Moringa trees are one of nature’s miracles. Also known as “horseradish tree” or “drumstick tree”, moringas have a reputation for their astonishing medicinal and environmental benefits. Moringa trees grow incredibly quickly, and their edible leaves and long seed pods are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and protein. On top of that, the oil in moringa seeds have powerful water purifying properties, the benefits of which we can only begin to imagine. Many regions of the world rely on this near-magical plant for its many benefits, so we have every reason to grow more moringa trees in Fort Lauderdale!
Native to India and Bangladesh, moringa trees thrive in our sunny, tropical climate. They’re a perfect landscape tree for impatient gardeners, as they’re capable of reaching their full mature height within the span of a single year. Moringa tree care is also perfectly manageable for the busy gardener, so here’s everything you need to know to start growing your own.
The Right Sun and Soil for Your Moringa Tree
The sun is a moringa tree’s best friend. Plant yours in a sunny spot in your landscape, but be mindful that the new tree grows very quickly and will soon cast shade on surrounding plants. Some moringas have been known to grow up to eighteen feet in just six months!
Moringas will have no problem surviving happily in poor soils, but excellent drainage is essential. Sandy or loamy soils are preferred, but moringa is fairly adaptable to different soil types, provided the area isn’t too high in clay content.
Transplanting moringa trees is easy, but requires a little forethought. The day before you bring your tree home, dig a hole with a width and depth of one foot, add some compost, and water the area. Make sure the water drains quickly; if the water forms a slow-draining pool, you’ll want to choose a sandier location.
Bring the tree home later in the afternoon when the sunlight isn’t as intense. Carefully remove any material from the root ball over top of the hole before placing the root ball and surrounding soil inside. Backfill the area, packing in the soil to steady the tree. Finish by giving the new tree some water to settle the area. Check on the new tree daily for the first few days and water lightly so the area stays fairly moist, but not wet or muddy.
Feeding and Watering Moringa Trees
Moringas are fairly selfless trees—they give so much, and they ask for very little in return! Newly planted trees should be watered regularly enough to keep their soil lightly moist, but once they’re established, they shouldn’t need too much help.
Your moringa will appreciate an occasional application of organic fertilizer. Add some more compost to the area once or twice per year if you’d like to promote more pod development. If you’re not very concerned about fruiting, your moringa tree will do just fine on its own.
How to Prune a Moringa Tree
Moringas aren’t very demanding when it comes to water or fertilizer, but boy can they grow! Regular pruning is essential to keep your tree from growing unruly. Pruning for shape will keep your moringa’s size under control and encourage fuller, bushier growth.
To promote fruiting, prune off your moringa tree’s flowers in the first year of planting. The following year, the tree should produce more flowers, followed by an abundance of their unique-looking pods!
Moringas respond very well to aggressive pruning, and due to their fast pace of growth, many gardeners prefer to restrict their height to no more than 12 feet. This keeps their pods within reach and makes trimming higher branches more manageable as the tree ages. At least once per year, you can trim off older branches and shape new growth to your preference. These trees are tougher than they look, so don’t be afraid to remove more of the plant than you normally would for your other trees and shrubs.
Once you’ve finished pruning, don’t let the cuttings go to waste! You can harvest the leaves and add a sprinkle to your salads, pilafs, or just about any other dish for a superfood boost. Moringa clippings also do wonders for your compost pile and make an excellent mulch.
These incredible trees are full of personality and are a joy to grow. Visit us at Living Color Garden Center to browse our selection of moringa tree varieties. We’d be pleased to help you enjoy the benefits of this miraculous tree in your Fort Lauderdale garden!