Recently, the world has come to know about the miraculous benefits that Moringa Oleifera offers and many people all across the world want to have access to this superfood in their homes. But not everyone has a garden or access to the ground where Moringa can be grown.
Are you also someone who lives in an apartment and wants to grow the Moringa tree in the limited space available?
Moringa Oleifera or the Miracle tree can be grown in small spaces too. Growing Moringa in containers or pots is very much possible with good results. Moringa can be grown in containers that are at least 20 inches and above in size using both seeds, and stem cuttings.
Moringa grown in pots can be kept in any West or South facing balcony or any area which receives direct sunlight for 4-6 hours a day.
Moringa is the nutritional powerhouse because it has immense health benefits, and almost every part of the tree can be consumed (pods, leaves, seeds, flowers, roots). Moringa belongs to the “Moringaceae” family and is known to be quite effective in treating malnutrition among children.
It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, benefits diabetic patients by lowering blood sugar levels. There are many more benefits that Moringa offers, and I am sure you have enough reasons to grow your Moringa and experience the health benefits that it offers.
Tips for Growing Moringa in Containers
Moringa can be grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It can tolerate drought-like and mild frost conditions. The ideal temperature for its growth is 25-35 degrees Celsius. It can easily be grown from seeds, and stem cuttings.
But first things first, before actually getting to know “How to grow Moringa in Containers”, you need to keep in mind a few points.
Moringa loves direct sunlight and thrives in warm conditions. So, look for a spot in your house that receives 5 to 7 hours of direct sunlight. A South facing balcony would be a perfect spot to grow Moringa in a container.
If you do not have a South facing balcony, try looking for any area in the house that receives some amount of bright light. Moringa doesn’t grow too well in low-light conditions, so you have to make sure that you place your plant at a place that receives an adequate amount of bright light.
Another point to keep in mind is that Moringa has softwood which is prone to break in winds. The tree grows tall in a short period and can snap and fall in windy conditions.
2. Soil Mixture
Although Moringa is a low-maintenance plant and can survive in poor soils also, the soil should ideally be well-drained with a mixture of soil, sand, and compost. It can tolerate loamy soils too but it cannot handle water-logging as it leads to root rot.
An ideal soil mix would be 75% garden soil, 15% sand, and 10% organic manure. This ensures keeping the soil airy and aids the proper growth of the plant.
3. Best Time/Season for Growing Moringa in Containers
Moringa can be planted throughout the year except for the months of winter because it can’t tolerate extreme frost conditions. It grows well in full sun and the ideal temperature for its growth is 30 to 35 degrees Celsius.
For people living in extremely cold conditions, it might be difficult for you to grow Moringa in your area because it can’t handle extreme temperatures and it becomes dormant when the temperature falls below 17 degrees Celsius and can also die if exposed to extremely low temperatures.
4. Choosing the Right Pot/Container to Grow Moringa
Moringa has roots that crack deep into the soil. So, select a pot size that is large enough to accommodate the plant once it grows. Pot size of 20 inches and above should be fine for a Moringa to grow in smaller spaces.
If you don’t have a larger pot at the moment, you can start with a smaller pot but as the plant starts growing, transplant it to a larger pot as growing Moringa in a smaller container can be a challenge.
Water moderately when the plant is young and once the plant establishes full roots into the soil, you can reduce the frequency of watering. They prefer an infrequent large amount of watering.
Also, avoid using plastic pots because there is little scope of aeration apart from the holes made at the bottom. Use a terracotta pot instead, it works the best because it not only keeps the soil mix adequately cool during hot weather conditions but also absorbs some excess water from the soil.
If at all, you are using a plastic pot, make many holes at the bottom of the pot, so that excess water can drain from the bottom.
5. Growing Moringa from Seeds
Take a seed and dip it in water for 4-5 hours.
Now, wrap it in moist tissue paper and keep it in a zip-lock pouch for 2-3 days until the seed germinates. Once, you see the seed sprouting, plant it around 2 inches deep into the container with the soil mix. Keep the soil moist, but not entirely wet.
Place the container in a shaded area that receives bright indirect sunlight until the plant becomes approximately 1-foot-tall (it can take 6-8 weeks). Once, the plant attains a height of 1 foot, transplant it in a larger pot without disturbing the root system. Now you can keep the plant in full sun.
You can buy Moringa seeds online here.
6. Growing Moringa in Containers from Stem Cuttings
Take at least 6 feet cutting from a Moringa tree. Dig a hole and put the cutting 1-meter-deep into the soil. It means that your container has to be large enough to accommodate the large cutting. In a few days, you will notice new leaves sprouting and the new plant will establish roots in the container.
7. Moringa Plant Care Tips
Winter Care (Overwintering)
When the temperature falls below 15 degrees Celsius, shift the plant to a covered area, preferably inside. Since Moringa can’t tolerate frost for too long, they go dormant in winters and new shoots develop in Spring.
Move your container to an area in the house that stays relatively warmer than the rest of the house. You can also use heat lamps to maintain warmth around the plant.
Drumstick tree doesn’t need fertilizers regularly. Occasionally application of organic manure, compost, and fertilizers would help in furthering the growth of the plant. Compost made out of kitchen waste is an excellent choice for Moringa’s growth.
Pruning is essential for enabling new growth in your plant. It becomes all the more important when the Moringa is planted in a container/pot. Regular pruning and nipping off the top stem aid in making the Moringa bushier, denser, and leads to a greater number of lateral branches.
New shoots and branches will grow from the pruned branches as pruning stimulates new growth. If your Drumstick tree is becoming leggy, and you wish to see a large number of branches on the tree, then don’t forget to prune it.
The ideal time to prune is just before the beginning of the Spring season. While you prune those branches, don’t just throw them away, you can always make Moringa leaf powder by drying the leaves in sun for a couple of days. Store the powder in an air-tight jar.
Pests and Insects
Keep your Moringa free of pests and other attacks. During the flowering season, Moringa is prone to trouble from caterpillars. So, to avoid insect and pest attacks, you can spray Neem Oil on your leaves from time to time.
If you are looking to buy Neem Oil online, here’s a link. If you face an issue of slugs and snails in your soil, then it may be a case of overwatering as these creatures survive in moist conditions. If you want to get rid of slugs and snails, then sprinkle some crumbled eggshells on the soil, it will kill them all.
According to various scientific researches conducted worldwide, Moringa can support in dealing with malnutrition, as it offers various micronutrients which are present in its leaves, pods, and seeds. A few studies also claim that Moringa has anti-cancer properties.
You can find plenty of research papers online explaining how Moringa has myriad benefits of including it in the regular diet. From powder to herbal tea to juice to drumsticks, Moringa can be easily incorporated into the day-to-day diet.
Now that you've read about growing Moringa in containers in your balconies and indoors, what are you waiting for? Go and grow your Moringa!