Cultivation of Mitragyna speciosa
How to Grow Kratom in North America
Here is a brief outline of optimal growing conditions for Mitragyna speciosa:
- Pests and Diseases
1. You can really grow kratom plants in any sort of container, but our experience has been better with pots that allow some gas exchange, particularly cloth pots (such as Smart Pots) or fiber pots.
2. You can successfully grow kratom in a variety of soils, but reportedly it prefers porous well-drained soil. We have grown plants in straight off-the-shelf Miracle Grow potting soil, but usually use our own mix of potting soil supplemented with some vermiculite, peat moss, and a small amount of powdered bat guano. Ideally the soil pH should fall between 5.5 and 6.5.
We generally add a small amount of mycorrhizal fungal cultures to the soil- these are a bit like probiotics for plants. We have not compared the results with unsupplemented soil.
3. This plant is indigenous to the sunny, hot, humid, rainy tropics. As such you will need to create such an environment for it. It probably won’t thrive on your window sill (but that depends on where you live!). We had much better luck once we draped plastic canopies over the lights to create a warmer, more humid environment.
4. We have had good luck growing them under banks of T5 fluorescent plant lights. You may need to substitute a few ballast-compatible LED bulbs for some of the fluorescent bulbs to reduce heat buildup during the summer.
5. Kratom originates in tropical southeast Asia. It will do well between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with some reporting that it does well as low as 68 F. It reportedly will drop its leaves if exposed to temperatures as low as 39 F.
6. Like many plants grown under artificial conditions, kratom may be attacked by spider mites, or fungi. A small USB fan can be added to keep the air circulating, moderate the temperature, and reduce the likelihood of fungal infection. It has been suggested that air circulation may increase the production of physiologically-active compounds, though I am not aware of any scientific evidence for this.
Spider mites can be controlled by spraying them with neem oil concentrate, rosemary oil, or insecticidal soap (or a mixture of these products). Plants seem to be more vulnerable to attack by spider mites when they are subject to periods of inadequate moisture.
There are many resources available online that discuss the cultivation of kratom. We cannot vouch for the validity of all of that information, but would encourage anyone wishing to grow them to read a number of sources. One of the best we have seen is at World Seed Supply.