Azadirachta indica, otherwise known as neem, is a species of tree related to mahogany that grows in south-southeast Asia. Neem is a versatile medicinal plant used widely in Ayurveda, with the active constituents, nimbin, nimbinin and nimbidin. The oil also contains azadiractin. Neem oil is a natural pesticide useful for pests that include mite, ticks , nematodes, aphids, scales and whiteflies. It also works against various fungal infections and helps repel mosquitoes. Neem works because pests do not like the taste, and it also helps to interrupt their development so that they never mature enough to be able to reproduce. It is non-toxic to humans, birds, earthworms, lacewings, butterflies and other beneficial animals. Neem’s antiseptic, antiviral and anti-microbial properties make it useful for things like oral hygiene and acne. It is used in mouthwashes, soaps and shampoos. Neem has also been used as a spermicide and an herbal remedy for diabetics. Reports also indicate that it may be effective against lice, intestinal parasites and scabies.
Growing Information: Neem thrives even in poor soils as long as they are well-draining. It can grow in hard clay soils, saline conditions and alkaline soils with a ph up to 8.5. But it prefers a well-draining soil with good subsurface water availability. Waterlogged soil or deep dry soil will easily kill neem plants. Sow your neem seeds about 3/4″ deep in a well-draining soil or seed starter. Direct sowing works well too if the area is clear of weeds and warm enough. Water once daily but keep from getting waterlogged. Neem needs warm temperatures to germinate. 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Use a heating mat if necessary. Neem trees prefer full sunlight. Trees begin to fruit in 3 to 5 years will full productivity coming in about 10 years. They can continue to produce for between 150 and 200 years. For long-term treatment, store your seeds in the fridge.
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