How to Use Neem Oil on Plants – Simple Instructions and Facts


If you want to protect plants and make the most out of nature, you should know how to use neem oil on plants.

Stay tuned to learn all the important facts and tips on how to keep your houseplants, fruits, or outdoor vegetable gardens protected from insects, pests, and more by using this natural insecticide.

In this article, we explain all about this vegetable oil and how to use it, as well as what plants you should keep away from it, while also providing step-by-step instructions on how to make your own neem oil mixture.

Let’s get started!

What Is Neem Oil Used For?

Neem oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of neem trees. It’s considered highly beneficial and applied in different areas, such as for treating and preventing different skin conditions, dental problems, and more.

Due to its natural capacity to influence insects, it’s also used as a repellent and in many pesticide products to protect plants.

Neem tree oil consists of many components, but the most active one when it comes to the control of insects and pests is azadirachtin, which can be extracted from neem oil in the form of a residue called clarified hydrophobic neem oil.

DID YOU KNOW? Due to its beneficial properties, neem oil is a common ingredient found in many products like toothpaste, soaps, pet shampoos, and more.

What Does Neem Oil Do for Houseplants

For hundreds of years, neem oil has been known as an efficient and organic way to protect plants and a natural pesticide that works well as pest control.

The oil is extracted from neem trees, mostly from their seeds. Azadirachtin, one of the active ingredients of neem oil, is highly efficient in repelling and fighting insects and other pests, including lice, bed bugs, and hundreds more. On top of that, it’s also known as a fungicide and miticide.

Once applied to the plant, neem oil starts to dissolve and ends up in the vascular system of the plant, affecting the insects that come and feed on it.

The ways neem oil affects pests are:

Hormone Disruption

Neem oil on houseplants interferes with insects’ hormonal system and reduces their ability to grow and lay eggs, or go into the next stage of their natural life. This allows you to treat insects with a neem oil mixture in any stage of development, whether it’s a larva, an egg, or a fully grown insect.

Influences the Feeding Process

It can also influence the insects’ ability to feed, making them unable to get nutrition as a way to kill pests.


In some cases, insect death can occur when the oil covers all of its pores, including the breathing vents, and the insect stops breathing.

Is Neem Oil Safe for All Houseplants?

Neem oil is usually considered safe, but if you decide to use it on a plant, make sure to test it on a small area first. You can spray it on a portion of the plant and check for damage within 24 hours. If it all looks good, you can apply the oil.

This piece of advice can be beneficial for all beginners in taking care of houseplants, regardless of whether you choose to start with cheap plants for your home or have a thing for the not-so-common kinds of plants.

One of the reasons using neem oil on houseplants is popular among gardeners is that it’s a natural insecticide and fungicide that doesn’t create a death zone around a treated plant and mainly kills only the insects that chew on the plant.

This keeps some of the most beneficial insects like ladybugs, butterflies, earthworms, and pollinators safe.

It’s also biodegradable and considered safe for the environment, including pets, fish, and most wildlife when applied properly and in moderate dosage.

How to Use Neem Oil on Plants?

Gardeners love using simple, organic, and effective solutions for pest control, and neem oil is a great insecticide and fungicide that meets all organic garden needs, keeping the plants safe and free of pests.

Neem oil can be found in different forms, but if you like to keep things as natural as possible, we got you covered.

Read the step-by-step neem oil spray recipe for houseplants that will keep your plants protected throughout the planting season:

1. Gather Materials

Start with gathering all the materials needed to make your own natural pesticide:

  • A spraying bottle
  • A gallon of warm water (not hot or cold)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of unfiltered, cold-pressed neem oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons of mild dish detergent or insecticidal soap

2. Mix Water With a Small Amount of Soap

As neem oil doesn’t combine with water instantly, add a mild dish detergent or insecticidal soap and mix with the water in the bottle. It will serve as an emulsifying agent to dissolve the oil.

3. Add a Small Amount of Neem Oil

Once you’ve thoroughly mixed the soap with water, add 1-2 tablespoons of cold-pressed neem oil and you’ll be all set for spraying neem oil on houseplants.

4. Apply the Mixture to Your Plants

Spray it on the plants’ leaves until they’re completely covered on all sides. You can also use a cloth or a cotton ball and wipe your plant with the mixture just to make sure you don’t miss a spot.

You should especially focus on the parts of the plant that have pests which you can remove using Q-tips soaked in the neem oil mixture. You can also try spraying neem oil on the soil of your houseplants and they will absorb it.

5. Reapply the Mixture

Neem oil doesn’t have immediate effects, so consistency is key.

You should treat your plants regularly and repeat the process as needed. If you’re using the neem oil mixture for prevention, you should reapply it biweekly. In case you’re using it for treatment, you should repeat the process every seven days.

What Plants Not to Use Neem Oil On

Although neem oil is safe to be used on houseplants, there are still situations when you should avoid treating your plants with this natural pesticide.

  • New plants or recent transplants
  • Damaged plants
  • Plants that are stressed due to overwatering or drought
  • Plants with fuzzy leaves, or the ones that don’t have a smooth surface

This is simply because neem oil won’t be as effective if the pests have enough space to crawl in and get away from the oil.

Also, avoid applying neem oil solution for houseplants when temperatures are too cold or too hot, as well as in direct sunlight because it can cause burns on the leaves. Try to apply the insecticide in the evening to avoid this risk.

Some plants are very sensitive to light conditions, so consider using grow lights that help houseplants reach their full potential and stay in their best shape all year long. Additionally, a selection of some of the best fertilizers for your houseplants can have stunning effects.

Key Takeaways

Neem oil is a vegetable oil extracted from neem trees that has insect-repelling qualities and is efficient in pest control.
The main active ingredient is azadirachtin which can influence the insect’s hormonal status and feeding.
For hundreds of years, neem oil has been used to protect plants and is considered safe for beneficial insects, killing only the ones feeding on the plant.
The benefits of neem oil for houseplants are considerable, but if not applied properly, it can cause damage to the plant.
A neem oil mixture made from cold-pressed neem oil, water, and a mild soap is a great solution to protect plants in organic gardening.

Wrap Up

Taking care of indoor plants or plants in your garden can be rewarding in many ways, but it also requires devotion, knowledge, and making the right choices about what’s best for your plant.

After this article, you’ll be able to protect plants from pests using this natural pesticide, insecticide, and fungicide you can make yourself by following a few simple steps we provided.

Neem oil is a great choice for organic gardening, but you do need to take the listed precautions and apply the proper dosage to avoid hurting your plants.


How often to use neem oil on houseplants?

Depending on whether you’re using neem oil for prevention or to treat existing pests, you should apply the neem oil mixture biweekly or every seven days.

Be careful about the dosage and make sure not to apply the mixture on plants that can be harmed by it listed in this article.

How to mix neem oil for houseplants?

Use unfiltered, cold-pressed neem oil and mix it with warm water and mild soap following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article.

Then, spray your houseplants generously, making sure you don’t miss a spot. You can also apply the mixture to the soil.

How does neem oil work?

Neem oil is one of the insect-repellent essential oils used in pest control as prevention and treatment. It can affect insects and other pests by disrupting their hormones, causing them to stop growing and reproducing, influencing their food intake, or by smothering them if it covers their bodies.

What bugs does neem oil kill?

Neem oil can protect plants from whiteflies, Japanese beetles, scale insects, aphids, moth larvae, spider mites, and more.

Due to its efficiency in protecting plants from a variety of pests, knowing how to use neem oil on plants is highly beneficial in organic gardening, but also in general caring for outdoor and indoor plants.

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