Growing Moringa oleifera from seed

Moringa is easily propagated by seed.

Selecting your seed

A wide variety of different hybrid and non-hybrid seed are commercially available, this would include pkm1 and pkm2.  Try to purchase seed from a reputable seed supplier, and make sure the seed has a high germination rate. A good germination rate would be between 85 and 95%. It is also important to purchase the correct seed for your specific production system, and product you want to produce and sell.

Harvesting the seed from the trees

Seeds are carried in long hanging pods that range in length from 20cm up to 1m in certain varieties. Seeds are white, globular, 1cm in diameter, covered with a dark brown outer coat and with 3 papery white wings or husks on the side. Depending on seed size, there should be between 2800 and 3200 seed per kilogram. Seed can be planted with the seed coat intact, or the seed coat can be removed.  We have found that removing the seed coat is very time consuming, and a very delicate process. During this process the endosperm can easily be damaged.  We have not found any significant improvement of germination percentage by removing the seed coat.

Germination rates

Seed with the seed coat intact might take a day or two longer to germinate. We suggest planting the seed with the outer coat intact. It is beneficial to soak the seed for 12 – 24 hours in water before planting. Remove the outer wings of the seed, to ease handling of seed, especially for volume or commercial production.

Sowing the seed

Seed can be sown direct into the field or indirect into a container. Direct field seeding should only be considered under perfect growing conditions, or with the supplement of irrigation to insure seedling germination and survival.

Indirect seeding is normally done in trays, pots or bags. As moringa has a tuberous fast-growing tap root, it is suggested that the seeds are planted in a deep container.

Plant culture

Moringa grows good in well drained soils. For our germination mix we use 40% coir, 40 % peat and 20% vermiculite. Give it a good mix. Sand can be added to improve drainage.

Fill your pot with the germination mix, press the soil down to remove excess air pockets. Plant your seed about 2 cm deep and cover with the mix. Gently press down on the pots to secure the seed and to insure contact with the soil. Give it a good watering. If your seed has a low germination rate, use two seeds to insure you have a seedling at the end. Place your pots in the greenhouse or lightly shaded area. If you place the pots in full sun light, make sure the pots do not dry out as this would impair germination or damage the seedling.

Keep your pots moist and within 10 days you should have moringa seedlings.

Wondering how to grow Moringa from cuttings?

Check out this post for all you need to know!

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