If at any time in your life you suffer from any ailment, you should have a Moringa oleifera on your window sill – with a leaf of it, every ailment is history, and all serious illnesses from protuberant Schmalzheimer’s syndrome to quadratic bubonic plague along with it… Unfortunately not really , but the horseradish tree didn’t get its middle name miracle tree without a reason: it has a lot of ingredients that can do our health good. Are you just a keen indoor gardener, pretty sane? Then you will surely like the horseradish tree too, as attractive, easy to grow and easy to care for as it is.


The moringas belong to the order of the cruciferous family and form within this the only genus of the nut family. This genus is very small with only 13 species, and Moringa oleifera is the only Moringa that has reached us. The only other 12 moringas you will be able to see are in botanical gardens, with moringa collectors (of which there are quite a lot) or somewhere in their homeland in Africa or Asia.

On the other hand, we have known Moringa oleifera, the undisputed star among the moringas, for a very long time. Just not as a horseradish tree for the windowsill, but as a “supplier” in the watch industry. The seeds of Moringa oleifera provide what is known as behen oil, which was used as a precision mechanical lubricating oil in the watchmaking industry in Germany and Switzerland until the 19th century.

The Moringa oleifera has just started a fairly new career as a houseplant. Pretty sure it came from people who were looking for supplements for the one-ingredient preparations of the pharmaceutical industry in all parts of the world and in this search quickly came across Moringa oleifera – and the horseradish tree made itself so decorative on the windowsill that the neighbor quickly asked for a cutting, which then grew so well that the spread of Moringa oleifera among friends of beautiful plants continues unabated.


Cultivating Moringa oleifera is really easy (even without the company of the naked rat Billy): As a tropical plant, Moringa oleifera produces seeds that do not need a cold stimulus, but always start to germinate when they are encouraged to do so by moisture and a little light.

You can therefore grow your horseradish tree whenever you can offer it an environment with temperatures between 22°C – 45°C.

How to proceed:

  • Soak seeds in lukewarm water for 1-2 days
  • Fill the growing pot with growing soil and moisten it slightly
  • Press one seed about 1 cm deep into the soil for each seed pot
  • Place seed pots in a warm, bright spot
  • Make sure that the growing pots are not exposed to drafts and/or cold
  • After a week or two, at least half of the seeds should germinate
  • Continue to maintain the rest, often something will follow
  • If you’ve had the seeds lying around for a while, it may take longer
  • Always keep the potting soil slightly moist during the germination period

When the first pair of leaves appear after the cotyledons, the seedlings can be transplanted into a larger pot filled with poor soil. He also comes back to a warm, bright place.

Especially if you grow your horseradish tree in the autumn or winter months, it will be grateful for an additional, artificial light source.


The horseradish tree is native to northwestern India, where it thrives primarily in sandy soils in hot, semi-arid climates.

Above all, the soil should be well permeable to water, Moringa oleifera really does not know and like wet feet. He doesn’t need a lot of nutrients either, a lean cactus soil is just fine for him. You can also mix normal garden soil with sand, preferably with slightly loamy sand, the horseradish tree should grow well on loamy soil.


In short: the main thing is light and warm.

In whichever areas the horseradish tree has spread – and there are a lot of them – it grows easily, especially in the tropics and subtropics, then of course outdoors. Now worldwide, in Africa and Arabia, the Caribbean islands and Southeast Asia.

So the horseradish tree cannot get too warm here, on the contrary, it likes to enjoy a sunny spot in the garden or on the terrace/balcony in summer. Rather too cold, but even then it’s pretty tough. An adult Moringa oleifera should even endure light frosts for a short time, so you can plan your outdoor stay very generously for it, the light intensity outdoors is definitely good for it. Young plants should only be placed outside when the weather is nice and warm and gradually acclimated to a slightly harsher climate. Very gradually, the average Moringa oleifera lives at temperatures between 22 and 45 °C.

young plant care

With the light intensities here, a small horseradish tree probably feels a little like growing up in a dark cave. He suffers genetically, so to speak, from a lack of light (underexposure in the literal sense) and therefore likes to desperately stretch out his shoots towards every streak of light that he sees, long and thin usually upwards.

So you have to force the little moringas to branch out and grow into saplings with a pretty crown. If the trunk is at the height where you want branching, around 50 cm e.g. B., just cut off a piece. Then the horseradish tree will develop side shoots, which you can shorten where further side shoots are to appear, of course only when the young plant has visibly coped with the first cut. Then these side shoots are already easy to handle, they should be at least that before cutting again.

You can play this little game two or three more times, depending on how the “tree design” offers it. Then the young plant is mature enough to continue growing all by itself.


The horseradish tree thrives in hot and usually rather dry areas. If it grows in areas where it rains a lot, it will also grow, but more slowly.

This means that you can choose whether you want to encourage your Moringa to make great efforts by “keeping it tight” or whether you always provide it with plenty of water and thus allow it to develop at a more leisurely pace. The growth habit should then actually go a little more in width.

Just so we don’t misunderstand each other: Being well prepared with water does not mean leaving it out in the wet. Except for water lilies and the like, no plant likes it. The horseradish tree, which tends to be tried and tested in the desert, certainly not, not even very briefly.

To cut

Basically, all Moringas are said to be quite fast-growing. In its homeland, Moringa oleifera usually grows to a stately height of 5 meters or more in its first year of life. When it grows at this record pace, it just grows straight up at first and then at some point puts on its crown at a dizzy height, the trunk underneath remains bare and develops an increasingly thickened root like a turnip. You can see what that looks like at www.guteszumleben-shop.de/moringa-oleifera-64344556, you probably don’t want something like that in your household.

You have already prevented the start of this growth form in the course of the young plant care recommended above. In order for the horseradish tree to grow into a tree whose growth habit develops similar to those in these photos: luirig.altervista.org/schedenam/fnam.php?taxon=Moringa+oleifera, you need to keep at it:

  • Moringa oleifera mainly forms leaves at the tips of the branches, i.e. above and outside
  • Therefore, your horseradish tree should always have as many shorter branches as possible close to the trunk
  • If you let it grow uncut for years, multi-stem moringas will bare
  • Horseradish trees on a trunk then like to grow a storey of bare trunk before the next branching begins
  • All not really decorative, so you should prune the Moringa oleifera regularly
  • In this way he is constantly reminded that with you he should not only grow in height but also in width

You don’t need to pay much attention to the pruning, the horseradish tree tolerates pruning well. You can simply prune it like a fruit tree, leaving the crown nice and airy and encouraging growth and branching. It is best to circle your Moringa oleifera with scissors once a year, when it is just starting to grow.


Will become necessary at some point when the Moringa oleifera feels comfortable with you and has formed a tuber that is just about to leave the plant pot… Repotting is basically not a big problem, just put it in a larger pot with fresh soil.

Just don’t injure the roots, they heal very slowly; with old horseradish trees you need help with transplanting.

Care of Moringa oleifera

The normal care during healthy growth is actually exhausted in the “cut design”. Moringa oleifera does not need fertilizer or any of the other additives that are sold in the trade with the promise of making plants grow better or happier.

The Moringa oleifera only needs care again when it is not doing well:

  • He weakens (hangs crooked in the area): First check soil composition and sufficient amount of light
  • If that’s not true, you’ve probably watered too much
  • Yellow leaves are usually also caused by excessive water supply/waterlogging
  • Then let the horseradish tree dry out once until the leaves droop
  • From then on, water less and make sure that the soil is already a little dry before the next watering
  • Stops growing: Look into the pot, the root usually taps somewhere on the edge of the pot
  • So transplant into a larger pot
  • Tree looks as if it has died: often after wintering with very little light
  • Buy plant light or wait until spring, then the survivor will surely sprout again
  • If you’ve really gotten him close to dying (nearly impossible), it could take months


A miracle tree can easily become many miracle trees if you grow the annual pruning in the breeding pot into small horseradish trees.


The Moringa oleifera should overwinter in a bright living room or in a warm winter garden, it is thoroughly cultivated.

The less light it gets in winter, the more it will withdraw into a dormant period of growth, and then it needs less water. In the spring, gradually provide better care and light again until the horseradish tree can go outside.


Moringa oleifera has not only come to us, but one could almost say that Moringa oleifera has set out to conquer the world. It has a lot of interesting components in its leaves, fruits and roots (be sure to remove the bark if you want to taste it, it contains alkaloids): vitamins A, B, C, the minerals magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and iron , a handful of Moringa leaves can almost cover the daily requirement of some of these substances.

The German name horseradish tree comes from the horseradish-like taste of the roots, which in turn comes from the mustard oil glycosides they contain, which develop into pungent (and healthy) benzyl mustard oil after harvesting. You can also harvest moringa oleifera on the window sill, even in amounts that can supplement your diet well, but that’s a separate topic. Only the first hints can be given here about the many ways to enjoy Moringa oleifera, it is cooked and prepared raw, boiled in specially seasoned soups, processed in spice mixtures and pressed into juice, many countries around the world have their own Moringa recipes to offer.

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