Azadirachta indica
Common Name: neem 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Meliaceae
Native Range: India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 50.00 to 75.00 feet
Spread: 50.00 to 75.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Shade Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

This tropical tree is intolerant of temperatures below 40 degrees F. It is best grown in tropical to subtropical areas in deep, sandy, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It is noted for having excellent drought tolerance. It may be grown indoors in containers where its size can be controlled by pruning. Container plants generally have less drought tolerance than plants grown in the wild.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Azadirachta indica, commonly called neem tree or margosa tree, is native to tropical, dry, deciduous/evergreen forests of Burma, India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), but has for many years been cultivated throughout India, Malaysia and Pakistan. It is a medium sized tree that grows to 50-75' (less frequently to 100') tall with a dense, round to oval crown. It is evergreen, but may temporarily lose its leaves in protracted drought conditions. Compound pinnate leaves (6-12") have 8-18 serrated medium to dark green leaflets (each to 3" long). White fragrant flowers in drooping panicles to 10" long bloom in spring. Trees are polygamous (both bisexual flowers and male flowers exist on the same plant). Edible fruit is a smooth olive-like drupe. Each fruit contains one (rarely 2-3) elongated seeds. Neem trees are sacred in their native land. Almost every part of the tree has some uses. Durable wood (mahagony family) is used for furniture and lumber. Leaves and bark are used in teas, cosmetics, toothpaste, pet care and medicinal preparations. Dried leaves are used to deter moth. Twigs are used as tooth brushes. Neem oil is a broad spectrum botanical insecticide, repellent and fungicide. It is also used for a variety of additional purposes including machinery lubricant, lamp fuel and for soaps and cosmetics. Neem cake is used as a fertilizer and a nematicide.

Genus name is adapted from the ancient Persian name of azad-dazakht.

Specific epithet means of India.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Trees can spread invasively by self seeding.

Garden Uses

Neem tree has been widely planted as a shade tree in hot, drought prone areas and has over time been introduced to tropical areas around the world. Interesting container plant for indoors.