Moringa is a fast-growing tree, drought tolerant, easily adapts to varied ecosystems and farming systems.It occupies a unique and consistent position in the Indian vegetable industry. The cultivation of moringa in India occurs mainly in the Southern viz., Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh.
Flowers of Moringa are bisexual, have both anther and stigma. Moringa is highly cross-pollinatedspecies and depends on insects for pollination. Mostly bees of the genus Aphis sp. and Xylecopa sp. are the major pollinators. Reduced pollinator activity could be one of the contributing factor for dropping of unfertilized flowers.
Moringa (Moringa oleifera) exhibits certain degree of xerophytic behaviour. Perennial moringa types are featured with large size water storage cells in their limbs and exhibits low transpiration rates to tolerate against drought.The trees show characteristic adaptation of shedding all its leaves to reduce transpiration loss of water. The tree tends to shed flowers as well during severe drought conditions.
Soil moisture stress for a period of 20 - 30 days depending upon the soil types will be beneficial in flower induction of moringa.Soil moisture stress, for limited period is known to induce flower bud development by suppressing the vegetative growth in moringa. However, moisture stress during this stage would be highly detrimental for the crop and results in flower drop, pollen dryness, immature fruit drop and drying of immature fruits from tip portion. Hence its crucial to provide regular and frequent irrigation with 7-10 days interval depending upon the soil type, to reduce flower drop, enhance fruit set and fruit development.
On the contrary, excess watering and water stagnation conditions should be avoided during flower bud initiation and development stage. Moringa can be successfully grown in diverse soils with good drainage viz., red loam, red sandy loam, clay loam and sandy loam soils. Moringa roots are highly sensitive to water logging. Poorly drained soils lead to water stagnation and flower dropping in Moringa.
Poor aeration and waterlogging at various stages of floweringleads to flower drop and immature fruit drop. Irrigation should be completely stopped (Zero irrigation) during the fruit maturation and fruit colour changes into straw yellow for seed production purpose. At times of severe drought and hot summer months, moringa trees can be sprayed with anti - transpirants like Kaolin clay etc., to protect the tree from drought by reducing transpiration loss of water and to check the flower drop or fruit drop as well.