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Thursday, 15 January 2015

GROWING MULBERRY PLANT & ITS MEDICINAL USES

Initially, I do not have any interest towards Mulberries or its plant at all. I remembered sitting under a big tree with small pink and red fruits at a workshop, waiting for the foreman to attend to my car. At that time I do not even know that it was a Mulberry tree. A lady who was waiting together with me told me that the fruits of the tree can be eaten and have health benefits. I was thinking to myself that my garden is too small to plant a tree, and the fruits are so small. So I was not interested to find out more about this plant and its fruit.

It was sometime early last year when I was at a friend's house that I noticed a potted mulberry plant, and it was fruiting! Now, I am interested! This lady used a 9 to 10 inches diameter pot to plant her Mulberry plant. When I expressed my interest in the plant, she willingly cut off two branches for me and told me that it is very easy to propagate and share her knowledge about this plant with me.
So, today, I am able to share about my Mulberry plant, growing in a 15 inches wide pot. Mulberry or Morus Alba is very easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Just stick the stem cuttings into moist garden soil and the cuttings will root easily. Mulberry plant needs full sunlight. It grows well in warm, sunny climate and well-drained soil. It is quite tolerant to drought and it does not need regular fertilization. But it does need some space for the branches to grow and spread out.

The first time my Mulberry plant bore fruits, there were only 3 tiny fruits. One fine morning when I went out to check on the fruits, 2 went missing, probably the birds have eaten them. There is only 1 tiny red fruit left. I was eager to taste the fruit of my own Mulberry plant, and do not want to risk the only fruit being eaten by the birds again. I harvest it, washed and popped it into my mouth. It was a bit sour.
After the first fruiting, the plant only just grew taller, with more branches and didn't fruit at all. Even when I trimmed and fed it with fertilizer a few times, yet it does not show result. So I intended to give it a final trim, fed it with fertilizer and give it one last chance. If it still won't fruit, then I will discard the whole plant and use the pot for some other plant.
One fine morning while I was watering my plants, lo and behold, I noticed something unusual with my Mulberry plant. I saw many tiny green furry round growth on the plant.
These are Mulberry flowers. Ah, now my Mulberry plant has started blooming and it was full of flowers. I think it knew that this gardener is going to chop it off if it doesn't start to bear fruit. Amazing! Even nature, the plant know's God's truth so well.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit,

while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes

so that it will be even more fruitful.

(John 15:1-2, New International Version-NIV)

I applied the truth from the bible to my gardening and it works. If I refused to trim back my plants, thinking it is a waste of the healthy leaves and branches, I will never get to see my plant fruiting and in the end I will have to discard it. It may be painful for me as a gardener and probably painful to the plant when I cut off its branches, but the end result is good for the plant - it started to bear abundant fruits to bless the gardener. Initially, the plant may not understand and thinks the gardener as cruel. The purpose of planting the plant in the first place is to have the plant bear fruits.
This is a non-lobed Mulberry leaf. The left picture shows the top surface of the leaf and the right picture shows the under-side of the leaf. The leaf is thin and light.
A lobed Mulberry leaf. The left picture shows top surface and the right picture shows the under-side of leaf.
Notice the top two leaves? They are lobed on only one side. All the above leaves are from the same plant. Young Mulberry leaves and tender shoots are used to feed silkworms.
This is how the bark of my Mulberry plant looks like. Mulberry are quite pest resistant except those caused by fungus e.g. cankers or dieback.
These little green furry flowers grow longer and bigger as they turned into immature fruits.
Immature fruits are white, green or pale yellow in colour. None ripe fruits and green parts of bark have white sap that may be toxic, so do not consume.
Ripe Mulberry fruits are edible. Both fruits and leaves of Mulberry plants have nutritional value.
Immature fruits will turn to pink and then red. From red the fruits will turn to dark purple or black.
Immature fruits are sour. When the fruit is dark purple or black (fully ripe), it is sweet. The size of my Mulberry fruits is about 2 to 3 cm long, 1.5 cm width.
Matured fruits of Mulberry are edible and they are very attractive to birds.

Be careful when handling ripe Mulberry fruits because dark purple or black fruit juice can stain hands and clothing.
Unwashed fresh Mulberry fruits can keep for several days in the refrigerator in a covered container.
Ripe fruits can be eaten raw or used in jam, pies, tarts, pudding, wine, cordials or tea, etc. It can be sweetened or pureed as a sauce. It can also be made into wine or as dried fruits.
Medicinal Uses/Treatment for:-
  • Constipation and intestinal worms: Steep bark in hot water and drink.
  • Digestive problems: Make tea from leaves and drink.
  • Asthma, cough, dropsy, dysentery, eliminate phlegm, mucous discharge, high blood pressure and to ease urination: Boil bark in water and drink.
  • Rheumatic cramps, anaemia: Boil fruit with water and drink.
  • Weakness in body, to lower body heat, to ease chest congestion: Boil fruits, twig and bark in water and drink. 
  • Insect bites: Crush leaves to a paste and apply on affected area.
  • Ringworms: Apply white sap on affected area.
As with all natural herb healing, there may be some side effects for some people, so use with caution.


I am very pleased with my Mulberry plant, even though planted in a pot it has yielded many fruits, almost 30 over fruits. The only problem is that I have to harvest the berries before they can turn to full dark purple or black. To be able to get the above berries to this ripeness before the birds get them, I consider myself so blessed.

After the last fruit has been harvested, I gave my plant a good trimming. I want it to grow more like a bush instead of upwards. After the trimming, I fed it some fertilizer and wait for it to fruit again. 

He replied,

"If you have faith as small as a mustard seed,

you can say to this mulberry tree,

'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,'

and it will obey you.

(Luke 17:6, NIV)

25 comments:

  1. Great information, Nancy... keep up with the good harvest!

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  2. Hahah seeing yours makes me envy...great write out...informative ! Thanks :)

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  3. Elin Chia glad u read this too, thinking of tagging u.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anonymous , I read this and helpful notes here :)

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  4. I go Ipoh, u share with me tips on how to maintain plants ya...

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  5. I have 2 plants in my garden whereby one plant already bears 3 fruits. The fruit is so sour thought it turns red, then my neighblour told me have to wait till it turns black. The leaves pluck, dried and used as tea leaves.

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    1. When they turned black, will be sweet. Thanks for info on mulberry leaves tea.

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  6. I did not know that it can grow into a big tree. My mother has this plant in a pot and I eat the mulberries raw. Aren't you going to propagate it in more pots so that you can harvest more fruits?

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    1. Yes Mun, intending to grow into more pots, hopefully enough fruits to make jam.

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  7. Lovely photos, Nancy, and very informative, thanks for sharing. Kind of reminds me of an old childrens' song "Here we go round the mulberry bush". :)

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    1. Dear Linda, now I remember the song after you have mentioned it. We kids love this song very much. Thanks Linda.

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  8. Yours is really abundant and has lots of beautiful leaves. What have you cooked with the berries? Great bible verses today!

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    1. Dear Ginny, I ate the fruits raw. Hopefully to get more fruits in future to make jam.

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  9. A friend gave me a mulberry plant for New Year. Already fruiting. Am now looking forward to harvest the leaves too coz wanna dry them and make into tea.

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    1. Dear Small Kucing, so good of you to visit my blog. I have not tried the leaf tea, will find more about it.

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    2. think it should be like normal chinese tea kot? Saw in some blog said pluck the leaves , wash and sun dry them and make into tea.

      A pasar malam vendor told me just take the tea leaves an boil with rock sugar. Make into herbal tea.

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  10. Hi, can i know where to buy mulberry plants?

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    1. Hi Lynel, I don't know where to buy mulberry plants in the place you are staying. I got some stem cuttings from a friend.

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  11. came across your mulberry blog, any chance i can grab a stem off you to start growing ? I assume you are in singapore ?

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    1. So sorry, dear. I am not in Singapore. I am in Malaysia, way up north.

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  12. Hi Nancy, thanks for the sharing! Interesting! The leave really can cook and make tea? Any idea what's the leave called in Chinese?

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