Cultivating plants is no small task, as each plant has different needs to grow properly. Some plants are far more valuable than others, with some offering several health benefits. While it might seem smart to grow these beneficial plants yourself, it can be a major challenge. Some plants will be easier to grow than others, while the rest are next to impossible to grow on your own. However, it all depends on the plant you are trying to grow.
One of the plants seeing a lot of popularity these days is moringa, which is renowned for its health effects. While moringa is extremely useful, growing it is a different situation. We understand why you might want to grow your own moringa. It can give you an easy stream of the leaves that you can turn into health supplements for yourself. However, the ordeal of growing moringa could prove to be more of a challenge than it is worth.
The resources needed to grow moringa could well be beyond what is available to you at any given moment. While you might be set on growing moringa yourself, understanding how difficult it is can make all the difference. This article will provide as much information as possible about what is needed to grow moringa so you can understand the difficulty involved.
What is Moringa?
While you have likely already heard of moringa, given your desire to grow it, there are some specifics you might not know. The most important of which is the kind of plant it is. Originating from the Indian subcontinent, Moringa oleifera, or moringa, is a drought-resistant tree from the family Moringaceae. Some might have assumed that moringa grows as a small plant you could easily pot and nurture in your backyard. However, it is the exact opposite, as moringa trees are not only very large but very difficult to maintain.
Moringa oleifera grows remarkably quickly and reaches an apex height of between 33 to 39 feet tall. The tree's trunk is equally as large, with a diameter reaching 18 inches wide. Growing a moringa tree requires an abundance of space. This can limit the houses that allow moringa to grow based on the size of your backyard and whether it can accommodate a tree of that size per your state's property laws.
Additionally, anyone looking to grow a moringa tree in an apartment complex will have no ability to do so since you will have no access to a yard. Because moringa is a tree and not a simple herb or shrub, geographical location also plays a huge role in whether you can grow it at your home or not. However, understanding what moringa is does not constitute the full range of knowledge you need to determine your ability to grow moringa.
One of the biggest aspects of growing a plant or tree is knowing how to care for it and what environment it needs. Failing to meet the criteria could cost you a great deal of time and resources attempting to do the impossible.
Where Can Moringa Grow?
Plants are very particular lifeforms that require a specific environment to grow properly. The same is true for moringa plants, which require a specific zone to grow and remain healthy. This zone often accounts for the temperature of where you are trying to grow the tree and the kind of soil you are trying to grow it in. Without the proper climate and soil, you will be unable to grow any plant properly, moringa included. Moringa being drought-resistant does nothing to change the environment the tree needs to grow.
In terms of temperature, a moringa tree requires a range of between 77° to 86° Fahrenheit. While a moringa tree can endure short periods of frost or cold, it thrives in tropical or subtropical climates. It will also grow best at altitudes ranging from 0 to 2,000 m. Anything higher than 2,000 m will likely lead to the tree dying.
While altitude and climate are important, you must consider weather patterns. Moringa, like all trees, needs water to promote growth and development. While using sprinklers or other water sources is possible, it is best to plant the tree in a region where rain is common. For a healthy tree to develop, you will want to plant it somewhere that gets between 250 mm to 3,000 mm of rain. On average, your moringa tree will need 800 mm of rainwater to grow properly.
Finally, the soil's acidity is important to the tree's growth. Some plants thrive in soil with low acidity, and others thrive in highly acidic soil. When it comes to moringa trees, the best soil is soil with a neutral acidity level. This puts the ideal range at between 5 to 9 pH for a healthy moringa tree to grow.
You will likely never see a fully developed tree if you cannot produce this environment for your moringa tree. However, even if you have the proper environment for the tree, you still need to consider the care the tree needs.
How to Care for Moringa
Growing a moringa tree is already a difficult prospect. Caring for the tree as it grows is no simple task either. Starting from the planting stage, you will need to consider where you plant the seedling or cutting in the plot. When you plant your moringa tree, you will want to ensure it is in an area sheltered from the elements but is still easily exposed to sunlight. As it grows, you will need to consider pruning as well. Your best bet is to prune the tree in the cold season to keep it within growth limits.
Unfortunately, moringa trees have a fascinating response to pruning. The more we cut them down to keep them a certain size, the more they will grow to foil your efforts. Moringa seems to respond to being cut and will grow larger to make pruning more difficult. To try and counter this, you might need to pinch off the new growths so the tree does not grow beyond what you can manage.
Pruning is not the only part of caring for a moringa tree. If there is a shortage of rain in the area you are planting the tree, you might need to water it yourself. You will also need to consider the fertilization of your tree. You will need to provide two applications of controlled release fertilizer every six months. Between pruning, watering, and fertilizing, you will have to contribute much support to your tree's growth. However, the issue of care does not end there.
Many do not realize that trees can suffer from diseases and afflictions much like humans can. Moringa is fortunate enough not to be subject to the diseases that commonly affect trees. However, a moringa tree can still be attacked by pests that can damage and even kill it. Moringa is generally targeted by aphids and caterpillars in most climates but can be infested by fruit flies in warmer climates. Part of the care for your moringa tree involves finding a way to neutralize these pests.
Typically, this will mean that you need to invest in insecticides, but you will want to be careful when selecting your pesticide to avoid harming the tree. You will want to opt for a pyrethrum-based insecticide that will kill the pests without tainting the moringa tree. Caring for a moringa tree is extensive and not the simplest thing to accomplish. You will need to invest in resources and time you might not have to spare.
In addition to caring for the tree, you will need to know what resources to harvest from it. Otherwise, the care you put into the tree might be for naught.
What to Harvest From Moringa?
Unless you intend to plant a moringa tree for decoration, you likely want to harvest the resources the tree has to offer. Several parts of moringa trees are extremely valuable for health, among other things.
When it comes to using moringa as a health supplement, the most valuable components are the tree's:
- Bark: The bark of the moringa tree can be peeled from the trunk.
- Sap: The sap of the moringa can be drained from the trunk.
- Roots: The roots of the moringa can be carefully dug up and cut from the ground.
- Leaves: The moringa leaves can be picked from the branches.
- Seeds: The seeds of the moringa can be harvested from fruits plucked from its branches.
- Flowers: The flowers of the moringa can be plucked from the branches.
Gathering any of these parts from a moringa tree will provide you with resources you can use to reap the tree's effects. Once you have harvested the moringa parts, you can refine them into moringa powder with the leaves or squeeze the fruits into moringa juice. Once you have your moringa product, you can consume it for its benefits.
However, to take advantage of moringa and harvest these parts from the tree, you will need to tend to it for some time. The moringa tree will reach 18 ft within six months if you have grown it properly. However, the tree will not sprout fruit until eight months into its life cycle. Combined with the other factors involved in maintaining the tree, it can make growing your tree more hassle than it is worth. If you think you are equipped to grow the tree yourself, you can purchase moringa cuttings or seeds for a substantial cost.
How Much Does Moringa Cost?
Before you can consider growing your tree, you will need a juvenile moringa to grow. Seeds and cuttings are available for purchase so that you can grow them into full trees. However, the cost of juvenile moringa is not a meaningless expense. Moringa is an exotic plant from a distant part of the world. Therefore, the moringa juveniles available for import will set you back a fair amount.
On average, moringa cuttings will cost:
- $130.00 for a 3 to 4 ft cutting.
- $140.00 for a 4 to 5 ft cutting.
- $150.00 for a 5 to 5 ft cutting.
While moringa cuttings are fairly expensive, moringa seeds are far cheaper. On average, a bag of moringa seeds for planting will only set you back around $20.00 total. Moringa seeds are less expensive because growing a moringa tree from a seed is far more difficult than raising a cutting to maturity. As a result, the cuttings are more valuable and demand a higher price tag.
However, if you do not have the resources needed to grow a moringa tree of your own, you will need to find an alternative. Fortunately, it is still possible to access moringa without growing a tree.
Keep it All Natural!
Growing a moringa tree is not easy, despite what you might have been led to believe. Growing moringa yourself requires the proper environment, financial resources, and knowledge of what to harvest. It can be more difficult than you realize and require resources you might not have. However, if you are equipped to grow a tree in your backyard, it will be a constant commitment to ensure that your tree does not die. However, if you cannot sustain a moringa tree, there is still a way to get your daily dose of moringa without having to grow any.
We at Bella All Natural are here to help with the latter option. Our mission is to provide an array of beauty and health products that take advantage of the natural world rather than synthetic analogs. Among our products is moringa juice that you can use to enjoy the full range of benefits moringa has to offer while absolving you of the burden of growing it yourself. Natural supplementation can be an amazing tool for enhancing your health without subscribing to chemicals. So, if you want to enjoy the many benefits moringa offers and so much more, visit our website, and be sure to check out our many other posts about it! And as always, remember to keep it All Natural!