Availability of Neem and Propagation of Lavender
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Elma Vanags Stokes
Posted: Before April 1998

I’m very much interested in testing neem-based products in my garden. My review of the literature has convinced me that neem is unique among the botanical pesticides in that it is non-toxic to humans. I retrieved information on the Internet about several companies which produce cosmetics containing neem.

Is neem available from Richters? According to your Q&As you also have a book, "Neem a Tree for Solving Global Problems." I would like to have more information, including the price and whether it is on sale.

Neem is not the only botanical pesticide that is non-toxic to humans. Pyrethrum is one that has been used to control body lice, for example. However, neem is perhaps a rarity in that it can be taken internally in addition to external applications as pyrethrum is.

Yes, we carry neem seeds and plants. Seeds are very short-lived and so we ship them immediately after harvest in August. Plants will be available for shipping for the first time in 1997. We ship 8 month old plants in 2-1/2" pots.

The neem book (Cat. No. B6550 is listed in the 1997 catalogue at $40). Please see the catalogue for full details.

My second question concerns propagation of lavender, Lavendula angustifolia. I have a couple of 5 year old plants in my herb garden with large woody branches which I would like to renew. I have not succeeded rooting of soft cuttings dipped in rooting hormone #1 and placed in florist’s foam. Any suggestions? I have had good success with other herbs. Should I increase the humidity?

Try rooting semi-hardwood cuttings taken in winter or early spring before the new leaves appear. You must cut branches down to live tissue. Live branches can be distinguished from dead branches by the green or white pith and by the resiliency of the branches. Use a semi-hardwood rooting hormone such as Stimroot #2.

Soft cuttings work well but they do not like to be misted too often and they are prone to rotting before roots can form. We prefer to move English lavenders out of the mist within days of planting, long before the roots form, to prevent rotting.

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