2021 Guide to Using Neem Oil
In ayurvedic medicine, neem oil is used for a wide variety of remedies, from acne to intestinal issues, and has been used for thousands of years. For plants, it is a great insecticide (but wow, does it smell!).
What the heck IS neem oil?
Neem oil is made from crushed tree seeds and water, but depending on the manner in which it is processed it can have different active chemicals. Luckily, it is generally believed to be nearly non-toxic to animal life and water supply (in spite of that smell!).
What can I use neem oil for?
There are tons of uses for neem oil! You can use it to treat plants for pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale, mites, and more.
Use it as a fungicide to treat for root rot, black spot, and powdery mildew, to name a few.
Neem oil can be used on both indoor and outdoor plants. However, it should be noted that applying it to leaves that are left in direct sunlight can result in burns; you will want to make sure that you are looking for signs of scorched leaves and adjusting the lighting.
How to use neem oil
Simply spray your plant soil every day for 14 days to prevent fungus or pest growth. After that, spray weekly until it clears up, then spray every two weeks to prevent new growth.
To spray your plants, mist both the top and bottom side of all leaves evenly. Spray any stems as well as the top of the soil to ensure an even coating.
A great rule of thumb is to give the plant with a pest problem a bath in the shower to spray off as much as possible. Then, move it to an area where it can be quarantined away from other plants. Finally, spray liberally with neem oil.
A few more thoughts
This miraculous spray keeps plants clean and helps chase away nasty pests. It kills on contact, but does need to be reapplied until all pests are gone.
If you are mixing your own neem from concentrate, adding a few drops of an essential oil like lavender or peppermint can disguise the weird smell the oil naturally has. Many bugs (and rodents like mice!) are repelled by the scent of peppermint, so that can help with other pest issues!
For more houseplant tips and tricks, follow us on Instagram, @cellardplants. Happy planting!