Is neem oil safe, is a question that often pops up in the minds of serious plant care enthusiasts. None comes close to this oil regarding organic substances with magical properties.Neem Oil for Plants

It is safe for regular plant use and is a pesticide, fungicide, and bactericidal agent. Carry reading to learn tips and tricks from experts on using it safely in gardening.

Is Neem Oil Really Safe for Use on Plants?

Yes, neem oil is safe for plant use as an all-natural insecticide and fungicide. Neither this oil nor its breakdown products are toxic for plants or the soil. It kills more than 200 houseplant bugs, and this oil is considered a non-toxic oil for beneficial bugs.

Neem oil is an organic vegetable derived from the neem tree’s fruits, bark, seeds, and leaves. The neem tree, known otherwise by its scientific name Azadirachta indica, and it is extracted by the seeds of the tree. This oil has been used in several industries, including gardening, as a safe and organic multi-purpose DIY agent for centuries.

Neem oil works best when used in a 100 percent organic and cold-pressed form. Azadirachtin is the main compound in this oil that is quite effective against fungi, bacteria, and numerous common household bugs; other compounds present in smaller amounts in the oil are also fungicidal and insecticidal in nature.

– It Might Cause Burns on Foliage

Although this oil is safe for plants regarding its chemical composition, it might cause burns to the leaves. This happens because oil naturally forms a slightly dense layer over the leaves after application.

At the same time, when intense light falls on this layer, it heats the oil up, which is what causes the burns. The same happens if the oil heats up due to very high temperatures around the plant, or when you haven’t diluted the oil properly with enough water and a small amount of emulsifier.

Plants with thin and delicate leaves are primarily susceptible to getting burned by this oil. Lettuce, spinach, and also on dill, as they are typical examples of such plants. That is why this oil’s safe and careful application by diluting it first is significant.

– Neem Is Non-toxic to Plants and Humans

The vegetable oil extracted from neem trees is 100 percent safe and non-toxic to most plants, humans, and pets. When applied to plants, the giant oil molecules temporarily block tiny black pores and decrease the plant’s respiration. You must also note that, the oil dissolves quickly within two to three days without serious side effects; on the contrary, giving you benefits instead.Using Neem Oil in Garden

It is also non-toxic for humans when applied to the skin and hair. While misting plants with this oil’s spray, a small amount might be inspired, which is also safe. When it comes to people with an allergy to neem compounds, it might cause mild to moderate allergic reactions; hence, it is not recommended for human and pest consumption, though.

If you are wondering, is neem oil toxic to breath, then, you must know that no, it is not harmful to breathe when used in small quantities and occasionally. Inhalation of large amounts of oil has been shown to cause chest irritation in some instances. It is still non-toxic in people allergic to neem but might cause breathing difficulty.

– Does Not Pollute Soil and Water

Moreover, you must also take into consideration how this oil is entirely safe for the environment. It is biodegradable and disintegrates rapidly within both soil and water.

The products released by neem breakdown are also non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Overall this oil does not contaminate the underground water resources or the soil when used for plants, so it is safe to use with the right measures that one should take.

What Are Some Safe Uses of Neem Oil on Plants?

Some safe uses of neem oil on plants include pest control against a large number of houseplant bugs. It is also a powerful antifungal and antibacterial agent against most plant infections. In addition, when cold-pressed, this oil doubles as a nutrient-rich organic fertilizer.

– Potent Fungicide

Azadirachtin, the active compound present abundantly in neem, has the ability to kill the most common plant fungi. Powdery mildew, leaf spot disease, scab, and tip bright are just some of the fungal infections that can be treated using it.Killing Common Plant Fungi

Even the rapidly progressive and fatal root rot can be controlled using this oil if treated early. This means that just as you see the infection, and know that your plant is on the verge of changing its features, that is the right time to change the pot and apply some of the oil.

The treatment of fungal infections is simple and involves weekly foliar sprays over the diseased plant. In case of an acute illness, you can even spray neem mixtures twice a week but not more than that. Although this oil is a potent fungicide, be prepared for several weeks of consistent application before the infection can be resolved.

Neem oil spray can also be utilized as a preventative measure against potential fungal infections. In addition, be sure that you would use it once a month, and for this, you can spray this oil mixed with water safely without any danger of side effects. If one of your houseplants gets infected, then it’s better to spray on other healthy plants as well.

– It Kills a Great Number of Pests

Instead of using harsh and toxic chemicals, neem oil insecticide is a safe and eco-friendly option. It has the potential to kill more than 200 varieties of pests that attack houseplants and vegetable gardens.

It will eliminate them all from tiny sucking pests like aphids and mealybugs to large chewing ones like beetles and gnats. You can also spray it around the leaves and the hiding places on thee insides where they may lay eggs and grow the larvae, as neem will tackle this issue and get your plant healthy again.

Its ability to kill pests in all life stages makes it super effective. The only downside is that it needs several weeks of consistent application before eradicating the infestation. A practical solution of neem tree oil applied once every week helps kill eggs, larvae, and adult stages of almost all pests.

– Protects Beneficial Insects

There are specific bugs like beetles and ladybugs that do not harm plants; instead are helpful for their health. While neem oil kills most insects, it will not harm these beneficial ones at all. Important pollinators like bees and butterflies are not affected unless oil is directly sprayed on them.Protecting Beneficial Insects

It also does not harm earthworms in the soil responsible for burrowing and aerating the soil. In such a case, you may also see that the store-bought insecticides are toxic for earthworms and will wipe out their population when sprayed on plants, but on the contrary, neem would be fine to use because it won’t kill the insects that help your plant like aerating the soil.

– Helps Control Grubs and Nematodes

Grubs and nematodes are harder to get rid of than aphids and mites. They lay eggs under the soil and chew on plant roots during larval. They also destroy the soil quality and consistency if treated at a different time. A neem oil soil drench is better than a spray for these bugs, and this way, the plant will be safe and healthy again.

However, you should know how to mix it well, so begin by making an oil mixture with water and pour it on the soil, protecting the rest of the plant. This mixture will dissolve in the soil and kill grubs and nematodes. The plant’s vascular system will also cover it up, protecting it from the inside out.

– Helps Fight Bacterial Blight

Immensely few compounds can help control and eradicate bacterial blight in plants. Blight can be treated with minimum neem oil side effects if diagnosed early. You may start to notice some signs of blight, and these are the rapidly wilting leaves and the development of burn spots all over the plant.

– Safe Fertilizer

When mixed with cold-pressed fruits and kernels, neem oil can be an effective fertilizer. These cakes serve doubly as fertilizer and pesticidal agents for plants. In such a case, you must also consider that it is organic and biodegradable in nature, they are safe for use in every sense.

For instance, fertilizer burns and nitrogen overload do not occur with neem cakes. Its breakdown products do not accumulate in the soil or are toxic. This oil is generally unsuitable for pet consumption, but using this fertilizer is also safe for pets, so it is rich in nitrogen and smaller quantities of potassium and phosphorus.

How to Use Neem Oil on Plants Safely?

Use neem oil on plants safely by diluting one tablespoon of oil in one gallon of water. Do not use it on plants under harsh sunlight, with thin leaves, or under stress. Moreover, the safest way to apply neem oil on plants is by spraying it in mist form.

– Always Dilute It First

Diluting oil with water before use has two main benefits. Firstly, it ensures that the risk of oil getting heated up and burning leaves significantly decreases. Secondly, the oil is diluted well enough not to block pores and impede breathing.

Keep in mind that the ideal ratio for diluting this oil is one tablespoon with one gallon of water. You want to obtain 100 percent organic oil from an authentic seller and use filtered water.

Take a bucket to mix these two ingredients and make sure to see them become more homogenous. It helps to add one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap to the mixture to support this solution to stick better to the plant, because it acts as an emulsifier.

– Water the Plant First

Watering the plants first is another precaution to take before using this oil. Firstly, watering before oil application is more effective as the plant can absorb water better. Oil particles block these pores, which makes water intake slower for a few days. Make sure that your plant is well hydrated so that it stays safe from oil burns.Watering Plants in Garden

– Keep Away From Harsh Light

When bright sunlight falls over oil particles, they inevitably heat up to cause burns. That is why dilution is essential: it thins out the oil particles over the leaves.

In addition, when it comes to the use of this oil for indoor plants, it is easy to keep them away from direct light and potential harm after you have sprayed them on. For outdoor plants and vegetables, this might only sometimes be possible, and an external shade might be needed.

– Do Not Use on Herbs

Despite being safe generally, this oil is not suitable for every plant. It has been observed that herbs do not respond well when any vegetable oil is used on them.

You must also be mindful that it will not kill or severely burn common herbs such as dill, cilantro, oregano, and thyme but will affect their scent and growth. If you still want to try using this oil on any herb plant, do a patch test first to see if it can tolerate it, then you may go for it or cease for doing so.

– Do Not Use on Plants With Thin Leaves

Using neem oil on outdoor plants with fragile and wispy leaves is unsafe. Despite your best precautions, these will not be able to tolerate oil over their leaves. Even with dilution, their spinach, lettuce, and peas leaves may get burned, yet again, do a patch test first and then you can check it.


Neem oil has so many uses when it comes to taking care of plants in a safe and chemical-free way, so here is a summary of how this oil can be used on houseplants and vegetables.

  • Oil from neem trees is safe, biodegradable, and non-toxic to plants, humans, and animals.
  • There is a risk of oil heating up and burning the leaves in case of high temperatures and bright light. That is why you must always dilute the oil with clean water before each use.
  • When this oil is used on plants, it breaks down within three days or can be washed off easily using soap and water.
  • This oil is also safe for beneficial insects like earworms, ladybugs, and butterflies.

Neem oil benefits are a miraculous DIY plant care agent if only you have the time, patience, and consistency to use it.

5/5 - (20 votes)
Evergreen Seeds