How To Grow Neem Tree In Pot | Potted Neem Tree Care

Learn how to grow a neem tree in containers to make it dwarf and how to care for a neem tree in a pot. Growing a neem tree in a container is good if you do not have space in your garden or you live in cool climates. You can keep your potted neem tree on terrace or balcony and move indoors to protect it from bad weather. But can you really grow a neem tree at home?

Neem Tree Growing in a Pot
Neem Tree Growing in a Pot

The above picture shows a three year old neem tree that I have grown in Sydney, Australia from a seed in a pot (how to grow neem trees from seedshow to grow neem trees from seeds). Whether you have grown your neem plant from seeds at home or propagated from a neem cutting (grow neem tree from cuttings) or bought from a nursery, the first thing you need to do is to repot it in a new larger container.

Pot Size For Growing Neem Tree

The first important thing in growing a neem tree in pot is to select the correct pot size.

  1. You can use the largest container you have so that you do not need it to transplant in a new container after a few years, although you can start in a small pot and later on transplant in a bigger pot when you see the roots coming out from the drainage holes or when the plant becomes root bound with utmost care so as not to damage its tap root.
  2. The neem tree growing in a pot will become a dwarf neem tree due to the pot which restricts the growth of the tree.
  3. The young neem plant can be in a 10 inch diameter pot for the first 2 years.
  4. While repotting, DO NOT cut the tap root if it does not fit in the pot, but fold it in the pot.
  5. The pot should have many holes at its bottom to drain excess water, otherwise the standing water may kill the plant.

Soil Mixture For Growing Neem

  1. Neem can grow in any type of soil but it grows best in free-draining nutrition rich soil.
  2. To make the soil free-soil free-draining, mix river sand or perlite in a good quality potting mix.
  3. Add cow manure in the potting mix to make it nutrition rich needed to grow neem tree.

Potion: Where to Plant Neem Tree in Container

  1. Neem trees require plenty of bright sunlight. Neem is a hardy tree that can tolerate temperatures up to 50°C (122°F). It can grow in temperatures as low as 10°C (50°F), but extended cool temperatures below 2°C (35°F) will cause the tree to drop its leaves and even kill the young neem trees. 
  2. Young neem plants cannot tolerate intense afternoon sun, intense shade and frost or excessive cold and high winds.
  3. You may move the pot indoors in a bright spot.

Pruning the Potted Neem Tree

  1. A neem tree normally grows to a height of 15 to 20 meter, unless pruned. The neem tree grows very tall and becomes unstable in the pot if you do not prune it. 
  2. Pruning of the tree makes it bushy and of short height, looking like a dwarf neem tree, as I made my neem tree bushy shown in the above picture.
  3. You may prune a young neem plant in Spring at about 1 foot height. This will promote new branches. Picture shows a neem seedling pruned that has grown multiple branches after pruning.
  4. You can prune the growing tips of the branches when they grow longer to make your plant bushier.

Fertilizer For Neem Tree Growing In a Pot

  1. If you mixed enough cow manure or compost in the soil while planting the tree, then no fertilizer is needed. Then each year mix some cow manure again on top of the soil in Spring and Summer.
  2. For first year of planting, you may fertilize young plants fortnightly with fish emulsion for foliage growth and bone meal once a month for stronger roots. These are then best fertilizers for young neem trees.
  3. If you wish to feed a chemical fertilizer, feed any general purpose fertilizer or a citrus fruits fertilizer to get more leaves and fruits.  Sprinkle the fertilizer near the rim of the pot, away from the trunk, then water well. Keep in mind that excessive chemical fertilizer may burn the neem leaves or even kill the young plant.
  4. It is better to feed a liquid fertilizer like every 3rd week during the growing season. It will not damage the young neem tree and also it is good for matured trees.

Neem Tree Care in Winter

You can take cate for your neem tree in winter and save neem tree from drying by the following measures.

  1. The neem tree can tolerate temperatures as low as 10°C (50°F), but the tree will not survive temperatures below 2°C (35°F) and the tree may die.
  2. The neem Tree may shed leaves in winter at temperatures around 10°C (50°F), but they will grow again in Spring.
  3. To protect the plant from frost, you can place the pot under a tree or cover the tree with a blanket or towel or move the pot indoors at a bright location.
  4. Put a thick layer of mulch like sugarcane mulch on the top of soil and give water in evening. It will protect the neem tree from cold as damp soil holds heat more effectively.
  5. You can even turn down the tree horizontally on the ground, give plenty of water in the ground and cover it with a blanket. The heat in the damp soil will protect the tree.
  6. If you cannot place the pot under a covered tent.

How To Grow Neem Tree Indoors

The neem seeds can be sown in soil and keep indoors to grow seedlings. If you are germinating neem seeds by paper towel method, keep the seeds wrapped in a damp paper indoors at a warm place. 

The planted neem tree can be grown indoors, the important thing is to place it in the brightest spot in the house.

Avoid keeping your potted neem plant in a heated room, but if you cannot avoid that them you may use a humidifier in the room or mist the leaves.

Growth Rate of Potted Neem Tree

  1. The question is how long does it take for a neem tree to grow to produce fruits. The neem tree grown from seeds at home will start to grow flowers and bear fruits in 3 years of planting.
  2. A neem tree in garden can grow up to 4 meters in one year, although its growth depends on available light. The growth rate will be highest in summers due to long days receiving more light. Its growth will be limited by the size of pot.

Growth Rate of Neem Tree In Winters

  1. It will grow less or stop growing due to low temperatures and less light duration because of short days in winter, unless you provide artificial light. Provide as much natural light as possible during the day, and several hours of artificial light at night.
  2. Neem grows slowly during the first year of planting.

Video on How to Grow neem Tree in Pot

How to Grow neem tree in container Video
Grow neem tree from cuttings YouTube Video
How to grow neem tree from seeds YouTube Video
How to germinate neem seeds YouTube Video