help keep your cutting in place while it starts growing roots.
Now fold a square of damp paper towel and place it on top of the soil. This will keep the cutting from touching the soil and potentially contaminating it with bacteria or fungus.
Take your cutting and place it on top of the paper towel. Gently pat it down so that it’s firmly in place.
Fold another paper towel and put that on top. Do this until you have enough layers to cover the cutting without it being exposed to the soil at all.
Put the container in a warm, well-lit place. Check every day or two to make sure that the packing medium is staying damp. If it gets too dry, water it.
If it stays wet for more than a couple days, remove the paper towel so it can dry out a bit.
After about a month, your cutting should have formed many roots. When this happens, pot it up and place it somewhere sunny. It should continue growing just like a normal plant!
There are many different types of moringa, but all of them have edible flowers. In most places, the flowers only bloom in the springtime, but you can encourage your plants to bloom all year long by providing 12 hours of daylight instead of the usual 10.
Designed and written by Josh Lemieux (with inspiration from Ryan Van Cleave and Gary Chalk). Photos were provided by Jane Greenhalgh and Michael Taylor. Formatting and additional writing by Green Solutions.
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