This week we're helping you understand the world of neem and answering the question 'Which Neem is your indoor plant's best friend?'. We know how you adore your indoor jungle and strive to keep it flourishing. There are a tonne of neem products on the market and it can be a minefield navigating it all, but to be 100% honest with you, neem is neem is neem. The active ingredient in Neem is Azadirachtin, and most products will contain this compound in varying amounts. That said, there are a few types of Neem that have been primed for specific plant care tasks. Read on to find out which Neem type can help your indoor green friends reach their full potential!
Neem oil is a type of vegetable oil extracted from the fruits and seeds of the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica), a plant native to the Indian subcontinent. This golden-yellow, bitter oil has a garlic-like smell and is rich in several fatty acids, making it an excellent moisturiser and why you might find it in a number of beauty products.
But it isn't just its moisturising qualities that make neem oil a superstar. It's also been used as powerful fungicide and insecticide*. That's right, it can help to keep those pesky pests at bay! When applied to the soil or sprayed on plant leaves, it can deal with a broad range of garden problems. Neem oil works by disrupting the life cycle of insects at all stages, making it a great natural solution for bug management.
It's also an effective antifungal agent, preventing the growth of various fungi that can threaten your indoor plants. Furthermore, Neem oil has systemic benefits, absorbing into plants and protecting them from within. This is particularly useful for indoor plants that are often potted and require special care to thrive. So, whether you're battling aphids or nursing a sickly fern, neem oil could be just the tonic your indoor garden needs.
In addition to being a superb fungicide and insecticide, neem also shines as an organic fertiliser. That's right - we're not done singing neem's praises! Brimming with essential nutrients, neem can act as an excellent soil amendment. The neem cake, a by-product of neem oil extraction, is rich in Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium, the three primary nutrients necessary for plant growth. It also has micronutrients like Calcium and Magnesium, which are equally important for healthy plant development.
But neem doesn't stop there. It also improves soil health by encouraging the growth of beneficial soil bacteria, enhancing the soil's fertility over time. This makes it an ideal choice for indoor plants that are often dependent on the nutrients available in their potting mix. It's safe to say, then, that neem is not just a plant protector - it's also a plant nurturer, contributing to your indoor plants' overall health and vibrancy. It's no wonder neem is considered a 'green gold' in organic farming and gardening!
Pure or Premixed
Choosing between premixed neem products and pure neem is your next decision.
Premixed neem products are a convenient option for plant parents, particularly those new to the world of indoor gardening. These are ready-to-use solutions, often mixed with other beneficial ingredients, and they take the guesswork out of how much neem to use. They're generally safe for your plants and are a hassle-free, time-saving solution. Moreover, as they're specifically formulated for plants, they're often more effective at providing the nutrients your indoor plants need.
On the other hand, pure neem is a potent, undiluted version of this organic wonder. While it requires a bit more work—you'll need to dilute it before use—it offers the advantage of being a more cost-effective option in the long run. A little goes a long way with pure neem, and you have full control over the concentration you want to use on your plants. It gives you the flexibility to tweak the formula based on your plant's specific needs. You do need to remember though, with pure neem, the shelf life is only 3-4 days after mixing. This is because premixed neem is often mixed with something to help extend the lifespan of the active ingredients. Our neem for example, has a shelf life of around 18months after mixing as we blend with a plant based oil to help preserve the product.
Ultimately, the choice between premixed and pure neem depends on your comfort level, time availability, and the specific needs of your indoor plants. Whether you opt for the convenience of premixed or the flexibility of pure, rest assured that neem is a natural, effective ally in your indoor gardening journey.
How Neem is used on Indoor Plants
When it comes to pest management in indoor plants, neem emerges as a natural champion. Its bioactive compound, Azadirachtin, makes neem an effective deterrent against a wide spectrum of pests. It can ward off not only aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and mealybugs but also other common plant pests. The secret lies in how the compound interferes with the life cycle of these pests, disrupting their feeding, growth, mating, and egg-laying processes. Neem's remarkable ability to target and disrupt the pests' life cycle makes it an environmentally friendly and non-toxic alternative to chemical pesticides. With mites, it can actually kill on contact as it can suffocate the mites. In Australia however, neem needs to be registered with the APVMA to be regarded as a pesticide.Our neem is not registered as a pesticide and we cannot market it as such. Our neem does contain the same active compound, Azadirachtin, however.
Keeping your plant's leaves clean is another excellent use for neem. Due to its non-comedogenic properties, neem oil won't clog the pores of the leaves, allowing them to breathe and carry out photosynthesis more efficiently. All you need to do is spray the neem onto the foliage, and you can gently wipe the dust and grime off your plant's leaves. This helps the plant breathe and photosynthesise, making for a healthier, happier plant fam.
Beneficial Proteins and Sulphurs
Neem goes the extra mile in contributing to the overall health and vitality of your indoor plants. Besides its pest management and leaf cleaning properties, neem supplies beneficial proteins and sulphurs. These essential nutrients play pivotal roles in supporting strong and healthy growth. Sulphur, in particular, is crucial for the formation of chlorophyll, the compound responsible for plants' green colour and essential for photosynthesis. Additionally, sulphur enhances the plant's resistance to diseases while aiding in the production of vitamins, enzymes, and plant proteins. By providing these essential nutrients, neem plays an instrumental role in ensuring your indoor plants grow lush, vibrant, and healthy.
Which Neem Should you Choose?
You already know this, but there are a heap of neem products on the market. As we've touched on above, neem is neem andmostneem products will do similar things. The thing to think about is what else has been added to the product - some products like to mix in extra oils to help 'improve' the scent for example, but for every additional oil the percentage of neem will be reduced so this needs to be factored into any decisions. We always suggest trialling a few different brands and figuring out what's best for your situation. Or, just take our word for and buy the best right here.