How to Grow Neem Plants

The neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is an evergreen native to the India and Southeast Asia. It can reach 100 feet tall with limbs that grow 50 feet wide. The neem tree has dark-green, shiny leaves with serrated leaflets and produces small white, honey-scented flowers in mid-spring. Neem oil, made from the neem tree, has been used for centuries as a lubricant, a cosmetic and as a natural insecticide. The neem tree has a large canopy that serves well as a shade tree.

Test soil to ensure that pH is in the 6.2 to 7.0 range. Dig a 4- to 6-inch hole and remove a few teaspoons of soil from the bottom for the test. Add reagent in kit and allow it to react as advised on package directions. Match the colour to the pH chart provided. Adjust soil pH with sulphur or lime as needed.

Dig a hole slightly larger than the seedlings roots in a sunny spot or partial shade.

Condition the soil to ensure good drainage with one part peat moss, one part loam and two parts sand.

Plant seedlings at least 5 feet apart.

Replace soil and tamp down gently.

Water generously.

Allow soil to dry out between waterings. Do not allow soil to remain soggy.

Weed seedlings regularly to prevent competition for water and nutrients.

Fertilise monthly with a balanced fertiliser during growing season.

Keep soil aerated to prevent infestation by scale insects

Prune back dead or damaged branches in early spring.

Cover plants with cloth sheet or nursery cloth if frost threatens.

Choose container with plenty of room. Neem plants will soon fill whatever container they're given.

Fill container with a rich potting mixture with good drainage. Those that contain peat moss and perlite are the best choices.

Plant seedling in pot

Set plant with potting mixture and tamp down gently.

Water thoroughly till soil is evenly moist. Do not overwater.

Set in sunny window away from cold drafts.

Fertilise monthly with a balanced fertiliser.

Prune as needed to contain plant size.

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