Need a challenge?

gringojayDecember 22, 2008

If any desert denizen needs a new challenge try growing Morinda citrifolia, the Noni tree. You'll want to bring it inside when very cold - it's a hearty tropical.

Look for seeds from Richter's in Canada or Horizon Herbs in Oregon.

They grow from seed in rock crevises and above high tide line in sand, so make sure drainage is exceptional. Their quick growth is rewarding and from the lateral roots new trees can sprout.

It adapts to full sun in a triangular shape, or convoluted snaking around as an under canopy. Cows can graze it down & it will regrow; prune it without any worry to keep it aesthetic.

The fruit is eaten as immuno-tonic, root extract is exceptional analgesic & leaves make tea. If the useage interests you I'll elaborate.

Worm farmers can feed their critters the abundant leaves & non-stop fruit.

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Sounds interresting.

If I ever move to such an area, I will keep it in mind.

Is there any chance it will grow as a potted plant, or is it too large?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 2:01AM
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Hi eibren,
I think it will do OK potted. I recommend a fast draining medium like you will find detailed on the GW's "Container Gardening" forum.
You should be able get productivity & keep it head high.
Lots of times I took up seedlings that had "volunteered" to come up in the wild. I found the shorter ones took off better than the more mature.
Essentially those seedlings that were a fist span tall got to be calf high at 3 months & would set fruit waist high in it's 1st year.
The tree has a soft root - it will drive deep or shallow laterally. You will be able to harvest root pieces in a sustainable way.
The plant's tendency is to make multiple trunks of soft wood. When you cut it back leave some inter-node(s) & same with branches' internodes so you can contour.
I prune to a single main trunk & periodically top it to keep the tree about jump-up height . If the tree later leans too much I cut it back to a lower segment on the trunk & nurture a new main trunk that suits me.
It is very resilient & not demanding of watering. In good draining soil it tolerates tropical downpours fine.
Be advised the ripe fruit is heady when mashed. What falls from the tree do not stink immediately, nor do they break apart when drop onto soil. They sometimes ripen unevenly when picked green for later use.
Mine are visited by innocuous wasp pollinators, more than bees. Both pollinators are not at all interested in stinging me - apparently the Noni flowers have them busy. I don't push my face right in their work flowers, obviously.
Try a 3 - 5 gallon bucket sized container &/or layer seedling in sand. You can pot it up into bigger home if it thrives. I have had underground roots I thought eradicated, cut deep below ground level, that sprouted back.
If you get a good root stock growing & don't let if freeze Noni will forgive any ineptitude.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 5:49PM
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For more on Noni - see Jan. 23, 2009 post at Herbalism Forum, titled : "Noni & Pain."

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 1:33PM
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