Trees

Discover the secrets of the Neem Tree

Time to find out. Discover with us all the secrets of the neem tree and don’t wait any longer to enjoy this beautiful plant.

Origin and characteristics of the neem tree

Image – Wikimedia/ Kevinsooryan

Our protagonist is an evergreen tree whose scientific name is Azadirachta indica, and which is much better known by the common names nim, neem margosa or Indian lilac. Originally from India and Burma, it has a rapid growth rate reaching 20 meters in height, and can exceed 30. The crown is wide, up to 20m in diameter. the leaves are very reminiscent of those of the Melia azedarach: they are pinnate, with the leaflets up to 5cm and less than 0.5cm wide.

The flowers are white and fragrant, and are grouped in branched inflorescences. Once pollinated, the fruit begins to mature, which is an olive-like drupe measuring 14 to 28mm in length and 10 to 15mm in width. The seeds measure 1cm, and are brown in color.

How is it cared for?

If you want to have one or more copies, here is how to take care of it:

Location

The neem tree is a plant that has to be outside whenever possible, in full sun. But this will change if frosts occur in winter, since in those conditions it will be necessary to protect it preferably in a heated greenhouse, or at least in an interior patio or in a bright room without drafts until temperatures improve.

Even if only weak and punctual frosts are registered, wrapping it in an anti-frost fabric and putting padding on it to protect its roots can be more than enough for it to survive.

Ground

Image – Wikimedia/ Tux the penguin

  • Garden: it is not demanding, but it must have good drainage and be rich in organic matter.
  • Pot: fill with quality universal substrate (on sale here ).

Irrigation

Irrigation must be frequent. It will depend on the climate and the location, but in general it will be necessary to water every 2-3 days in summer, and every 4-5 days the rest of the year. It is important that, every time it is watered, the soil remains very humid but without overdoing it; that is to say, it is not necessary to get to the point of flooding, but neither should it be left dry.

For this reason, you have to pour water on it until you see that the soil is wet, or until it comes out through the drainage holes if you have it in a pot. Avoid wetting the leaves so they don’t burn.

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During the warm months it is advisable to fertilize it regularly with organic fertilizers, such as worm castings or manure. It must be borne in mind that a properly fertilized plant will have a strong immune system, capable of fighting against microorganisms that cause diseases.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring, or after the dry season if you live in an area with a tropical climate.

Multiplication

The neem tree is multiplied by seeds in spring (or after the dry season ), following this step by step:

  1. First, put the seeds in a glass of water and keep them there for 24 hours. In this way, you will be able to know which are the viable ones (they will be the ones that sink), and which ones are not.
  2. After that time, fill a seedbed (it can be a flowerpot, a seedling tray, milk containers,… or anything else that is waterproof and has or can have holes for drainage) with soil for seedlings, universal substrate or, compost mixed with 30% perlite.
  3. Then, water and place the seeds on the surface of the substrate, ensuring that they are separated from each other. In fact, if the pot for example measures about 13cm, the ideal is not to put more than two seeds since they are plants that germinate well and grow fast.
  4. Next, sprinkle sulfur or spray with fungicide to prevent fungus.
  5. Finally, place the seedbed outside, in semi-shade.

Keeping the substrate moist but not waterlogged, they will germinate in about 15 to 20 days.

Rusticity

Due to its origin, it does not support cold or frost. It is only grown outdoors all year round in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

What is neem used for?

Ornamental

It is a very decorative plant and quite easy to care for, which provides a very pleasant shade. Also, like other trees with a wide and/ or dense crown, it serves as a refuge for birds and some insects, which is a perfect excuse to give more life to the garden.

Medicinal

Its medicinal properties are without a doubt what makes it such a popular plant. It is known to be effective against scabies, lice, nematodes, and worms that affect humans.

Neem tree properties

From the neem tree practically everything is used:

  • Leaves and oil from the seeds: they have antiseptic, antherminic and antiparasitic properties.
  • Bark: it is stimulating, vermifuge, astringent and febrifuge.
  • Fruit: serves as a purgative, but in high doses it is toxic.

Uses in gardening

  • As a biocide: it is mixed with urea, and helps to eliminate termites, nematodes, the most common pests ( spider mites, aphids, etc.) as well as, it also serves to fertilize the soil a little. You can even buy the ready-made product from here.
  • Against desertification: when you have the garden in a place with a risk of desertification, it is advisable to plant a neem tree to prevent it.

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