Frequently Asked Questions
ABOUT THE PLANTS:
- Here are growing directions for all of our plants. Printed directions for each plant you purchase will be included with your shipment.
- Trees shipping at this time are approximately two feet tall with a one-foot root ball.They will be two years old this summer. Seedlings are one year old, and about 6-8 inches tall.
- ABOUT SWEET NEEM -The neem we sell is the true Azadirchta indica. We do not sell curry neem, Murraya koenigi because it is a vector for a serious citrus disease and we are not allowed to grow it in Florida.
- They do grow very rapidly once they’re in the ground – but you will need to protect them from freezing temperatures.
- When growing in large pots, you can root trim them in the spring right before they’re ready to go outside for the summer.
We have an ethical commitment to protecting the earth. Our neem is grown without chemical fertilizer or pesticides. But we hate paperwork, so it is not certified organic.
- Trees are shipped via the United States Postal Service Priority Mail.Most are shipped on Monday and Tuesday to ensure that they don’t spend the weekend in a box somewhere en route to you. If you need a tree more quickly, please make a note in the comment section.
- We don’t ship anything much larger than three feet because the postage costs increase exponentially.
- Government regulations have made it very difficult to ship living plants across international borders. We cannot ship plants to the E.U. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on shipping to other countries. Most shipments of living plants and trees, including those going to Canada, will require a $60 phytosanitary inspection before they are allowed into your country.
- Plants are primarily sold online. We do not have a public greenhouse location, any appointment must be scheduled in advance
- Trees are shipped live and healthy and we are not responsible for damages incurred at the Post Office. Please contact us immediately if your tree is damaged in shipment.
MORE ABOUT NEEM
A native of India, neem is an extraordinarily hardy tree that thrives in ecosystems ranging from the Sahara Desert to the wet salty environment of the Florida Keys. The only pests known to harm it are directly related to over watering: slugs (which are mollusks not insects) and several strains of root rot.
In Florida and other tropical climates, neem quickly becomes a valuable shade tree, growing up to 10 feet per year under optimum conditions. In colder climates, neem can easily be grown in large pots, spending winter months in a sunny window and summers outdoor. (Neem trees will even survive without any natural sunlight, although they will not grow.)
A potted neem tree is a highly decorative plant that actually repels pests such as scale and spider mites that can kill common houseplants like ficus or palm trees. Even novice gardeners can grow neem because it clearly indicates when it needs water and fertilizer. Leaves start to droop as the soil dries out, then quickly revive after watering. Well-fertilized neem trees sport bright-red new growth; when growth slows, they need more nutrients.
We recommend that neem trees be planted in pots as large as can be handled, because they are like goldfish – they will get as big as their pots allow. If you do not have a compost pile or a favorite potting soil, ask your garden center for a premium potting soil mix. Unless you’re an expert gardener, please don’t use soil from your yard. For optimum growth, fertilize weekly with fish emulsion at half the recommended rate and use a balanced organic fertilizer monthly while the tree is growing.
We plant neem seeds in flats because they can be notoriously difficult to germinate. The 2005 harvest was our best ever, with germination rates in excess of 90 percent.
Neem trees, like many tropical plants, are day-length sensitive and will stop growing in the winter unless supplemental light is provided. If you expect to harvest neem year-round, make sure your tree receives as much natural light as possible during the day, then several hours of artificial light at night during the short days of winter. (It does not have to be a lot of light – a near-by living room lamp is fine.)
Neem seeds are only viable for about 30 days after they are harvested, and fruit ripens in mid-summer. We begin shipping seeds to US and EU destinations in mid-July. We run out of seeds quickly, so if you would like to be notified as soon as they are available, please sign up for our mailing list.
We regularly get requests from people who wonder why we don’t have neem seeds available on a year-round basis. The problem is that neem is a tropical tree and its seeds are only viable for about 30 days after they’re harvested in mid-summer. People who sell neem seeds year-round either don’t know what they’re doing — or they know and don’t care that they’re selling seeds that won’t sprout. We chose to sell seeds we believe are most likely to germinate — although it’s still an iffy proposition.
After the past few years of freezing temperatures in central Florida, we haven’t entirely given up on growing our own seeds but we are dependent upon growers in tropical countries to get them here quickly. That, of course, poses its own challenges with government paperwork and shipping issues when they need to move across multiple barriers quickly. When we get a new batch of seeds, we always take the time to sprout some of them, just to make sure that they are still viable.
Even if we get fresh, viable seeds, they’re still notoriously difficult to germinate. We recommend that people buy neem sprouts — shipped bareroot at about three to six inches tall — rather than the seeds.
We always start selling seeds and sprouts to customers and people on our email list before we open sales to the general public. Email us or sign up for the newsletter to be the first to know when they arrive!
- Neem oil comes from the seed. It’s a pressed oil, more like an olive oil than a tea tree oil, so it is not likely to burn even when applied directly to the skin.
- All of our oils are cold-pressed without solvents and thoroughly tested for heavy metals and fungus.
- All of our oils come from the same facility and are basically the same product with a different label. Cost ranges because some labels require enormous amounts of paperwork and/or government review before we can use them.
- Neem oil with an EPA-registered label is available only in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Our manufacturer is working to extend that coverage, but it requires a separate registration in every state. Please sign up for our newsletter if you would like information on new registrations.
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