Can neem oil burn plants, is a notion that any gardener would want to know as they would use the oil for beneficial purposes, such as dealing with insects, fungi, and mites. This oil is a popular organic insecticide that kills various garden pests and doesn’t harm plants when used correctly.

Can Neem Oil Burn Plants

Continue reading this post, as our team of gardeners is ready to help you to know how you can be applying neem oil to ensure it doesn’t damage your plants.

Can Neem Oil Burn Plants and Hinder Growth?

Yes, neem oil can burn plants when it’s used incorrectly. When this organic insecticide is used too frequently, it coats plants with a layer of oil, choking the plant’s pores. These pores are essential as they allow for transpiration, photosynthesis, and oxygen release, so when it fails, the foliage burns.

Apply neem oil beyond what is required, and you’re more likely to damage your plants because the plant cannot bare too much of it. After you have applied, if the plant gets exposed to direct sunlight, the burn can also be caused by the oil-coated leaves affecting your plants.

When Does Neem Oil Harm Plants?

Neem oil can harm plants when you spray it on hot days or use it during the noun times. Moreover, when you are using it too often on the plants, apply it with the incorrect concentration, or spray it on sensitive plants.

You should also remember that it can damage your plants with the oily film it uses to get rid of bugs on your farm. When used incorrectly, the oily surface can suffocate your plant leaves, ultimately leading to plant fungal diseases or death, because the plant may have oil already.

– Spraying on Hot Days

Using neem oil spray on your plants during hot days will quickly damage your plants. When the neem oil mixture comes into contact with the hot sun, expect your leaves to get cooked because the oil content would block the passage. This is where the heat from the sun will increase the temperature of the oil coating your plant foliage, hence scorching the leaves, and the foliage will start to lose its beauty.

Spraying Neem Oil on Hot Days

As you go ahead and do this more often, your plant won’t survive that long, especially during the hot summer months. They will, on the contrary, become very unstable with their ability to grow and survive as the matter is not letting them perform photosynthesis.

– Using During the Noun

You might think it’s safe to spray some of this oil early in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun goes down. However, this is the oil that can still burn your plants during these times, especially during the noun times when the sun is at its brightest.

The oily coating from neem will warm up and cause foliage burns. While the damage won’t be as extensive as compared to hot days, your plants will suffer in the long run if left unchecked.

– Using It Too Often

Using neem oil too often can also harm your plants, and this is because the oil you are spraying on plants will cover the small pores on the leaves, which are known as the stomata. Now, when you spray often, the stomata will be blocked, and this means your plants won’t breathe effectively, so when you do it more often than required, it is like softly killing your plants.

Using Neem Oil Too Often

Remember, when the oil coat is exposed to warm temperatures, it causes leaf burns. Another huge problem with spraying it too often is that you might even kill beneficial insects that would be around the plant, which are like lady bugs.

– Incorrect Concentration

Applying neem in high concentrations will also affect your especially sensitive plants. You may have made the solution in a very concentrated matter that is out of the correct recipe, and the amount is stronger than it should be. This is why the plant will not be able to survive in such a hazard, and it will weaken from the quick burn.

– Spraying on Sensitive Plants

Neem might be a natural pesticide, but it doesn’t work well when used on certain plants, so if you aim to spray it on plants that can tolerate, it will work wonders, but if not, some are too sensitive for this. In short, those plants that you shouldn’t use it on them; for instance, neem oil sunburn plants are the result of it when sprayed. So, avoid spraying the oil on garlic, lavender, leeks, onion, scallion, and shallot.

Examples of delicate plants you should be careful of when using the oil include arugula, caraway, chives, eggplant, cilantro, kale, and lettuce. In general, for these plants, it’s better to use insecticidal soap spray if they have pests on them and you would like to tackle them.

How To Use Neem Oil on Plants in a Safe Way?

To use neem oil on plants in a safe way, you can first use it with the right concentration, and spray the product in the evenings. Make sure that you avoid applying it on delicate plants and give the plant the right time to heal from their previous burn.

The recommended way to use this is to ensure you get the right balance and timing. Applying it infrequently in little amounts won’t do much. The pests damaging your plants might continue invading your garden. With time, you should notice a decline in your plants’ health.

– Use The Right Concentration

Read the instructions on the bottle before using neem on your plants. Most gardeners tend to assume this and end up using the wrong concentrations for their garden plants. Neem oil is an organic insecticide, and it’s safe to use on fruits and veggies. But as with many other chemical sprays, using the correct concentrations is very important, because you shouldn’t use it so harshly.

Use Right Concentration of Oil

If you don’t want to keep reading the instructions all over again every time you’re on a pest control mission, use a marker pen to label the container. Write the directions on the container since this will remind you about the required concentrations to use in your plans.

You can also make sure that you would weaken the strength of the concentration, so to dilute neem for your plants, it’s best to follow the recommendations on the product’s bottle. You should aim for a balanced concentration because you must not mix in too much water.

Depending on the number of plants you want to spray, fill your sprayer with the required amount of water. For each gallon of water, mix with two tablespoons of the given oil. You can use any type of it on your plants as long as it’s the right type for the plants in your garden.

Adding liquid soap to the mixture will help reduce the concentration of the oil. Finally, shake the mixture before spraying it on your plants. Ensure you pressurize the garden sprayer to avoid leaving concentrated amounts of it on certain plants.

– Spray in the Evening

Although some people would use it in the mornings, on the other hand, it’s best to use the oil in the evening when the sun starts to set rather than in the morning. Using this pest controller in the morning will likely damage your plants if the weather gets hotter than expected. The oil coating might cause foliage burns even after trying your best to apply it correctly.

So, it’s best to use neem safely in the evening because this is when the weather is much cooler, and it will have proper time to absorb it. This reduces the chances of burning the plants since temperatures tend to cool off at sunset.

– Avoid Spraying Delicate Plants

We’ve mentioned that neem oil works by coating the plant foliage, and it kills certain soft-bodied insects on contact. When the oil is mixed with liquid soap and water, it suffocates insects are on the vegetation that may already have their natural oils. It’s an effective solution for your garden pests without damaging your plants.

Avoid Spraying Delicate Plants

However, this doesn’t mean that you should use the oil on all plants. Some delicate plants might not work well with it. For instance, it is okay to use pesticide on tomato plants to get rid of pests like spider mites, but avoid using it on delicate plants.

– Give The Plant Time to Heal

You must also be patient to avoid neem oil damage on your plants. After using it the first time, and you don’t see any results, you might be tempted to reapply it. Doing this only risks damaging your plants.

Once you apply the oil to your plants, give it some time to work. It should take about four to seven days to start seeing positive results in your garden. Spraying your plants all over again just because you don’t see any results will only add another oil coat on the leaves, which might lead to plant death, so remember that in this case, you must be keen on how to wash off neem oil.


This oil can burn your plants if you use the product incorrectly. Here are some pointers to remember when using the product on your garden plants:

  • Always read the instructions carefully and use the right oil concentration on your plants.
  • To work effectively, you must allow this oil to dry on your plants and give it about four to seven days.
  • The best time to use neem oil on plants is late in the afternoon, as there are minimal chances of experiencing sunburns.
  • Make sure that you are not spraying it with the highly concentrated product; it can cause harm, so you must dilute it.
  • If you use excess of the oil on plants, wash it off by spraying soapy water on the plants and rinsing it with clean water.

Generally, it can help you get rid of harmful pests in your garden, so you can follow the tips in this guide to ensure you are using it correctly without harming your plants.

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