What Plants Not To Use Neem Oil On?

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Neem oil simply doesn’t agree with some plants. In light of this, we must ask: What plants should you not use neem oil on?

Basil, caraway, cilantro, dill, marjoram, oregano, parsley, and thyme are just a few examples of herbs that shouldn’t be sprayed with neem oil. Neem oil should be used sparingly when spraying delicate or wispy-leaved plants, such as spinach, arugula, lettuce, and peas, as doing so may cause foliage burns.

Can All Plants Be Used With Neem Oil?

When used safely in your home and garden, neem oil is a non-toxic pesticide. Neem oil contains pesticides, but they won’t harm birds, fish, bees, or other beneficial elements; only pests and other animals that consume your plants will be affected.

Neem oil is extremely safe to use on most plant species when applied properly. However, not all plants can survive on neem oil. If your plant has needles, fur, or other features that will encourage pests to burrow deeper inside it, neem oil won’t be beneficial to it.

Neem oil won’t help plants like Calathea that have rough or patterned leaves. So, before applying neem oil to your indoor plants, be sure to inspect them.

With garden plants, neem oil cannot be used on herb plants such as cilantro, basil, thyme, parsley, or oregano. Neem oil can burn foliage, so you should use extra caution when spraying wispy or delicate plants like lettuce and arugula.

Neem oil shouldn’t be applied to young plants either because it can stunt their development.

Neem oil is sprayed onto your plants, coating them with an oily layer that some bugs will suffocate under while other bugs’ systems will be harmed. Any bugs that are hiding will be removed as well. However, since neem oil is…well, an oil, you have to be armed with good advice when using it for your plants, otherwise, you can cook your plants!v

Can Neem Oil Burn Plants?

An efficient organic insecticide is neem oil. However, if you’re not careful, you might unintentionally harm your garden plants.

Neem oil should not be applied to plants during the day, especially in the summer when it is hot. Neem oil should be sprayed on flowers in the early evening or late afternoon when there is still enough light for visibility, but enough time has passed for the oil to dry before it gets too hot outside.

Can Neem Oil Kill Plants?

Neem oil is known to burn leaves. Although it is unknown if it harms mature plants, it has the potential to harm foliage and slow plant growth. Neem oils can kill seedlings if applied to them or exposed to sunlight because they are more susceptible to them. So, when using neem oil around seedlings, caution must be used.

Which Plants Shouldn’t You Use Neem Oil On?

Neem oil comes from neem trees (Azadirachta indica), which are prevalent in Neem oil is a highly effective organic insecticide from Southeast Asia and is naturally composed of the chemical azadirachtin.

Neem oil can be applied to plants after being diluted in soapy water for up to a week before it needs to be reapplied. When garden pests consume neem oil, they typically pass away within 4 to 7 days.

More than 200 insect pests, including the majority of soft-bodied bugs and the nymphs of different hard-bodied insects, will be harmed or killed by neem oil. Neem oil is thankfully mostly safe for predatory bugs and beneficial pollinators while being extremely safe for ladybugs, according to research.

Neem oil has a number of drawbacks, one of which is the danger of using too much on your plants, which is theoretical but improbable. The bigger concern relates to the plants you decide to spray with neem oil, the strength of your spray, and the time of day you spray your plants.

But first, let’s take a close look at plants that tolerate neem oil, plants that are only marginally sensitive to neem oil, and plants that don’t typically require neem oil applications.

Neem oil sprays can be applied to plants in the “Neem Tolerant” column fairly successfully, but you should only do so in the early evening to prevent foliage burns. If you spray neem oil before a harvest, you should also keep a few things in mind.

Because I’ve personally witnessed how neem can burn plants with delicate foliage even when properly mixed and applied late in the day, anything listed in the “Neem Sensitive” column below is a plant that performs better with insecticidal soap spray than they do with neem oil spray.

In this column, kale is the only outlier: Neem oil was sprayed on mature kale plants, and they tolerated it just fine. But when I recently sprayed young kale plants with neem oil, the foliage was burned. To warn you against using neem oil on young kale plants, I’ve listed kale as a neem sensitive plant. If necessary, lightly spray them, then keep an eye on what happens after that.

Can you spray neem oil on plants that are sensitive to it generally? Of course, but doing so could potentially harm the plant. If these plants are infested with insects, I prefer to use an insecticidal soap and reserve the neem oil spray for plants with hardier foliage.

The plants in the “Neem Unnecessary” column don’t actually need to be treated with neem oil very frequently, if at all.) because they tend to repel or be ignored by the very bugs that neem is designed to eradicate.

Following is a list of plants that should not be treated with neem oil because they are sensitive to it:

  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Caraway
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Pea
  • Rue
  • Sage
  • Spinach
  • Thyme
neem oil

When Should I Use Neem Oil?

Neem oil, as previously mentioned, has the potential to harm both good and bad insects when used improperly.

Always apply any necessary treatments at dawn or dusk to protect bees, ladybugs, and other garden friends.

At this time of year, bees, butterflies, and other insects are least active.

Neem foliar sprays evaporate within 45 to 1 hour, so they won’t be present when these helpers begin their daily (or nightly) routine.

Additionally, this gives neem soil soaks time to penetrate the soil.

Avoiding sunburn on indoor or outdoor plants is another reason to use sunscreen during these hours.

Neem oil is applied with warm water, so if it’s applied in the morning when the sun is up, there’s a higher chance that the sunlight will burn the leaves.

Despite the fact that neem is typically non-toxic, you shouldn’t eat any when you are eating fresh produce.

Always apply the neem at least one day before harvesting to prevent this.

So that you don’t unintentionally overwater, it is also best to apply soil soaks when the plant is thirsty.

Neem Oil For Plants: How Do I Mix It?

Did you know that a homemade neem oil spray for your plants is much more effective than a store-bought one?

This is due to the fact that you can select neem oil of high quality, giving you access to a variety of pesticide compounds. If you’d like, you can add more neem oil to the mixture. Neem oil contains a significant amount of azadirachtin, so make sure to purchase only cold-pressed varieties.

You will need the following ingredients to make your neem oil spray:

  • 1 teaspoon neem oil
  •  ⅓ tsp of any mild detergent or dishwashing liquid
  •  1 liter of warm water

In a bottle, combine the water and detergent/dishwashing liquid and shake vigorously to combine the two ingredients. Add your neem oil after that, and shake once more. We know from science that oil and water don’t mix, so the detergent/liquid is used to emulsify the neem oil with water. Don’t skip that step, then.

With this mixture, you can create a mild 0.5% basic neem oil spray that’s great for indoor plants and general garden use. However, I advise using this only outside. You can make a higher dose, up to 2%. If you make a higher dose, make sure to add more water.

Is Neem Oil A Better Insecticide Than Others?


It’s great because it’s completely natural and non-toxic, especially for indoor use. Neem oil can be used safely on plants that you intend to eat or harvest from, though you shouldn’t consume it directly from the bottle.

Neem oil is not environmentally persistent and eventually decomposes in the soil and plants. In contrast to chemical pesticides, which cannot be broken down, this renders it entirely safe.

In comparison to chemicals, neem oil is also a fairly focused remedy. Only pests that want to harm your plants will be killed by neem oil because insects must consume it in order to perish. It will not have an impact on flies, bees, birds, or other nearby insects.

Neem, of course, has some disadvantages. Don’t use much of it too frequently because the smell is quite strong and some people even claim that it can give you a headache. Neem oil can also harm your plants if it’s not mixed properly or if you don’t use it as directed, so always heed the advice.

Where Should Neem Oil Not Be Used?

Neem oil is safe for many species, but when applied topically as a foliar spray on plants, it doesn’t distinguish between beneficial and harmful insects.

Under certain conditions, its capacity to interfere with hormones can also pose a risk to health.

Here is a crucial list of instances in which you ought to abstain from using specific neem products:

  • NEVER use foliar sprays during the day, as bees and other beneficial insects and pollinators may contact it. Check out Neem Oil and Bees.
  • NEVER use neem foliar sprays near a beehive, as the wind may carry droplets to the nest.
  • NEVER use neem products near water features that contain aquatic life. Neem products are prohibited in Canada and the UK because it is slightly toxic to many fish and amphibian species.
  • AVOID applying when children or pets are around, as they may ingest the neem beyond safe quantities.
  • NEVER leave neem products around small children, as it has been known to cause seizures or other side effects when ingested by young children, although these risks dissipate as the child ages.
  • AVOID coming in direct contact with neem products if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as it can cause complications or even miscarriage and may also contaminate your breastmilk.


Spraying shouldn’t be done during the day. You will definitely burn your plants if you do it ever.

Although neem oil is a great insecticide for gardens, do as much research as you can before spraying your plants with it.

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