About Moringa stenopetala A diary of stenopetala in a container six years later! :-(
This Moringa is known as the African Moringa tree. The tree originates from southwestern Ethiopia. Stenopetala provides food and medicine to the native people of the region. Millions of people in the region consume its leaves as a staple vegetable.The seeds are also used for water purification and the bark is used for medicine. In contrast the root of Moringa oleifera is used for medicine. Both oleifera and stenopetala produce a valuable oil called Ben oil. Ben oil is very similar in viscosity to olive oil. The stenopetala pods are edible like oleifera along with the leaves. Stenopetala pods have a twisted apperance in contrast to Oleifera pods. The leaves of both trees can be added to stews for a super nutritional boost. Oleifera packs a more nutrient rich punch than stenopetala, leaves can also be dried and powdered for later use.
Stenopetala is a slower growing tree when planted from seed than Oleifera. The Stenopetala seeds are also more difficult to germinate than Oleifera. Stenopetala develops a swollen truck as it matures unlike Oleifera that has a more slender trunk. Stenopetala is rare and makes an interesting and useful tree in the edible landscape. The tree is much more drought tolerant than Oleifera and it prefers a sandy rocky soil.
Stenopetala produces pods in about three years. Oleifera can produce pods in an average of 6-9 months. Sometimes it can take at least a year.
Neither Oleifera or Stenopetala like the cold weather! these trees will drop all leaves when temperature drop into the low 60 degree range depending on relative humidity and other factors. Our Oleifera trees have survived a few nights of near freezing temperatures in the ground. They looked terrible but grew back from the root. Our Stenopetala trees are container grown and I have only a few trees so I bring them in when temperatures drop into the 50 degree range. Much is still to be learned about Stenopetala and I will share what I discover with you as time passes here on our site. 02/13/209 These trees are tougher than one might think, they have been outdoors now several times over the years with lows around 39 degrees F. Leaf loss and then regrowth quickly once it warms up.
Moringa stenopetala updates
Read this it gets better!
Update: 06/12/13 Moringa Stenopetala so far has been a disappointment! Only three seedlings have germinated out of 200. We had birds attack the seed tray. Mostly my fault. Had no idea the birds loved them so much.
They have grown so little it's ridiculous. We are going to try again and use a more coarse mix that is even faster draining to see if it makes a difference. Pictures of the little runts soon! So far we see no difference in the leaf size. M. stenopetala is 10 inches tall and our M. oleifera are almost five - six feet tall over approximately the same six month period.
Update: 08/15/13 Those little runts are doing much better. Changed the potting soil to a coarser more sandy mix. They are for sure slower than Moringa oleifera but looking great and still much smaller.
Update: 09/01/13 We are feeling more confident about these Moringa stenopetala trees and you should consider growing them as well!
Update: 09/05/13 Beginning to see faster growth and yes larger leaves on the Moringa stenopetala seedlings. This is the slower growing African Moringa. More drought tolerant but not as cold tolerant! WRONG! They seem to be able to handle the same low temperatures as oleifera. 02/13/2019
Update: 09/17/13 Expecting to have seed available for sale of Moringa stenopetala by Oct 1, 2013
Update: 10/30/13 Moringa stenopetala doing much better and looking bushy but only a few inches taller. Swelling at base of trunk quite pronounced now!
Update: *03/23/14 Moringa stenopetala has had mixed results with germination. Some purchasers have reported very good germination and others had very little or none.
Update: 09/22/15/ Plants did not receive any care whatsoever. We got sidetracked and they just sat around in the nursery. Water and sunlight that is all! Some of the three gallon trees given as gifts and I lost contact with the people from central Florida. Hey Sam and Linda if you read this let me know how the babies did?
Update: 04/21/16 Right now three trees are growing in 7 gallon pots. One tree is in a 15 gallon pot and really beginning to grow very nicely. This tree is about six feet tall. We gave this tree fertilizer for the first time ever two weeks ago. We used Espoma organic fruit tree fertilizer for avocado and citrus. All of the trees grew in 3 gal pots for almost two years with almost no fertilizer in a mix of potting soil and sand. We are giving them very little water. We water them twice a week heavily until the soil drains from the container bottom. We let the soil dry out before watering again. We are abusing the hell out of them and they are green and leafy but only 4 foot tall. This is all by design. Let's just say I like to experiment. More information soon including photos etc.
Update: 09/27/16/ Attempted an air layer on a branch and no luck! Branch girdle healed over partially. Tree canopy looks lush and green. I keep pinching the new growth and pruning the tree often. Seems like it does not like all this pruning. Going to stop pruning. Three plus years old and no flowers! :-(
Update: 06/06/17 Our future 15 gallon potted mother plant is growing nice and then we get 7 straight days of rain. Luckily it is doing well even though one day was very windy and it got beat up bad! The wind blew it over and it lost most of its leaves. Going to be real easy on the water and I am confident it will make it just fine. Looking forward to fast growth now that the rains and heat of summer has arrived. Still no flowers. I was hoping the girdle made on the branch would stimulate flowers at least since no roots formed.
Update: 6/12/17 we have about 500 seeds available with an average 60% germination rate. Seeds are from our source in Homestead, Florida. Sold out more soon!
Update: 03/13/2018 two trees doing well in 15 gal pots but no flowers yet. AAAARGHHHHH!!!!! :-(
Update: 06/01/2018 Took a small 2 foot long branch and stuck it in a pot with soil it is alive and thriving as of 02/12/209. We have three trees now.
Update: 02/12/2019 Both trees survived 39 degrees temperatures last month. They lost all leaves but came back.
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