How to Use Neem Oil in Your Garden

By: Julie Day

When I read about organic gardening, I see a lot of references to neem oil. What is it, and how do I use it in my garden? -Sherry

Neem oil is made from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), which is native to India. Since ancient times, the neem tree has been prized as a sacred remedy and important ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. In the garden, neem oil boasts a powerful insecticidal ingredient, azadirachtin, which makes it a great organic choice for controlling a variety of problems.

Uses for Neem Oil

Neem oil can be used to treat a number of garden ailments, including:

  • Insects: Neem oil kills or repels many harmful insects and mites, including aphids, whiteflies, snails, nematodes, mealybugs, cabbage worms, gnats, moths, cockroaches, flies, termites, mosquitoes, and scale. It kills some bugs outright, attacks the larvae of others, and repels plant munchers with its bitter taste.
  • Fungus: Neem oil is also effective in preventing fungal diseases such as black spot, anthracnose, rust, and mildew.
  • Disease: As if that wasn’t enough, neem oil also battles viruses that can harm plants.

Advantages of Neem Oil

Neem oil is a popular choice in organic gardens because it is:

  • Nontoxic: As long as it isn’t sprayed directly on them, neem oil is nontoxic to beneficial garden insects such as predatory wasps, honeybees, earthworms, ants, spiders, ladybugs, and adult butterflies. Neem oil is considered nontoxic to humans, birds, and other animals as well (see below) and can be used on fruits, vegetables, and flowering plants.
  • Organic: Neem oil is plant based and easily available from organically grown neem trees.
  • Biodegradable: Neem oil breaks down quickly and leaves no lasting residue.

How To Apply Neem Oil

Neem oil concentrate is usually mixed with water and sprayed on both sides of plant leaves. Because oil and water tend to separate, you’ll need to keep your solution well stirred. You can also mix it with insecticidal soap for a double whammy. Neem oil is bottled in different concentrations, so follow the instructions on the package to get the right proportions of oil to water.

Other Uses for Neem Oil

If you’re concerned about the safety of neem oil compared to other products in your garden, consider that neem is often used as an ingredient in:

  • Cosmetics
  • Shampoos (including pet shampoos for flea/tick control)
  • Natural insect repellents
  • Alternative medical remedies for antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory uses

The only health cautions for neem oil relate to actual consumption of the oil, and garden use does not appear to pose any known health hazards. As with any chemical—organic or synthetic—use neem oil only in moderation when needed, and wash all veggies and plants thoroughly before eating.

Julie

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17 Comments on “How to Use Neem Oil in Your Garden”

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  • Bridie Gillen Says:
    October 31st, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Hi.
    Where can I buy these 100% neem oil for my plant outside.. And how much are they? Do you pot to England UK.. Thank you for your time..

    Bridie



  • Shirley Hager Says:
    July 26th, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Can neem oil be used for fungus on grass? The lawn is covered in a silvery grey fungus.



  • Joan Says:
    June 16th, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    I have the product. But my directions have faded. Please tell me how to mix in water.


  • Official Comment:


    Lindsay Hughes Says:
    June 10th, 2016 at 8:42 am

  • Patti Holman Says:
    June 7th, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    My bottle of Southern AG Triple Action Neem Oil is missing the label with directions for use. Please advise. Thanks in advance.



  • Emmanuel Audu Says:
    February 5th, 2016 at 9:48 am

    My okro have white flies and I don’t know how to use neemoil on it which soap am I to miss it with and how the volume of water will be pleased



  • jim erskine Says:
    October 18th, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    i have aspen trees that have black spot…I am at 5400 feet in Prescott,az….can i also pour onto to the base of the tree and let it sink into the roots? I understand that the dead leaves transfer the fungus when they fall off in the fall.

    Thanks,
    Jim



  • dejuan maxwell Says:
    September 17th, 2015 at 11:42 am

    My flowers and leaves are wilting, turning brown and slimy over night, and seem to be climbing up stalks. Been told its a fungis. Started treating plants by watering with neem oil water mixture and spraying leaves, flowers with neem oil. What do I do?



  • susan Says:
    September 5th, 2015 at 10:12 am

    My tomatoes have mildew. I have sprayed them heavily with neem oil-water-dish soap solution. How often such I apply the solution? Should I remove the effected leaves? When?



  • margaret morris Says:
    August 30th, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I got rid of raccoons by trapping them and releasing in a suitable area for them, i.e. by a creek that empties into a river. A gung ho cat will help with rodents of all sorts.



  • Mary Foote Says:
    May 14th, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Can I use neem oil successfully on slime flux on my ponytail palm and how would work best



  • Alan Says:
    April 21st, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Hi, Would you know if neem oil is any good for carrot fly and mealy bug



  • darrell smith Says:
    January 14th, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    How good is this product at getting rid of moles?



  • Pamela Crenshaw Says:
    September 27th, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I would like to know how to rid of raccoons and moles that are damaging and/or destroying my garden. I do not want to kill them but I need recommendations as to how to chase them away or what product will repel them from tearing up the garden



  • Deborah Says:
    July 27th, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Any advice on a natural herbicide for rock Florida driveways?



  • Shawn Slattery Says:
    May 20th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    is this product safe to use 10% in dog shampoo.



  • neem-expert Says:
    March 7th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Good article about the benefits of neem oil, neem oil is also used in eliminating pests, skin care, it is good option for people who are in the agriculture industry. Contents of azadirachtin must be 3000 ppm for doing organic farming.


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