How to Use Neem Oil on Indoor Plants?

neem oil and plants
Neem oil for plants (Source: Amazon)

For decades, Neem or Azadirachta indica has been a medicinal tree working as a medicinal dispensary.

The oil extracted from its seeds is used to cure and prevent various allergies, infections, and diseases.

Also, neem oil acts as a huge assist to promote the growth of your indoor plants.

Indeed Neem oil is everything a Gardner could ever want.

Generally, Neem oil can be used as Fungicide or Bactericide. To apply neem oil on indoor plants, add a couple of spoons of neem oil into the gallon of water, mix well and spray on and underside the leaves.

Neem Oil for Pests Control
Neem Oil for Pests Control (Source: Amazon)

However, to keep the plants safe from leaf burn, spritz it on outdoor plants in the evening and away from direct sunlight for indoor plants.

Here is what you might be looking for, for the general information about the use of Neem oil on Houseplants.

Benefits of Using Neem Oil on Indoor Plants

Neem oil, a product of Neem Tree, serves several purposes. From its presence in soap to being used as medicine, it covers a wide range.

Its non-toxic nature for humans and animals makes it easier and more efficient to use.

Neem oil is also best-known for effective and safe insecticide with such a wide range of benefits.

Here are some of the benefits of using Neem oil on Indoor Plants.

1. Non-Toxic

The natural ingredient of Neem oil is non-toxic, making the oil extract the best option for both plant and pet parents.

It is non-toxic to humans, plants, and almost all kinds of pets you might have at home.

2. Organic and Biodegradable

These recent years we’ve all been talking about using perpetual or renewable as well as biodegradable products.

And here, our Neem oil is also made by crushing neem seeds and then mixing them with a solvent to be ready to use.

Organic Neem Oil
Organic Neem Oil (Source: Amazon)

3. Neem Oil as an Insecticide

You do not need to think before using Neem oil in any houseplants.

One of the other benefits is that it protects your plants from pests in all stages of development, from eggs to fully grown insects.

It is one of the very reasons you are advised to apply the spray under the leaf. It generously gets rid of eggs laid by insects, mostly on the dorsal part of leaves. 

The insects and pests eventually become resistant to the chemicals in synthetic pesticides you’ve been using. But organic pesticides do none of that.

So this also makes your oil mixture go-to for effective and repeated pest control. It also helps to safeguard the Nitrogen that your plant requires.

In India, the government has made it compulsory to coat the urea fertilizers with Neem elixir to reduce Nitrogen’s environmental losses.

It’s most effective on aphid, mealybug, plant scale, and similar soft-bodied insects. However, it can also kill beetles, stinkbugs, and other species.

It is more effective as a preventive measure to drive the pest away, not letting them breed.

As per Biopesticides Fact Sheet for Azadirachtin and Clarified Hydrophobic Extract Neem Oil, it deters certain insects, such as locusts, from feeding. As a result, it interferes with the normal life cycle of insects, including feeding, molting, mating, and egg-laying.

However, it might be an extremely slow preventive measure for a fully grown species.

Neem-Oil-For-Insect-Control
Neem Oil for Insect Control (Source: Amazon)

DIY, a Gallon Neem Oil Insecticide spray

Add all these as per the given measurement and shake well.

Decrease the quantity proportionally if you are looking for a small-scale DIY.

4. Protects Beneficial Insects

The oil mixture doesn’t mostly spread to areas other than where you’ve sprayed it.

Non-dispersal might seem like a disadvantage earlier, but this behavior doesn’t kill other insects that might have an important role in the growth of your plants, such as an earthworm.

Also, its non-toxic nature helps protect beneficial insects since to be affected, and the insect needs to ingest it.

Thus, Neem oil will only affect the plant posing a genuine threat.

Beneficial insects like ladybugs and honeybees remain unaffected and unchanged by Neem Oil.

It has a contradictory effect on earthworms, as it enhances the activity of earthworms.

Earthworms make the soil your plant is on porous and provide essential nutrients to the soil. A total win-win now.

However, the neem products’ improper and too much topical use can harm the beneficial insects if they come in direct contact.

Unaffected Bees from Neem Oil spray
Unaffected Bees (Source: Pixabay)

5. Acts as Great Fungicide and Bactericide

The Neem seed extract is a total package. It works not only as a pesticide but also as an organic fungicide, helping prevent and cure fungal infections that your plant might be suffering from.

Neem essence also prevents your plant from black spot, scab, leaf spot, tip blight, anthracnose, etcetera.

Now, what if I tell you that it also works as a bactericide?

Neem oil, also known as margosa oil, works as a bactericide and protects your pants from bacterial wilting.

It also protects your plant from fire blight (giving your plants an appearance like they’ve been burnt) if you have it sprayed well on twigs, branches, and stems.

Infected Leaves
Infected Leaves

DIY, a Gallon Neem Oil Fungicide spray

Add all these as per the given measurement and shake well. Decrease the quantity proportionally if you are looking for a small-scale DIY.

6. As a Fertilizer

Neem “cake” is the best fertilizer with multiple benefits for your plant. First, this fertilizer helps your plant’s growth and protects them from insects.

The nitrogen-enriched Neem cake fertilizes the soil controlling white ants, nematodes, and other pests.

7. All Season Usage

We can use most pesticides only in a particular season or a particular period of plant growth.

However, in this case, you can use it in all the stages of plant growth, all year long.

You can use it on shrubs; you can easily use it on herbs.

It will give you a hand to protect your plants from aphids, leaf miners, spider mites, whiteflies, and grey mold.

The ease of use and its availability in a wide range of varieties makes it one of the best options to use for your plants.

When to Use Neem Oil on Indoor Plants?

For a time, you can use the extract preferable to you in the case of indoor plants.

But please keep in mind to keep the plant away from direct sunlight while spraying so that no leaf burns occur.

As mentioned earlier, it can be used all year long and in any plant development stage. However, the best time to use this spray is during the evenings and when harvest time is not very near.

I call it neem oil supremacy totally in the case of pest control.

It’s because it can be used as both prevention and cure.

But in case your plants have already become victims of pest infestation, you can always spray the composition on leaves and soil to get rid of them and keep your plants healthy and happy.

It thus prevents plants not just from pests but all stages of fungal infections.

To keep your plants safe, you have to use them about 2-3 times every week for two weeks. This procedure will keep your plants green as well as guarded.

Where to Use Neem Oil on Indoor Plants?

Neem oil is proven to be beneficial for indoor plants. All we need to do is take care of the appropriate mixture and fix the place where we are going to use it.

Confused about where to use it! Here is the detailed information.

1. In the Soil

Spraying it well on the soil is equally important.

While neem oil is sprayed on the soil, the root will absorb it and distribute it in its vascular system.

This will provide your plants with proper nutrients. It will also make your plant infestation resistant.

Using neem oil as a soil soak is one of the best treatment methods.

The root absorbs the neem oil from the soil, becoming a systematic insecticide. Apart from being beneficial for the plant, unlike topical application, the beneficial insects and bees are completely unharmed.

Soil soaks save a lot of time and effort than foliar spray. And will email within your plant for more than 20 days.

2. On the Leaves

There are various parts in a plant where you need to apply the spray to keep the plant healthy and free from fungus, pests, and bacteria.

Remember to apply it on both the upper and lower side of the leaf.

The lower side of the leaf is equally important because that is where the growth and development of larvae and eggs occur. Also, it acts as the place from where pests can infest.

Most importantly, remember to apply on the entire surface and coat it well; you could form a layer.

While spraying the mixture, be cautious not to let the spray directly contact your eyes.  

Spraving Neem Oil On foliage of a Plant
Neem Oil on Foliage (Source: Pixabay)

3. On the Stems

 After the leaf, spray it on the stem to prevent bacterial infections like bacterial wilting.

Neem oil can also prevent stems from fungal infections. Unfortunately, in the case of tomatoes, neem oil cannot stop tomato blight all on its own, but you can use it early to prevent blights.

It might as well control the blight completely in the early stages. This will also help your plants have a better and stronger growth of their branches. 

 While spraying on the herbs, only apply a small amount and remember to purge the residue before consuming it.

Different Products to Get the Job Done

Several products of neem can be found for these mentioned benefits. Some of them are:

1. Neem Cake

Neem cake is a residue leftover while extracting essences from the seed. Therefore, it works as the best fertilizer for your plant.

It contains nutrients like; Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, Calcium, etcetera, which are foremost for proper growth, development, and survival of plants.

Neem Cake is an all-rounder for your plants. It also consists of a small amount of azadirachtin oil, a natural plant antibiotic.

It is most useful in protecting the roots of plants from pests that feed on roots and fungal infections in the plant’s roots.

To use neem cake, take a small amount of it and break it down on the soil.

Also, watch the video below for the Neem Cake making;

2. Neem Oil Spray

It is a solute with an Azadirachtin composition that leaves no residue when sprayed on plants.

You can also make extract neem oil on your own. It’s used by adding a few spoons of neem oil in a gallon of water.

You may add a few drops of dishwashing detergent to it for better results. The best part about this is that it acts as a pesticide and makes the leaves green and shiny.

The leaves become greener because the hydrophobic composition doesn’t let Nitrogen escape off.

Apply the composition away from direct sunlight always. Spray generously and soak both the upper and lower side of the leaf with this composition.

Administer it on the soil your plant is resting on and stems. Use it every 2-3 times a week for a couple of weeks.

Bonide BND022- Ready to Use Neem Oil, Insect Pesticide for Organic Gardening 32 Oz
Neem Spray for House plant (Source: Amazon)

3. Neem Oil Soil Soak

Oil soak is another important way to keep pests away; however, it is used in its purest form here.

It is even better for indoor plants because when it is sprayed onto soil, it keeps the bugs under the soil away from your plant and affects all the pests that feed on your plant as it absorbs it.

However, the spray doesn’t downright kill the pests but hinders its development, makes it infertile, and gradually starves it.

DIY Recipe

You will require these ingredients and follow the quick and easy Neem soil soak.

  • Emulsify water to break the surface tension and allow the oil to mix.
  • Add one teaspoon of dish soap to lukewarm water.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of raw neem oil to your emulsified water. (1 for Quart and 2 for Gallon)

Make only as much as needed since the mixture will degrade after a few days.

Alert!! Neem oil can last up to 3-22 days in the soil, while in water it can last about 50 minutes-4 days in water.

How to Use Neem Oil on Indoor Plants?

A small test on your plant is highly recommended before spraying the Neem oil on a whole plant.

1. As a Preventive Treatment

  • Firstly, mix neem essence and water in a correct ratio, that is, 1-2 spoons per gallon of water. Then, adding a small amount of dishwashing detergent will help better dispersal.
  • Spray a thin layer on both the upper and lower parts of the leaves of your plants. Also, spray some on the stem of plants to avoid bacterial and fungal infections on your plant.
  • If you are using it for the first time, try testing it on a minute part of your leaf to see if it brings out any negative reaction.
  • If everything looks good, gradually spray it on all the leaves.
  • You can apply the mixture before or after watering the plants. But remember to keep your plants away from direct sunlight.
  • After the spray has dried off, wait for 2-3 days before keeping the plant under direct sunlight.
  • If you’re using an oil soak method, the practice is a little different in that case, as mentioned above.
  • However, if your choice is a neem cake, take a small amount of neem cake, gently break it down on the soil, and spread it around.

At the same time, you should regularly pay attention to insect eggs, larvae, and pests on the leaves of your indoor plants.

2. As Spot on Treatment for Pests

  • If the pests have already infected your plant, firstly, you’ll have to isolate the plant so that the pests will be away from the rest of the house and other plants.
  • Shower the entire plant with water ( you can easily pour water down the plants).
Insecticides are very effective in killing the pest and their eggs
Insecticides are very effective in killing the pest and their eggs (Source: Pixabay.com)
  • Now, spray your plant with the mixture you made earlier by mixing a small amount of neem oil and dishwashing soap detergent with emulsified water.
  • Spray on all the leaves and make a thin layer. Closer attention has to be given to the plants which are bugs infested.

3. Used to Shine the Foliage

You could also spray a small amount on the soil. Keep your treated plant away from sunlight and other plants for a few days.

Repeat the process 2-4 times, and your plant is healthy to go back to its place.

Shiny Foliage of the Mint Plant.
Shiny Foliage of the Mint Plant. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Things to Consider When Using Neem Oil

While using it on plants, there are certain things you need to remember.

  • Firstly, use it on a small leaf area to check whether your plant has adverse effects. Then, spray it on the rest of the plant if everything looks good.
  • Always spray just the amount required by the plant because small herbs, even other plants, cannot take in large amounts of anything, whether that be anything.
  • Also, since the oil is nondispersive, you always have to put a little dishwashing soap detergent. Also, while spraying, spray it to make a thin layer on your leaves so that you leave no parts for bugs to feed on.
  • It also has a strong smell, so always remember to use it in small amounts, or it might give you a headache.
  • While spraying, remember to keep your plant away from direct sunlight.
  • Try not to spray on small plants because they’re fairly sensitive. If applied without proper precaution, young plants might have their leaves curled, burnt, or worse; the plant may die.
  • Even after spraying, keep the plants away from sunlight for 2-3 days so that your leaves don’t get sunburns.
  • While spraying, do not let the spray directly enter your eyes. It may cause a burning sensation in your eyes for a long period.

Best Neem Oils of 2022

Below are the best neem oils in the market that you can use.

Name of Neem OilFeaturesPicture
Dyna-Gro Neem OilIt is 100% cold-pressed neem oil.
Is free from silicon.
Can be used as an insecticide, fungicide, and leaf gloss.
Neem Organics Pure Neem OilCan be used till the harvest time
Its 100% neem oil
Its highly concentrated 
Milania Pure Organic Neem OilMulti-purpose neem oil
Does not contain preservatives
Works as an antibiotic too
Verdana USDA Organic Cold Pressed Neem OilSuitable for indoor use
Suitable for indoor usage
Doesn’t have residual effects

FAQs about Neem Oil on Houseplants

1. Is it Safe to Eat Herbs Treated with Neem Oil?

You can eat the herbs treated with neem oil.

Neem oil is non-toxic, and they do not leave any residue.

However, while you’re eating the herbs treated with neem oil, rinse them thoroughly. Also, while using the neem oil, use only the product with pure Azadirachtin and nothing else.

2. Is Neem Oil Safe for My Plant?

When used incorrectly, Neem oil is entirely safe for your indoor and outdoor plants.

Neem oil is organic, so you don’t have to worry about synthetic chemicals harming your plant.

It is also bio-degradable and silicon-free, so it won’t interfere with the natural processes your plant is going through.

Conclusion

This pest control might have some weaknesses, but the way it works like magic on plants by helping the plants fight against bacterial, insect, and fungal infestations, it’s graceful.

It’s horrible that there are times when you’re watching your plants grow, but there’s a sudden change that doesn’t let your plants beautify themselves to their full potential nor let them be healthy.

Don’t let that utterly unsetting take over your indoor garden. Instead, research all you can, use healthy organic pesticides, and nourish your plants.

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