Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Neem Tree
Azadirachta indica

Family: Meliaceae (me-lee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Azadirachta (ay-zad-ih-RAK-tuh) (Info)
Species: indica (IN-dih-kuh) (Info)

41 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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4 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive elaine_in_spain On Jan 10, 2014, elaine_in_spain from santa pola
Spain wrote:

I planted 5 seeds on my south facing balcony in potting compost after scarifying the seeds, and after 25 days one seed germinated. In the first 10 weeks it was growing fine, and the tap root was pushing it's way out of the drainage holes in the pot, so I repotted it then brought it inside as the autumn winds were getting up. I put it in a south facing window were it's leaves promptly turned yellow and all fell off! I left it alone, only giving it a half cup of water every 10 days or so (when the earth felt really dry) and noticed just yesterday that it is sprouting new leaves! (8 weeks after losing them all!)
Has this happened to anyone else? I think maybe it was too much stress repotting AND bringing inside all in the same week. But it is looking healthy again now. I'm looking forward to it getting it's beautiful umbrella shaped canopy again.

Positive DesertRose_50 On Sep 21, 2012, DesertRose_50 from Peel, AR (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have raised this tree since it was a baby.
It is now 10 years old. And i am now in the process of collecting the seeds for starting new ones. I use the plastic netting that they sell in grocery stores for oranges, for holding the seeds while they mature so the bats or birds do not take the seeds.
It has a beautiful scent that reminds me of the orange trees in Fla. Heavenly scent!
I grow it here in AR. on my porch when temps are nice.
It is almost time to bring it back in for overwinter here, if the temps get any lower. It likes the south sun in winter here.
I make natural soaps and tea from it so far.
I have baby neems that have just sprouted from my viable seeds.
I LOVE this tree!

Neutral Omoloya On Jul 23, 2012, Omoloya from Hamilton Township, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have a neem seedling that I have not overwatered, potted with a *bit* of Plant-Tone, had been sheltered from excessive sun (but now is in full morning sun) and is looking rather frail. Not dead. Not dying. Just frail.

Please help!

Positive juku On Aug 19, 2011, juku from York Point, NS (Zone 5a) wrote:

My 6' tall neem tree is in a container, which I kept outdoor in the back patio during the summer. I was curious to find out whether neem would repel mosquitoes as some has claimed.

My findings after a number of times I was outside doing BBQ or watering plants in the last 2 months:
- within 6' radius, there are virtually no mosquitoes.
- within 14' radius, there are significantly less of them buzzing around, in comparision to other years.

I hope these findings confirmed that neem does make a different, not because of other factors. Given the threat of west Nile virus spreading via mosquitoes, I'd love to have dozens of the neem trees to guard the yards, in that case.
I enjoyed my neem tree in any case, mistaken miracle or not.

Positive DDFaye On Aug 9, 2010, DDFaye from Cedar Creek, TX wrote:

Hello there!

I just wanted to share a little of my experience with the neem tree that I have been advocating, researching and promoting for almost two decades in the USA and Africa, as well as India where the laudable Neem Foundation organization contributes significantly to this cause through their World Neem Conferences events.

I am from Senegal, West Africa (residing in Texas) where recent US project reported in 2003 a Senegal national park of 18-20 million adult neem trees. Also in 1992, USAID funded an international ad-hoc panel to investigate neem worldwide with a stunning finding of the Senegal neem quality superiority in azadirachtnin content (9mg/gram of Neem Seed Kernel; NSK). Check out the book: "Neem. A Tree For Solving Global Problems" (page 33). Another good reference (if not the Neem Bible) is: "The Neem Tree And Other Melioacious Plants Source of Unique Natural Products for Integrated Pest Management, Medicine, Industry and Other Purposes". H. Schmutterer, Ed.

I am glad one of the contributors mentioned the misguided approach of naming Chinaberry: "Neem". A very big botanical err that could lead to, not only health hazard for using the wrong tree, but also on environmental "noxious" plantation. They are of course from the same family but from two different orders: Melia (for Chinaberry) and Azadirachta (for Neem).

It is seldom to encounter oral toxicity with neem (if used properly) since its oral LD50 is > 5000mg/kg, which puts it on the Category IV pesticide according to EPA. There is also a recent EPA clearance of cold-pressed neem oil for food crop use in the USA, a very big victory for the neem Code 025006. USA/EPA. Office of Pesticide Programs; Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division. 2009.

Neem has a huge market share to claim: environment: Carbon Credit, pollution prevention or alleviation; Comestic: soap, skin lotions and creams; Health: toopaste; malaria, diabetes, cancer prevention; nutrional supplement. For example: as antioxident: Neem leaf powder: 357 ORAC. Neem bark powder: 476 ORAC. Extract using Sesame oil: 430 ORAC, compared to Garlic: 46, Cranberry: 95. Green tea providing about 814 ORAC.

As biopesticide, neem is a green beneficial component in IPM. In fact a USA report indicated an LD50 of 7600mg/kg, compared to Sevin dust, a carbamate (246-283 mg/kg), Rotenone and Pyrethtrin (the latter from the Chrysanthemun): 1500mg/kg, Asprine (1200mg/kg) and even table salt: 3320mg/kg). A good reference for toxicological properties.

As already known in India as "The Village Pharmacy", "The Wonder Tree", and in Africa as "The Cure For Fourty Diseases", I usually start my presentations in Neem meetings by saying that "We are sitting on a Green Gold Mine. It's Time to Get Up and Sart Digging".

For more info about neem, there are several good and very informative websites: (India based); and (USA and Africa based) that I promote very proudly. I can also be reached from this email if you have any additional questions or subjets to address pertaining to this or other ethnobotanical species in Africa.

I thank your for this forum!
Dr. D. D. Faye

Neutral Magpye On Jun 28, 2007, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR (Zone 6a) wrote:

Other common names are: margosa tree, Indian lilac, and balnimb and is in the same plant family as mahogany .. and is . Among other things, its wood is used for timber, its bark for fibre and its seeds for fuel.

Neem trees are planted to provide shade and prevent soil erosion. Its wood can be used as a substitute for true mahogany, because it is heavy and similarly red in colour. Neem trees provide a very durable lumber .. so, is excellent for making carts, agricultural tools, bridges and for boat building.

Neem is also a good plant used for making poles because it will re-sprout after it is cut, and is thus easily pollarded or coppiced.

The bark of the Neem tree, is rough and its color can be pale to greyish-black. The tree produces a useful wood with a built-in pesticide.

Its leaves are alternately arranged with long, slender leaf stalks .. with the edges of the leaves usually found to be toothed. The leaves are used as a pesticide, insect repellent and medicine.

Neem oil is obtained from the seeds.

Neem needs a heated greenhouse or very warm window sill. Minimum temperature required is around 18C (64.5 degrees Fahrenheit).

From seed. Sow seeds in a pot, cover with 2-3 cm (to 1 1/8 or so inches) of compost and keep warm inside a sealed plastic bag. Germination should take about 3 weeks at 20C (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

Pot the seedlings, once they are large enough, and move into bigger pots as are needed. Neem responds fairly well to being trimmed and can be grown in a 45cm pot for some years in a heated glasshouse. Prune large plants in spring, and lightly prune again later, if necessary. Water plants well in the growing season and feed using a general liquid feed.

* Safety *
Some people are allergic to neem, especially to the ripe seeds and mature leaves, so be careful handling this plant. The seeds can cause stomach upsets if accidentally eaten. Large quantities can cause severe sickness. They should be kept out of the reach of children.

Additionally .. there are some reports of allergic reactions to neem products. This could be because another species called Melia azedarach or chinaberry, is also called neem and could have been used in medicinal prescriptions instead of Azadirachta indica. Melia azedarach contains compounds that are thought to be more toxic than those in Azadirachtin indica. The use of the common name 'neem' to describe two different species of plants, can be confusing.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Peel, Arkansas
Oxnard, California
Ramona, California
Brandon, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Longboat Key, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Seffner, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida

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