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       Learn to Grow Moringa Trees

  In Depth questions and answers on how to grow and care for  your Moringa tree including pruning, fertilizing, water, and soil  requirements. How you grow a dwarf Moringa tree.


 kate Freer, the herbladyisin

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Instructions, Answers, and Tips for Growing Moringa Trees

 Moringa leaves

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Altitude and humidity


Drying Moringa Tree's Leaves


Fertilizing Your Moringa Tree  


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Growing Moringa as a Hedge or Wind Break


Growing Moringa Trees in The House in Harsh Climate Zones


How All parts of the Moringa Tree are used (pods, flowers)


How to Grow a Dwarf Moringa Trees


Native Use: Moringa Tree Flowers, leaves, seeds, bark, oil and root.


How To Grow Moringa trees As a Seasonal Crop


Pruning Your Moringa Tree in the house ..


Growing A Dwarf Moringa Tree


Soil Requirements for Moringa Trees


Transplanting Your Moringa Tree  


Altitude and Humidity Matter: Moringa Trees grow naturally in countries where they are close to sea level or under 1000 feet. In the United States, Florida is an example. If you are at high altitudes as we are in Nevada, you will have trouble getting them to grow.  

Humidity is another factor and important. The trees love areas like Florida where the humidity is high and it rains every day.  Dry climates like Nevada are a problem. I work to create humidity for the trees in the house by putting containers of water near the tree or spraying them with water.

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Moringa Trees Are Easy To Grow

Moringa Trees Grow Rapidly  3 to 5 Meters A Year


General Information:


Known as the Drumstick Tree, Horseradish Tree, Ben Aile in French, Murungai and many other names in India, Malunkai; Mulangay; Malunggay in the Phillipines, Murunga in Sri Lanka, and hundreds of other names.


The most common of the 12 species is Moringa Oleifera. Most research done in the areas of nutrition, water purification. live stock feed, vegetable dyes, herbal medicine and oil production are based on the Oleifera species. It is also the most plentiful.    So, when we refer to Moringa we are referring to Moringa Oleifera.


Moringa is an ideal plant to grow indoors or in your own backyard.    In fact, in the Philippines that is exactly what they do.


Moringa grows in a variety of climates and substandard soils and it is as fast growing as it is hearty. Normal growth ranges from 3-5 meters per year if left uncropped. It is one of the fastest growing biomasses on the planet when properly nourished.    The seed stock from our Moringa Delight plantation has varieties known to grow 7 meters in one year if left unchecked. A fully mature Moringa tree can grow to 35 feet.


Moringa needs to be planted in soil that drains well. Sandy loam is good. If you have heavy soil, add peat moss, sand, compost, aged manure. I use one from Home Depot called Amend and it is pretty good to add in.


For those of you that live in the United States, particularly the southern and western states, you are in luck and can grow Moringa outside.   


Moringa doesn’t like the cold and loses it leaves in the winter. For those of you that have a true winter, where it freezes and snows, we recommend that you plant Moringa in large trash cans on wheels, keeping them outside in the spring and summer and bringing them inside when it gets cold. You can use grow lights in the house as well. The house needs to be kept warm.


A heated greenhouse is ideal in most areas. The plant will die if it freezes completely but it can withstand a mild frost nonetheless. Moringa loses its leaves when the average temperature drops below 70 degrees.


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Transplanting Your Moringa Seedlings:

Keep in mind that Moringa trees grow a long tap root like a carrot . That tap root grows deep long roots. It has few side roots.  So give them lots of depth when digging the hole or picking the container.

Moringa Trees grow rapidly, so don't leave them in small pots for long. Plant them in huge containers that will give the long tap root space. You need a room in the home or on your porch where they get many hours of light. If you do not have an area with enough sunlight, you can provide a grow light. They have to have light.


Moringa needs to be planted in soil that drains well. Sandy loam is good. If you have heavy soil, add peat moss, sand, compost, aged manure. I use one from Home Depot called Amend and it is pretty good to add in.


Loosen the soil by digging out an area that is 2 feet wide and at least two feet deep. If you live in an area like Spring Valley, the soil is full of rocks and clay. You will need to add a lot of Amend to make the soil acceptable to the Moringa Tree or most herbs.

Because of this taproot, the tree is very drought-resistant, once established.  I must add here, that keeping their roots wet will kill the tree. They do not survive outside in harsh winter climates....that is the reality.

When the tree is about a foot, cut off the top two inches, wait two weeks, then cut off the top again two inches. That creates a stronger tree by pruning it this way.

When the trees reach a height of 3 to 5 feet, cut the tops off. I know this is hard they are so pretty.  By this method you will encourage branching at lower stem positions. This makes the leaves easier to harvest as well.  Cutting them off will not hurt or damage the tree but gives you more branches with more leaves to eat.


Fertilizing Your Moringa Trees:


Spread organic rabbit, goat, composted chicken, or composted steer manure around the base of the tree is early Spring to increase the yield of the pods. Rabbit and goat manure will the burn plants. Adding earth worms to the containers will help nourish the trees. Worm castings, worm tea or fish emulsion is also great for the trees. Kelp is another organic fertilizer to help them grow strong. Do not use chemical fertilizer and miracle grow on the trees. Your goal should be organic nutrition in the leaves. There are some organic fertilizers with kelp and other nutrients that do not smell up the house.


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Frost- Freezes Will Kill Your Moringa Tree:

Plant Moringa seedlings where citrus Trees would grow with protection from the wind.

Moringa does’t like the cold and loses it leaves in the winter. For those of you that have a true winter, where it freezes and snows, we recommend that you plant Moringa in large 20 gal or larger deep pots or trash cans with wheels, keeping them outside in the spring and summer and bring them inside when it gets cold.


A greenhouse is ideal in most areas. The plant will die if it freezes completely but it can withstand a mild frost nonetheless. Moringa loses its leaves when the average temperature drops below 70 degrees.


However, container trees can be killed by 8 hours @ 26 degrees. Trees often grow 15 feet the first year, and may reach a maximum height of 65 feet. The wood is brittle, so the trees should not be planted near houses, where a limb might break off in the wind


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Growing Moringa as a Hedge or in Rows:

Plant the seeds or seedlings one foot apart. Pinch back every other new leaf growth, which forces the tree to grow like a bush.  Once they are 2 feet tall, cut the branches in half lengthwise. Pinch back the new leaf growth that spouts out at the top of the tree.

When planting Moringa seedlings in row, space the plants 3 feet apart with 6 feet between rows for easy removal of  weeds.



Raising Moringa Trees in the house:

You need a warm room that gets plenty of sunlight or grow lights.  Even with a greenhouse, it would need to be heated.

You need soil that drains well. Moringa needs to be planted in soil that drains well. Sandy loam is good. If you have heavy soil, add peat moss, sand, compost, aged manure. I use one from Home Depot called Amend and it is pretty good to add in.

You need a huge pot that is long and deep. I use either a min 20 gal black plastic container or 33 gal trash cans with wheels. Make sure you put drainage holes in the bottom.

Go to Amazon and buy a 24 inch durable hard plastic plant saucer for your container.  They have a long tap root that needs room to roam downward.  

If you live in a dry area like Nevada, put a bowl of water in with the baby trees, mist them with water, or use a humidifier in the area where the trees are.  

You need a grow light, strong one in the winter to keep them going.

Use a gravy baster to take out the water that collects in the bottom of the plant saucer.

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Pruning your Moringa tree for the house:  How To grow a dwarf Moringa tree.

The problem with Moringa Trees is that they do not grow well in most of the United States except for California, Florida, Hawaii, some parts of Texas, and a few other areas that have mild winters with no frosts.   They die when they freeze. They are a tree that loves heat and grows leaves prolifically  when the temperature rises above 75 degrees. They don't do well in areas of high winds and no humidity.   So most people cannot grow the trees outside. So those of us in the business who love Moringa trees are working on the best technique for growing a dwarf tree. Then more people can have the benefits of the fresh leaves for their salads or tea.

The past year, I have been growing trees in the house.  In Nevada, if it isn't the cold, its the winds.  We have frost up until the end of April always.  So the only way I can grow my beloved trees is in the house.  This area gets hot enough in the summer, but the fierce winds dry out the leaves or blow them off.  We got 50 to 60 mile an hour winds for days last year...with gusts up to 70 miles per hour. It turned the leaves black, like they were burned on the lilac bush in the front yard.

What I have learned so far is that our living room is too hard to heat and too expensive. All the trees in the living room did not survive.  I moved most of them into our back room that serves as a laundry room, tool room, and Moringa nursery. That is the warmest of all the rooms, with the most sun available. Using the dryer also helps to warm the room as well. 

I have my Moringa trees growing in 20 gal containers, 10 gallon, and in 4 -33 gal containers.  I will post a picture.  I lost several but came out with about 10 trees that survived.  8 of those trees are doing well and two are a question.  They all went dormant but stayed green and are beginning to get leaves at this point.  Using the heater in there ran the electric bill up by 60 dollars.  So we turned it off.  Our wall heater keeps it warm enough so they don't die...about 60 degrees.  Even with the heater off, they are sprouting some leaves on several of them.

You can grow 3-5 dwarf Moringa seedlings in a 20 gal or 33 gal black plastic container. You can also buy beautiful large decorator plant containers as well.  You want the trees to be about 4 feet tall in the end with lots of branches which will give you lots of leaves. You may not get flowers or pods on them growing them as a dwarf tree.  


I grow them in 10 gal or 20 gallon pots.  The 33 gallons are hard to manage and move.  I do have 4 of those but they are difficult.  We had to pay two strong teens to move them from the old house and pay to have them moved into this one. I paid 10 dollars a piece for the hard plastic saucers that they sit in.  Then there is the cost of the potting mix.  The trees can be allowed to get much larger in the 33 gallon trash cans. You have to drill drainage holes in the bottom as well.  They can be decorated with paint to make them look more attractive. I did not bother.

Use organic, loose potting soil intended for containers.  DO NOT use miracle grow potting mix. Do not use soil meant for plants planted directly into the ground. 

Make sure the pot has adequate drain holes. You don't want your seedling root to rot.  One sure way to kill them is leaving their root with soggy soil.  Always keep the area well drained of water.  

Plant the seeds 3/4 to 1 inch deep. Space them far apart.  Then cover them lightly with soil.

Water the soil well.  Keep them in a warm room. 

They should sprout within 10 days.

When the seedlings have two tiers of branches, pinch the top back.  The leaves sprout at the tops or at the crotch of the branches.   

When they are 24 inches high, chop the branches off  to half their length. The tree will then send out growth along the trunk.  The trunks will be green when young, 'woody' and brown when older.  Keep pinching the tops off and pruning the branches back.  

If you have them in a 20 gal or 33 gal you can let them get 4 feet high before you pinch them back.  In a 10 gallon pot, I would pinch them back at 18 to 24 inches.

The worst problem I have had with the trees has been gnats and aphids.  Two tablespoons of Neem oil dissolved in  a gallon of water works well against the aphids.  We kept the gnats killed with those hanging sticky traps. Those worked very well. 

When you grow it in the house, cut the top off when it reaches three to four feet high.  You will not hurt the tree, and it will reward you with growing new branches from the base and trunk. It will be more like a bush with many branches. This will give you more leaves for your diet. The main reason you are growing it for the leaves, flowers, and pods.  When less tall, you will be able to have more of all its beneficial leaves, flowers, and pods.  Picking will be easier too.

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Growing Moringa Trees From Cuttings


Moringa needs to be planted in soil that drains well. Sandy loam is good. If you have heavy soil, add peat moss, sand, compost, aged manure. I use one from Home Depot called Amend and it is pretty good to add in.

Start with a mature tree. Cut a limb from 1 1/2 feet long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Dry the cutting in the shade for 3 days. Loosen the soil of an area 2' wide by 2'deep .

Amend the soil with compost and ages manure.

Plant one third of the thicker end of the cutting into the ground. Water the cutting daily until you see green growth buds on the cutting. Water the cutting when the ground is dry. Indoors, water the cutting every 2nd or 3rd day after it takes root.

Do not allow water to collect in tray underneath potted cutting. It is generally held that you get faster growth from cuttings.

You harvest 3 times a year. You harvest the leaves, the flowers, and pods. The leaves can be harvested all year around in warm climates.

Cut the tree back when it gets too tall too harvest easily. It will grow up again quickly and won't hurt the tree to cut it back.

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Drying the Moringa Leaves

Moringa leaves should be dried quickly under low heat (under 100 degrees). This is to avoid mold and mildew, deterioration of the nutritional quality.

Shade drying takes too long and subjects the leave product to develop mold.  

Sun drying destroys the Vitamin C and Vitamin A contained in the leaves. It also subjects it to dust and contamination from the air.

Pick the leaves, wash your leaves, shake out excess moisture, spread lightly on a cookie pan, turn oven on with less than 100 degrees of heat, for a few hours. Do not heap the leaves on the pan thickly, they will not dry properly.  The other method is a dehydrator, again, layering thinly, under very low heat until they are crisp.....

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Kate Freer


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Revised: 12-5-2015


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