Moringa trees are known as miracle trees because of the variety of uses of every part of the tree. This tree is beneficial in many ways, from the leaves to the seedpods, flowers, bark, roots, and oils. Can the moringa tree be grown in a container if you have limited garden space but would like to add this tree to your food-growing activity?
Moringa trees can be grown in containers. A 20-inch diameter container 22-inches tall is the recommended minimum container size for these trees. You can start Moringa in small containers and transplant it to larger ones as the tree grows. The growing medium must be well-draining to prevent root rot.
Growing trees in containers can be problematic for many trees due to the root space the trees require to flourish and produce a harvest. Fortunately, Moringa trees can be grown in containers if they are given the appropriate size container, and you manage their growth.
Is Growing Moringa In Containers Possible?
There are a wide variety of Moringa trees, 13 different varieties to be exact, but the most popular species is the Moringa oleifera, which is a tree native to the northwest region of India in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.
The health benefits of the tree for humans and the use of the tree for livestock forage and commercial products have launched this tree into the limelight in recent years. This popularity has resulted in many gardeners growing this tree at home as a food source and for medicinal purposes.
Growing trees can be problematic for people with limited outdoor space or apartment dwellers who only have a balcony. The good news about Moringa trees is that they can grow well in pots or containers, making it possible to grow them in almost any location.
Growing Moringa in containers is the preferred choice in cooler climates where you can bring the tree indoors during cold winter months to prevent the tree from dying back.
As with any container growing, the container must be suitable for the plant, and you must manage the tree’s growth.
What Size Container Is Good For Moringa Trees?
When selecting a container to grow your Moringa tree, the bigger the container, the better, but there are minimum sizes you should keep in mind.
The minimum container size for growing a moringa tree is a pot with a 20-inch top diameter and a height of at least 22-inches. Containers larger than this are preferable, but this would be the minimum size for the moringa tree to flourish.
If you don’t have a large container for your Moringa tree, you can start by planting the cutting or the seed in a smaller container. You will need to transplant the tree into a larger container as it grows to accommodate the expanding roots.
Moringa trees grow fast, with some gardeners reporting growth of 18 feet in 6 months, but more typical growth is between 9 feet and 12 feet each year. This means that you will need to transplant your Moringa tree fairly quickly into a larger container if you started the tree in a smaller one.
What Type Of Container Is Best For Moringa Trees?
Plastic growing containers are easier to source and cheaper than other containers but are not the ideal type of container for growing Moringa trees.
Terracotta containers are a better choice for Moringa because of their water regulating and temperature controlling properties. Terracotta absorbs excess water, helping to prevent the tree’s roots from becoming waterlogged.
One of the dangers of growing trees in containers in hot climates is the container absorbs heat from the sun, and the tree’s roots become too hot. This can harm the tree’s health, slow its development, and possibly kill it.
Plastic containers can be used, but it is important to increase the number of drainage holes at the bottom of the container to improve the drainage.
Best Growing Medium For Moringa In Containers
Moringa trees are drought resistant and prefer a well-drained loamy, sandy soil. The tree’s soil requirements require that you provide a growing medium in the container that promotes a healthy root system for the tree.
The best growing medium for Moringa trees is a mix with the ratio of 75% garden soil, 10% organic compost, and 15% sand. The compost in the mixture keeps the growing medium well aerated and provides some water retention.
The sand in the mixture prevents too much water retention, and the soil gives bulk to securely root the tree.
Another option is to use a premium potting mix combined with compost and perlite or vermiculite to enhance the drainage and increase water retention without the risk of water-logging. For this mixture, use 70% potting soil, 15% compost, and 15% perlite or vermiculite.
Taking Care Of Moringa Trees In Containers
Moringa trees are low-maintenance when grown directly in the ground but will require some care if grown in containers.
Moringa trees are susceptible to root rot, so the correct watering regimen is important to keep your trees healthy. The growing medium must be damp but not wet. The top layer of the growing medium will dry out first, but the tree may not require watering.
Push your finger into the upper layer of the growing medium. You don’t need to water the tree if the soil is still moist 1-inch below the surface. If the growing medium feels dry, water the container till the water begins to drain from the bottom of the container.
To keep your Moringa tree small and manageable in a container, you must prune the tree. Topping the tree once it has reached the height you want will cause the tree to stop growing and become bushier laterally.
The best time to prune the tree is at the beginning of spring or after the tree has produced seed pods. Don’t throw the prunings away; the leaves and branches can be used for food or medicinal applications.
Moringa trees need between 4 and 6 hours of strong sunlight each day. Locating the container in a position where this light requirement will be met is ideal. However, since your Moringa tree is in a container, you can move your tree to the sunniest spots as the movement of the sun changes throughout the year.
If you have cold winters where the temperature drops to below 59°F or 15°C, you should relocate your Moringa tree indoors to protect it from the cold temperatures. Moringa are frost sensitive and will die back to ground level if exposed to this type of cold. They should re-sprout when spring comes, and the temperature rises, but severe frost can kill the tree.
Moringa is a drought-resistant tree that does well in containers if they are provided with the right size container and planted in a well-draining growing medium.
The benefits from all parts of this tree for humans and livestock for food and medicinal purposes make it an important tree to try and grow, whether in the ground or in containers!