If you are an avid gardener then you might want to consider growing kratom if you love the herb. Many people enjoy cultivating fruits, vegetables, and cannabis for personal use so why not try kratom?

Growing Kratom: Mitragyna speciosa

Mitragyna speciosa is an evergreen tree that grows naturally throughout Southeast Asia. Many of the locals in the region have cultivated kratom tree strains to easily harvest the alkaloid laden leaves. Obviously, to grow best, you must live in an area with similar weather to the tree’s native homeland countries of Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Bali, Sumatra, Philippians, and other Pacific Rim countries. At present, Vietnam has had a surge in cultivation and the trees grow very well in the region.

The Appearance of Mitragyna speciosa

Growing kratom

Growing kratom

The Mitragyna speciosa is a member of the coffee plant family. It is not cold-tolerant and tends to grow best in locations like Florida when cultivated outside of Asia. When fully mature, the tree towers at 82 feet (25 m.) with a trunk diameter of around 3 feet (1 m.) The leaves appear dark and glossy green. Each leaf measures from five to eight inches in length (14 to 20 cm.).

Buying Seeds to Grow Kratom

Honestly, obtaining seeds to grow kratom is virtually impossible in the United States and Canada. On occasion, you will find vendors who sell kratom seeds but sometimes they lack viability. Kratom seeds are notoriously fickle and difficult to grow. The seeds lose their potency days after harvest. The only way to obtain good kratom seeds is to fly Southeast Asia, buy the seeds, and return home quickly so you can plant the seeds before they lose their viability. Also, as with many plants, not all kratom seeds will germinate. Ideally, you should plant several kratom seeds at one time and then cull away the unwanted seedlings and keep only the most robust.

Considerations when Buying Kratom Seeds

The leaves contain alkaloids

The leaves contain alkaloids

Kratom trees produce pods of seeds. Each pod holds around 50 seeds. However, not all the seeds will be viable. If you decide to purchase kratom seeds from a vendor then please by many seeds to at least get a few that grow well. Purchasing in bulk will also help you save money.

Best Place to Grow Kratom Seeds

As mentioned, kratom grows remarkably well in their native homeland. They love hot and humid weather with rich soil. Ideally, the soil must have an exceedingly high humus level which renders it exceptionally fertile. The pH balance should hold between 5.5 to 6.5.  Soil consistency should drain well while also staying moist. Basically, a kratom tree does not grow well in a bog or swamp but likes moist, tropical soil. To keep the soil moist, supplemental watering is required in some areas. However, you must find a balance with the moisture because in many places’ growers have reported problems with fungus and insects due to the high humidity and moisture.

Growth Requirements of Kratom

Kratom cultivation

Kratom cultivation

Growing kratom outdoors anywhere but Southeast Asia is difficult. The tree requires the correct amount of light, temperature, and humidity to thrive. You cannot flood the plant with light, or the crop will fail to thrive. You can use fluorescent lighting but high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights appear to work the best and mimic the tree’s outdoor growth conditions the best. The humidity control must be kept at medium which is between 72 to 74 percent for optimum growth. In some regions, such as Myanmar, the humidity will reach 80 percent, and the kratom trees still thrive. Also, many are successfully growing kratom in Florida where the humidity can reach 99 percent. Clearly the tree can adapt when it comes to humidity swings but does not do so well with temperature extremes or changes in light.

Humidity and Alkaloid Concentration

Humidity has a direct impact on the percentage of alkaloids the kratom tree will produce. As you might notice, strains are named after the locations where they are grown, and this is because of the impact each region and the growing climate have on the tree’s alkaloids. If you grow a kratom tree in Florida, it is not going to have the same alkaloid levels as a tree grown in Bali.

Is Growing Kratom Legal?

In the United States, every state has its own laws and regulations when it comes to kratom. Some have imposed bans on the plant. Prior to growing kratom, you should check with your local laws to make sure that cultivation is legal and there are no restrictions. Under ideal conditions, a kratom tree reaches a significant size so it requires a great deal of space. It cannot be grown its entire lifespan in a greenhouse. Yes, you can start it out in a maintained environment until the seedling or small tree becomes robust and then transplant it outdoors. However, you must be in an area of the country where kratom will thrive outdoors. It is clearly not a tree that will grow in most parts of the Northeastern, Central, or Northwestern USA where winters are harsh. However, in tropical areas, it does do well.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones

The United States is divided into plant hardiness zones by the United States Department of Agriculture. Kratom’s native homeland would be classified as a USDA plant hardiness zone 13 because it is warm year-round and close to the equator. In some areas, it will also grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 11 and 12.

Kratom Temperature Requirements

For kratom to grow well, it needs high heat. The temperature should not dip below 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius). In some parts of Florida, such as the central and panhandle locations, the drop off in temperature durian the winter months can easily kill the tree. It will start to die if the temperature dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius. If the tree somehow manages to survive, its growth and productivity will become stunted and it will fail to thrive. Kratom is an evergreen tree so the leaves persist year-round. Any change in the temperature causes the leaves to start to fall off. Kratom trees will grow and thrive in South Florida. Hawaii and Southern California are other options for locations where you can grow kratom. However, any time the temperature gets too low you will need to figure out some way to protect the plant.

Older Kratom Trees are Stronger

An older kratom tree can withstand greater climate change than a younger tree. To properly root, the humidity level, temperature, and soil must all be ideal. The foliage of the tree is extremely sensitive even on an older tree. No,  cold rain will not kill the established kratom tree but the chill from the water will instantly shock the leaves and the tree’s foliage will wither and die. The sensitivity of the foliage to water temperature is so extreme that many use warm water to irrigate the plant to prevent any shock and leaf loss.

Kratom Tree Growth

Kratom leaves

Kratom leaves

Kratom trees will often grow up to 20 feet in height if their optimum growing conditions are met. Typically, to attain that height takes two years. The growth rate is going to vary depending on where the tree is cultivated and all the factors that go into its cultivation.

Growing Kratom from Cuttings

Some plants you can successfully grow from cuttings, but it is awfully hard with kratom. If you try to grow kratom from cutting, then the roots will often fall victim to a fungal infection. You will need to take each cutting and place it into a pot of moist peat moss or some other growing medium. Then seal it in a plastic bag. Keep the cutting out of direct sunlight and watch for the roots to develop. You should open the bag on occasion to lower the humidity in the bag and once the roots form then it is time to completely remove the bag and place the cutting in sunlight. However, it is rare for this method to be successful. Yes, the roots will start to develop but then the cutting will die from a fungus.

Tips on Growing Kratom

Kratom is not easy to grow and you need to have the correct situation to achieve success.

Here are a few tips on growing kratom:

  • Use only fresh seeds
  • Buy seeds in bulk
  • Plant as many kratom seeds as possible for the greatest chance of success
  • Start kratom seeds indoors or in a greenhouse
  • Keep the soil moist around the kratom but not soggy
  • Use only a very fertile, humus-rich grow medium
  • Maintain artificial light or sunlight for germination
  • Watch the humidity level and temperature closely
  • Avoid using cold water when watering
  • Transplant the kratom tree outdoors when it gets large
  • Monitor the temperature closely to make sure that it does not become too hot or cold

If you would like to learn more about kratom, please contact My Kratom Club.