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Growing Malunggay or Moringa

By Pinoy Farmer | February 9, 2008
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An ideal tree to grow in the city or country is moringa (Moringa oleifera). Moringa will give you food, fodder, fuelwood and shade. Its pods make a tasty, nutritious vegetable. You can eat its tender leaves and flowers too. The leaves also make excellent livestock feed. Best of all, this useful tree grows quickly and easily in many different climates.

Where to plant Moringa

You can almost always make space for a moringa tree. If you have no space at all to grow your own tree, see if you can get your neighbours’ help to grow moringa trees on common ground such as the roadside, beside a playground, or even around a garbage dump. The soft foliage and large bunches of scented white flowers will make the surroundings look pretty. And you can all share the pods, which can be harvested over several months of the year.

The moringa tree needs lots of water but doesn’t like to be waterlogged. So the best place to plant it is near a drainage channel where its roots can reach the water but do not stand in it. It is often planted where waste water from the kitchen can be channeled past it. This way, the waste water is put to good use and no extra water is needed for the tree.

Moringa grows best in sandy soil but will also grow in most well-drained soils. However, it does not grow well in stiff clay soils which can get waterlogged. And its growth will be stunted in dry, shallow soils. Moringa establishes best when it gets plenty of water, but once it is established it can survive severe drought.

How to Plant Moringa

The easiest and fastest way to start a moringa tree is from branch cuttings. Even branches used as fence posts often take root and grow into full-sized trees. You can also grow moringa from seed, but this is a little more difficult and takes longer to give you a yielding tree. Try growing from seed if you cannot get branch cuttings. Researchers at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute found growth rates as high as seven metres in the first year from seed, with extremely high fruit yield. The main danger with seedlings is getting too much moisture before they become woody.

Moringa branch cuttings will root without much care, but they grow best if you plant them at the start of the rainy season or another time when the weather is mild. Avoid planting cuttings in very hot or cold weather.

Choose a healthy, mature tree from which to take your cuttings. If possible, find out which trees bear the largest number of pods and the best-tasting ones. Take cuttings from those trees. It is always better to take cuttings from several different trees rather than just one. This way, if a disease or pest strikes, some of your trees will have a better chance of surviving.

Find a straight mature branch with some hard wood. Cut off about one metre from the end of the branch, just below a node. Then cut off the leaves and tender growing end of the branch, cutting just above a node. This is your branch cutting.

If you have to climb the tree to get the cutting, be careful because the branches of moringa trees break easily.

Dig a pit 50 centimetres wide, 50 centimetres long, and 50 centimetres deep. Place a layer of well-rotted manure on the bottom. Make a mound of sand about 15 centimetres high in the centre of the pit, and scoop out a hole in the mound to hold the cutting. Surrounding the cutting with sand helps to keep it from rotting and helps it to grow roots more quickly.

Plant the branch cutting upright in the sand mound that you have scooped out. Pat the sand firmly in place around it. Fill the pit with the soil you have already dug out and press it firm. About 50 centimetres of the cutting should be underground. Water regularly, and take care to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Soon the cutting will start sprouting new growth. This means it has rooted.

Water your new tree regularly until it is well established, and protect it from browsing goats and cattle.

How to Use Moringa

Use the green pods as a vegetable. Pick the pods when they are plump and firm but still tender. Cut them into pieces that are five centimetres long. Steam lightly. Eat the soft flesh and seeds inside and discard or compost the fibrous outer skin. Moringa is delicious cooked with spices and mixed with other vegetables such as eggplant, or legumes such as pigeonpea or cowpea. You can also cook the young flowers and tender leaves of the tree. But be sure to dry them completely after washing. Cover and cook the leaves and flowers in their own juices. If you add water to cook the leaves, they turn bitter.

Make moringa a part of your regular diet. It contains many good nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Other Uses for Moringa

Moringa leaves make good nutritious fodder for livestock. Moringa wood is a soft wood. It cannot be used for building but it is good for fences, trellises and other light support poles. In fact, if you have a row of moringa fence posts, you will probably soon have a row of growing moringa trees which you can use as a living fence.

Common Names

Common names for Moringa oleifera include: horseradish tree, ben oil tree, benzolive, benzolivier, ben oléifère, bambou-bananier, graines benne (Haiti), drumstick (India), sohnja (India), resedà, ben, ángela, jazmín francés (Puerto Rico), palo de aceite, palo de abejas, libertad (Dominican Republic), paraíso (Mexico and Central America), murunga-kai (Philippines), malunggay (Philippines), saijhan (Guyana).


Topics: Crops & Vegetables, Farming Methods | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Growing Malunggay or Moringa”

  1. Jo-anne Says:
    February 24th, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    hi! I’m a Chemical engineering student in ust. I just want to ask where to buy malunggay seeds because my groupmates and I needed it for our thesis that we will conduct this summer. just email me at jo_anne_navarrohp@yahoo.com. hoping for your replies. tnx…

  2. pinoyfarmer Says:
    February 27th, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Hi Jo-anne, try to post your advertisement that you are looking for malunggay seeds at http://www.CebuClassifieds.com and http://www.Sulit.com.ph. For CebuClassifieds.com, you can readily have access for people in the Visayas who might fulfill your requirements.

    Also try the following e-groups:

    Good luck!

  3. Agriculture.ph Blog » Malunggay is a miracle vegetable Says:
    October 17th, 2008 at 10:09 am

    [...] How to grow Malunggay or Moringa – > http://www.agripinoy.net/growing-malunggay-or-moringa.html [...]

  4. alejandre o. nasol Says:
    November 11th, 2008 at 7:50 am


    i am interested in knowing on how to process malunggay leaves making it to powder and in extracting oil from the seeds. our place in camalig albay is suitable for growing this since it just grows anywhere there. I hope this would help add income to poor families there.

    thanks & God bless…


  5. leslie Says:
    February 22nd, 2009 at 11:28 am

    i just want to ask how can maluggay seeds be processed in lowering the blood pressure of hypertensive patients? should it be taken whole and raw or should be cooked or steamed? please… we need your help.

    thanks! :)

  6. Jay Free Zur-Bah Says:
    August 6th, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    I am interested in growing moringa tree on a wider scale. In view of the above, I request that you direct me how do I go about starting from scratch. I m not an agriculturaist but love to plant.

  7. Cambree Notes » Blog Archive » Moringa: The Miracle Tree Says:
    October 16th, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    [...] Image source – Healthy and green Moringa tree. [...]

  8. Janice Says:
    March 16th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Hi everyone,

    any of you who wish to buy moringa or malunggay seed pls. email me for prices ravinaj21@yahoo.com or text me at 09225740261. I am from Cebu City and have supplied numerous customers in Luzon.

    best regards,

  9. ANG Says:
    April 19th, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Hi Janice,

    I wish to buy malunggay seeds for planting in my garden.

    Please advise

  10. S. Prakash Says:
    May 1st, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    We are one of the exporters of Moringa products like moringa seeds, leaves, leaf powder, moringa capsules. If you are interest please contact our id asanexports@gmail.com.

  11. Inan Says:
    June 13th, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Thanks for this post. Very helpful indeed. Am trying to grow one in a pot in my veranda. I’ll post here the outcome! God bless.

  12. roberto a. sabido Says:
    June 15th, 2011 at 8:57 am

    hi..glad to offer everyone Leaves for sale as well as huge numbers of Stem cuttings for planting,also for sale at reasonable prices.Seeds will be available in due time.I have almost more than 6,000 matured moringa(malunggay) trees planted in a 1 hectare property here in Lumban,Laguna…and continue on expanding to fill up the additional 4 hectares also in the same area.Anyone interested may reach me either at my mobile number–09235337903 or e-mail at treborsabido@yahoo.com.Good day and God Bless!