The sweet and tangy fruits of mulberry are not often available in supermarkets. The main reason for the latter is because they have a short shelf life. With this, you have one more reason to grow them indoors. This will allow you to pick the fruit when you are ready to eat it and enjoy its distinct taste.
Mulberry is popular as an ornamental shade tree. It has a copious edible fruit, which is commonly eaten raw, but it is also a main ingredient for wines and preserves. They are deciduous trees that can reach a maximum height of 80 feet, especially in the case of white mulberries. The dwarf varieties, on the other hand, can grow to a height of only two to six feet, yet they can produce the same delicious fruit. These varieties need pruning after fruiting, which is one way to encourage a more compact growth of the plant. One variety that you might want to consider is the weeping dwarf mulberry, which is popular for its weeping branches. Geraldi dwarf mulberry is another good choice, which produces fruits with dark hues.
Planting and Growing Conditions
The best way to grow a mulberry is through a seedling, which you can purchase from a local nursery. Be sure to purchase only from trusted sellers. The plant should be certified as healthy. It will be best to personally pick the seedling so that you will be able to evaluate its physical health. At all costs, do not plant a mulberry from seeds. The rate of success is low and the germination is sure to be slow.
Once your seedling is ready, the next thing that you should do is to pick the right container or pot. A seven-gallon pot will be more than enough. You do not need one that is too big. When the plant grows bigger, this is the time that you should transfer it into a bigger pot. While you can choose a pot that is made from any material, the most important is to have drainage holes so that water will not get stuck and to prevent rotting of the roots.
Now that you have your container, fill 2/3 of it with your choice of potting soil. The roots need aeration, and hence, the soil should not be too heavy or compact. Place the roots on the soil and cover it with another layer. Make sure to fill it with enough soil to cover the roots but it should never reach the rim of the container. Press the soil firmly to avoid having air pockets.
Choose the right location of the plant, which will have a huge impact on its healthy growth. Pick a post that is sunny, but the plant should not be reached by the direct heat of the sun. The temperature should be warm. Keep it away from the direct sources of heat, such as gas stoves and appliances.
Need more reasons to eat mulberries? Here are some of the health benefits that it can deliver:
- Improves Digestive Health: The dietary fiber in this fruit is the main reason for this benefit. It contains about 10% of your daily dietary requirement. This can be effective in bulking up the stool and in the prevention of constipation, among other problems.
- Controls Blood Sugar: This will also be a good fruit for people who have diabetes. In Chinese traditional medicine, this is a popular fruit for balancing blood sugar. Nonetheless, it is important to eat mulberry in moderation to avoid side effects.
- Boosts Immune System: Mulberries can also help in the activation of macrophages. The latter are white blood cells that are instrumental in the stimulation of the immune system, increasing the defense of the body against common heart problems.
- Improves Skin and Hair Health: Mulberries also have compounds that can help in rejuvenating the skin and getting rid of blemishes. It is also rich in antioxidants, which makes it effective in defying the visible signs of aging.
- Promotes Health Pregnancy: One of the reasons for this is the high content of iron. One cup of mulberry has 2.6 milligrams of iron, which is already equal to 32% of the daily requirement.
Pests and Diseases
Mulberry can suffer from a variety of foliar diseases, which include leaf spot, powdery mildew, and leaf rust. In severe cases of infestation, aside from the aesthetic damages in foliage, the plant can also suffer from defoliation. Meanwhile, in the case of pests, some that commonly attack mulberries include mealy bugs, thrips, caterpillars, and leafrollers.
Care and Maintenance
To take care of the plant and to make sure that it will survive in an indoor environment, here are some of the most important things to remember:
- Similar to other indoor plants, watering is one of the most important. Regular and deep watering is especially important during the initial stages of growth of the plant. Nonetheless, make sure that the soil does not remain wet for an extended period as it can encourage root rot. Drainage holes are important to prevent this from happening.
- When it comes to fertilizers, use it with caution. A granular fertilizer is best during the first few months of the plant. You can also use natural fertilizers such as manure and compost. Fertilizers are important as they can supplement the nutrients that the plant cannot find from the soil.
- The application of mulch on the top of the soil will also help, especially when it comes to retaining moisture. The mulch should have a thickness of about two to three inches. Replenish the mulch once it thins.
- Regular pruning is also important, especially during the growing season. Trim especially the parts with evident damages and diseases, which will also prevent the infection from spreading. Pruning also helps to make the plant more compact.
If you live in a place with cool climate or if there is limited outdoor space, you can still grow mulberries. Choose the dwarf varieties, which can survive even in containers. As long as you are vigilant in providing the plant with the care and maintenance that it needs, it will be easy to grow your plant successfully.