When many of us think of gardens, most don’t consider planting things for medicinal purposes. But it’s something you definitely want to keep in mind when planting your home garden because a medicinal herb garden can help you treat a variety of illnesses and you never know when you might need them!
If you only have room for one, my choice is the Moringa tree. It’s technical name… Moringa oleifera.
The Moringa tree is probably one of the most important all around medicinal trees. Some call it a miracle tree because it pretty much helps heal whatever ailments you need to treat. The benefits are endless… It’s known to improve the immune system, nourish the brain and eyes, lower the appearance of wrinkles, promote energy, act as an antioxidant, among so many other benefits.
According to Moringa Farms, “Gram for gram, Moringa can have three times the potassium you would find in a banana, four times the vitamin A found in a carrot, and seven times the vitamin C found in an orange. Moringa is also rich in minerals, vitamins, essential amino acids, phytochemicals, vegetable proteins, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, and carbohydrates.”
Think about what that means… seven times more Vitamin C than oranges? So naturally moringa is a great immune booster. Vitamin C alone is known to help protect against immune deficiencies, helps with colds and flu, aids in wound healing and is great for heart health. Add the huge amount of Vitamin A and you have even more benefits including supporting bone health, maintaining healthy vision, it even helps reduce the risk of acne and reproductive health in men and women. The benefits are truly ongoing!
It’s hard to believe the seeds are supposed to contain genetic information to prevent more than 300 diseases.
That’s hundreds of reasons I use the leaves daily, whether it be in a tea or the leaves being sprinkled throughout my meals. There is so much you can do with moringa leaves… eat them raw or cooked. You can even dry the leaves to use year-round. I even dry my leaves for moringa powder!
You can find teas and dried leaves online.
You can also enjoy the benefits by growing your own!!
It’s one of the most resilient trees we own in Phoenix… where the temperatures reach up to 120 degrees.
When we first planted our first moringa tree, about 11 years ago, it was in a place where it got beat up consistently with my kids basketballs. But every time we thought it lost its battle, it came back. Now it’s a huge tree in our garden and it’s definitely fertile. We have volunteer trees throughout our yard and our neighbor’s yard.
So if you’re thinking of planting a moringa tree, here are a few things to consider:
- Moringa does not like the cold and loses it leaves in colder climates, when the average temperature drops below 70 degrees. This doesn’t mean it isn’t feasible to grow in cold climates. Some people use pots and bring them in when the temperature is too cold; Since they’re subtropical trees, they grow best in warmer climates, USDA zones 8-10. Other than liking warm conditions, it’s not very picky and is pretty easy to grow.
- Moringa is a resilient tree. It can survive drought conditions. One of my moringa trees is more than 10 years old, so I don’t water it at all. It depends on rainwater. I live in Phoenix, so that means there’s not much humidity in the air and we only get about 8 inches of rain per year. And the tree is happy, produces gorgeous leaves and pods and is extremely fertile because I now have moringa popping up throughout the yard.
- It loves the sun! The best location for a moringa tree is a spot that receives full sunlight, typically eight or more hours of light per day.
- Although moringa plants can survive in poor soil if needed, they thrive in well-drained, sandy soils. They are sensitive to root rot, so soil that holds too much moisture isn’t ideal.
After all of that, I still believe moringa is a must-have. If you decide to grow it, you won’t regret it because once established it is actually easy to grow and maintain. They are low maintenance and require little care.
How to Plant Moringa Seeds
Moringa is a warm-season crop so you’ll want to make sure any risk of frost is gone.
The seeds need warm summer nights to thrive, so keep them at about 60℉, in a location that gets sunlight most of the day. If they don’t get enough light, it could stunt their growth.
Most gardeners plant them directly in the soil where they plan to keep the tree. Some say immature seedlings often die when transplanted because they are delicate. My experience with moringa is that it’s extremely fertile, it sprouts throughout my yard like a weed. So if it survives that easily on its own, it is definitely feasible even if you don’t think you have a green thumb!
Dig a hole that’s about one-foot deep and wide, then fill it with a mixture of soil and compost. Plant four to five seeds about an inch deep into the hole, keeping the seeds two inches apart. You can use a finger to push a hole into the soil and just drop in the seeds.
Next, you’ll want to water the seeds right away. Moringa seeds tend to germinate within one to two weeks.
Keeping them moist will give the best chance of germination, but you don’t want to drown them.
If after watering there is water sitting on top of the soil, you’ve probably watered too much.
Once the trees are established, they are drought resistant. But until then, the plants and immature trees still need water to survive. Depending on your climate, once per week is usually sufficient. I stick my finger in the soil up to my second knuckle. If it feels dry, it can probably use watering.
When it comes to watering the established plants, infrequent deep watering tends to do better than frequent light watering.
As for fertilizer, one way to save is by using compost. Just apply a three to four inch layer of compost around the tree regularly; regularly depends on the age of your tree.
Now you’re ready to reap all of the benefits of owning your moringa tree! You no longer need to leave home for medicine.
And don’t forget to save your pods which are filled with fresh seeds, ready for germination!
Still need seeds? Check out our Etsy shop for moringa and other medicinal seeds.