Do you know that Neem Tree is one of the most beneficial plants?
Neem tree or Azadirirachta Indica is popular among many gardeners and is also the center of attention for many because of its health benefits on the soil, a safe and effective herbicide.
However, the benefits don’t just end here.
This versatile plant, native to India and Asia is a valuable tree will a lot of uses.
Moreover, the oil is highly effective against a number of pests like aphids, mealybugs, fungus gnats, and whiteflies.
It is also a useful natural inset repellant and you might also see its uses in shampoos, lotion, and other skincare products.
Furthermore, not only its leaves, but you can use every part of the plant, as its bark, wood, flowers, and leaves have a lot of uses.
Keep on reading to learn more about it in detail.
Growing and Care for Neem Tree
One of the important things to grow a neem tree is that you can grow it in two ways.
You can start with neem seeds or with a young plant.
Even though neem trees can grow best in arid, hot climates, you can also grow them in pots. Moreover, you can then move the pots when the temperature falls below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alternatively, you can also grow it outdoors. This is because it can easily adapt to a wide range of soil conditions and climates as well.
Many experts recommend that you start out with a tree as it is one of the easiest options, however, you can also start from seed.
Moreover, you can also plant trees using sapling, tissue culture, or root suckers.
Whether you want to grow the plant from seed or cutting, make sure to keep the temperature at twenty degrees celsius as it works best for them.
Growing Neem Tree from Seeds
One of the important things about neem trees is that their seeds quickly germinate and seed planting is the most common way to propagate a neem tree.
You can easily propagate neem trees from seeds when the seeds are fresh. As the sees are short-lived, and viable for only 10 to 12 days, make sure to use them.
An important thing to remember is that the old neem tree seeds do not germinate, just like sweet neem or curry leaf plants.
The older the need seed is the more difficult it will be to germinate it, as well the temperature also affects its germination rate.
Follow the instruction below to grow neem tree from seeds:
1# The seeds do not need any treatment before plantation, so you can use the seed right from its fruit.
Make sure to put your pot in a warm and bright place and keep the soil moist.
3# The seeds will germinate within 2 to 4 weeks depending on the age of the seed and temperature.
Moreover, the seeds will need a temperature range of 20 to 25 degrees Celcius or 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate well.
However, the cooler the temperature, the longer it will take to germinate.
Whatever the size of the pot, it should have a number of holes at the bottom to allow the soil to drain excess water quickly.
Neem Tree growth from Cuttings
You can also propagate neem trees from branches if you are unable to get fresh seeds.
For this purpose, you will have to choose a softwood or hardwood branch cutting. Hardwood neem cutting means that you will have to select a year-old brand, while softwood cutting means growing tips of the branch.
Using the Cuttings
Select a newly growing tip or a year-old branch and take about 7 to 8 inches long and less than a pencil-thick cutting, place it in clean water while preparing for plantation.
Free draining propagation media to propagate neem from cutting.
Mix 3 parts coarse river sand or perlite with 1 part potting mix, for this purpose.
Selection of Pot
Take a small poot if you are planting only one neem cutting with a number of holes at the bottom or take a larger pot for rooting about 4 to 5 cuttings.
Fill the pot with rooting media and water thoroughly, turning the soil to make sure that it is wet from all places.
Keep the pot in shade for half an hour to drain all excess water, and then prepare the cutting.
Prepare and Plant Neem Cutting
Follow the steps below to plant neem cuttings.
1# Take one cutting and remove all of its leaves, leaving only the top 2 leaves which you will cut into half.
2# Apply rooting hormone at the lower 1-inch end and tap off the extra hormone. However, you can also use commercial rooting hormone or a homemade hormone using ingredients like honey, aspirin, or cinnamon.
3# Inser a stick in the soil about 1 inch from the bottom.
4# Take out the stick and add the prepared cutting in the hole and press the soil around it.
5# Do not water the soil again and put the pot in a polythene bag to trap the moisture inside it.
This will help to keep the surroundings highly humid which is necessary for the development of its rooting system.
6# Place the pot in a bright place, however, avoid putting it into direct sunlight.
7# Every 10 days, open the bag and mist the soil. Close the bag again and do not give excessive water, as it can cause root rot.
Within 3 to 6 weeks, you will observe new growth emerging. To make sure that the roots have grown, try tugging the roots.
If the offer resistance, it means that the roots are there and strong.
If not, mist the soil and tie the bag again, and you will see the roots emerging from the bottom holes of the pot.
When leaves begin to form, open the bag half day for the next 3 days, take it out, and place it in a partial shade for a number of weeks.
Factors Important for Growing Neem Tree
Growing conditions for neem tres are just like the ones you grow in tropical climates.
Nem tree loves to thrive in tropical to subtropical climates and thrives best in hot weather.
Moreover, it can easily grow in temperature up to 50°C (120F), however, it can not tolerate cold temperatures below 5°C (35F), particularly the younger ones.
Young neem tres are especially vulnerable to cold weather, thus, try growing them in the above temperature ranges.
Growing factors neem trees require are:
Temperature: Summer is the best time to begin growing your neem tree. Your neem tree loves sunlight and high temperatures, and the growth rate will be highest in summers.
However, it will grow as big as the size of the pot allows.
Watering: Make sure to water only the top inch of the soil if it feels dry.
If you are growing it in a bot, water it daily during summers, however, overwatering will harm the tree due to fungus and root rot.
Indoors: If you want to keep your plant indoors, then you may notice wilting leaves if you are heating the house.
Therefore, it will be good to mist the leaves frequently. Or place them indoors where they can receive maximum light.
Care in Winter: During winters, the tree may not be able to withstand the low temperatures. and you may need to shift it indoors.
Moreover, during winters, the neem tree goes dormant and needs less watering.
However, if the tree is growing outdoors, then cover your tree or add some light to provide the tree with some warmth.
Fertilizing Neem Tree
Neem tree is a tough plant and will even grow in places where nothing else survives, like parts of the Sahara Desert with no water or fertilizer.
However, in order to fertilize neem trees, you can use balanced fertilizers.
In order to use organic fertilizers, mix fish emulsion with other products. You can use a blood meal, or alfalfa meal, however, each product contains different concentrations of primary nutrients.
However, you can also use liquid fertilizers, half strength, about 1/2 tablespoon per gallon or 1/8 teaspoon per quart every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing seasons.
Uses of Neem Plants
Neem tree is valuable to both farm and city dwellers throughout subtropics and dry tropics.
Moreover, it is a versatile tree with a number of uses for:
- unban regreening
- fuelwood production
- cosmetic process
You can use all parts of the plant and the entire neem tree possesses antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic properties.
For centuries, the leaves, bark, and seeds have been used to make medicines. The fruit, root, and flowers have lesser uses, however, they are also important.
Neem oil comes from the seeds after drying, roasting, or crushing then pressing to extract the soil.
Organic gardeners often use it against a number of garden pests like:
- fungus gnats
You can also use it as a natural insect repellant and fungicide against sooty mold, powdery mildew, and black soot.
Having this tree in your garden provides a sweet aroma that is widely appreciated by honeybees as well. Its oil has calming effects that you can also have through the aroma of its flowers.
Bark and Twigs
Though many people do not use its bark, however, it has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
The main compound present in neem leaf is Azadirachtin which also acts as an antifeedant, repels insects, and disrupts the growth and reproduction of insects.
Furthermore, you can also use it as fodder, mulch, and green manure in your yard.
While using it as a paste, neem leaves work as a skin treatment for warts, fungus, or chickenpox.
Neem tree is one of the favorites among gardeners for its oil which makes it safe and an effective herbicide. You can choose to grow it either from seeds or cuttings, however, providing the proper growing environment is a key to its optimal growth.
Moreover, it is popular for its uses as a fungicide and herbicide to repel insects and remove certain garden pests like aphids, whiteflies, etc. All parts of the plant have beneficial uses and use can use as antivirals and antiseptics.