Originally from the tropics of Asia and Africa, moringa plants usually don’t need much fertilizer, if any at all.
Moringa trees prefer fertilizers with an NPK of 2:1:1 or 3:1:1, which is 2-3 times the nitrogen to phosphorus and potassium. Alternatively, for potted moringa, you can add 1 lb of manure for every 5 gallons of soil. For planted moringa, aim for 1 lb per 5 square feet of soil and apply 3 inches away from the trunk.
If your moringa plant isn’t doing well, try checking its sunlight, water, and soil levels first. If you’re sure it could use some fertilizer, then opting for a store-bought or manure fertilizer (mixed with soil) is best.
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But before we go into more detail, answer me this.
How Are You Growing Your Moringa?
- Are you growing it indoors or outdoors?
- Is it potted or planted?
- What climate or zone are you in? Do you get frost?
These are all factors to consider when it comes to fertilizing and caring for your moringa plant.
Growing your plant as a cropped annual (to help it survive frost) can require different care than one growing as a perennial.
As another example, if you’re growing your plant inside and/or in a pot, it will require less fertilizer than if it were planted in your backyard.
On the other hand, if you’re growing your moringa outdoors and letting it reach its full size, then it’s safe to opt for more fertilizer. This is due to factors like the potential loss of topsoil.
However, as you know, a lot of times moringa doesn’t need fertilizer at all. Most of the time, as long as it gets enough nutrients from the soil, your plant should do fine on its own.
The Best Soil to Use for Moringa
So, if you’re noticing your plant isn’t happy, it’s best to start by revisiting its soil before jumping to fertilizer.
Maybe you’re seeking help because your plant’s leaves are yellowing or wilting. If you’ve done enough experimenting and found that it’s getting the right amount of sunlight, water, and it’s not diseased, then it’s probably safe to move onto testing its soil.
As we know, moringa is originally from the tropics, which means it prefers sandy loam soil. If you don’t have this, then making the soil slightly acidic can help your plant become more comfortable.
The 3 Best Types of Fertilizers
Now that you’ve checked everything else, and you’re ready to add nutrients to your “tree of life”, let’s talk fertilizer.
Here are the 3 best to use for Moringa oleifera.
The classic store-bought nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizer will do just fine here. Stick to fertilizer that’s higher in nitrogen, unless you determine phosphorus and/or potassium levels are low.
A good option is Down to Earth’s organic bat guano fertilizer. Here’s the Amazon link in case you’re interested.
How to Fertilize With NPK
Normally, NPK ratios of 2:1:1 or 3:1:1 will work well for moringa (3 parts nitrogen to each part phosphorus and potassium).
While the amount depends on how large your plant (and the amount of soil) is, measurements can be found on the package’s directions. Distribute the fertilizer well and check that it’s not touching the tree or its roots. A good rule is to apply it around the drip line of the tree.
Check out this video by J&J acres for how to test your soil for NPK ratios.
Manure is one of the best and most natural fertilizers to use. Make sure to buy manure or process your fresh manure first as it has higher levels of nitrogen and can burn your plant.
How to Fertilize With Manure
If your moringa is planted outdoors, use 1 to 2 pounds of manure for every 5 square feet of garden. Mix it into the soil to prevent plants from getting burned.
If it’s potted, the quantity of manure depends on the pot size. Generally, start with 1 pound of manure for every 5 gallons of soil (mix it with soil). This manure/soil mixture can be simply added on top of the current soil, but ensure the manure doesn’t touch the tree as it can burn it with its high nitrogen content.
Even though this option isn’t a fertilizer (obviously… unless there’s a brand called “None”), we touched upon this earlier and I wanted to include it again here.
Moringa plants usually don’t need fertilizer.
There’s no need to overcomplicate your garden. Fertilizer works best when it’s measured, and not freely distributed too often.
If your plant is thriving, and showing no signs of stress, you might want to hold off on the fertilizer.
Moringa oleifera is one of those plants that as long as you provide it with similar soil to its native habitat, it will perform well. Use a sandy loam soil, and before you fertilize to fix wilting or yellowing leaves, check everything else. Be sure sunlight, water, or disease isn’t affecting it. If you do decide to opt for fertilizer, then using a store-bought brand (one high in nitrogen) or a manure mix will work well.