neem oil benefits for plants

Benefits and Applications Of Neem Oil For Plants

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Probably you have heard of Neem oil as a safe organic pesticide, but you don't have its background information. Here is a brief explanation of what Neem oil is.

Neem oil is extracted from the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica), an Indian native plant popular in traditional Indian medicine for its wonder ingredient. Neem oil is harvested from the leaves and seeds of this tree. The harvested oil is used in diverse products, including cosmetics, soaps, toothpaste, and pesticides. In this case, we are interested in natural Neem oil as an insect-controlling agent.

As a natural compound, Neem oil effectively controls pests in your garden due to its ability to inhibit the growth and feeding of insects without any toxic residuals. Subsequently, it ends up killing and repelling harmful insects. Apart from the oil's pesticide effects, it also contains other nutrients such as fatty acids and Omega 3,6, and 9 that can benefit your plants. Neem oil for plants is available in either concentrated solutions or ready-to-use neem oil sprays.

Despite having identified this oil as an organically safe compound, it has diverse applications and benefits to your garden. Therefore, this article will highlight the best neem oil for plants, their features, pros, and cons. Additionally, we will also provide the benefits and uses of Neem oil for plants.

5 Best Neem Oil for Plants

1. Dyna-Gro NEM-008 Neem Oil

Dyna-Gro NEM-008 Neem Oil, 8 Ounces
  • Used on any plant to produce clean and shiny leaves
  • Natural shine on leaves without clogging the stomata
  • Cold pressed from the seeds of the neem tree
  • Size: 8 oz
  • Available in a variety of sizes

Unlike other neem oil solutions and concentrates with additives and water, the Dyna-Gro NEM-008 Neem Oil is 100% natural neem oil. This product ranks among the best neem oil for plants because of its purity of the cold-pressed neem oil. Cold-pressing is specifically an effective extraction method of neem oil due to its ability to preserve the organic purity of the neem plant. In addition, it enhances the durability of the extracted neem oil.

This neem oil product comes as a concentrate that should be diluted for foliar spraying. Subsequently, it is effective in eliminating both pests and fungal diseases. If you are worried about interferences in the plant processes of photosynthesis and respiration, this pure neem oil product has no side effects on plants.


  • No side effects on plants.
  • Pure neem oil for optimal effectiveness.
  • Versatile to controlling pests and fungi.


  • Possible leaking or faulty packaging.
  • Unsealed products might tamper with effectiveness.

2. Garden Safe HG-93179 Neem Oil Extract

Garden Safe HG-83179 Neem Oil Extract Concentrate 16 fl...
  • FOR ORGANIC GARDENING: Can be used up to day of harvest – OMRI...
  • INSECTICIDE/FUNGICIDE/MITICIDE: Three garden products in one.
  • CONCENTRATED SPRAY: Mix with water and apply at the rates listed...
  • FOR USE ON: Roses, flowers, houseplants, ornamental trees and...
  • MAY BE USED AS A DORMANT SPRAY: Controls overwintering eggs of...

One of the best neem oil for plants is the Graden Safe HG-93179 which is suitable as an insecticide, miticide, and fungicide. Such versatility in one product means that a farmer eliminates and prevents diverse types of garden pests and fungal diseases with one organic bullet. Among the plants, you can use this concentrated neem oil on include: vegetables, flowers, shrubs, fruits, ornamental trees, and houseplants.

Some of the pests that Garden Safe neem oil can help you control include mealybugs, leafminers, worms, flies, and beetles. Additionally, some of the fungal diseases it helps control include botrytis, rust spot, powdery mildew, needle rust, and tip blight. Besides controlling pests and fungal plant infections, the Garden Safe neem oil can be used as a dormant spray. Essentially, a dormant spray works to eliminate diverse overwintering insect eggs.

This neem oil product comes as a concentrate in a 16oz bottle which might be inadequate for extensive coverages. However, it is also available as a pack of six. Due to its credible outcomes, the Garden Safe is recognized by OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) for effective organic gardening solutions. Finally, before doing any garden applications, be sure to read the user manual along with any warnings for optimal outcomes.


  • Versatile pest and fungi control.
  • Application up to harvesting day.
  • Application to both house and outside garden uses.
  • Effective for adult insects, larvae, and eggs.


  • Toxic to bees.
  • Less effective than natural pure neem oil.

3. Bonide (BND022) RTS Neem Oil

Bonide (BND022 - Ready to Use Neem Oil, Insect...
  • MULTI-PURPOSE BUG KILLER - Bonide Neem Oil is a perfect pest...
  • READY TO USE - This product is conveniently ready to use when it...
  • KILLS ALL STAGES OF INSECTS - Bonide's 3-in-1 Neem Oil is great...
  • DORMANT SPRAY - In addition to being useful for ridding your...
  • ORGANIC GARDENING - Derived from the Neem seed, our product is...

You might only be interested in finding a neem oil insecticide, and the Bonide RTS neem oil is an excellent choice. Additionally, the Bonide RTS comes as a ready-to-use solution, saving you the uncertainty of overdiluting your neem oil insecticide.

Accordingly, this neem oil solution targets only bugs and insects in your garden. Some of the insects effectively controlled by the Bonide (BND022) include flies, mites, and mildew, among others. While controlling harmful insects, this oil's effectiveness covers all lifecycle stages of adult, larvae, and egg. Even though neem oil is naturally effective against fungi and mites, the Bonide (BND022) is not highly effective as a miticide and fungicide.

Additionally, the Bonide (BND022) can be used as an effective dormant spray, suitable for all seasons. It's suitable for application on vegetables, flowers, shrubs, fruits, ornamental trees, and houseplants. You can also use this neem oil solution around pets and people without any harm.


  • Ready-to-use, which reduces the hectic dilution process.
  • Effective through all lifecycle stages and seasons.
  • Non-toxic to pets and people.


  • Less effective than pure neem oil.

4. Natria 706240A Neem Oil Concentrate

Natria 706240A Neem Oil Concentrate Pest Control and...
  • INSECT KILLER: Controls Aphids, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Fruit...
  • DISEASE CONTROL: Fungicide controls Blackspot, Rust, Powdery...
  • USE ON: For use on roses, flowers, fruits, and vegetables
  • EASY APPLICATION: Spray onto all plant surfaces until completely...
  • ORGANIC GARDENING: Natria Neem Oil can be used up to the day of...

The Natria 706240A concentrate is another ideal neem oil for plants. It ranks among the best neem oil for plants because of its muti-functionality as an insecticide, miticide, and fungicide. Most appropriately, it is ideal for plants such as herbs, fruits, flowers, spices, and vegetables.

Some of the gardening menaces that the Natria 706240A solves include Powdery Mildew, Spider mites, Whiteflies, Aphids, rust, beetles, and Blackspot. Moreover, this gardening solution is available either as a 24oz concentrate or ready-to-use solution. It is recommended that you read the product's user guidelines to establish how much you will need to dilute the concentrated form, depending on the intended use.


  • Application up to the harvesting day.
  • Ideal for heavily pest infested areas.
  • Versatile garden applications.


  • Less effective than pure neem oil.
  • Organic but can be harmful to human skin.

5. Organic Neem Bliss 100% Pure Cold Pressed Neem Seed Oil

Organic Neem Bliss 100% Pure Cold Pressed Neem Seed Oil...
  • Neem Bliss is 100% Cold-pressed pure Organic Neem Oil, completely...
  • OMRI Listed (For Organic Use). Used in Organic Farming.
  • JUST ONE INGREDIENT - 100% Pure Neem Oil, natural, cold-pressed....
  • Very effective Indoor/ Outdoor Plant Spray-High Azadirachtin...

Another pure neem oil concentrate is the Organic Neem Bliss Pure 100%. This product is free from additives and preservatives, making it purely organic with no harm to plants or animals. In addition, the neem oil is cold-pressed to retain the maximum effectiveness of neem oil on harmful pests and fungi.

Furthermore, it is recommended by OMRI as an effective organic solution that is also safe for human use. It is also suitable for both outdoor and indoor plants due to its biodegradable qualities. However, this product can be harmful to your eyes, and you should be careful while spraying.


  • Safe for external human exposures.
  • Effective control of both pests and fungi.


  • Oil can harden when cold.
  • Relatively intolerable smell.

Benefits and Applications of Neem Oil for Plants

1. It’s Completely Biodegradable

Neem Oil is an organic compound derived from the evergreen native Indian Neem tree (Azadirachta indica). This natural aspect of the oil makes it biodegradable and non-toxic to the environment. Therefore, the Environmental Protection Agency considers Neem oil safe for the environment and the human population.

Neem oil is an extract of crushed tree seeds, which are then mixed with water using a solvent. Different Neem oil compounds have varying active chemicals due to the different processing techniques. One of the known approaches is making cold-pressed Neem oil. Therefore, whether you use cold-pressed Neem oil or any other formulation, the oil and water break down easily without the risk of polluting water and the environment in general.

2. It can Blanket Control Hundreds of Insects

You can effectively control a wide range of insects and pesticides using Neem oil. Therefore, if your yard is infested with different kinds of insects, you can easily use this singular but effective solution to eliminate them all. Neem oil kills garden pests and insects like:

  • Spider mites
  • Aphids
  • Scale bugs
  • Whiteflies
  • Mealybugs
  • Caterpillars
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies
  • Greenflies
  • Grasshoppers
  • Desert locusts

3. It Kills Pests Throughout Their Lifecycle

In addition to its blanket control, Neem oil also has the benefit of killing pests at any stage of their lifecycle: egg, larvae, and adult. This is because the Neem oil insecticide contains the active chemical azadirachtin, which works through the following ways to eliminate pests:

  • Prevents feeding
  • Disrupts growth
  • Smothers out

At the adult stage, azadirachtin stops the feeding of pests. Additionally, pests' regular growth hormones are disrupted by the Neem oil, thus preventing transformation. Finally, at the egg stage, the active component azadirachtin suffocates the bugs to prevent their hatching.

4. Neem Doesn’t Create Dead Zones

Dead zones refer to the killing of both targeted harmful pests and beneficial insects. Unlike an alternative synthetic pesticide, Neem oil insecticide targets the chewing insects and leaf sucking pests around the treated trees and plants. So, in the end, you will not interfere with the biodiversity in your soil and garden.

If you are wondering which insects to consider beneficial, they include butterflies, lady bugs, bees, earthworms, and other beneficial insects. Neem oil doesn't inhibit the pollinators from gathering food, making them useful in making your garden plants productive. Furthermore, Neem oil favors the existence of earthworms in your soil, which help in aerating the soil and fertilizing it when they die.

5. It’s Harmless to Pets and Wildlife

While using Neem oil for your gardening purposes and pest control, you will not worry about toxic residuals harming your pets and other animals. This organic gardening solution quickly degrades under direct sunlight, making it non-toxic and safe to use around pets, critters, fish, wildlife, and livestock in your garden. In case they ingest it before it degrades, it is still won't cause harm.

6. It Comes In a Variety of Formulations

Neem oil is available in different concentrations and solutions, depending on its uses in the garden. A common Neem compound is a solution with an insecticidal soap that helps in boosting Neem oil's killing power. Other forms you can get Neem oil include:

  • Dust
  • Concentrates
  • Wettable powders
  • Cakes
  • Granules

Besides the different forms Neem oil comes in, there are different ways you can apply your select mix of Neem oil. Neem, for instance, can be used as a dormant season pesticide, such as in the winter, or as a foliar spray. Therefore, you can spray Neem oil mix to kill dormant pests such as aphids, caterpillars, and mites during winter.

7. Pests cannot Become Neem Oil Resistant

Pests often develop resistance and immunity to synthetic pesticides. This adaptation often translates to companies improving their gardening solutions to remain effective. However, pests and insects cannot develop resistance or any form of tolerance to Neem oil. So ultimately, you can apply Neem oil spray repeatedly without the worry of reduced effectiveness.

8. Safe to Use Until the Day of Harvest

Moreover, Neem Oil pesticide is an all-season pest control agent that you even can use on your harvesting day. The enabling aspect of this Neem tree extract is that it breaks quickly and cannot cause harm even after harvesting. However, it is recommended that you thoroughly wash your plant to remove any Neem residues before harvesting. Even after rinsing, if you ingest some amount of Neem from your plant produce, it won't cause harm to you.

9. Neem oil can Be Used as a Bactericide

A common bacterial infection on plants is fire blight. This disease makes your plant leaves wilt and appear burnt. Despite the menacing presentation of such bacterial plant infections, you can easily restore the health of your plants through the use of Neem oil spray. Most appropriately, you should spray the Neem pesticides during the dormant period, such as winter, to adequately deal with bacteria.

10. Acts as a Powerful Organic Fungicide

Specifically, as a fungicide, Neem oil can be used to kill and prevent most fungi. A common fungal presentation in plants is powdery mildew, especially in berry bushes. Other fungal diseases that Neem oil for plants can help you control include:

  • Tip Blight
  • Anthracnose
  • Scab
  • Rust
  • Black spot
  • Leaf spot

Its application while preventing fungi requires a week to two weeks spray on affected plants. After the fungi have been eliminated, ensure you spray plants with Neem oil every two weeks as a fungi preventative measure.

11. Protecting your Fruits and Vegetables

If you wish to maintain an orchard free of harmful insects, you can use Neem oil. For example, worms may enter your fruits, such as apples, making them unsuitable for consumption. Accordingly, spray your fruit trees and berry trees before blossoming, repeat spray when petals fall, and after every two weeks to kill harmful insects in your orchard. Common fruit pests Neem oil can help control include:

  • Mealworm
  • Coddling moth
  • Leafhoppers
  • Wooly apple aphids

On the part of berry bushes, they are often affected by fungal diseases and powdery mildew, which you can use Neem oil to control. Other fungal infections you can control with Neem oil are:

  • Orange rust
  • Fire blight
  • Verticillium wilt

Moreover, spraying Neem oil on your vegetables and herbs can help you protect them from fungal infections and insects.

12. Neem Oil can Eliminate Lawn Japanese Beetle Larvae

Japanese beetle larvae, also known as Lawn grubs, can be a menace to your lawn. This pest devours your grass from the underground by chewing off the grass roots. An easy way of telling if your turf is infested with lawn grubs is when you notice large bare or brown spots.

Accordingly, Neem oil works to kill the lawn grubs in all lifecycle stages. Specifically, its active ingredient azadirachtin prevents the Japanese beetles from laying eggs, inhibits larval growth, and repels them. Consequently, night applications of Neem oil are recommended as well as post-rainfall spraying.

13. Safe to Use on Indoor Plants

If your houseplants are infested with aphids, and you don't want to risk spraying pesticides near your kids or pets, Neem oil is safe for indoor uses. A foliar spray will effectively deal with an indoor plant pest infestation without any adverse effects on this account. Eventually, you will be able to maintain healthy indoor plants.

14. Neem Cakes have Both Fertilizer and Insecticidal Effects

Neem cakes are crushed seeds and fruits that form natural and organic manure as by-products of the Neem oil extraction process. Considering that they are also products of the Neem plant, they also contain pest management properties. Therefore, Neem cakes double as soil-nitrogen enhancers and pesticides, such as controlling white ants, nematodes, and lawn grubs.

15. Safe for Greenhouse Applications

Greenhouses are effective ways of extending growing seasons but are also faced by the menace of pest infestations such as aphids, mites, whiteflies, and scale insects. Additionally, most insecticides are not suitable for use in enclosed spaces such as in greenhouses. However, with the best Neem oil for plants, you can safely free your greenhouse from harmful insects and have healthy plants.

16. Easy to Use

When it comes to the ease of applying Neem oil, all you are required to do is mix your solution with water and directly spray it to the affected plant leaves. Regardless of what concentration of Neem oil you get, all you need to do is mix it with water and spray it directly on plant leaves. If your plant responds well after 24 hours, you can increase your Neem oil spray as a preventive solution. Always check and apply your product's directions of blending the correct amounts of oil and water.

After diluting a batch of Neem oil, make sure to use it all up because the active ingredient breaks down within eight hours. While applying Neem oil for prevention and combating pests, you should use a 0.5% solution and 1% solution respectively after every two weeks. In case you are wondering what you need to make your own 0.5% or 1% Neem oil mix, below are the requirements you'll need:

For 0.5% Neem

  • 1 teaspoon of pure Neem oil
  • 1/3 teaspoon of insecticidal soap
  • Warm water (1 liter)

For 1% Neem

  • 200 milliliters of pure Neem oil
  • 5 teaspoons of insecticidal soap
  • Warm water (20 liters)

The process of mixing these components begins with adding the insecticidal soap to the warm water. After that, add the cold-pressed Neem oil slowly into this mixture while mixing well. When your mix is ready, add it to your sprayer and constantly shake well for even Neem oil sprays.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Neem Oil for Plants

1. What plants should you not use Neem oil on?

Neem oil as an organic pesticide is not known to be inappropriate for any plant. However, before you entirely spray it to a new garden, it is recommended that you test it on a small garden section and, if safe, proceed with the whole garden. Furthermore, when you use it on fruits and vegetables, ensure to rinse adequately before consumption.

2. Can I apply Neem oil for plants daily?

Neem oil is appropriate for regular use and more so when you need it, even if it means daily. A good estimate of regular sprays is once a week. If you spray Neem oil regularly, it will serve as a prevention of pest infestations. If your area has a new pest infestation, using the best Neem oil for plants will ultimately help you save your garden plants and trees from potential infection. However, too much Neem oil on a garden can burn the plant leaves, especially for stressed plants and recent transplants.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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