Moringa is easily propagated by stem cuttings.
Producing plants from cuttings is a means of clonal propagation. This means that the new plant will have the exact same traits than that of the mother plant it was taken from. This enables the farmer to select specific mother plants with desirable traits. These traits could include, growth rate, growth form, yield expectations and size of leaves and fruit pods. Plants produced from seed, would show much more variation of traits within a population of plants.
In general, the production of plants from cuttings eliminates the juvenile phase. The juvenile phase is the period in a plants development, where the plant is too young to produce flowers or seeds. Although moringa has a very short juvenile phase, we have found that plants produced from cuttings reach full production much faster, than plants produced from seed, with subsequent economic advantages.
The advantages for establishing a moringa orchard from cuttings include:
Moringa plants can be produced from cuttings stuck straight into the field or from container stuck cuttings. Let's look at each of these more closely.
Cuttings must only be considered under perfect growing conditions, in ideal growing regions, or with the addition of irrigation under hot dry conditions or sub-optimal conditions. Due to this fact, field stuck cuttings might have a lower take rate compared to container stuck plants.
Cuttings must be taken during the active growing season from healthy mother plants. Cuttings can be 30- 50cm long with a stem diameter of at least 3- 5 cm. The cuttings are stuck straight into prepared fields and kept moist, untill roots and leaves appear.
In general, these cuttings are smaller and have a better take rate compared to field stuck cuttings. Take cuttings from active growing mother plants. Keep the plant material turgent at all times. Cuttings should have a diameter in excess of 1 cm and the cuttings should be between 20- 30 cm long.
Cuttings should be stuck in a good cutting mix. The mix we use consists of 40% coir, 40 % peat and 20 % vermiculite. Sand can be added to the mix to improve drainage as Moringa loves good drainage. The pot size or container to be used depends on the volume of production, and the available space for rooting the plants. We score the bottom of our cuttings and apply a rooting hormone.
After sticking, wet the pots well and place in a shaded high light area, or in a greenhouse and keep the pots moist untill cuttings are rooted. Within a couple of weeks you should have rooted plants. Remember to harden off your rooted plants before field planting.
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