The Moringa Tree is well-known for its medicinal properties. There are 13 species of this tree worldwide, most of which grow in Bangladesh and India. Each species has edible bark, leaves, roots, flowers, and fruit. Moringa oil is harvested from these trees and used in hair products and foods.
Gardeners enjoy this plant not only for its health benefits but also for its appearance. The Moringa Tree makes an excellent potted indoor plant with its wispy round leaves and white bark. So, it’s always a concern when those lovely green leaves start turning yellow.
To treat yellow leaves on a Moringa Tree be sure to check for underwatering, overwatering, lack of sunlight, or a spider mite infestation. It’s important to diagnose which of these issues is affecting your plant before treating it.
Let’s look at these issues in detail so you have the knowledge you need to nurse your Moringa Tree back to health!
Why Are My Moringa Tree Leaves Turning Yellow?
Yellow leaves are your tree’s way of telling you something is wrong. Knowing where to look for issues is the hard part.
Here are the main reasons Moringa Tree leaves turn yellow.
Mature Moringa Trees are relatively drought-resistant, but that doesn’t mean they can go without water indefinitely. Regular watering encourages your tree to grow strong and healthy.
Trees draw up moisture and nutrients through their roots. Inconsistent watering or underwatering means your plant doesn’t have access to those nutrients. Moringa Tree leaves will wilt and turn yellow in response to this lack of nutrients.
If your plant has been underwatered for a prolonged period of time, it’s best to water the soil slowly. Water too quickly, most of it will pass through the soil, making it difficult for the roots to soak anything up.
Moringa Trees are native to hot arid regions, so they are designed to be hardy and adaptable. Moringa Trees can survive in most types of soil but cannot tolerate clay soil. Clay soil retains too much water and will block oxygen flow to the roots. Once the roots stop receiving oxygen, this is when root rot occurs. Leaves are often yellow in response to rotten roots due to a lack of nutrients.
Moringa Trees are susceptible to root rot, so it’s best to plant them in sandy, well-draining soil.
Lack of Sunlight
The Moringa Tree is a fast-growing tree native to the foothills of the Himalayas. It’s used to receiving plenty of sunlight, which helps boost its growth. Indoors, you may struggle to give your Moringa Tree enough light. A lack of sunlight can stunt its growth. A lack of sunlight also signals the plant to start conserving energy from the leaves. This causes leaves to turn yellow.
If you live in USDA zones 10-11, you can let this plant soak up the sun outside to boost its growth. If you live in a colder region, you should keep your Moringa Tree near a south or west-facing window.
Spider mites are attracted to the Moringa Tree and love to suck out the sap from the leaves. They tend to attack Moringa Trees when they’re under stress. The spider mites damage the tissue on the tree’s leaves, which causes the leaf to turn yellow as it dies. They’ll continue to eat every leaf until the whole tree is bare.
Spider mites appear as tiny white speckles on the leaves. They also leave a noticeable silk-like web on the underside of the leaves. The best way to get rid of spider mites is to wash them away with water. This can be tricky with Moringa Trees because they are sensitive to overwatering.
Another method is to prune away any infested leaves or stems to keep the mites at bay. You can also spray your Moringa Tree with pesticides to kill the spider mites.
Can a Yellow Leaf Turn Green Again?
Unfortunately, once a leaf turns yellow, it won’t revert to green. When a leaf turns yellow, it is an early sign that it is about to die. When the Moringa Tree realizes this, it begins to reap any nutrients from that dying leaf. Once this process has started, there’s no turning back.
Should You Cut Yellow Leaves Off Plants?
Pests like spider mites like to attack dead or dying leaves. It’s always best to remove these leaves before pests get a chance to feast on them.
Trimming old or dying leaves from your Moringa Tree will encourage it to produce new growth. It also keeps your plant looking healthy and green! Make sure you always sterilize your scissors or pruning shears before cutting stems or leaves to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Moringa Leaves Diseases and Pests
Although Moringa Trees are relatively hardy, a few diseases and pests have taken a liking to their leaves.
Moringa Trees have been known to suffer from infestations of leaf caterpillars and budworms. Powdery mildew commonly affects these trees as well.
Leaf caterpillars feed on Moringa Tree leaves. The moths lay their eggs right on the leaves, so they have easy access to food when they hatch.
The papery thin leaf skeletons can identify a leaf caterpillar infestation they leave behind after eating. The most effective way to get rid of this pest is to spray an insecticide or identify infested leaves and destroy them.
Budworm is a significant pest in India and attacks many native species, including the Moringa Tree. Budworms like to burrow into flower buds, destroying them in the process. Infested Moringa Trees will shed their buds and rarely flower.
The best way to get rid of budworm is to collect and destroy all the infested buds. You can also spray pesticide, but this runs the risk of killing any good insects that help the tree thrive.
Powdery mildew is a white fungus that tends to grow on plants in humid conditions. It is common in vegetable gardens due to the proximity of the plants. Spores spread from one plant to the other in the wind.
An indoor Moringa Tree is unlikely to suffer from powdery mildew. If you notice this flour-like powdery substance on your Moringa Tree leaves, give your plant more sun. The fungus spores dislike sunlight. You can prune any infected leaves to control the spread.
How Long Does it Take for a Moringa Tree to Mature?
We already know that Moringa Trees grow quickly, but how quick is that exactly?
A young Moringa Tree can grow up to 10 feet (3 m) tall in one year! It reaches maturity (blooms and grows fruit) after only 8 months. At its peak maturity, a Moringa Tree can reach 40 feet (12 m) tall.
How Often Should I Water My Moringa Tree?
How often you should water your Moringa Tree depends on its age and stage of growth. Seeds can be watered once a day until they sprout. Once the seedlings emerge, you can water the tree every other day. Once the Moringa Tree reaches 18 inches (45 cm) tall, you can water it once a week.
Are Yellow Moringa Leaves Edible?
Almost all parts of the Moringa Tree are edible, including the leaves. Moringa Tree leaves are full of vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. Since they’re so rich in nutrients, Moringa leaves are often dried and sold as a supplement. Many also claim that Moringa Tree leaves can help reduce blood sugar levels.
But do yellow Moringa Tree leaves still offer the same benefits? When a leaf turns yellow, it’s because the plant has begun to absorb the chlorophyll and nutrients from that leaf. While the leaf is not harmful to eat, it will lack a lot of those nutrients and antioxidants that make eating it beneficial.
The Moringa Tree has so much to offer as a houseplant! It has a breezy look and even provides health benefits. Moringa Trees are pretty hardy too, but their leaves can turn yellow if they don’t receive the proper care.
Often yellow leaves can be attributed to overwatering or underwatering. Since the Moringa Tree requires full sunlight, a lack of sun and nutrients can also cause leaves to turn yellow. If you notice cobwebs on the underside of your tree’s leaves, check if the issue is a spider mite infestation.
These issues can be reversed if you catch them in time, so it’s always best to be proactive when you notice leaf discoloration.