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It seems that some people make growing kratom plants seem harder than it really is. But don’t be scared off from getting one of these wonderful plants because the truth is that kratom plants are rather easy to grow and will put on growth rapidly compared to a lot of other plants. Some guides have made it seem like if you do not have an expensive lighting system or a special soil, your kratom plants are doomed. Well, we’ve had a bit of experience with growing kratom plants indoors over the years, in all sorts of environments, and we’ve come to realize that a lot of that information leads to a lot of unnecessary worrying.
At least one popular kratom grow guide suggests that commercial soils are unfit for growing kratom plants. But we have had nothing but success by growing kratom using plain Miracle Grow potting soil, a tip we saw being recommended in another guide and decided to test ourselves. We’ve also had similar success using our own soil mixtures to grow kratom. We’ve found that mixtures that are fertile and well-draining will generally work. But we have experienced firsthand how proper soil ph is also essential to growing kratom plants. It has been suggested that the ideal ph for growing kratom is between 5.5 and 6.5. Without the proper ph, kratom plants will not be able to take up the proper nutrients from the soil, and it will exhibit signs of nutrient deficiency. In one soil mixture, we used compost that proved to be on the acidic side. This caused a sudden change of yellow, blotchy leaves on the affected kratom plants. You can use lime to adjust the ph to be more alkaline, and you can use sulphur to make it more acidic. You may also want to try adding epsom salt, which can help plants absorb nutrients form the soil.
We’ve also experienced soil ph changes in some other kratom plants due to water. After noticing similar changes in kratom leaf color as we did with those that were growing in the compost, we tested the ph of the water we were using. Despite that we were using distilled water, our tests showed that the ph of the water was extremely low. As distilled water interacts with the air, it can cause the ph to change significantly. In this case, the change was enough to damage our kratom plants. You can test your water if you happen to have a good ph meter on hand when growing kratom. Unfortunately, a good ph meter will usually run about $100 and cheaper meters are considered unreliable. Ph paper will work to test the water. Otherwise, you can periodically test your kratom’s soil using a soil test kit.
We recommend using a large pot for your kratom plant simply because more room can’t hurt. But we have also found that kratom does not become rootbound quite as easily as other plants. We’ve maintained some bushy kratom plants in what would be considered small containers, so they can survive. But larger containers will allow your kratom plants to spread out below the soil, take in more moisture and grow quicker. It will also mean that you can get away with watering your kratom less frequently because the pot will hold more moisture. Some kratom growers will water their kratom plants more frequently, but we recommend watering the plants well whenever the top of the soil starts to dry out. This seems to supply enough moisture for rapid growth without subjecting the plants to standing in water that could promote root rot and other types of disease.
When it comes to light, it might seem that you need a High Pressure Sodium system to grow kratom because kratom plants love light. Kratom does seem to greatly enjoy that type of light and will grow nice under such intensity. If you’re looking to pamper your kratom plants, HPS or LED is certainly the way to go. But kratom plants will also grow very well if placed directly under fluorescent lighting, which is much cheaper to run and can be set up with significantly less cost and effort. Even a single 18 watt (120 volt) compact fluorescent bulb has been proven to work for growing small kratom plants without the plants suffering any maladies. We have also found that a 100 watt (120 volt) full spectrum halogen bulb can support one or more kratom plants. But t5 fluorecent tubes, the thin ones, work best for growing plants indoors. A 24-hour light cycle will work if you do not mind the extra electricity consumption. With that said, it seems that more light will in fact produce darker kratom leaves with redder veins, and this is likely where the emphasis on heavy lighting comes in. Kratom vendors seem to identify various strains of kratom by the redness of their veins. But, in fact, a kratom plant with very red veins can change to have purely green veins depending on the conditions. We suspect that this phenomenon is similar to human skin tanning under more sun exposure.
Another condition that kratom requires is high humidity. The average humidity of Bangkok, Thailand tends to be between 90% and 94% during the morning. But it can range between 53% and 70% in the pm hours depending on the time of year. This suggests that kratom has at least some natural exposure to medium range humidity. While you do not want your kratom plants to be in a dry environment, you can easily create suitable humidity without exhausting yourself. Humidifiers can be used to give your kratom plants a humidity boost, but they are expensive to buy and run. Plus, these devices use up unnecessary energy. Instead, there are other options for giving your kratom plants the proper humidity.
Kratom leaves are waxy, and so they hold onto moisture more easily than say salvia leaves. This seems to provide a bit more room for error when it comes to a short-term humidity drop killing a kratom leaf. You tend to have some extra time to notice visual clues that your kratom plant could use more humidity. A higher humidity will produce much nicer kratom leaves with more of the characteristic glossy shine whereas kratom leaves in lower humidity tend to be more roughly textured and perhaps a little discolored. Kratom also has a tendency to drop leaves when it is really unhappy. Kratom leaf drop can be sudden and unsettling for a grower, but it is important to remember that the stem is the important part. As long as the stem stays healthy, new kratom leaves can grow back, and they tend to be more suited for the environment they are born into. So if your leaves drop from lower humidity, the newer leaves tend to grow a bit more suited to handle that.
You can use the leaf texture to determine when adjustments are needed before dropping takes place. If you can get your humidity to up around 90%, your kratom plants will probably never complain. But judging from the climate of Bangkok and our personal experience, you do not have to be alarmed if you see fluctuations in your humidity. It’s normal for humidity to fluctuate even within a self-contained growing environment, especially as temperatures fluctuate and cause more or less water to evaporate. But it should be easy enough to keep your average humidity up to a suitable 70, even where your external humidity is lower.
Since external humidity tends to fluctuate and may not reach 90%, even at a high point, it is best to keep your kratom plants in some type of contained environment. It is easier to control humidity in a container. For example, small kratom plants can easily be kept in a fish tank terrarium with a light placed directly overhead. Continual pruning will be needed to maintain size, but your kratom plants will probably be very happy inside. You can spray the sides of the terrarium every so often or even fill the bottom with an inch or two of moist perlite if you want to add additional humidity. We do not recommend direct misting as a substitute for true humidity because it is only a temporary solution and does not provide the same type of humidity as evaporated moisture. If you have a grow closet with a lot of plants, it is likely that there will be enough moisture in the air simply due to evaporation from the soil. But if ventilation or other factors keeps the air drier, adding an aluminum roasting tray of moist perlite to the vicinity will work in this case too. The idea is not to become overly focused on temporary humidity fluctuations but to try to maintain a high average humidity and pay attention to the visual clues.
Aside from humidity, temperature is rather important when it comes to growing kratom. The ideal temperature for growing kratom is between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, most households tend to keep temperatures around 68 degrees. This would be considered similar to low wintertime temperatures in Thailand, but we have found that kratom plants will still grow decently in this range. So you do not need to live in a tropical climate or roast yourself out of your house to grow kratom. Artificial lights will also add as much as 20 degrees depending on ventilation and the type of lighting. So you can easily maintain ideal temperatures in an average household. Anything below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, though, would start to noticeably slow your kratom’s growth.
We have exposed kratom plants to wintertime temperatures as low as 50 degrees. But as temperatures dropped into the 50’s, we had leaves that turned red in color and eventually dropped off. In our test, the kratom plants remained under these conditions for weeks before the leaves totally dropped. However, in some cases, dropped leaves may still be capable of growing back once temperatures rise again. On the other end of the thermometer, it has been suggested that growth slows significantly if kratom plants are exposed to temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. But we have experienced good growth even with steady temperatures as high as 96 degrees.
In retrospect, it seems that kratom does allow some leeway with regards to its conditions. It is not quite as demanding as many people believe as long as you take some time to provide an adequate setup. It is not exactly a plant that you can leave by your window, but neither is it a plant whose conditions are hard to meet with the proper planning. As a general outline, situate your kratom plant in a large pot with some Miracle Grow potting soil or a similarly textured mix with a ph between 5.5 and 6.5. Place the plant(s) in some type of contained growing environment such as an aquarium or a growing closet that will help maintain humidity and temperature levels. Provide some type of direct artificial light overhead, whether HPS, LED or fluorescent (preferably t5). Keep in mind that the stronger lights will provide nicer leaves, but the fluorescents will certainly provide sufficient light to maintain healthy growth.
When it comes to maintenance, aim to maintain temperatures between 75-90 degrees Fahrenheit, which your lighting and contained environment should help achieve. Monitor the humidity, adding moistened perlite to the environment if needed. Water your plants when the soil just starts to dry out. Fertilize with a liquid plant food according to the directions on the packaging. Watch the leaves for signs of drying out or nutrient deficiency. Periodically check the soil ph, especially if you notice discoloration. And don’t forget to take plenty of pictures to post online.