Noni (Morinda citrifolia)

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A waft of Noni’s cheesy aroma may not inspire perfume, but the fruit’s pungent odor is redeemed by its unignorable benefits. High in potassium, proxeronine, and many other health properties, the astringent fruit has hooked the hearts of many gardeners. 

Native from Southeast Asia to Northern Australia, the Noni thrived on new lava flows, rooting where few plants dared. It gained immense popularity amongst Polynesian sailors for its low maintenance and impressive size. Natives ate its glossy leaves, burned its wood, and survived off the fruit when nothing else was available. 

The ornamental, highly functional evergreen shrub enjoys taking up space, so ensure you plant Nonis where there’s room for expansive, luscious canopies. Once it’s established, the drought-tolerant noni is capable of withstanding dry spells of 3-6 months with minimal watering.

A relative to the coffee family, Rubiaceae, Noni shares a bitter flavor profile. Noni’s lumpy yellow-to-green glossy exterior houses off-white, bitter flesh, eaten more for its valuable medicinal properties than its flavor. You can distract the bitterness by cooking it down into sauces or curries, or blending it with other fruits and flavors to get the perks without the odorous undertones.

Common Names:
Canarywood, Hog Apple, Indian Mulberry, Morinda

Plant Type:
Evergreen Fruit Tree

Harvest Season:
Leaves and fruit yield harvest year-round, with highest fruit production in summer.

Mature Size:
20 ft.

Soil & Moisture:
Fast, well-draining soil is best to prevent nematodes, root rot and other diseases. Noni can tolerate a wide variety of low-altitude conditions including drought, with minimal decline, but enjoys high humidity (50% is optimal). It can survive 3-6 months with minimal watering but looks better with occasional summer watering.  When soil dries out completely, water to 1-inch depth and add a mound of mulch (3 inches) beneath drip line.

Light Requirements:
Thrives in Full Sun
Tolerates Part Shade
Full Shade lessens flowering and fruiting and potentially shortens lifespan

Self-Fertile: 
Yes

Growth Rate: 
Fast

Zone Hardiness: 
Outdoors 9-11 with frost protection; Patio/Greenhouse 4+ 

Propagation: 
Grown from seed and capable of fruiting within 1-2 years. 

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