It is recommendable to create conditions closely related to those of the natural habitat in warm, subtropical regions, in order to ensure optimal growth of kratom. This makes the cultivation in the open kind of difficult, at least if optimal growth conditions are aimed at. The cultivation in hothouses, in which this type of plants should grow successfully, is likewise not simple. An additional difficulty is that the seeds of kratom are only for a certain time vital. Basically one can state that the sprouting of the seeds is the most difficult part of the cultivation. In order to increase the harvest, the following tips are recommended.
GROWING OF KRATOM
Kratom prefers moist, well drained soils rich in humus and nutrients.
SEEDLINGS AND PLANTLETS
After successful germination the optimal conditions change partially considerably, and the plant gets more robust with increased growth. The plantlets should nevertheless get slowly accustomed to each change of humidity. But also during the continued growth, one should try to adjust the humidity as closely as possible to the natural conditions. This can be achieved by using spray bottles or pans that provide humidity. In large the plant should be protected from cold below 15° C (59° F).
Kratom requires basically a high nutrient supply. Nourishment rich in nitrogen is especially recommended for moist soils.
Guidelines to transplant kratom are the same as for other plants in the household. An ideal time is spring to give the plants sufficient time to grow new roots.
It is recommended to supply constantly air movement to the leaves in order to increase the mitragynine content. In addition natural growing conditions are recommended, as far as that is possible. This can be achieved by simulating as naturally as possible sun exposure, temperature and humidity.
POSSIBLE GROWING PROBLEMS
The most problems with houseplants are not caused by infections with bacteria or fungi, but through unbalanced conditions or if they are kept in a way that means stress for the plants. In addition the inability of recognizing symptoms and stress factors and correcting them quickly, is the major reason for the failure of growing house plants successfully.
CLONING AND CUTTINGS
Cuttings grow roots poorly and are susceptible to infections, especially fungus infections. In addition, trees that were grown from cuttings, did shoot up higher.
Use only fresh kratom seeds and observe the duration of the transport. Even the freshest seeds will not sprout, if they were too long en route.
The tiny kratom seeds are placed on general substrate (e.g. fine soil) and perhaps covered with a paper-thin layer of fine soil or quartz sand. Sun and wind should not be applied during the sprouting time. The watering should be done in such a way, that the soil is constantly moist, but never wet. Since the sprouting belongs to the most difficult part of the cultivation and no real guideline exists besides a few basic rules, a few empirical reports from German forums are given here:
Seeds were tested on different substrates; rock wool, perlite, and fine soil. A tiny bit of algae extract (“Alg-A-Mic”) was added to the watering water. The sprouting pots/rock wool blocks were put in an open glass jar without a cover at room temperature (without heat from beneath)
and humidity. The first sprouts appeared on the stone wool already after two days and on the fine soil one day later. The entire sprouting success was 4 %. The plantlets have not survived the following winter.
The seeds were sown on commercially available substrates (“Floraton 3”). The fungizide chinosol was added to the water (beim”Anstauen? “ Ich kenne das Wort nicht). The temperature during the sprouting time was continuously about 20° C (68° F). The pot with the sprouts stood at a south window without direct sun exposure. After three weeks the first sprouts were visible. Later the seedlings were put under a HQI lamp and on a 30 watt heating pad, because of the miserable weather and the cold temperatures. Both increased the growth. After a little longer than half a year, the plants got transplanted.
A further report describes the conditions for successful sprouting:
preferably fresh seeds,
very warm (25-30° C = 77-86° F)
high humidity (near 100 %)
very bright (in the beginning 24h/day, later 20h/day)
seeds distributed on top of the soil, not into the soil
as clean as possible working, mold can be prevented with 0.2 % chinosol solution or sterile 0.3% H2O2 prevented.
In its natural environment Mitragyna speciosa has the most alkaloids between the ending of summer until maximal the beginning of winter. Harvesting therefore is recommended to be done in late fall, shortly before the leaves drop. A flowering kratom tree is no indication for the potency of the leaves. But if flowering is achieved, it is a very rare opportunity to harvest seeds. After successful sowing, the first leaves can be harvested within about a year.