The Neem tree or Azadirachta indica is native to India where it is also known as ‘the village pharmacy’. This is thanks to its many medicinal qualities and multiple uses. We’re going to talk about everything it offers to our plants. It is completely safe to use, its non toxic and an organic gardeners best friend! It’s safe to use around children and pets and has a whole host of benefits for your plants.
There are two forms available for plant care.
is a natural derivative of the neem tree, which is made by pressing the seeds and flowers of the tree.
What has made the oil so popular is it’s active ingredient azadirachtin which has been used for hundreds of years as a natural pesticide. It is effective in the treatment of many common houseplant pests including aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites to name a few.
You can use it as a foliar spray or a soil drench.
Mix half a teaspoon of liquid dish soap or Castille soap with water in a spray bottle. Add the neem oil and give the solution a good shake. (1 teaspoon of neem per litre of water) The soap is necessary to emulsify the solution. Neem Oil Spray is useful for treating pests. It’s also a great preventative. A monthly spray of this solution will help keep pests at bay.
Combine the same solution and simply use it to water the plants, ensure you are using enough to soak all of the soil. Use every two weeks to treat existing infestations or once a month as a preventative. It can treat a variety of problems including fungus gnats in the soil. The oil can protect the plant against fungal problems. It also acts as a systemic insecticide meaning the plant will absorb the active ingredient and distribute it throughout the plant tissue. This protects the plants as any pests that take a bite will also be ingesting Azadirachtin. As a systemic insecticide don’t expect instant results as it will take the plant some time to absorb the neem.
is a byproduct of producing the oil. The remaining seed kernels are what makes Neem Cake. It contains NPK plus micronutrients and makes for a fantastic fertilizer, it improves soil quality and has the added benefit of pesticidal properties. The cake slowly releases nutrients into the soil and also has a mild systemic effect. It often comes in a powdered or pellet form.
You can use it as a soil amendment or a tea.
Work a small amount into the soil mix at time of repotting. Similarly, you can add it on top of the soil and gently work it into the top soil.
Neem Cake Tea
Add about 1 tablespoon per litre of water into your watering can. Allow it to sit in a shaded area for a few hours to overnight. Water your plants as normal.