Growing Your Own Kratom: Does It Work?

Kratom is a product made from the kratom tree, which is native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. It has been used as a traditional form of medicine for centuries in its native range, but it is only recently that Westerners have caught on. Today, consumers can buy kratom supplements, purchase crushed kratom that can be smoked like tobacco, or find leaves to brew into tea.

With so many consumers expressing interest in this natural substance, it should come as no surprise that many are looking for ways to start growing it themselves. The question is, can it really be done? The answer is more complicated than many consumers might think, so read on to find out what gardeners need to know about producing their own kratom for personal use.

Kratom Requires Specific Environmental Conditions

Native to the tropics, kratom needs a lot of heat to grow and thrive. It grows wild in places like Sumatra, Bali, and the Philippines, self-seeding and propagating just like any other tree. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to grow, though.

Consumers who live outside of hot, humid, tropical regions will have trouble growing kratom successfully. Instead, they can find the products they need at prices they can afford by visiting

Have access to an arboretum or live in one of the few areas of the United States that have favorable conditions for growing this tropical tree? There are still some caveats. Growers need to know where to find kratom seeds, how to germinate them, what conditions the plants need to grow, how long they will have to wait before harvesting their first crops, how to choose the right subspecies, and more.

Favorable Growing Conditions

Kratom needs a very specific climate to thrive. The weather should be hot and humid, and there should be a strong light source year-round. Humidity levels must be kept between 70 and 80 percent to encourage optimal growth. For U.S. growers, that means having a greenhouse large enough to accommodate trees and an advanced climate control system. The costs associated with maintaining a greenhouse of that size will be prohibitive for all but commercial growers and kratom enthusiasts with a lot of spare cash.

In addition to heat supplementation in the winter, humidity controls, and supplemental lighting, U.S. growers will also need to worry about soil conditions. Kratom likes well-draining soil with high levels of humus to ensure proper growth. The soil should retain plenty of moisture without getting bogged down with water, which can create problems with bugs, fungi, and root rot.

Sourcing Seeds

Every strain of kratom is different, so growers will need to know exactly what effects they are looking for before they purchase seeds. Some types of kratom have a sedative effect, while others act as stimulants, and each plant produces different concentrations of the chemicals that create these effects.

Kratom seeds and cuttings can be purchased from various sources, but they only remain viable for a very short time window. That means growers who want to buy seeds from overseas will need to have them shipped quickly and have everything set up to get the seeds germinated and in the ground as fast as possible. It’s difficult to find seed suppliers that are able to meet the rigorous demands of freshness and viability, but doing so is essential to ensuring success when growing kratom at home.

Growers who are able to find a reliable seed supplier should purchase a lot of seeds. Even under the best condition, kratom seeds are small and have a very low germination rate. Expect to purchase, germinate, and plant many seeds to get even one successfully rooted tree.

Caring for Kratom Trees

Germination is a challenge for all but the most experienced growers, but the real work doesn’t begin until the trees take root and start to grow. The plants must be watered liberally, but the soil must be kept dry enough to prevent fungal infections. They require more light than can be provided by the sun alone in all but the sunniest climates, but too much light can also hamper their growth.

Basically, the conditions in the greenhouse will need to perfectly mimic the conditions found in kratom’s natural habitat to produce a high-quality final product. That includes not just mimicking light, soil, and air conditions, but also generating wind. Kratom products are stronger when derived from trees grown in windy conditions.

Reaching Maturity

It can take two years or longer for kratom trees to reach maturity, and growers won’t be able to harvest the leaves until the trees are around 20 feet tall. For those who are skilled and lucky enough to grow one or more healthy, mature kratom trees able to produce leaves and flowers, proper harvesting techniques will become an important focus.

Kratom leaves must be harvested right before they would normally fall from the tree for maximum potency. This usually occurs in the late summer or early autumn. Growers should only harvest leaves from healthy, mature, fully formed trees to ensure the strength and quality of the final product.

Once the leaves have been harvested, growers can use them the same way they would commercially grown varieties. That might mean drying the leaves, blending them with leaves from other kratom trees, or grinding them up and using them as a powder depending on each consumer’s personal preferences. Just be careful about monitoring the leaves while they are drying and remove any that have been colonized by mold or fungi from the batch.

The Bottom Line

For most consumers, growing kratom just isn’t an option, much as they might wish it were. Those who have access to large greenhouses or arboretums with full climate control and high-quality soil can try growing their own trees, but even the most skilled gardener won’t know exactly what type of chemical composition to expect, which means they won’t be able to predict the results of taking the kratom they have grown. It’s much easier and more practical for most consumers to buy kratom online from reputable suppliers than it is to attempt DIY cultivation.

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