Using Neem Oil On Plants: What Plants Not to Use Neem Oil On

We use affiliate links to run our site. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, without any added cost to you. Learn more

Neem oil is a plant-based pesticide that’s been used for decades to control pests in gardens and on crops. It’s also a popular household remedy.

Despite its versatility, some people are wary of using neem oil on their plants. Here’s what you need to know about using neem oil safely and effectively. 

Here in this post, we will discuss what is neem oil? How to use it on plants and which plants you should avoid. 

Let’s begin…

What is neem oil:

Neem oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica. It is yellow or green in color and has a strong odor. Neem oil is used in cosmetics, soaps, and other products. It is also used as a pesticide.

It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of illnesses. Neem oil is also being studied for its potential as an environmentally friendly insecticide.

The oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it an ideal solution for controlling pests such as whiteflies and aphids in your garden plants.

Like other pesticides, neem oil can have harmful side effects on both plants and animals. If you use neem oil to treat your plants, take care to follow all label instructions carefully.

Neem Oil Ingredients:

The main ingredients of neem oil are azadirachtin and hydrophobic neem oil. These ingredients make neem oil a powerful insecticide. Azadirachtin is a natural pesticide that interferes with the growth and reproduction of insects. 

It is effective at controlling pests such as whiteflies, aphids, and leafhoppers. The high levels of azadirachtin in neem oil make it an excellent choice for organic farming. 

After the extraction of Azadirachtin the remaining material is known as clarified hydrophobic neem oil. Hydrophobic neem oil repels water, making it difficult for insects to absorb moisture. This works great for repelling sap-sucking insects. 

These ready-to-use neem oil sprays are quite easy to find at garden centers.

This combination of ingredients makes neem oil an effective insecticide for both indoor and outdoor use.

How neem oil is used:

Neem oil is used in several ways. It can be used to treat skin infections, such as ringworm and dermatitis. Neem oil has also been found to be an effective treatment for insect bites and stings.

Neem oil has a strong, unpleasant smell. It’s very effective at preventing insects from invading your home or garden without having to spray chemicals around your property. It kills insects by suffocation, covering their bodies with oil that blocks their breathing openings.

Neem against pest:

Neem oil is a very effective insecticide and fungicide. It is used to control insects, such as whiteflies, aphids, scale insects, and many other types of pests.

Neem has also been found to be effective against three types of mites: spider mites, thrips, and leafhopper mites. The oil can be used on foliage and fruit trees as well as ornamentals such as roses and vegetable gardens and flowers because it is not harmful to humans or pets.

You can apply Neem oil during the flowering season when many pests are active.

Even when neem is applied to immature-stage insects, do not expect to see immediate results. It can take time to work, and reapplication may be necessary to completely control insect populations. 

Aphids, beetle larvae, caterpillars, lacebugs, leafhoppers, leafminers, mealy bugs, thrips, and whiteflies are commonly listed as pests controlled by neem pesticide products. 

Make sure to accurately identify insects, and only apply neem oil if that pest is listed on the product label. Neem can harm beneficial insects as well as pests.

Fungal diseases:

Neem oil can also be used for controlling fungal diseases like downy mildew that attack plants or fruits. Neem halts the germination process and prevents the spores from penetrating into the leaf.

Please remember, neem oil is good at limiting the spread of fungal diseases in plants but it can not cure a plant that is already infected by a fungal disease. 

Is Neem Oil Safe?

Yes! Neem oil is completely safe for humans, animals, and plants. It is not toxic, but you should never try to drink it. 

Neem oil insecticide only targets bugs that chew on leaves. Most beneficial insects, like Bees, butterflies, ladybugs, etc. that don’t consume plant leaves are usually safe. 

So if you are using neem oil in recommended concentration there is no harm to most plants.

Can Neem Oil Kill Plants?

When used in excess amounts, neem oil can cause harm to plants. However, research shows that neem oil does not cause much harm to mature plants and only damages foliage or causes stunted growth. 

Seedlings on the other hand are in much danger of getting killed by excessive neem oil spray. Especially if they are exposed to sunlight.

So if you want to use neem oil as a pesticide, follow the directions carefully.

Can Neem Oil Burn Plants?

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that neem oil can burn plants, but there is little scientific evidence to support this. 

However, neem oil can cause plant damage if it is applied during daylight hours when the sun’s rays can cause it to ignite and burn the plants. 

if it is used in high concentrations or if it is used on a hot day, it could potentially burn the foliage.

Can you use Neem oil on any plant?

You can use neem oil on most plants; however, don’t use it on plants that have fur or needles as these surfaces don’t have a smooth surface. 

When you apply neem oil on these plants it can’t prevent pests from hiding inside. So it won’t be as effective. Also, avoid plants with fuzzy leaves.

Plants Should You NOT Use Neem Oil On?

Neem oil is a wonderful insecticide and fungicide. It is easy to apply, doesn’t leave any toxic residues, and it doesn’t affect the environment.

However, neem oil isn’t suitable for all plants. Here are some plants that should NOT be treated with neem oil:

  • Basil
  • Caraway
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Lettuce
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Spinach, etc.

Do not neem oil on recent transplants or on plants that are under stress. 

Ideally, a plant should be completely covered with neem oil for it to be effective, but it is always a good idea to test the product on a small area first. If you find any signs of burn or toxicity stop and don’t apply the solution to the plant. 

If everything seems normal and no toxicity occurs in that spot, you can apply the neem oil to the whole plant. 

How to Make a Neem Oil Spray for Plants?

Making your own neem oil spray is easy. All you need is 

  • 100% neem oil (cold pressed and unfiltered), 
  • a spray bottle (500ml/16oz), 
  • warm water, 
  • and dish soap. 

To make a Neem oil spray for plants, fill your spray bottle with warm water, add 0.5 teaspoons of Neem Oil, and a few drops of dish soap. Now close the lid and give a bottle a shake.

Now, this mixture is ready to use for your plants. 

Spray the mixture on the leaves of your plants every week or two. Neem oil is a natural pesticide that can help keep pests away from your plants.

How to Apply Neem Oil Foliar Spray:

Neem oil kills insects by interfering with their nervous system. It is often used as a foliar spray. The oil is applied directly to the leaves of a plant to kill any insects that may be attracted to the plant. 

You can also use neem oil as an emulsion and mixed with water or other liquid to coat the plants.

Misting your plants:

Misting is the most common method of applying neem oil to your plants. It is a simple and effective way to apply neem oil to your plants.

Mist your plant multiple times to make sure you’ve covered every portion. 

Wiping your plants:

You can also mist your entire garden by wiping it down with a paintbrush, cotton ball, or sponge. This method works best when you have small patches of plants in your garden rather than one large area where you want to treat all of the plants at once. 

It can take a bit of time compared to the misting method but this method is much more thorough.

Keep repeating:

Neem oil takes some time to show its effects. So don’t expect results in just one spray. Repeat this process every a few days in a row (if the plant is already infected) or once in a week (you’re using Neem Oil for prevention).


Neem oil is a great natural pesticide and can be used on many plants. However, there are a few plants that should not be treated with neem oil. Do a little research on which plants are safe to use neem oil on before applying.

Using neem oil, or any other pesticide should always be a last resort. You can solve most pest-related problems without using any pesticides. We have listed 12 ways to protect your plants without using pesticides do give that a read. 

We hope you found this post helpful. Thanks for reading.

Did you like the information discussed here? Then share it with others also.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.

prasenjit saha author Gardening ABC

Hi there! My name is Prasenjit and I’m an avid gardener and someone who has grown a passion for growing plants. From my hands-on experience, I have learned what works and what doesn’t. Here I share everything I have learned.

Leave a Comment