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Ultimate Kratom Resource

Growing Kratom

Growing KratomYou may wonder, why bother growing kratom when it’s more convenient than ever to get a variety of strains from online vendors? Well, for the same reason you would grow kava, kanna, or any other ethnobotanical, not to mention food plants and kitchen herbs: you want to have access to a totally fresh, all-organic plant that you’ve taken the time to raise yourself! Growing kratom is the best way to ensure you have the freshest, purest leaf material on hand whenever you wish; with kratom you’ve raised yourself, you’ll always know its strain, age, and exactly what is (and isn’t) in the leaf. Also, to me, the most satisfying part of the process is the relationship you form with the kratom plant you’ve raised from a seedling or cutting. Experiencing my kratom plants as fellow living beings, as more than an anonymous powder, enhances my experience with kratom in a way that can only be called spiritual.

But enough praises–let’s get down to brass tacks. Kratom is a Southeast Asian tree that grows in swampy environs, so it likes plenty of sun, warmth, humidity, and fertile, humus-like soil. If you keep these kratom growing guidelines in mind and try to replicate this type of environment for your plant, you’ll have a higher rate of success in getting the little guys to thrive! Furthermore, though you can find kratom online both as seeds and cuttings, I recommend getting a rooted cutting if you can. Kratom seeds are notoriously hard to germinate and may require more specialized care than the newbie kratom hobbyist can give. However, finding a cutting can be tricky these days; there aren’t many on the market. So, if you want to attempt growing kratom from seed, I’ve also posted an article all about germinating kratom seeds.

Basics of Growing Kratom:

Soil- Kratom plants like rich, humus-like soil with good drainage and aeration for the roots. Regular potting soil is too dense for most kratom cuttings—it will likely choke the roots and encourage fungal growth. I’ve had better results with a looser mix of sphagnum peat moss, perlite, and earthworm castings, in a ratio of about 5:3:2. Mix this ratio loosely—don’t compact it!—into a one gallon pot and transplant your kratom cutting from its travel pot as soon as possible. Remember, kratom trees in the wild can grow up to 100 feet, so they tend to make hungry seedlings that require regular water and fertilizer from a small size.

Water your growing kratom plant enough to keep the top of the soil moist (as regularly as once per day after it gets going), but make sure there’s no standing water in the pot. That’s a recipe for fungal growth and insect infestation, both of which I’ve unfortunately experienced when trying to grow kratom! A little fungus won’t hurt kratom, but it can quickly take over and kill everything besides itself. It’s also generally not advised to use fungicides or insecticides to counter an infestation, because they will usually end up killing your poor kratom as well.

Fertilizer: Look for fertilizer mixes high in nitrogen, which will mimic the rich humus of kratom’s jungle environment. I also found a rooting agent called “Take Root” at Home Depot that was absolutely invaluable in helping my little kratom cuttings establish themselves in their new, larger pots. As I mentioned, kratom tends to soak up a lot of fertilizer and water once it’s established, so don’t worry too much about overwatering it. Just monitor the soil conditions and ensure it’s draining well and your kratom should do fine.

Light: As with other nutrients, it turns out kratom needs a lot of light as well. In fact, it’s better to err on the side of a little too much light than not enough. If you’re growing kratom indoors, placing the pot near a sunny window probably won’t be enough. What’s worked for me is using lightbulbs with a minimum wattage of 100W (spiral fluorescents work well while also saving energy). The lightbulbs should be placed about 1-3 feet away from the tops of your kratom plants. If you can’t get the bulbs close enough for whatever reason, you can place additional bulbs to the sides of the plant at the same distance.

Weather: Temperature is another important factor to consider when growing kratom. As a tropical plant, kratom tends to thrive best at temperatuures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-29 Celsius). Any temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) will quickly kill kratom plants, so if you’re growing yours outside, be sure to keep an eye on the weather and take your plants outside when the temperature dips. Kratom also likes a high relative humidity of 60-70%, so it will be happy if you keep it near a humidity source such as a water heater, or periodically mist the leaves with a small spray bottle.

Harvesting: Ah, the moment you’ve been waiting for: your kratom is well-rooted, growing strong, and you think it might be ready for a test harvest. The hardest part is over, but a few remaining pointers can help you get the most out of your kratom. First of all, it’s best to wait at least a year before harvesting leaves from your kratom plant: the leaves don’t usually contain active levels of mitragynine and other compounds until they’ve had a year or so to mature. Also, native kratom trees are richest in active alkaloids in autumn and early winter, so you can use this as a guideline for the best time to harvest your kratom plant. I’ve also heard of a couple simple techniques for increasing levels of mitragynine in the leaf, which I assume most of you will want to know! Purportedly, keeping your growing kratom in high relative humidity can increase mitragynine levels, as can turning a light fan onto the leaves. That’s right, wind is thought to be one factor promoting mitragynine synthesis in kratom leaves.

Growing kratom has been, for me, an incredibly rewarding experience that has made me feel even closer to this wonderful plant. If you follow the simple guidelines above, with a little luck and hard work you’ll be able to experience the same joys of having your very own kratom plant growing strong and ready to harvest at any time!