One of the most useful and fastest-growing trees on Earth, the Moringa oleifera, or drumstick or horseradish tree, is a hearty tree for home cultivation. Used in India and Africa for its highly nutritious and medicinal uses, moringa trees grow well even in areas where other crops or trees fail, doing well in sandy or poor soil. While it is relatively unknown in North America, many agricultural and poverty control agencies have begun recommending its cultivation as a food source and landscape protectant in Central and South America. While they can tolerate a light frost, moringa trees will do best in warmer, southern U.S. climates.
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Things you need
- Moringa seeds or branch cutting
- Clay pot (for growing indoors)
- Gardening tools
- Household plant fertiliser
- Sharp knife or pruning shears
Choose an area for moringa tree. If planting outside, choose a sunny, well-drained spot. If planting indoors, choose a large clay pot in an area that receives good sunlight and can be temperature controlled.
Obtain moringa seeds or branch cuttings from live moringa trees for planting. Seeds should be directly planted in the area where the tree should grow, outside in holes at least 1 foot deep and at least 2 feet apart, or indoors, two seeds per pot, sowed at least 10 inches from the surface of the soil. Place branch cuttings outside directly into soil at least 1 foot deep, or in pots, pushed at least 10 inches deep and packed well with soil.
Apply household plant fertiliser after planting. Normally, given an adequate amount of soil from which to pull nutrients, moringa trees do not require additional fertilisation.
Water seeds and branch cuttings well. Keep soil moist but not wet, else you will drown or rot the seeds or cutting.
Pull weeds near moringa saplings grown outside, and look carefully at the young tree for termites. Pick or rinse away, using a garden hose, any pests you find, which can damage or kill the tree.
Prune older branches periodically as the tree matures to encourage growth and fruiting. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to make smooth, straight cuts. New shoots will grow from the pruned areas and from the base of the tree.
Remove flowers as they bloom the first year of growth. This encourages fruiting in subsequent years.
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