Is Neem Oil Safe For Houseplants

The majority of indoor plants can be used safely with neem oil, a multipurpose natural pest control treatment. This 100% cold-pressed neem oil, which is made from the seeds of the Indian neem tree, has a wide range of applications in the maintenance of indoor plants and is OMRI-listed for organic gardening. Our go-to natural remedy for controlling houseplant pests like mealybugs, thrips, aphids, and whiteflies is azadireachtin, which disrupts the hormones of insects, preventing them from maturing and eating.

Neem oil has natural anti-fungal qualities in addition to insecticide ones, therefore it can be used to successfully stop the spread of fungus, fungus, and powdery mildew. Because it leaves a lovely sheen on foliage, it is frequently sold as “leaf shine” – an extra bonus!

Simply mix 1.5 teaspoons with a quart of warm water to make a spray, then apply to both sides of foliage. During treatment, keep plants out of direct sunlight.

Although most plants can tolerate neem oil, certain plants might not. Before spraying an entire plant, test on a single leaf. Visit our blog to learn more about pest control.

How should neem oil be used to indoor plants?

Neem Oil For Houseplants: Uses And Care

  • Neem oil concentration, 1 teaspoon mild liquid soap, and 1 liter of lukewarm water should be combined.
  • Shake up a spray bottle after adding all the contents.
  • Before applying it to the entire plant, test it on one or two leaves to ensure there is no damage.

Neem oil: Does it harm houseplants?

Most indoor plants can be safely treated with this multipurpose, organic pest control oil. It has been utilized for its therapeutic benefits for ages. Neem oil is accessible and a valuable companion for all keepers of indoor plants. Because it is non-toxic and biodegradable, it has various applications in the care of indoor plants.

Which plants should not be exposed to neem oil?

I started using neem oil in my garden a few years ago to get rid of spider mites and aphids, and I’ve grown to adore it. I’ve had great success using neem oil, which naturally repels insects, especially when it comes to keeping the pests away from my tomato plants.

But I recently discovered a hard lesson: Neem oil simply isn’t a favorite among all plants. Thus, the issue arises: Which plants should you avoid using neem oil on?

Herbs like basil, caraway, cilantro, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, or thyme shouldn’t be sprayed with neem oil. Neem oil should only be sprayed sparingly on plants with fragile or wispy leaves, such as spinach, arugula, lettuce, and peas, to avoid burning the foliage.

Be careful while mixing and applying neem oil, though, as even hardier plants with tougher foliage might be scorched (or even killed) if you don’t.

Neem oil is made to cover a plant’s leaves and any invasive insects lurking among them in an oily film that will suffocate some insects and harm many others by damaging their cells. Neem oil is an oil, though, so even on a moderate day, if you ignore good advise and spray at the wrong times, you risk literally cooking the leaves of your plants.

In light of this, let’s look at a list of plants that tolerate neem oil, those that are sensitive to neem oil, and those that don’t actually require neem oil because they already ward off many of the most pesky bugs.

How frequently can neem oil be used to houseplants?

Before using it all over, test a tiny portion of the plant and let it 24 hours. To avoid leaf burning, use neem in the evening to outdoor plants and out of direct sunlight to interior plants. Spray the leaves well, making sure to reach the undersides as well. Apply again as necessary every seven to 14 days.

Neem oil is able to burn plants.

A naturally occurring pesticide called neem is derived from the neem tree’s seeds (Azadirachta indica). Neem trees are indigenous to the tropical jungles of Sri Lanka, India, and Burma. It has been utilized for many hundreds of years as a natural pesticide within the tree’s native habitat. Neem products are now fairly simple to get at most garden centers because to rising demand for organic and less-toxic pesticide alternatives. It might now be the first bottle many gardeners pick up when they encounter a pest problem. Neem can be a useful component in an integrated pest management strategy, provided you know how it works and only use it as directed on the label.

Products made with neem often contain one of two active components. Neem seed oil contains an ingredient called azadirachtin, which is primarily responsible for both killing and repelling insects. Neem oil is transformed into clarified hydrophobic neem oil once the azadirachtin is removed. Azadiractin, which prevents insects from growing and reproducing, is exclusively found in commercial items. The main component of ready-to-use neem oil sprays that may be purchased at a garden center is clarified hydrophobic neem oil.

You can treat some insect and fungus-related diseases with neem oil. It suffocates insects by covering their bodies in oil, which closes off their breathing holes. Against young insects, it works best. Insects that are fully grown adults are usually not destroyed; they are allowed to feed and procreate. Neem oil application timing hence requires careful monitoring of insect lifecycles.

Do not anticipate quick effects, even when neem is administered to insect larvae. Reapplication may be required to completely control bug populations since it can take some time to take effect. Common pests managed by neem pesticide products include aphids, beetle larvae, caterpillars, lacebugs, leaf hoppers, leafminers, mealy bugs, thrips, and whiteflies. Ensure that you can identify insects with certainty and use neem oil only if the pest is mentioned on the packaging. Both pests and beneficial insects can be harmed by neem.

Neem oil can also be used to treat certain fungi-related problems, like powdery mildew. It functions by stopping fungus spores from growing and penetrating leaf tissue. Neem can help prevent the spread of the disease to healthy tissue, but it won’t “treat” a plant that has already contracted a fungal disease.

Products containing neem oil frequently bear labels for a number of different crops, including herbs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and decorative plants. Neem oil can harm plants by burning their foliage, regardless of the type of plant being treated. Use with caution on recently transplanted plants or other stressed plants. Neem oil must be applied entirely to plants for the pesticide to work, although it is a good idea to test the substance on a small area first. The entire plant can be treated if there are no harmful signs there.

Disclaimer: This page primarily serves educational reasons when specific brand or trade names are used. The University of New Hampshire neither recommends one product over another with a similar composition nor makes any claims about the effectiveness or caliber of any product. It is the user’s responsibility to only use pesticides in accordance with the label’s instructions and the law. Depending on the registration status in the State of New Hampshire and other variables, the product’s availability may change.

What occurs if neem oil is applied to plants excessively?

Numerous organic chemical components have been found in neem oil, as demonstrated by studies, however azadirachtin is by far its most significant component.

This naturally occurring substance doesn’t kill pests right away, but after ingesting it, it will interfere with their capacity to feed, molt, and breed, ultimately killing them within a week.

Bugs are also covered in a thin coating of oil by neem oil. If you spray adult, hard-bodied bugs with neem oil, such as leaf-footed bugs, squash bugs, and stink bugs, they will get irritated but usually not die. Aphids and spider mites, which have smaller, softer bodies, are more vulnerable to anything that covers them in oil, especially if they are in the nymph stage. The azadirachtin will kill them if the oil itself doesn’t.

Fortunately, the oil won’t harm helpful pollinators, and once it’s diluted, sprayed on plants, and exposed to sunlight and the environment, it will start breaking down swiftly.

Neem oil can be applied more than once every 4–7 days, although generally speaking, you shouldn’t do so to maximize its effectiveness.

In other words, if you apply neem oil every 1, 2, or 3 days, you’re using it excessively and risk causing your plants slow-moving, long-lasting harm.

Neem oil will cover the leaves, branches, and blossoms of your plants in a thin film of oil, which is why it is true.

As I mentioned above, this oily layer will begin to disappear within a few hours, but if you keep reapplying neem oil without timing your applications properly or separating them so that the oil completely degrades in between, you risk seriously harming your plant in two ways.

Foliage Burns

The most obvious approach to harm your plants with neem oil is in this manner. Neem oil will heat up if it is exposed to direct sunshine before it has had a chance to properly dry, just like the oil in your frying pan does when it is exposed to higher temperatures.

Neem oil will likely harm whatever leaves it comes in contact with once it has heated up, resulting in burns that appear as streaks, splotches, or even spots, as well as eventual leaf rot. If your plant has too much neem oil on it, you risk completely killing it by damaging too much of its foliage.

Neem oil spray applications should always be made in the early evening for the simplest way to prevent these issues. While the light is still bright enough for me to see clearly, I do this as it is setting. As a result, there is no doubt that the neem oil will have at least 10 hours to dry before the sun rises the next day.

I once neglected to apply neem oil in the evening and, against better judgment, chose to do so the following morning. I believed that by doing it early, it would dry before the sun could do any harm, preventing any scorching.

Fortunately, I had only lightly sprayed a few plants with neem oil, so they quickly recovered. However, I learned from the experience not to try to make up for missed neem oil applications the following morning. Simply wait until the suitable time the following day, then spray your plants.

Neem oil treatments frequently can result in unwanted side effects on three critical biological processes that all plants carry out in addition to the potential for foliage burns:


The process through which plants convert carbon dioxide, sunshine, and water into oxygen and carbohydrates is known as photosynthesis. However, the precise mechanism by which this happens is less well understood.

Simply put, stomata (or stoma if you’re referring to a single pore) are epidermal pores found in plants. By absorbing carbon dioxide from the environment, these tiny apertures are crucial to photosynthesis. The cells that surround each stoma serve as gatekeepers. When there is sufficient carbon dioxide in the plant, the cells close the stoma to momentarily slow or stop the flow; when there is insufficient carbon dioxide in the plant, the cells open the stoma to let more CO2 in.

Therefore, stomata are essential for photosynthesis. They don’t participate in the actual chemical reactions occurring inside the plant, but they do manage how much and how frequently carbon dioxide enters the plant, so regulating a crucial aspect of photosynthesis.


To take in carbon dioxide, stomata open, but in the process of doing so, they also lose something: water. Also in plenty. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a single huge oak tree can transpire up to 40,000 gallons of water annually, compared to up to 4,000 gallons for an acre of maize.

The stomata control when and how much each plant transpires at any one time. Transpiration fluctuates depending on a wide range of conditions, including heat, humidity, wind speeds, and soil moisture, to mention a few.

Oxygen Release

When plants engage in photosynthesis, they draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and combine it with water to produce oxygen and carbohydrates using energy from sunshine. As an unneeded consequence of the photosynthetic process, they then expel the extra oxygen.

It should come as no surprise that these exchanges also happen through the plant’s stomatal openings, especially during the day. As a result, the open stomata serve two purposes: they let CO2 in while also enabling oxygen to escape.

Studies have demonstrated that anything that interferes with these stomatal routes would have a negative effect on plants, obstructing their biological functions and retarding their growth.

And this brings me to my concern with neem oil: if you spray neem oil too much and too often, you run the risk of coating and re-coating your plant’s leaves in oil, which could clog the stomata and impair the plant’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and release both water and oxygen.

Can I use neem oil to water my plants?

The dreadful fungus gnat, ahh! These little, flies-like pests enjoy laying their eggs in the moist soil of houseplants, where the larvae may occasionally eat the roots of your plant.

Due to their dual life cycle as a flying insect and a soil-dwelling larva, fungus gnats can be difficult to eradicate. Additionally, it is ideal to treat every plant at once.

Neem oil is a soil drench that I prefer to use in conjunction with yellow sticky traps that can catch adult gnats. Neem oil diluted in water can be used to water your plant to help get rid of soil larvae without hurting it.

Only water your plants again after the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry to assist tackle the problem. Gnats are drawn to moist soil.

How frequently should you give plants neem oil?

How Frequently Can Neem Oil Be Used On Plants? Neem oil is typically only used to get rid of infestations. However, you can use it every two to three weeks as a prophylactic.

Neem oil may be sprayed over soil.

Then you’ll learn that gardening requires attention to detail and spending the time to understand plants, even though it is pleasurable, soothing, and very satisfying. And occasionally, in spite of our best efforts, when we come across a plant that is overrun with mealy bugs or aphids, we begin a desperate hunt for a simple, quick fix.

Why is Neem Oil preferred to other garden pesticides and insect repellents?

Neem oil is non-toxic and safe to use around people, animals, plants, and even the soil itself.

Organic: It is a naturally occurring byproduct of the Neem tree, a native of India. The tree is widely distributed over the nation, so if you can, add one to your house or neighborhood garden as well!

Neem Oil is an organic substance that degrades over time and has no adverse effects on our soil, water, or air.

What is Neem Oil beneficial for?

Neem Oil is a holistic pesticide due to the makeup of its active components. This indicates that it is effective throughout the entire insect life cycle.

  • The soft-bodied, leaf-sucking, and chewing insects are among the many typical garden pests that it is especially effective against. This comprises scale flies, whiteflies, mites, thrips, mealybugs, and aphids.
  • Additionally, it works well against Japanese lawn beetles and nematodes, which typically harm tomato plants.
  • Along with being effective against powdery mildew, neem oil also contains anti-fungal characteristics that stop it from spreading to tissue.
  • Earthworm activity is promoted by neem oil.
  • Insects are also repelled by neem oil.

How to use Neem Oil for the garden?

The best uses for neem oil in the garden are as a pest deterrent and to keep plants healthy.

  • Use the solution to coat the top and bottom of any injured leaves to prevent pest infestation. To ensure that the plant surface is completely covered with the solution, get the spray into all the nooks and crannies. Repeat regularly until the infestation is over and there are no longer any bugs.
  • Use as a soil drench: Drench the soil around the plant with the solution to prevent root rot. after two weeks, repeat.
  • Spray the Neem Oil solution on all the plants in your garden once a month to ensure healthy plant health. This will protect your health and help ward off any bugs.

How to get the most out of Neem Oil for your garden

  • Neem oil shouldn’t be sprayed directly onto plants. Oil should always be diluted before spraying.
  • Use lukewarm water to achieve a thoroughly blended solution.
  • Spray after thoroughly shaking.
  • Use the solution within two days of diluting it.
  • Before treating the entire plant, always test the solution on a tiny portion of the plant and wait 24 hours.
  • Spraying Neem Oil in low light or at night will produce the best results. This will avoid burning the foliage and prevent you from scaring away beneficial insect pollinators during the day.
  • If you are sensitive to strong odours, spraying should be done while wearing a dust mask and gloves. The fragrance of neem oil has been compared to that of garlicky peanuts. This aids in keeping out undesired pests and insects.