No South Indian Sambar is complete without the drumstick. Drumsticks are said to contain 92 kinds of nutrients, 18 amino Acids, 46 antioxidants, and 9 essential amino acids. Plus the leaves of the Moringa tree are used in every South Indian kitchen to make tasty nutritious greens or flavorsome curries. That’s why having a drumstick tree in your own garden is a great idea.
How to Grow Drumstick Trees in Pots
The drumstick tree is usually low maintenance tree requiring very little water and fertilizer. However, it has a brittle stem, which makes it easily susceptible to gusty winds. The only time you’ll have real trouble with the tree is during the flowering season when the plant gets infested with dreadful itchy caterpillars. If you are willing to take the risk of dealing with those frightful pests, here’s how to grow drumstick trees in containers.
I had a drumstick plant in my backyard a few years ago, but after moving houses, there simply wasn’t any space to grow another one. Since it was next to impossible to get my hands on those tasty greens in my local market, I decided to try growing the drumstick tree in a container. Considering that the drumstick tree can grow quite tall very quickly, it looked like a tough challenge to grow one in a container, but I’m hoping to make it work.
I picked up some drumstick seeds from Amazon and planted them in a grow bag since I didn’t have a big container at the time. The seeds sprang to life in just 2 days and my 4 day old plants now look like this.
While I keep monitoring its growth and reporting on it for you guys, here’s what you need to know about growing drumstick trees in containers.
Requirements for Growing Drumstick Trees in Containers
The drumstick tree is a sun loving plant so place it in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunshine.
Place the container where you intend to grow the drumstick tree in a spot that is not windy. The tree tends to grow too tall too fast and can snap in two in windy conditions. You don’t want any one getting hurt if your tree falls off your terrace.
Any loose fertile potting mix will do. Just make sure the soil is well draining because this tree hates extra water.
The drumstick tree has a deep tap root system. Therefore it is best to use a pot that is tall and deep, preferably a 20 inch container. If you don’t have one at the moment, plant in a 6-7 inch pot. You can transplant it to a bigger one, say a 24 or 30 inch pot, later on. Don’t wait for too long to transplant or you may have a tough time moving the plant.
The drumstick tree is not a lover. Water lightly when young and then sparingly for the rest of its life. If you start seeing yellowing of leaves its a sign of too much watering.
Fertilizers are not required for the drumstick tree. Just feed the plant with some manure or organic compost they will grow just fine.
Growing a drumstick tree in your garden offers plenty of great benefits. You get nutritious leaves, flowers (which can also be cooked) and fruit any time you want. Plus, the flowers attract pollinators like butterflies and bees, which will also help your other garden plants.
I am curious to know if your Moringa plant grew fruits in the grow bag? I am planning to grow a Moringa plant with seeds from Amazon and I was thinking of growing it in a grow bag. I am new to gardening and would appreciate your advice with this. What size grow bag would be best for this? I will be keeping it on the patio. Can I keep it in the grow bag forever without transplanting? Thanks!
My main intention was to grow the moringa for its leaves not fruit. Growing moringa in grow bags is quite a challenge and to truly get the full benefits of the tree, I suggest you use big containers. Initially, you can sow the seeds in a 12 inch grow bag. But as the plant grows, you’ll need to transplant them into bigger containers. Also, as the plant starts growing, you’ll need to nip off the top stem to prevent it from growing tall. This will encourage the plant to branch out laterally keeping it short and bushy. Also, the tree needs plenty of sunlight so you might want to place it where there is enough direct sunshine. Hope that helps.
Thank you so much for your detailed reply! I had one more question. Does the taproot need to be pruned to promote lateral branching while transplanting to a bigger pot? I read that this helps it grow better in containers?
I’ve read that much in online blogs, but I haven’t tried that out myself, so I can’t say how successful that will be.
I am residing @ bangalore.
I have my own compost unit and getting good amount of compost manure using kitchen waste.
I have planted the following (roof garden) in my terrace.
Moringa has grown almost about 7feet high. Would like to know how to maintain the height as well as with good yield. When will it start giving moringa ( drumstick). I am watering daily morning & evening with spray gun. What is the quantum of water required. How to prevent insects spreading. As of today no insect is seen and with good growth.
I have 1200 sfi roof top. Please advice me the type of vegetables / flowers can be planted now (seasonal). It is rainy season
Its wonderful to hear about your plans for a roof top garden. That’s plenty of space to grow your own veggies. To keep your moringa tree short and bushy, you’ll need to nip off the tips. This will encourage lateral branches to shoot out and prevent the tree from growing taller.
The moringa is not a big fan of water and loves the sunshine. If you pour a lot of water, the leaves will start yellowing and drop off. Also, the chances of fruiting become less. I suggest watering it moderately once a day.
The moringa grown from seed will take a few years to yield fruit. If you snap a branch off a big tree and plant it, you should see the drumsticks growing sooner, in a year. Else, you’ll have to wait for a few years.
As far as insects go, the only ones I’ve known to trouble the plant are caterpillars, who invade the plant during the flowering season. Otherwise, this is a trouble-free plant. I usually catch the creatures and kill them off manually. If they are too large in number, you’ll have to torch them, but since your plant is likely to be small, you shouldn’t have a problem picking them off.
As far as the veggies goes, the wonderful climatic conditions in Bangalore should facilitate growth of a number of plants. Gourds like snake gourd, ridge gourd can be sown now and reaped in October. Bitter gourds grow throughout the year. The tamil month of Aadi is a great time for growing various types of veggies. I encourage you to check out my guide at http://myorganicgarden.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Terrace-Gardening-for-Beginners.pdf for more details.
I have gone through your garden instructions manual. Excellent and simple narration. I am very much impresses the way you have presented.
Now that June July august September I need to know which kind of vegetables flowers can be planted.
If I start brinjal, ladies finger, cucumber, bitter grout how and when it can germinate and to be transplanted.
Is it the right time for tomotato.
Ramachandran g r
Jolina McGuire says
Hello! Thanks for all the info about moringa. My concern is that I live in an area with really harsh winter and short summer season. For sure when it starts to get cold the plant will have to be moved inside. What are the requirements to keep the plant alive while indoor? Appreciate your advice. Cheers!
Thanks for commenting on MOG. I live in Chennai where its basically hot, hotter and OMG! Its HOT! kinda weather all year round. So I wouldn’t dream of moving my Moringa indoors. While I can’t say from experience what the plant will need in a cold place like yours, one of my searches show that using a 100 watt(actual usage) 6500k spectrum CFL Grow Light (5000k spectrum should work too) helps. You need to keep the lighting around 4-5 inches from the top of plant to prevent stretching and ensure a shorter bushier plant.
Let me know if that helps.
Karan Ranka says
please may i know some vegetable plants that grow as tall and dense similar to the green chilli plant less space
Madam. This is SUNDARAM. Ranipet near vellore. What’s the Size of Plastic Drum required to plant Drumstick in Terrace.
Diameter and Height required.
At what height should I start snip off the tips of the tree? Mine is now about four feet tall
Michael chow says
After hearing much abt this miracle, I received a branch cutting diameter 1.5in,3ft long. Can I plant in container top diameter 16in? O do I need to plant it in 12in container, then transplant by tapping root, to 16in.if yes, how/when to tap it? I am living in tropical climate.
michael chow says
Heard abt the miracle moringa, finally I received a branch cutting of moringa -diameter 1.5in 3 ft long. Intent to plant my 1st moringa branch cutting in container size of diameter 16in(that the biggest size I have). Heard to grow in container, moringa tree need to tap the root. Should I plant it in smaller size container with loose soil for it to grow root? or I just plant it in the 16in container without need to tap and transplant? BTW when only can I tap the centre root -after 1mth when the root grow?
Appreciate your advise. I am living in tropical climate. Tq
would love to know the progress of plants from those who planted last year. Any fruiting? I have also planted one a month ago i transplanted in a 22″ ht. and 16″ diameter bag in Delhi. It is now almost 5 ft. No branching yet, only one tall slender stem. i am thinking of cutting at the top to see it branches out.
i also read about cutting the tap root but i dont want to take out the plant now.
You must nip the top of the young plant to allow lateral branching. Please go ahead and do it and you should see more growth.
Hi, you should probably cut the top. I grow moringa for sale.
Yvonne Zarm says
I live in a cold country Germany and I started planting my moringas in containers this April 2018 for the sake of eating only the leaves. I used 18 kw daylight about 3 feet above the trees. They grow well between 2 -3 ft tall now. Some tall ones have less branches though. I want to plant new seeds again. When do I start nipping the top of the tree? When they are 5 inches tall and how often?
Thank you for your advise.
Basheer M says
Great stuff, actually i was looking for someone’s advise to grow the Moringa plant at our balcony, we are in Bahrain (Arabian Gulf), bought a small plant last year and start growing in a 30 inch pot. Now it grew tall about 3-4 feet but bit of concern how much it can grow in a pot. Do we have to transfer to the ground gradually (currently no option since we are staying in a flat). Also request you to explain how to nip off the top of the plant.
Geetha here from Bangalore and other beginner with lot of enthusiasm but 3 days back my drum stick plant just dried up and I was unable help it out can you please guide me what precautions need to be taken care
I am from a suburb close to colombo, Sri lanka.doing some home gardening after my retirement.
I was able to get some Moringa ( we call it murunga) plants after germinating some seeds. So looking for a way put them into pots I came through your valuable blog.
I got lot of ideas from it .
Thank you very much.
I have a moringa plant in a cement bag in Delhi in my roof It’s one year old and about 5′. It’s not flowering properly what shud I do?
Also want to know if I can plant cuttings now ie April.
Can I grow Mango plant in 10 gallon grow bags, I live in Florida US?