How to Use Neem Oil in Your Garden

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.



Please Leave a Comment

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

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    July 16th, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Hi, James,
    Results may vary, so we’d recommend two teaspoons of liquid dish soap to start with, and dilute well.
    Then monitor the progress and keep good notes; adjust as needed.
    Let us know how it goes!

  • James Greenberg Says:
    July 12th, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    I have been using 2 tbs of neem oil per gallon in a sprayer. I would like to add some soap product for extra protection. How much should I add? Thanks

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    July 2nd, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Hi, PJ,
    This guide has more information about neem oil and its safety:
    Take care!

  • PJ Says:
    July 1st, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    can I use Neem Oil On My Small Lemon Tree and Other Vegetable Plants. i.e. sweet Potato, Watermelon?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 12th, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Hi, Dale,
    This guide has more information about neem oil and its safety:
    Take care!

  • Dale Martin Says:
    June 11th, 2019 at 3:28 pm

    When can you eat produce/vegetables after spraying

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    May 28th, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Hi, Linda!
    We don’t recommend eating produce exposed to Neem oil.
    However, as always, check the product’s label for guidance.

  • Linda Stover Says:
    May 27th, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    After spraying this Neem oil and soap mixture on the plants can you still harvest and eat the produce?

  • Santanu gogoi Says:
    April 22nd, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    After use neem oil my plant leaves had burner..

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    January 30th, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Hi, Betty,
    We have seen great results with 1 teaspoon of neem oil and one quart of water, along with 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap.
    Try that and let us know how it works for you!

  • Betty Says:
    January 29th, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    How much neem oil to water ratio is good for spraying for bugs please?

  • tedg Says:
    November 26th, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Dee. yes can be used on marijuana. if indoors spray at end of light cycle spraying with lights on will burn your plants.

  • Terri scott Says:
    June 19th, 2018 at 9:45 am

    I use Neem oil on squash bugs, aphids & spider mites. It gets rid of them. I mix 2 tbl. spoons of gentle clear dawn with 2 tbl. spoons Neem oil in a gallon of water & drench plants. Best natural remedy for insects I have found!!

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 27th, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Hi, Dee,

    We would suggest asking someone in the medical profession about this matter.
    Today’s Homeowner focuses on the home, surrounding structures and the garden.

    Good luck!

  • Dee Says:
    June 9th, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Can neem oil be used on medical cannabis .??

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 7th, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Hi, Laurel,
    Neem Oil is available at many locations including The Home Depot:

  • Laurel DJ Says:
    June 7th, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Where can I get Neem oil in the USA?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    June 7th, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Terri!

  • Terri Scott Says:
    May 30th, 2018 at 8:59 am

    My squash & zucchini were covered in squash bugs last night. I mixed up 1 oz. Neem oil extract & 1 oz. Dawn in a gal. of water & sprayed directly on bugs & around base of plants. Went out this morning & dead squash bugs were laying all over the place. I didn’t find 1 live one. This is the best recipe yet for killing squash bugs.

  • Cristina Polter Says:
    May 18th, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Sounds like a good solution for pesky insects. I will try in mulch area around my rose bushes for those wrotten earwigs!

  • Shelly Etl Says:
    April 12th, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Is neem oil effective on pine and cedar trees? I have some pine tip moths and some brown spot needle blight as well as some pine beetles.

  • Patricia Pratt Says:
    March 12th, 2018 at 5:03 am

    Trying to get ahead of flea problem, have a cat rescue. Topical meds to expensive. I do use food grade dioetancacious earth also.

  • Sasidhara Says:
    March 8th, 2018 at 6:29 am

    What is the mixing ratio of neem oil with water to use my hibiscus plants.? How many times i have to use..
    Weekly once or not?

  • Mary Says:
    September 12th, 2017 at 10:30 am

    How do I use neem power? Can I use it on plant?

  • Chandra Says:
    September 1st, 2017 at 7:55 am

    I am applying Natria Neem oil on my apple trees and apples as a part of organic gardening. Now it is start of September – apple harvesting will be in about 20 days. Is it ok to apply a few more times?

  • Jennifer Cashman Says:
    August 28th, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    The instructions say to use 2 tablespoons per 1 gallon of water….
    How much Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap do i add to the above for the “double whammy”?

  • Vanessa Says:
    August 8th, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    I have a bottle of neem oil to use on my rose leaves. The instruction sheet on the back of the bottle was removed. Can someone give me instructions for measuring this product. At the moment all I have is qt spray jar. Thank you.

  • Alan Says:
    July 23rd, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    There are some minimal references on the web to using Neem oil on tall palm stalks/spears that don’t open. Anyone have experience with this?
    Which product to buy and how to apply?

  • Karen Says:
    July 18th, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I have used neem oil with success in the past on my bamboo. I need to spray again this year. We are having a very rain you season so far. I sprayed this morning when all was clear and hot. Then th rains came in 2 hrs later or so. Should I spray again tomorrow when it is dry, if that is possible? Or will the oil soak into the leaves? My one bamboo is bad so I sprayed anyway hoping it will help this morning.

  • Debbie Says:
    May 31st, 2017 at 9:32 am

    How much detergent to use per gallon of water? I understand you should use 2 tablespoons of neem oil per gallon of warm water.

  • Richard Dieckmann Says:
    March 17th, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    How do i use Neem Oil to kill Grubs underground?
    Thanks ,Richard Dieckmann

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

    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..


  • 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.


  • 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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How to Use Neem Oil in Your Garden