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Fungi, insects, and even mites cause disasters in the gardens that you pour time and love into. Even experienced gardeners can struggle to keep the pests away at the mites at bay! Not even our indoor plants are safe from these little hungry creatures.
Fortunately, there are a couple of home remedies, one of them being neem oil. Also known as neem extract, this substance is a vegetable oil obtained from the seeds and fruits of the Indian nimbus.
The one concern is: can neem oil burn plants? The answer is yes, unfortunately, if it’s not used correctly. Keep reading to learn how to avoid this issue
A Bit About Neem
Before we jump right into talking about how neem oil burns plants, let’s break down what it is and why it burns plants.
The neem tree, also called Indian lilac, is closely related to mahogany trees and grows especially in Bangladesh and the East Indies. The tree needs very little care and survives even in extreme temperatures and droughts.
Neem trees are mostly grown in Africa, Australia, and America, and have white flowers that closely resemble jasmine in scent.
You can actually eat the flowers, and in some parts of the world, that’s a pretty common occurrence!
Neem products were used for healing for several hundred years BC in various treatments. Today, the focus is on combating pests, such as aphids and spider mites.
How Neem Oil Is Made
Neem oil is obtained from the fruits of the neem tree. In most cases, people harvest the freets between January and April.
To extract the oil, manufacturers soak the seeds of the fruit in water. Or, they’ll use hexane to dissolve the kernels and leave only the oil.
Another method is to press the seeds to produce the oil. The way the oil is made will often affect the price of the final product.
Using Neem Oil Around the Home
Okay, so you know how neem oil is made. Now, what do you do with it?
Well, neem oil is a common anti-viral and anti-parasite agent. It also helps keep pests and creepy crawlies away.
Many people use neem oil to help remove parasites from dogs or to spritz their plants to help keep creepy crawlies away. That’s because, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this oil contains azadirachtin, an active substance that affects the life cycle of insects.
The azadirachtin makes the plant inedible to insects. That helps prevent your plants from becoming damaged and allows them to grow big and strong.
How to Safely Use Neem Oil on Your Plants
If you want to use neem oil as an insecticide in your garden, just mix a few milliliters of oil and with about a liter of water.
Stir the mixture well to ensure that they’re fully blended together. Then, add the solution to a spray bottle and spritz it directly onto your plants.
Just be aware that if it’s raining or the sun is particularly strong, you should avoid using the oil. Otherwise, you risk burning the leaves will burn or having the oil washed off the plant.
Pro Tip: If you have saplings or plants that are just sprouting, you might want to hold off on the neem oil. If you use neem oil on young plants, you may increase the likelihood that they’ll burn.
But Can Neem Oil Burn Plants?
Before you go racing out to use neem oil on all your plant babies, it’s important to know that neem oil can indeed burn plants.
The reason for this is that neem oil can allow plants to become sunburned. Ultimately, that can cause the plant to wither and die.
To help prevent this from happening, try applying the neem oil before noon (when the sun is at its peak) and avoid using it on plants that are in the way of direct sunlight.
It’s also a good idea to limit how much neem oil you use. In this case, less is more!
The Bottom Line
Even though neem oil can be a miracle solution for keeping your plants pest-free, you’ve still got to be very careful when using it.
While it’s generally thought to be low in toxicity, misuse or overuse could hurt or kill your plants. It would be a shame to ruin the indoor plants that you’ve worked so hard to grow!
Just keep these tips in mind, however, and you should be fine. Pretty soon, we hope you’ll have pest-free plants!
Does Neem Oil Hurt Plant Leaves?
Overuse of neem oil can affect your plants. Not only does this make the oil less effective, but it also increases the risk of damaging parts of plants that receive large doses of undiluted neem. It can also cause the leaves to get sunburned.
Is Neem Oil Too Strong for Plants?
Neem oil can kill some plants, especially if they are young and if the oil is applied too much. It’s always best to dilute the oil before you use it on your plants.
Can Plants Recover From Neem Oil Burn?
In the event that only the leaves of the plant have been affected by the neem oil burn, you can prune the plant to help it bounce back. Otherwise, the plant will most likely not recover.
How to Fix Neem Oil Burn?
If the burn only affects stems that can be easily pruned, proper trimming could fix the neem oil burn. Be careful here though, as you can also over-prune the plant and cause them to be in an even stickier situation.