Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Kratom
Mitragyna speciosa

Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Mitragyna
Species: speciosa (spee-see-OH-suh) (Info)

44 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

over 40 ft. (12 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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to view:

By thetripscaptain
Thumbnail #1 of Mitragyna speciosa by thetripscaptain

By JaxFlaGardener
Thumbnail #2 of Mitragyna speciosa by JaxFlaGardener

By ggrowler
Thumbnail #3 of Mitragyna speciosa by ggrowler


2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral kbschmida On Jul 12, 2012, kbschmida from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

I bought 2 rooted cuttings to add the plant to my medicinal plant collection. They love the long, hot humid summers here, but have to be taken inside when temps dip below 50F or the huge leaves will start to fall off. The trees rapidly grow too big to be moved! Fortunately, they grow well from green cuttings, potted in sterile medium inside ziplocs under lights with or without rooting hormone, so you can start fresh every year.

Do not let the soil dry out on hot sunny days or they will wilt and scorch! They are heavy drinkers and feeders. Outdoors, few pests. Indoors, spider mites are a major problem, whiteflies and aphids less so.

From a distance, they look like avocado trees, but on close inspection, you notice the unique spearhead-shaped bud sheaths, which split open as the shiny, reddish new growth emerges. The bud sheaths are persistent on the stem, but eventually brown and drop.

Flowers do not appear on small plants, but they are terminal bright-yellow globular clusters. I'm unable to verify if they are fragrant, but the related Indian species M. parvifolia (Kaim) is very fragrant, as plants in this family often are (coffee, gardenia, seven-year apple). The flower color and architecture would probably have great appeal for butterflies and bees.

My friend has one in the ground at Key West, FL (zone 11) and it's doing well year-round.

Positive ggrowler On Dec 1, 2011, ggrowler from Fruitville, FL wrote:

I ordered this tree from as a rooted & potted cutting in early May of 2011. It was in fabulous condition when it arrived after three days in the mail.

I was told that it would need to adjust to my area (9b) but that where it grows naturally in Thailand has a very similar to climate to that of Florida. The tree took off within a month, and has branched out beautifully; I initially had a small issue with aphids, but I dusted it, and haven't seen any bugs since.

What I've learned so far about this tree:
It prefers partial sunlight as a young tree; direct full sun will burn it.
One can scarcely over-water it. Remember it's indigenous to a rain-forest.
One should bring the tree inside if temperatures fall below 45F. (This is what the seller told me) The areas that this tree grows in Thailand and surrounding countries don't freeze, therefore Kratom requires some protection.
My cats seem to like to nibble on the leaves.
The leaves are very BITTER. I wouldn't suggest munching on them right off the tree.

Neutral Dracoaureus On Jun 12, 2008, Dracoaureus from Oneonta, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I think I may have waited too long on the planting, I guess seeds are not viable for any length of time. Will put in my own pictures if they do!

Positive thetripscaptain On Jul 27, 2007, thetripscaptain from Racine, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Leaves can be used as a stimulant and pain killer but there are some side effects. This plant is indigenous to Thailand where it is actually illegal. It's a gorgeous tree, though. Great addition to a tropical garden or ethnobotanical collection.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Jacksonville, Florida
Key West, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Santa Fe, Texas
Renton, Washington

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