Kratom’s Natural Habitat:
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) comes from Southeast Asia: Kratom mainly grows in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Southeast Asia provides Kratom the optimal tropical climate for it to grow and thrive. Kratom grows best in high temperatures with high humidity. In its natural habitat, kratom thrives in temperatures of around 80-90F with high relative humidity levels of 80%. The soil in which kratom grows in its natural ecosystem is acidic with an abundance of humic acid, nitrogen and rich in beneficial microbes & mycorrhizal fungi. These beneficial microbes and mycorrhizal fungi in the soil help the kratom trees absorb nutrients whenever they become available to them when the rain washes the nutrients down to their massive root systems in the rainforest floor.
Can I grow a Kratom Tree?
Although Kratom’s natural ecosystem is a tropical rainforest, it has the amazing ability to adapt to other climates. However, the best way to grow kratom trees is to mimic its natural environment. This can easily be done with a few steps.
You should first start by providing the Kratom plant with humidity. This can be done by creating a dome to maintain high humidity. (If you have a greenhouse then you don't need to do this, as a greenhouse will already serve the same purpose as a humidity dome.) You want to have the relative humidity the closest you can to 80% this will improve the rate in which kratom grows if done properly when accompanied by high temperature.
The temperature of the microclimate you create should be at an average of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can also thrive in temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and up. This can be done by placing your kratom plant by a warm spot or add a heat source to it such as a heater or heat mat on a thermostat. Sometimes the heat produced by a grow light will also usually be enough depending on your environment. High-Pressure Sodium grow lights and Metal Halide grow lights will produce more heat than Ceramic Metal Halides and LEDs. The wattage of the light will also directly influence the amount of heat it will give off. The higher the wattage usually will be mean the grow light will produce more heat. This, however, is not true for LEDs; most LEDs hardly will put off any significant amount of heat at all. If you are looking for a light that produces heat then you should stay away from LEDs.
Like every plant, Kratom needs light to properly grow through the process of photosynthesis. You can use a grow light to supply your Kratom plant with artificial light which will make your Kratom plant thrive, the grow light should be on a timer, if possible, set at 18 hours on and 6 hours off for rapid growth. I have found that the best lights to grow Kratom trees are Ceramic Metal Halides (CMH). They give off the appropriate spectrum for kratom to thrive. All our greenhouses are equipped with CMH grow lights. The bulbs on our grow lamps use 315 Watts and give off a 4200K spectrum. The blue light from Ceramic Metal Halide bulbs gives off slightly more blue light than both High Pressured Sodium and Metal Halide lights. Through the testing different type of lights and spectrums, we have found Ceramic Metal Halides to be the best grow light to use for growing kratom trees. You should always allow some distance between the tree to the grow light. It is a good idea to start from 3 ft of distance and then slowly lowering the grow light until you find an optimal distance where no damage occurs while providing optimal growth. Some kratom trees will be more sensitive than others so a bit of experimentation will be needed. A good standard method would be lowering the grow light in increments of 6 inches until you find the perfect spot where it is allowing your plant to grow but not causing any damage either. If you see damage occurring, raise the light to increase the distance from the light from the kratom tree’s canopy level by increments of 6 - 12 inches.
I always recommend using only organic products for your kratom plant. There are many different organic fertilizers that you can use to grow your kratom organically instead of having possibly harmful synthetic fertilizers. You can use a “Grow” or an “All-Purpose” organic fertilizer to feed your plant. Make sure to follow the directions on the products label on how much fertilizer to give your plant and how to apply it. It is always a good idea to start with a half-strength dosage to see how your plant reacts to it first. If you do not notice You can use either a top-dressing type fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer. If it’s a liquid fertilizer, then it is best to adjust the pH of your fertilizer mix to 5.5-6.5 for faster nutrient absorption. To summarize it, pH is a measurement of how acidic or basic/alkaline something is; 1 being extremely acidic, 7 being neutral (not acidic not basic) and 14 being extremely basic/alkaline. You can purchase pH up and pH down and a pH meter easily online and just follow the directions from your pH kit on how to adjust the pH of your nutrient/fertilizer mix. You can also use lemon juice to bring the pH down and Baking soda to bring it up. These are just 2 alternatives widely used. Top dressed fertilizers are usually in a granular form that you simply put the recommended amount on the topsoil of your plant and water it in. You can use whatever method is most convenient for you. When purchasing fertilizer, you can usually find 3 categories; Grow, Bloom and All-Purpose. As stated earlier always use Grow or All-Purpose fertilizer unless your Kratom plant is producing flowers, then blooming fertilizer would be fine to use. You should feed/water your kratom plant whenever you feel that the first inch of topsoil becoming dry. Your soil should always be moist but not saturated. Do not let the soil ever completely dry out, if your kratom tree looks droopy then you have waited too long and you should water it immediately. You should only be feeding your Kratom Tree fertilizer if it's growing. If your Kratom plant has not grown since the previous feeding, then feeding your kratom tree water will be enough. You don’t want fertilizer build-up in your Kratom plant’s soil as this could lead to nutrient burn or other problems later in the future.
Additional Recommendations - Mycorrhizae:
Earlier in this article, I did mention beneficial fungi and how mimicking Kratom's natural environment will promote rapid and healthy growth. In nature, plants form a symbiotic relationship with other organisms to help them thrive. In this case, I would be referring to fungal mycorrhiza. Mycorrhiza colonizes in the plant's root zone (rhizosphere) and forms a symbiotic relationship with the plant; by forming this symbiotic relationship the plant gains an increase in both water and nutrient absorption, in return, the plant provides the mycorrhiza with carbs allowing it to thrive. Due to the excellent results of this symbiotic relationship, I always suggest inoculating the Kratom tree’s root zone with mycorrhizae. It is not as hard as it sounds, it is extremely easy and fast. You can purchase Mycorrhiza as a water-soluble form to water it into your plant's rhizosphere or you can purchase it in granular powder form to directly apply when you transplant your kratom tree into a bigger pot. When transplanting we use Mykos by Xtreme Gardening and sprinkle it onto the root system, so it makes direct contact. We also make sure to sprinkle some into the hole where it's being transplanted to, this ensures contact between the mycorrhizae and the plant's root system so they develop a strong symbiotic relationship that will in return help you produce a healthier plant. To preserve the beneficial organisms such as mycorrhizae, please make sure you only use chlorine-free water for your kratom trees.