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Neem oil is nothing new if you have followed our care tips on houseplants or rare plants at Plantly. We often use neem oil pesticides to care for our indoor plants. Yet, what is neem oil insecticide, and when and how should you use it?
Today, we will look at this excellent organic solution to keep your plants pest-free.
Neem Oil Comes From the Neem Tree
One of the most reliable pesticides you can use is organic neem oil. In our care guides, it is the first thing we mention for pest infestations to control insects. Why? The reason is that using an organic neem oil mixture works on indoor plants.
Hence, you want to have it on hand if you are a plant lover, and the Environmental Protection Agency recommends it. Best of all, you can find neem products available at your local store or online. But where does neem oil come from?
My plant-loving friend, Neem Oil, is like a superhero for your green babies. It’s extracted from the seeds of neem trees (Azadirachta indica), indigenous to India. This oil has been used for centuries in traditional remedies because of its remarkable properties.
So, why should you bother bringing neem oil into your plant care routine?
Benefits of How Neem Oil Works
Well, let me tell you, it’s a game-changer! Neem oil is a natural, non-toxic pesticide, fungicide, and miticide – a triple threat against plant pests and diseases.
It’s like having a bodyguard for your little leafy friends. Plus, it’s safe for humans and pets, so there’s no need to worry about any unnecessary drama compared to many pesticides. The oil can be yellow, vibrant red, or brown, with a pungent odor smelling like a mix of garlic and peanuts.
The oil also has a sulfuric tinge. You can find some neem oil products combined with vegetable oil and a surfactant that helps subsume the oil to make it ready to use on your plants. Still, the oil does not mix very well when used with water.
Still, the fatty acids (triglycerides) have insecticidal properties, antiviral, bactericidal, and fungicidal properties. So, for organic gardening, this is a valuable product to have. Neem oil can kill aphids, spider mites, mealy bugs, thrips, leafhoppers, and whiteflies on contact.
Yet, the best neem oil spray is one treated with alcohol. It helps fight most insects while combatting fungal diseases like rust and mildew on indoor and outdoor plants. Organic neem oil is safe on plant leaves until harvest day.
So, if you need effective pest control that treats over 200 types of insects and bio-fungicides, neem oil is a staple in any home or organic garden. Applying Neem Oil will not harm birds or beneficial insects on your ornamental plants.
Understanding the Composition and Properties of Neem Oil
Now, let’s get a bit technical, shall we? Neem oil is chock-full of goodies that make it so effective. It contains several active compounds, such as azadirachtin, Nimbin, and salannin, responsible for its pest-repelling and anti-fungal powers. Just think of these compounds as the Avengers of the neem oil world.
Besides its pest-fighting abilities, neem oil has some other incredible properties. It acts as an antifeedant, making leaf tissue unappetizing for insects. It disrupts the life cycle of pests, like a villain-busting time traveler.
Neem oil is also a growth regulator, helping plants to grow happy and healthy. It’s like giving your plants a little boost of self-confidence – they’ll be strutting their stuff in no time! So when you apply neem oil, it is safe for you and your plants but not the garden pests world.
The chemical and other active compounds promote anti-feeding behaviors in soft-bodied insects. Furthermore, it is a hormone disruptor that prevents insect larvae’s average growth and development. So, for preventative measures, neem oil is effective in all stages of an insect’s growth.
It will kill the eggs, moth larvae, nymphs, and adults. For this reason, most countries use a neem oil spray to help control fleas on felines, as it is safe to use.
The Effectiveness of Neem Oil Mixture for Diseases
While neem oil properly removes insects, it also has bacterial and fungal properties to fight fungal diseases. In addition, you can use neem oil on garden pests and prevent viral infections on your plants.
Yet, it does not cure diseases but can limit increases to reduce further spread. Using neem oil for fungi prevents spore germination, preventing the spores from penetrating the leaf tissues.
For indoor and outdoor plants, neem oil effectively treats powdery mildew. In addition, clarified hydrophobic neem oil can prevent highly contagious fire blight found on fruit trees.
So, neem oil can help prevent the spread of diseases that chewing insects carry as a preventative measure. You can use it as a soil drench for garden soil or as a foliar spray to spray trees.
When to Use Neem Oil on Plants?
The fantastic thing about pure neem oil compared to synthetic pesticides is it is an excellent preventative method and pest control for any existing infestation. In addition, you can use neem oil during the evening and morning hours.
We do not recommend using neem oil sprays during the day. The reason is that the neem oil combined with direct sunlight can produce burnt leaves. Instead, you can use a DIY neem oil spray throughout the growing season to remove pests in every stage of their lifecycle.
Neem Oil Helps Control These Garden Pests:
Leaf spot and anthracnose
Another great thing about this natural pesticide is that it is safe for the beneficial insects in your gardens, like pollinators, earthworms, and ladybugs. So it will kill pests but not your beneficial insects.
How to Use Neem Oil on Plants?
Checking the label is essential no matter what neem oil products you use. Another important thing is to wear protective eyewear to prevent the risk of making contact with the eyes.
Mix the application in a spray bottle if you use cold-pressed neem oil. We recommend combining a drop of two with a bit of liquid to test on your plant. The best is to add an insecticidal soap with neem oil. The reason is that the soap is an emulsifier to help the oil work effectively.
Another notable thing is that the neem oils’ effectiveness breaks down over eight hours. So we recommend not making more than you need.
We recommend moving your plants outdoors away from children or your pets for indoor plants. You can spray a small area to see if the mixture does not burn your plant leaves. Then, leave it on for 24 hours to determine the outcome.
If the spray does not cause discoloration, you can formulate more to spray your entire plant. You can then mist the plant leaves at the top and bottom with this natural pesticide. The best is to avoid drenching your plant and only give it a light mist.
It also helps to follow up the use of the neem oil within ten days as applying it is a lengthy process, and reapplication is needed. You can use pure neem oil on fruit and vegetables to combat a fungal disease.
Alternatively, spray your trees in the growing season or use neem oil every two weeks until the bud breaks. We recommend holding off until the flowers drop. Another helpful way to prevent beetle larvae is to soak the soil with neem oil insecticide.
You can do this as with your other applications when mixing for a spray bottle, but the difference is that you will pour it around the base of the plant in about two to three cups. It also helps to reapply it every three weeks until you notice insects leaving the area.
Still, if your plant is already stressed, it is not recommended to apply neem oil even if it is organic, and the same applies to soil soaks or spraying the neem oil.
Neem Oil is Not Only for Organic Gardeners
While neem oil is a natural pesticide used for centuries, the fantastic thing is you can find it in other products as well. You see the oil in cosmetics, dog shampoo, toothpaste, and soap, as the oil is non-toxic. So, it is not only used in the garden as it kills pests.
A fact is that people from India have used the leaves to strengthen their immune systems. In addition, it helps detoxify the blood, improves liver function, and maintains a healthy body. Another fantastic thing is it has no harmful effects. So, in short, it has loads of benefits.
Neem oil is safe for your pets and wildlife as it is biodegradable and degrades fast in the rainfall.
Neither does neem oil create death zones around your treated plants, as it only targets chewing and leaf-sucking insects.
Furthermore, it is also a preventative measure to keep mosquitos away. While the oil-based sprays, like the insecticide, cannot apply directly to your skin, you can use pure neem oil.
You can also find it in different formulas like dust, wettable powders, granules, and emulsified concentrations.
Another benefit is that insects do not become resistant to neem oil uses, and it does not pollute water.
DIY Neem Oil Spray and Tips for Handling the Concentrate
Neem Oil works best in its purest form when making an organic neem seed oil insecticidal soap for plants. To make a one-quart neem oil spray, you need the following:
100% Cold Pressed Neem Oil, one teaspoon
Castile soap, about 0.25 teaspoon
One-quarter warm water with measuring spoons or a dropper
You will need four teaspoons of neem oil, one teaspoon of liquid dish soap, and one-gallon warm water for a Gallon spray. Then, you must fill your spray bottle with warm water or a garden sprayer.
Next, add the liquid soap and stir it together. Now, add your neem oil to your mixture and give it a good shake until it combines.
Tips to Handle Your Neem Oil Products
The important thing is to handle neem oil as you would with any other commercial product. It is crucial to avoid getting the spray into your eyes and also watch the weather. If you notice a rain forecast, leaving it for another day is best.
Always keep the bottle of neem oil spray secure when combined, as it will break down, and it is best to mix only the portion you want to use. You can store your neem oil application in a dry environment away from kids and pets.
Only a few drops are needed to make an insecticidal soap and can go a long way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Neem cake, a neem seed meal or neem residue, is a byproduct of neem oil extraction. It is a residue left after the neem seeds are crushed to extract neem oil. Neem cake has several agricultural and horticultural uses due to its beneficial properties.
Neem oil is typically used in hydroponics and agriculture as a natural pesticide or fungicide to control pests and diseases. It can be used in hydroponic systems in the following general manner:
Dilute the neem oil with water at a required ratio depending on the product and its intended use.
You may need to use an emulsifier like mild soap when you use neem oil for plants with water.
You can then apply neem oil in the hydroponic system using the sprayer.
Yes, neem oil products can be effective in combating mildew. Neem oil is a natural substance derived from the seeds of neem trees and has anti-fungal properties that help control powdery mildew.
It disrupts the fungus’s growth and reproduction, preventing it from spreading. To use neem oil, dilute it with water and spray it on the affected plants.
It’s essential to follow the instructions on the product label and apply it regularly to keep the powdery mildew under control.
Neem oil is a natural vegetable oil derived from the neem tree’s seeds (Azadirachta indica), native to South Asia. It has a variety of agricultural, medicinal, and cosmetic uses.
Neem oil is typically extracted through a cold-pressing process from the seeds of the neem tree.
Neem oil is considered safe for many plants and the environment. It is often used in organic and sustainable agriculture due to its low environmental impact.