Pure Neem Oil For Plants – The ‘Healthy’ Pesticide

Note: I’ve stopped selling neem oil because I wasn’t selling enough to warrant keeping it in stock. It’s still a great product.

If you tend to buy natural versions of many household products, you may have seen neem oil listed in the ingredients.

You may have seen neem oil soap, hand lotion, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

As a natural insecticide, fungicide and bactericide, people have been using neem for thousands of years.

Neem trees at sunrise
Neem trees at sunrise

And many of the benefits we get from using it on ourselves translate to the garden, too.

To get those benefits, you’ll want to find a pure neem oil that’s a cold pressed neem oil, organically produced if you can find it.

What Is Neem Oil?

It comes from the seeds of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, now grown in over 70 countries around the world.

For many years I avoided using neem oil for plants because I tend to stay away from pesticides, but I’ve been reading more about it over the past couple of years and my opinion has changed.

Apple tree

I started experimenting with it on my fruit trees last year, and now believe it’s a rare product in that it repels pests without harming the beneficial organisms in our organic gardens.

I successfully controlled aphids and mildew, and the really cool part is that the leaves I sprayed were noticeably healthier than the ones I didn’t, which proved to me that this is not like most pesticides, which often harm plants to some degree.

There’s even anecdotal evidence, mostly coming from organic orchardists who swear by a whole list of neem oil uses, that it’s actually helpful for the soil and arboreal food web.

That’s why I call it the ‘healthy’ pesticide.

I still wouldn’t spray it haphazardly around the garden, but if you experienced some pest damage last year, I believe cold-pressed, pure neem oil is potentially one of the best options to improve your situation this year. Read on below to see why…

YouTube video

First, Does Pure Neem Oil Cause Any Problems?

The great thing about neem seed oil is that it mainly affects plant-feeding insects that suck or chew on leaves, so beneficial insects including bees, butterflies and other pollinators that feed on nectar aren’t much affected.

Neem tree
The neem tree, Azadirachta indica, is native to the Indian subcontinent including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.

Other beneficials, such as ladybugs, earthworms and spiders aren’t affected either unless they’re sprayed directly with a fairly heavy dose.

Research shows that only repeated applications of very high concentrations of neem – far exceeding those you’ll be using – had a small impact on some bee populations.

Personally, I still wouldn’t advocate blanketing the whole garden with neem oil as I do with microbial inoculants and liquid fertilizers, but some advocates, including well-known orchardist and author Michael Phillips, do use it as part of a regular spray program, mixed with liquid fish, liquid seaweed, effective microorganisms and other biostimulants.

As for human safety, pure neem oil is not only natural, but is actually used in many applications for our health – neem oil for skin, neem oil for hair, neem oil for dogs, and so on.

The residue from spraying your vegetables is non-toxic, but you don’t want to ingest it because neem oil can be irritating to eyes, skin and stomach, and negatively impact fertility, so as with most things we spray in our garden, don’t drink it or go splashing it all over your face.

WebMD says, among other things, “Taking neem seeds or oil by mouth is LIKELY UNSAFE for children. Serious side effects in infants and small children can happen within hours after taking neem oil. These serious side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, blood disorders, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, brain disorders, and death.” and “Neem oil and neem bark are LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. They can cause a miscarriage. Not enough is known about the safety of need during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.”

Neem breaks down quickly without a lasting residue and has a low environmental impact. You can spray neem pretty much up to the day of harvest.

The only thing to be careful of is not to spray too close to waterways because neem oil has been shown to be toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates.

Neem Oil Pesticide – How It Works

Neem oil insecticide uses. Pure neem oil can kill soft-bodied insects and mites on contact, which is one reason why you want to spray it in the early morning or evening when the pollinators aren’t out as much, to avoid spraying them.

Neem tree

But that’s not the main method of action of how it controls pests.

First, neem oil repels insects and other animals directly when they encounter it on the leaves.

And when you spray it on the soil, plants can take it up systemically, which will deter insects from feeding even more.

But for those insects who do still feed, the oil contains many different components that are not going to bode well for them, the most active and well-researched being a metabolite called azadirachtin.

When a plant-feeding insect feeds on a leaf that has been sprayed with pure neem oil, the azadirachtin interferes with the insect’s hormonal system, which inhibits their eating, mating and egg-laying patterns. It also inhibits growth, which prevents larvae from molting and eggs from hatching.

Because azadirachtin acts on the hormonal system, insects don’t develop resistance in future generations, thereby making it a sustainable solution.

While azadirachtin is the most researched metabolite, there are others involved, the main ones being nimbin and salanin.

Neem oil fungicide uses. Organic compounds in the oil spark an immune response to prevent fungal diseases such as mildew, black spot, rust, rot, scab, leaf spot and blights.

And a quality, cold-pressed neem oil will occasionally control some of these diseases when they’re already present.

It’s also been used as a seed treatment to successfully prevent phytopathogenic fungal diseases.

A Brief Word On “Pests”

Neem seeds
Neem oil comes from neem seeds.

I’m using the word pest a lot in this article and I’d like to speak to that.

We call something a pest because it’s doing something we don’t like, but really, it’s just an animal or microorganism doing its job.

I may think about the tomato hornworm as a pest when it chows down on my tomato plants, but in reality, the reason it’s doing that is that my tomato plants aren’t optimally healthy.

As I’ve talked about before, insects and diseases don’t cause many problems when our plants are healthy, so when we see that they are causing problems, our first plan of action should be to improve plant health, not to reach for the pesticide, because that won’t solve the root cause of the problem.

The first thing I reach for is my favorite microbial inoculant and one of my favorite liquid organic fertilizers.

Both of these help boost plant health, sometimes enough to make the “pests” go away entirely, sometimes just enough so they don’t cause as much of a problem, and sometimes it doesn’t seem to help much at all, because it may be that something else is going on.

So the other thing I do is think about what else could be contributing to the problem – improper watering, airflow, sun exposure, soil imbalances, etc. There’s always a reason, whether or not I can figure it out.

Traditionally, an organic pesticide is the last thing I reach for. Now, the cool thing about pure neem oil is that it actually seems to boost plant health too, whereas most pesticides harm plants, so I do reach for it sooner than I would with other pesticides.

But I still want to remember to also bring in some foliar nutrition and some beneficial microorganisms, to take more of a holistic approach to addressing the root cause of the problem.

So yes, I use the word “pests” because then we can all understand what I’m talking about, but really, they’re just insects and fungi that are helping to remove the unhealthy plants from my food supply.

Okay, back to neem oil…

Other Pure Neem Oil Benefits

Neem flowers
Neem flowers

Neem oil is nutritious, so it actually acts as a foliar fertilizer.

But perhaps more important, the fatty acids are especially good for plants and some fungi.

I’ve come across anecdotes that neem is good for soils, too, but I haven’t seen any proof, so I can’t speak to it much.

I think because most research is focused on using neem oil for plants as a pesticide that the soil benefits are considered secondary.

But I do know that a ‘neem cake’ is made from the organic residue after pure neem oil is pressed from the seeds, and that cake is used as a soil conditioner.

Do You Need Neem Oil For Plants?

If your plants are generally healthy and you don’t have much in the way of insect or disease problems, you probably don’t need neem oil.

Some proponents recommend it be used regularly, almost like a broad spectrum fertilizer, and perhaps there’s something to that, but personally, I don’t want to kill insects unnecessarily, so I save this for plants that really need some extra help.

In that case, it’s my number one choice. It helps control nearly 200 species of insects, 15 of fungi, and allegedly, some bacteria and viruses.

It’s most effective for either eradicating or at least deterring insects that feed on leaves. Here is a list of some of the main insects it can help control:

bed bugs
black-headed caterpillars
black vine weevils
blister beetles
boring insects (many types)
cabbage worms
Colorado potato beetles
corn earworms
cotton stainers
eriophyid mites
flea beetles
fruit flies
fruit sucking moths
fungus gnats
gypsy moths
Japanese beetles
lace bugs
leaf miners
leaf webbers
Mexican bean beetles
mites (not an insect)
moths and moth larvae
mushroom flies
pod bug
pulse beetle
red palm weevil
root grubs
root knot nematodes
root weevil adults
sand flies
semi loopers
spider mites
spindle bugs
spotted beetles
squash bugs
stink bugs
tea mosquito
white grubs

Some people have also had success controlling snails and slugs, but not always.

Finding A Quality Neem Oil

Neem Oil Seeds
Neem seeds

In terms of where to buy neem oil, be sure to seek out a product that is a cold-pressed, 100% pure neem oil, preferably organic.

Pure neem oil for sale that was cold-pressed contains much higher levels of active ingredients, which makes it much more effective. You pay more for a bottle but you use a lot less.

If possible, try to determine the percentage of azadirachtin in order to more accurately compare products. The product I have contains 3750 ppm, which is really excellent.

Commercial neem sprays are usually an extract of neem that have almost all of the azadirachtin removed, plus additional synthetics added to them.

They also often have 30% or so “Other” ingredients and they don’t disclose what those are. The Garden Safe neem oil and Bonide neem oil brands both are in this category.

What you want is a pure, cold-pressed neem oil – not an extraction – and one that’s free of additional harmful ingredients.

How Much Neem Oil Do You Need?

Pure Neem Oil Seeds
Neem seeds and flower

I keep a small 8oz size around my house because that’s plenty for my home garden.

That size will do about 1000 square feet of orchard for a whole growing season, and 4000+ square feet for a vegetable garden.

Store your neem oil in a cool, dark place. Room temperature is okay, or the refrigerator is a good place for it, too. It will last about two years if you do this.

How To Use Neem Oil For Plants

For more detail, here’s the label for my neem oil: Neem Oil Label

You can use neem oil throughout the growing season on all types of plants. Just be careful with seedlings and young plants in general, as they tend to be more vulnerable to any type of spray.

It’s best to start early in the season to prevent the main infection period of fungi, disrupt egg hatch of soft-bodied insects, and target overwintering moths in the trunk and soil.

On plants that you know will have pest problems, you can spray for prevention every 1-2 weeks starting in late winter, and especially when the problem season approaches for that plant, and then for maintenance every 2-4 weeks after that.

If you have a specific pest to control, you can spray every 3 days for at least 2 weeks. This is approximately the length of one life cycle for many insects.

It’s best to apply early in the morning or even better is in the evening to make sure you’re avoiding the hot sun, as some sensitive plants may get burned.

Book: The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips

Here’s what orchardist Michael Phillips says about when to use neem oil: “I apply pure neem oil along with liquid fish at the week of quarter-inch green, pink, petal fall, and 7 to 10 days after that. This early season program addresses many orchard health fronts including the primary infection period of fungal diseases like scab and rust. I continue to use neem through the summer on a 10 to 14 day schedule, again coinciding with any other specific spray needs. A late August spray on the later varieties finishes up the use of neem oil for the season here in northern New Hampshire.”

If you want to know what he means by “quarter-inch green” and “pink” and so on, here are example growth stages for apple, pear, and peach trees.

Like coconut oil, pure neem oil becomes solid and thick at cooler temperatures, so if necessary, you can warm up the whole bottle by placing it in a pot of warm water. Don’t use really hot water because heat destroys azadirachtin.

Oil and water don’t mix easily, so you’ll need to use an emulsifier to stabilize the mixture. Generally, liquid soap is used. It also has insecticidal properties. Unfortunately, dish detergents are quite hard on plants, so I use a non-toxic Castile soap such as Dr Bronner’s.

Total application rate of neem oil is 1-2 cups per 1000 square feet per year, which could be divided into small-dose, weekly sprayings or larger-dose, monthly sprayings. For example, if you spray 6 times this year, that’s about 3-6 Tbsp of neem oil per 1000 square feet each time. Lean to the lower end if your plants are small, like vegetables in spring.

To mix, add the soap to the warm water first and then slowly stir in the neem oil. Per gallon of water, mix 0.5-1 teaspoons of non-toxic liquid soap and then add 1.5-2.5 Tbsp of neem oil and shake very well before and during application to keep it emulsified. Don’t use dish detergent – use a true liquid soap.

1.5 Tbsp makes for a 1:170 ratio of neem oil to water and 2.5 Tbsp makes for a 1:100 ratio (1:100 to 1:200 seems to be the normal recommendation). That amount will do about 250-500 square feet, but don’t spray too much on young seedlings – it’s better to wait until plants are bigger for most types of foliar spraying, as tiny plants can be quite vulnerable to overapplication.

Let’s apply the above recipe to a standalone sprayer. It’s always best to start on the low end (less product/more water), so if you plan to spray, for example, 3 gallons of water, it’s 1.5 teaspoons of liquid soap and 4.5 Tbsp of neem oil.

Now let’s apply the recipe to a pint-sized hose-end sprayer. Here’s how I do it. Fill it 3/4 full with warm water, add 1.5 teaspoons of non-toxic liquid soap, and shake shake shake. Then, slowly pour in 4.5 Tbsp of neem oil while vigorously mixing the liquid. This is similar to how a good salad dressing is made – the oil needs to be added slowly and mixed really well in order to emulsify it. Alternatively, using a blender to mix this all together can work, but then your blender smells like neem, which isn’t very nice.

Then set the hose-end sprayer to setting 10 (10 Tbsp of your mixture per gallon of water). The reason I mix it with so much water in the sprayer is that it’s almost impossible for the sprayer to pull up straight neem oil, so mixing it with this water makes it less thick, allowing it to be pulled up. If it pulls up too fast, you can go down to setting 5.

Even better, in your hose-end sprayer, cut your water in half and replace it with liquid fish and/or liquid seaweed fertilizer to spray them at the same time. I always try to combine products when possible since I’m out there spraying anyway, and fish and seaweed are the best matches for pure neem oil.

I don’t mix this with microbial inoculants because I don’t think the microbes would like the oil, so I come through with my EM or compost tea a few days later or whenever I get to it.

Neem tree

Use your neem and water mixture within 8 hours because it will break down afterward. Then clean your sprayer immediately to keep it from clogging up with oil.

When you spray the leaves, make sure that you also spray the undersides because insects like to hide there.

It’s always useful to spray the soil too because insects lay their eggs in the ground, and because the fatty acids in the oil are beneficial for the soil food web.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate effects. Remember that neem oil concentrate primarily works not by contact, but by disturbing the hormonal systems of insects, so it can take some time.

If you want to learn more about organic pest control, check out this article.


  1. Judy Ward says:

    Phil~~any advice on how to keep deer away from gardens? An 11-ft. fence is not an option. Thanks!

    1. jim bednar says:

      I have been hanging nylon stockings with dog hair around the property. Will let you know how it does.

      1. Judy Ward says:

        Thank-you, Jim….will be very interesting to see your results!

    2. Judy,For the last 5-6 years I’ve been using one raw egg mixed in one gallon of water and spraying anything deer like to eat. Repeat after rain. We have a pretty bad nightly issue if I skip it after one rainfall. They avoid the smell like the plague!Hope that helpsTerry

      1. Judy Ward says:

        Much appreciated Terry, and thanks for posting!

      2. A friend of mine from Alabama in an area with a large population of deer, used old sweaty t-shirts that he peed on as well and hung them around his garden. He swore it worked.

    3. For the last few years I have been using Milorganite fertilizer around the perimeter of my garden and flower beds. It is a fertilizer for golf courses and NOT good for your garden itself but it creates a boundary around it. I found mine at the local feed & seed store but have seen it at Lowe’s too. The deer were coming into my rural yard and eating my tulips to the ground before they had a chance to bloom. Can you say angry? Since broadcasting the Milorganite around my flower beds all of my tulips and other flowers have not been eaten for lunch. Remember, just sprinkle it AROUND the garden, NOT IN IT. Good luck!

      1. Judy Ward says:

        Have never heard of this one~very kind of you to offer this advice, Mensamom~thank-you!

    4. Richard Beasley says:

      We use an electric fence it keeps deer and bear away. You will need at least two wire runs one 2 1/2 ft high and one 41/2 feet high. One shock is all it takes, but each animal need a dose of v so it may take a little bit to get them all aware.Millorganate organic fertilizer may work, but don’t count on it. (Artificial Dead Dog)Chick wire lying rased by 5 inches and flush with the ground but its a weed trap as well, not effective for besrs. They get use to everything but pain is always remembered. Rabbits will also damage the garden this requires a sold beefier. Get the most volts you can.

    5. My friend placed tall posts around his garden and strung 3 to 4 rows of fish line at varying levels. That worked for him. Leave a space open to get in and out of for yourself!

    6. We found that buying bars of Irish Spring soap, cut it into thin strips and toss this around the plants. For some reason, deer do not like the smell. you have to replace it after rains. It did work!

    7. Growing Concern says:

      There are spray deer repellent products on the market have the smell of predator urine.
      Mountain Lion
      The smells are not enough to drive you out of your garden too.

    8. Charmaine Jacobsen says:

      I have often been told that petunia’s deter deer because they puy off a urine like odor that deer generally stay away from . Plus they’re a pretty addition to a garden

  2. I used neem for my dwarf trees – however, probably I won’t next year for the same reason that I can’t use BT on them. They are in a field of native plants and those plants are hosts to caterpillars that are needed to become pollinators and to feed birds. I can see more purpose in using it on squash and cukes and even brassicas and eggplants where the evolutionary relationship between plants and insects does not exist. The mildew and pests on those plants would warrant its use. Surround has been the best things for controlling flea beetles and caterpillars on the fruit trees, eggplants and potatoes and when using it on the fruit trees not much of it falls on the surrounding plants as it is heavy and drops straight down with little overspray on a still afternoon.

    1. Yes, I agree that selective use is important with something like this.

    2. rheinbach says:

      Can you please tell me what trees you have and how you take care of them. I have a three year old dwarf orchard, that is niot doing well. Peaches, apples, pears,, plums , apricots., nectarines. The apples all had coddling moths, despite bagging them. I thin all my fruit. I use stone meal, EM, dr. earth.Also can you tell me what plants for butterflies and beneficial insects you have, i have hysdops, foxglove, tansy, yarrow, dill, fennel.

      1. I have peach, apricot, plum, cherry, apple pear,quince, mulberry, persimmon.. I use the sprays that Michael Phillips recommends but not BT and probably not neem this next year. I have over 30 species of native plants on my half acre. Check Prairie Moon for a catalog or the website for flowering plants that you can use. Many reseed and fill in so you don’t have to plant all of your area at once. Really good ones: Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset), Pycnanthemum (mints), Agastache, Scrophularia marilandica, Asclepius (milkweeds) incarnata does not grow by rhizomes so is not aggressive but reseeds, helianthus (sunflower family) – growing the great gray stripe and teddy bears gives winter seeds to the birds, Solidago (goldenrod) monorails, bicolor – neither are aggressive but are great for attracting bees especially native ones. If you don’t have native plants near the trees then BT might be your best choice for the coddling moth. If you don’t have the Holistic Orchard by Phillips, you should get it.

  3. Phil,I’ve been using neem oil for 4-5 years in my own IPM program, alternated biweekly with plant essential oils. For those I use Rosemary, mint, thyme, cilantro, alone or in combo. I use neem oil from Neemresource.com. It’s the most concentrated I’ve been able to find, and works best for me at 1 tbsp per gallon. I emulsify it first with 1/2 tsp ProTekt, then mix with warm water. Shoot for 85F water temp. High temps will destroy the azidirachtin, as you said. It will clump in cold water. Compost tea or other mixes can be used as a base as well as water. I always spray just before sunset to avoid burning the leaves. Light also destroys the goodies we are after. If mixed ahead of time, a few hours at most, keep out of the light. Other than what drips off the plant I do not use this as a soil drench. It can be a bit hard on the micro herd. Neem cake is better in the soil.I use this inside and out on plants and have been quite pest free since. My plants all love it. It’s called leaf shine in India for a reason. I only saw one tomato hornworm last summer, about an inch long. He didn’t live long enough to do any damage. I think the neem gave him a belly ache. Grasshoppers are not as affected as some pests it seems, but they don’t like eating it and it reduces their damage a lot. We had a bad infestation last summer and I saw a lot in the garden but they seemed to be mostly passing through.I also use neem cake from the same source, mixed into the soil. Great stuff for many reasons, fertilizer, soil conditioner, pesticide. Worms love it! I mix neem cake, kelp meal, and EWC. Best top dress I’ve ever used.Thanks,Terry

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Terry. All great info. I’ve used the Neem Resource neem oil before and it is excellent as well.

  4. Phil, thanks for the info on neem oil (I had no idea). You didn’t mention squash bugs in your list of insects which makes me wonder if that’s because squash bugs aren’t softbodied. Their eggs are hard to squish too. Will neem oil help this? I’m inundated with squash bugs every year. They’ll kill the plant and move on to the tomatoes and peppers if I let it go for very long. Any help with these dastardly demons would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Neem can help with squash bugs with multiple applications. It’s definitely worth a try.

      1. Thanks Phil! It’s worth a try, they laugh at insecticidal soap.

    2. I would use Surround starting early and keeping it up all season. For the squash vine borer I use BT on the stems.

      1. Thanks Linda! I have tried BT on the squash plants but didn’t have much luck with it. Do I need to spray every day?

        1. You need to spray only the stems as that is where the moth lays its eggs that will bore into the stems . I believe it breaks down in the sun so I do it once a week and after a rain. I had no losses due to borers last year and far less squash bugs and cucumber striped beetles since using surround.

    3. Anna Brannon says:

      Squash bugs are on the list above. I’m looking for something to kill the vine bores. I’ve seen where they enter the vine and I cut them out but the vine can’t take up water. I’m wondering if I can wrap the vine or spray with neem oil before they attack my plants.

      1. Neem oil can help somewhat if you smother the eggs but at that point, you may just want to squish the eggs. You can also try wrapping aluminum foil around the base of the plants so they don’t lay their eggs in the first place.

  5. Karen Saville says:

    Thanks so much for this article, Phil. I’m going to try it this spring on a Norkent apple tree infested with Oyster Shell Scale when the babies are starting to hatch.

    1. Hi Karen, spray the trunk and branches early this spring before they even start to hatch and then again on a regular schedule, including hatch. I think you’ll be happy. Let me know how it goes.

  6. Great info on neem oil! I will be trying it! Can you address the issue of moles? They are everywhere in our yard and garden! I’ve tried castor oil pellets but that doesn’t do much! Thanks!

    1. Aren’t moles insect eating creatures? Are they a garden pest? The tomato hornworm mentioned above is the larvae for the hawk or sphinx moth and is a magnificent creature so unless there is a big problem, I would leave them. They are also hosts for the beneficial parasitic wasps. Keep a volunteer tomato plant to move them to. And esp do not harm them when they have been parasitized.

      1. Moles mainly eat earthworms, grubs etc but burrow underground to do so. They leave tons of unsightly mounds of soil piled up all over a lawn or garden..uprooting plants etc.Like deer, rabbits, squirrels, they are a pest in gardens!

        1. Anything helpful on the moles Phil? Thanks!

    2. Jacqueline woodward says:

      Could you please tell me if it is possible and useful to « paint » the trunk of a middle size mountain ash (which I suspect is attacked by insects) with pure neem oil ? Many thanks for your answer.
      Jacqueline Woodward

      1. No, I would spray the trunk with a 2% solution of neem oil to water, 5 Tbsp per gallon of water.

  7. Eddie Dvorsky says:

    I cannot remember where I read this but it’s been working for over two years now.Maybe only for SO Carolina ha ha.!!! Purchase some 80lb monofilament fishing line and string it between trees or posts reasonable tight and your finished. Deer will not cross what they touch and cannot see. They may run through it and break it but likely will not feed.Ihave lines strung all over and only one was broken in over two years.Worth a try!! Cheap too !

  8. Phil, I am using the fermented leaves of neem tree. How do you look at it? For insect control, i found it satisfying though.

    1. Yes, that’s a great approach!

    2. Anne Studley says:

      What are your proportions, Jules? And would the leaves need to be fermented? I have powdered neem leaves and wonder if I could use that, plus the concentration if applicable.

      1. I am sorry Anne for very late reply. I am using 1 kilo of fresh neem leaves and soak them in 5 liters of water. Soak them overnight, strain and use them as spray. When soaked for a longer period of time, say one week, I have to ferment them with 1 kilo of molasses (1 kilo neem: 1 Kilo molasses:5 liters water) to eliminate that very strong odor. Have tried using pulverized, dried neem leaves by just converting the equivalent amount of 1 kilo fresh neem leaves into pulverized, dried neem leaves. Still it is working.

        1. Anne Studley says:

          Oh my gosh, that’s a lot – too expensive for me! How much of a garden can you cover with that? And how long does it last? Thanks for the recipe, though.

  9. Max B Holbrook says:

    I have used an egg mixture – 4 eggs in half gallon of water. Put the eggs in a blender first and blend, mix with water shake well, use a hose end sprayer, go to work!

  10. payday2222 says:

    In your opinion, will the neem oil you advertise handle my nemesis the dreaded LEAF-FOOTED BUG (leptoglossus phyllopus-coreidae)? They are a Goliath in my small fruit tree orchard: so far, they have laughed at my organic attempts at control. As one flew away after I sprayed it, it said: “your organic sprays make us more virile”. Someone please give me the smooth stone (organic solution) that will knock them out.

    1. Yes, neem oil could be a help if you get started early in the season and spray it regularly on the trunk and leaves. Definitely worth a try and let me know how it goes.

  11. Amanda Michelle says:

    Neem does harm beneficials…I do not recommend using neem outside because it kills bees and we keep them where we live. My advice, only use I side on plants…or research neem on beneficials. I learned the hard way by finding all the good bugs were dying!

    1. All of my research shows that pure neem oil does not harm most beneficials including bees unless you’re spraying them directly (that’s why it’s best to spray early morning or evening when they’re not pollinating). Are you using pure neem oil? Many neem oil products contain chemical pesticides that do indeed harm beneficials, but with pure neem oil, some beekeepers even spray it on the hives for mite control.

      All that being said, if for some reason bees end up ingesting too much of it, it could be an issue. Thanks for sharing your experience here. We definitely want to think holistically about everything we spray and do in our gardens.

  12. GardenMeetsGeek says:

    Absolutely a great article. Neem oil has been a staple around my plants for years. I used to only use it when I brought my plants indoors at the end of the season, but about 2 years ago started to use it around most of my garden as I noticed a large break out occurring. Keep up the great articles.

  13. Very useful post, Phil. Would neem oil work to discourage snails without killing them?

    1. It’s generally not all that effective at discouraging snails, but some people do report having success with it.

  14. Kathy Boone says:

    Do you happen to know where I can get pure Neem Oil in Canada?

  15. Kishan Patel says:

    hello sirhow to mix neem oil and an emulsifier ? which ratio i maintain pls give information.thank you

    1. Mix 1.5 Tbsp of neem oil with ½ teaspoon of liquid soap per gallon of water and shake like crazy before and during application.

  16. Anika Kozlowski says:

    what happens if you don’t dilute the neem oil and wipe down a plant with pure neem oil only?

    1. I expect it makes a very unhappy plant. Try it on a few leaves and let us know 🙂

  17. PAULETTE BROWN says:

    i would like the neem but shipping is a bit steep for me. Is there a brand you recommend i look for? I see so many but not sure if they are true pure cold press organic neem. Im in the US. thanks

    1. Hi Paulette, neem is one of the rare products I carry where I don’t (yet) recommend a specific brand. If I find a product and the company cares enough to share where and how it’s harvested and processed, along with the organic certification, I feel confident in the quality.

  18. Hi All, I am from India, is it i get this pure neem oil product in India?, if yes please let me know where and how should i get it.

    1. Hi Jai, I’m not sure where to buy neem oil in India.

  19. Hi Phil, I made too big a batch of neem oil spray and i heard it will lose its efficacy within hours, so I can’t reuse it? Thanks

    1. With most fertilizers, ya, you want to use it the same day you’ve mixed it with water. In the case of neem oil, I don’t think it goes “bad” like some fertilizers do (e.g. fish), so I expect you can still use it, but I’m not sure about efficacy – I expect you’ll still get some benefit. Test on a small area first and give it a couple of days to make sure there are no negative consequences.

  20. I love it but can this be available in Malawi my home? If one in Malawi here knows where I can get it please tell me.

  21. What detergent can you use to emulsify the neem oil? Everything I can find has some ingredient that is not healthy.

    1. You want to use a liquid soap, not a detergent. Soaps are made from natural ingredients such as plant oils or acids derived from animal fat. Detergents are synthetic – they have their uses but tend to be much harder on plants. I use Dr. Bronner’s or another castille soap.

  22. Hello phil..can u ship to malaysia…hehe.. and how much 1pint?. I want to use for my garden.. 1/2 acre.. chilli..

    1. Sorry, I can’t ship outside of the U.S.

  23. Cathi Pomeroy says:

    Excellent Information and content~Thank you!

  24. Does neem oil kill hornworms on tomato plants?

    1. It doesn’t kill them, but it very often stops them from feeding. Definitely worth trying.

      1. What can I use to kill the hornworms?

      2. I recently purchased some neem oil from you. I mixed it exactly how you instructed. Sprayed ALL my vegetable leaves yesterday late evening and today all the leaves are brown on all the plants. Why????

        1. This is the first I’ve heard of something like this, Iris, although I have “burned” my own leaves with fish fertilizer before (I think almost anything applied in excess can cause problems). Can you tell me more about how much you used, how diluted it was and how big the area was?

          1. I mixed 1.5 tbsp neem oil with 0.5 tsp dish detergent in 1 gallon of water. I mixed the neem oil and soap in a jar first with water ten put in a 1 gallon hand pump sprayer filled rest with water to equal 1 gallon and sprayed all my plant leaves. I don’t know how large of an area but I sprayed 10 tomatoes plants about 3 feet tall, zucchini leaves about 4 inches tall,cucumber leaves about 2 inches tall and cantaloupe leaves about 1 inch tall. Everything turned dark brown??? Are the plants dead??? I also sprayed late evening when the sun was not on the plants. The mixture is how you instructed on your website

          2. It sounds like it was too much for the small area. I would use 1.5 Tbsp on 250-500 square feet of garden. I did mention application rates per 1000 square feet on this page, but I’ll edit the page now to try to make it more clear. I’m not surprised the little seedlings aren’t happy, as plants that small are often quite vulnerable to any type of spray, but I am surprised the tomatoes are reacting so poorly since they’re bigger. Still, it sounds like an over-application. Hopefully the tomatoes form new leaves – I’m not so sure about the other ones. I’m very sorry for your troubles, Iris. I’ll go edit this page now to make sure I state the application rate in several places.

  25. So how much do I mix in a 1 gallon round up sprayer? I have one just for the garden??
    Should I leave the tomatoes? Also my bell peppers turned brown. They are about 2 feet tall?
    Should I just leave the other plants and see how they do?
    Is dawn liquid soap OK to use?

    Thank you

    1. It may be the dawn liquid detergent that’s part of the problem. It can be quite hard on plants. A non-toxic soap is much more benign than a detergent like dawn. For your small area, I would mix 2 teaspoons of neem oil into 2 quarts of water with a few drops of non-toxic liquid soap (or insecticidal soap). Yes, I would leave the tomatoes and peppers for a week to see what happens. You can certainly leave the tiny seedlings to see what happens, but I would also plant new ones.

      1. Thank you for the information.
        What are some other insecticidal soaps besides the Castile soap , having problems finding Castile soap here?

        1. Insecticidal soaps are specifically made for plants. Example brands are Safer’s and Epsoma. As for Castile soaps, they have them in health food stores and some regular grocery stores along with the hand soaps.

          1. Thank you Phil for all the information. Wanted to let you know that my vege plants came back to life except 2 tomato plants. The neem oil is working very well controlling insects on my plants.
            Last 2 times I sprayed my garden it rained right after. Is the neem oil washed away by the rain?

          2. Yes, neem is at least partially washed away. Worth reapplying after.

  26. I live in Orlando, Florida and I grow Plumeria trees. I discovered that I have signs of Leaf miners on some of the leaves. I also have rust and now some of my blooms are drying up and falling off before they open. I’ve always had an ant problem and I believe they are called waffle ants. They are sucking the nectar from the blooms before they open and the leaf miners are affecting the leaves. The rust has never hurt my flowers, and I clip the leaves with rust and throw them away. But some of the leaves are turning black at the tips where the leaf miners have been. I am starting to get concerned that I need to do something now before I lose my trees. I want to try the Neem oil, but I am afraid it might kill my trees. Most of the trees are over 4 years old, but a couple are 2 years old. Should I try the Neem oil on just the ones that have the Leaf miner tracks or should I do every tree?

    1. Do just the ones that have leaf miner tracks, and start with just a small area to make sure it doesn’t cause any problems. I’m especially careful during flowering to test a small area first because many flowers are quite sensitive to many types of sprays.

  27. we have a 25footx 30foot garden and a 1 gallon sprayer what should the mixture be for us of neem oil to water ratio?

    1. I would use 1 Tbsp of neem oil mixed with a couple of drops of liquid soap and then a gallon of water in your sprayer. That would be about perfect for 750 square feet.

  28. Yuri Kagolovsky says:

    What is the best way to clean a sprayer after using Neem oil, especially the tubes (to prevent a layer of oil forming inside the tubes)?

    1. I just fill the sprayer up with soapy water and spray that through the system for a few minutes. Some people use ammonia or even bleach.

      1. Yuri Kagolovsky says:

        Hi Phil,

        Thank you for your reply. I tried soapy water before posting my question and, unfortunately, it did not work. I can still see some oily build-up in the plastic tube inside the sprayer.

        1. If you’re using a hose-end sprayer, which has just a short tube, you should be able to find little brushes at a dollar store that fit inside the tube for cleaning. Put soap on the brush and scrub away.

          For the longer tubing of a standalone sprayer, unfortunately, I’ve never seen anything other than the idea of using water with liquid soap or ammonia or bleach.

        2. Lori Shep says:

          Vinegar works to get rid of oils and build up. There’s also a cleaning vinegar that works for the most stubborn dried up greases. You can also use cleaning vinegar to spray on unwanted weeds! It takes the calcium buildup off of tubs and tiles as well.

  29. I did not see chiggers written down as one of the insects that Neem Oil deters or eliminates. Chiggers are the #1 enemy in my garden (a very big garden). I have a true infestation- they are not on the grass, they are on my plants. I do everything that I am supposed to do – there are no weeds, no debris, everything is trimmed and the grass is mowed and treated. I garden through the month of May and then I stop – I do not go into my garden until October/November when the weather begins to cool down considerably (I live in NE) and the biting chiggers disappear. What are your thoughts about using Neem Oil for chiggers? I do not want to spray my entire garden with Pyrethrin which will certainly kill the chiggers but will also eliminate all insects, good and bad.

    1. I would think neem oil could help with chiggers. I can’t say for sure, but it’s definitely worth a try.

  30. Hi Phil, I used your recipe; neem oil with dr bonner castille soap and I used a whisk to mix it and the oil stayed clumpy and did not emulsify well. should I use more soap? Thanks. John.

    1. Perhaps, but I find if I shake it vigorously that it seems to emulsify fairly well. Still, I would have thought a whisk would work great, too.

  31. Karen Palmisciano says:

    Can you tell me how often I should spray my Seabreeze bamboo which is attacked by mites. There are stripes on many of the leaves, almost all. I use need oil. When and how should I be spraying them, I use a gallon container spray hose. If I spray heavy then it rains will it still be effective in the bamboo? I am in Florida and it is hard to get to spray and the heat is a problem also. Thank you, great article.

    1. There’s no set frequency. Every 1-2 weeks seems to be right. I use 1.5Tbsp per gallon of water. The rain will wash some of it away – not all of it, but you’ll want to reapply at some point. Best to spray not during the hottest part of the day – spray early morning or in the evening.

  32. Hi, I don’t want to add any soap to this and I have few plants and I especially want to add this to my compost as there are really small termites types on my finished compost. How do I do it same 1:3 part. As in 1 tbsp of neem oil : 3 tbsp of water? Also I have fruit flies flying everywhere around because of the compost.

    1. It’s okay to have insects in your compost, but in order to decrease the fruit flies, you may need to cover it with leaves, straw, or wood chips.

  33. Thanks for the great info here! I have high hopes for my fruit trees this year. The links to the pages with pics of the “quarter inch green” on the peach and apple trees don’t seem to be working for me. Do you have any other pics so I can see just what that looks like? Thank you!

    1. I’ve updated that link to another one 🙂

  34. Gemma Watson says:

    After reading thoroughly I’m quietly impressed to Neem Oil but how do you fight with leaves black spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose, fruit rotten etc fungal attack without using any chemical fungicide?

    1. Gemma, I only have experience with powdery mildew on tomatoes and garden near the ocean in southern Ca (humid and cool conditions May and June). The neem oil, applied as Phil says, knocked back the powdery mildew in the tomato patch. It seems necessary to repeat application for several days, then keep an eye for return of powdery mildew and spray again. Plants continue to produce fruit into now (August). Good luck with fighting the other conditions!

  35. Barbara Sauder says:

    Can I just water my plant with it to control insects? I have MS and spraying would be difficult.

    1. Alas, it really needs to be on the leaves/stems. You could water the leaves with a watering can (1.5 Tbsp per gallon of water) and perhaps some of it would stick to them.

  36. I made a mistake 2 days ago by using the Neem Oil in a watering base type of application. 2 Teaspoons to a gallon, and watered 4 plants with it. Of course I never saw anything suggesting not to do so until reading the microscopic fine print near bottom of container, which stated to not use as a watering solution because the oils will reduce the amount of Oxygen and nutrient intake by the root system. Is there anything I can do, or is it basically a lost cause and need to replace the plants.

    1. I think you’ll be entirely fine. Some people think the neem is useful in the soil.

  37. Ahron/Maine Homesteader says:

    Up here in Maine we have an invasive caterpillar from the brown tail moth (comes from Europe). The caterpillar has no predators due to its highly toxic hairs. Up here they primarily feed on oak trees and apple trees. I was looking for a natural way to combat them since our homestead is organic and came across neem oil. It took numerous treatments plus surrounding my apple tree trunks with duct tape spread with Vaseline (they wont cross it), was able to eradicate them. With that said, I had not realized the oil is also a fungicide, was only looking for something to help with the caterpillars. Anyway, all my fruit trees were sprayed and I am going to have a bumper crop of ‘Golden Delicious’ apples and ‘Bartlett’ pears; did not need to spray with copper. I had no idea how strong of a fungicide it was as well as saving my trees from insects. I swear by the stuff, smells like burnt coffee to me but who cares! I have fruit for the food banks and I am grateful.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Ahron!

  38. I have a city mold infection on a walnut tree that seems to have migrated to a magnolia tree and a succulent plant. I live in Southern California and the weather is often above 75F. What is the best way to proceed?

    1. Neem oil may help, applied as per the instructions above. But on top of that, I would apply a microbial inoculant like effective microorganisms as well as a health-promoting broad-spectrum fertilizer like liquid sea minerals, as these will help the tree fend off the mold itself.

  39. Phil,
    While Neem oil has more benefits and less harm than conventional and commercial pesticides, your claim that it is 100% safe for human consumption is not accurate. Neem can be especially detrimental to children and pregnant/trying to conceive women, as a few of the side effects include infant death, infertility, and miscarriage (https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-577/neem).
    I think your customers have a right to transparency and honesty. I’d advise you to include the potential risks of Neem consumption on your website; if nothing else, than to reduce the potential liability of delivering false claims.

    1. Thanks Lizz, yes, I said as much up above but will add a few more details to make it more clear.

  40. Norma Theis says:

    Can i use neem oil concetrate in lemon tree or any citrus fruit tree?

  41. Jesse Pena says:

    Hello Phil,
    Will neem oil work on curly leaf on my peach and nectarine tree? have had it several years in a row now. someone told me neem helps if applied in the winter?? its winter and i have pruned and willing to try on bark before spring. if so how often should i do? and do you think 3 tbs/gallon is good at this stage?

    thanks.. I think your the best!

    1. Yes, it’s definitely worth a try. I’m not sure how many people apply it in winter, but I would think monthly would be good. 3Tbsp/gallon might be a bit high for pure neem oil, although that may be okay in winter. 1.5Tbsp is what I do. Here’s what orchardist Michael Phillips says about when to use neem oil: “I apply pure neem oil along with liquid fish at the week of quarter-inch green, pink, petal fall, and 7 to 10 days after that. This early season program addresses many orchard health fronts including the primary infection period of fungal diseases like scab and rust. I continue to use neem through the summer on a 10 to 14 day schedule, again coinciding with any other specific spray needs. A late August spray on the later varieties finishes up the use of neem oil for the season here in northern New Hampshire.”

  42. I use neem oil commercially on my tamarillo orchard. Is it possible to combine its application with other chemicals like copper, or sulphur or potassium silicate? Would save a lot of spraying time if it could be.

    1. Oils can reduce the effectiveness of these mineral sprays. It’s certainly worthwhile to test on a small area, but be sure to have a comparison to see the difference. Ideal would be: 1) control group, 2) neem alone, 3) copper alone, 4) neem and copper together. And then obviously others like sulphur would add even more groups.

  43. Chirag Araniya says:

    Hello sir
    I am from india (gujarat)
    I creat my own neem spry for my farm with halp of liquid dish wash (emulsifier).
    But emusified oil color is brown not milky white
    It is harmful of my plan or not ???
    Please halp me for this confusion

    1. I would try it on one plant and wait a few days to see what happens.

  44. John Herrick says:

    Dose Neem (either oil or seed meal) harm beneficial nematodes?

    1. Personally, I would apply them a week apart, but everything I’ve ever read says that beneficial nematodes won’t be harmed by neem oil. Paradoxically, neem oil has been shown to help control pathogenic nematodes such as root-knot nematodes.

  45. Hi Phil,

    Would it be safe and effective to mix EM with neem oil for spray/ drench application or would you recommend applying them separately? Same question for neem and compost tea. Thinking of neem as a pesticide makes me wonder if it will harm the microbes or mycorrhizae.


    1. Yes, I think it’s better to apply them separately. I generally come through a few days after neem with EM or compost tea.

  46. Pete Arnett says:

    How close to harvest can I use the neem oil? I have blackberries beginning to ripen and are plagued by japanese beetles and squash ready to pick plagued with squash bugs. since the oil needs a soap to emulsify do I really want to wash blackberries with soap?

    1. The neem oil can be used right up until harvest, but that’s a good question about the soap. I’m not sure what best practice is. I suppose it depends on the type of food. On average, I would probably try to have a week before harvest, but you could run an experiment on some of your plants to see what happens if you spray even later.

  47. I’m a small commercial grower of succulents and other foliage plants. I recently found some mealybug, just a few, but through out the growing area. Which means a complete shut down, potentially for many months. I started spraying some plants with a water & alcohol spray. Followed up in a few hours or day with neem oil. I know it works, but it discolours most of them. When they are ready for sale their new growth won’t match. Some plants will be damaged by one or more of those items. Those will have to be assessed afterwards.
    I also found some mealy on the roots, of one plant. Just at or below soil level. I have not been able to find any information on successfully killing mealy in the soil.
    I’m going to try a neem drench, which I hate. I work very hard to keep my soil microbes healthy and happy.
    Two questions
    1. What strength do I use for a drench. For a spray I use 1-2 tsp per litres. I’ve found 1tsp works best. Mainly because the higher dose causes more damage/discolouration. I can do a follow-up spray sooner with the neem. I have the feeling for soil higher might be the better choice.
    2a. Have you ever heard of anyone applying a soil drench from below. I mean sitting the plants in trays of the mixture. I would assume it need to be just enough to absorbed quickly, before the oil and water separate.
    2b. How about a dip? I know growers use it with other products.

    I do not see you or anyone else mention PHOTOTOXICIT with neem. I know it is a problem. Which is always my biggest problem, having to move plant to an area with no direct light for a couple days. It makes the process very slow. For outdoor plants, I only use neem after the sun has moved away from that area for the day.

    1. 1. The 1 tsp you’re currently using is fine for soil drenches, but yes, some people go with 2 tsp in this case.
      2a. I haven’t heard of soil drenches from below. I’m not positive that the oil would make it up to the soil surface or if it would separate out first.
      2b. Yes, this makes sense to me.

      Yes, I can see how succulents would be especially sensitive. I tell people to apply in the early morning or especially the evening for this reason. Thanks for your questions!

  48. Lori Shep says:

    Will this work for cinch on lawns? If yes, what would be the ratio recipe for use in a garden hose sprayer, if that would even be appropriate? Oh and how about those lawn grubs? Would it work for those too?

    1. Lori Shep says:

      I should have mentioned that my backyard is 75x100feet. The sprayer for the hose does have a dial on it. Would the water from the hose be too cold for the neem oil I wonder?

      1. The 4 Tbsp I mentioned above will only do about 1000 square feet, so you would need to do it about 7 times for your 7500 square feet. But you may be able to get more neem oil into the sprayer – the challenge is that the sprayer may not suck it up if you don’t mix some water into the sprayer too, so you’ll have to experiment a bit. But conceivably, you could do 16 Tbsp of neem oil with 16 Tbsp of water (presuming you have a 2 cup sprayer) and that could work. That would cover half of your yard. Again, read my application instructions up above for more info. Good luck!

        1. Lori Shep says:

          Hi Phil. Thank you so much for getting back to me. Ok my hose sprayer holds around 5 cups of liquid, it says at the top line 36 oz. It’s called a Chapin Wet or Dry Hose Sprayer (if that means anything lol). It has a dial that ranges from 3 to 21 gallons. Not sure if it is the same as yours. Can you tell setting the dial it should be set at? I’m not the greatest at figuring stuff like this out when it comes to using these things sorry.

          1. Ya, these things are really confusing. I tried to find the instructions for your sprayer online and I’m still confused. If you’re spraying 7500 square feet, I would try this in the sprayer: 2 cups of neem oil, 4 Tbsp of non-toxic liquid soap, and 2 cups of water. And set the sprayer to 21 gallons.

    2. I’ve heard of people having success with neem oil and cinch bugs. I doubt it will be quite as useful on grubs but it may inhibit the beetles from laying their eggs. Either way, you can read my application instructions up above ( https://www.smilinggardener.com/sale/pure-neem-oil-for-plants/#application ), but here’s the quick guide: If you’re using my hose-end sprayer or a similar pint-sized sprayer, here’s how I do it. Fill it 3/4 full with warm water, add 1/2 Tbsp of non-toxic liquid soap, and shake shake shake. Then, slowly pour in 4 Tbsp of neem oil while vigorously mixing the liquid. This is similar to how a good salad dressing is made – the oil needs to be added slowly and mixed really well in order to emulsify it. Alternatively, using a blender to mix this all together can work, but then your blender smells like neem, which isn’t very nice. Then set the hose-end sprayer to setting 10 Tbsp per gallon of water. The reason I mix it with so much water in the sprayer is that it’s almost impossible for the sprayer to pull up straight neem oil, so mixing it with this water makes it less thick, allowing it to be pulled up. If it pulls up too fast, you can go down to setting 5.

      1. Are there any human precautions when using the 100% cold pressed neem oil? The 70% I already have has warnings on the label to avoid contact with skin.
        Also, if I used the 100% on roses would I be able to continue with a foliar fertilizer or would it wash off the neem oil? Thanks

        1. I often apply foliars along with neem, but if I want to apply them separately, I tend to do them a few days apart. Regardless, the pressure should be fairly low on a foliar spray, so shouldn’t wash it off much.

          As for precautions, the label has the standard language, which I’ll post below. Personally, I wouldn’t be too worried if it touched my skin, but I would wash it off. Officially, though, here are the instructions:

          If inhaled: Move the person to fresh air. If person is not breathing, call 911 or an ambulance and then give artificial respiration, preferably mouth-to- mouth if possible. Call a doctor or poison control center for treatment advice.

          If on skin or clothing: Remove contaminated clothing. Rinse skin immediately with plenty of water for about 15 minutes. Call a doctor or poison control center for treatment advice.

          If in eyes: Hold eye open and rinse slowly and gently with water for about 15 minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present, after first 5 minutes, then continue rinsing eyes. Call a doctor or poison control center for treatment advice.

          If swallowed: Call a poison control center or doctor immediately for treatment. Have the person sip a glass of water if able to swallow. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by a poison control center or doctor. Have the product container or label with you when calling a poison control center, doctor, or going for treatment. For emergency information concerning this product, call the National Pesticides Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378 seven days a week, 6:30 am to 4:30 pm Pacific Time.

          1. I saw where some people use it on their skin. This doesn’t jive with the warnings.

          2. Yes, the label warning may be for liability, I’m not sure. Pure neem is very strong, though, as are many essential oils, and people can be sensitive, so even with neem products made for skin, it’s best to start with just a dab. As for neem soaps and things like that, I believe they’re in the range of 5-20% neem oil.

  49. Will Neem Oil help with Pickle worms. I have been trying to grow Spaghetti Squash for a couple of years now and the pickle worms destroy them. Also getting into summer squashes and cucumbers.

    1. Yes, neem oil is definitely worth a try with pickle worms.

  50. Kathleen Arevian says:

    Hi, I live in Denver and we have a terrible Japanese Beetle problem and my roses took a hit this year. I purchased the Neem oil as well as the Seaweed fertilizer. I read that you can mix the two? I have a gallon sprayer what would the amounts of each product be to a gallon of water? How often would I spray the rose bushes? Thank you 🙂


    1. Hi Kathleen, to mix, mix 1/2 teaspoon of non-toxic liquid soap and then add 1.5 Tbsp of neem oil into your gallon of water. Shake like crazy before and during application to keep it emulsified. Don’t use dish detergent – use a true liquid soap. And then add 2 Tbsp of seaweed. This amount will do about 500 square feet of garden. I would spray this every 2 weeks.

  51. Keith Skinner says:

    I’m interested in trying a neem soil drench in some of my beds but am concerned about the effects of doing that on the mycorrhizal inoculant I’ve applied. The scientific research on this seems scarce but I found one study that showed some beneficial microorganisms responded favorably. Any thoughts on this? Also, would I use a higher dilution? I’ve also seen some recommendations to use neem meal instead. Thoughts?


    1. Agreed, I haven’t seen anything suggesting it harms mycorrhizal fungi. Some people use a stronger dilution (twice as strong) but I would actually go for the same dilution if you’re able – I can’t think of a reason not to.

  52. So I have a problem, guys. I used organic neem oil, diluted, pure oil mixed with water (as it says on the bottle) and sprayed my mint, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers etc…..tonight I made myself my first mint tea. Yuck! It tastes awful….I washed it, I even dipped it in hot water (second batch) to get rid of whatever is on it, it’s not the water, it’s not the french press…I don’t get it but it smelled and tasted horrible…like a mix of some soap with some odd chemical. If that’s the case how can I use it on anything edible? Help please! I sprayed it yesterday and the other day, perhaps I’m spraying too much and the poor plants are oversaturated? obviously that stuff gets sucked into the leaves, when I chew on a leaf I don’t taste it so it has to do with temperature, the heat leaches it from the plant….What do I do now?

    1. You do seem to be spraying often but I’d say it’s the recency that’s the issue. If you spray the day before harvesting, I expect things would taste pretty bad. I’m not sure how long it takes for the neem taste to dissipate (it probably depends on rain/irrigation). I haven’t much used it on herbs and greens but I’d be curious if you wait 2 weeks and then harvest whether you still have any issues.

  53. Peter DeVita says:

    Thanks for all the info on Neem Oil.
    One fact that is missing is how much Neem oil mix does one use in a soil drench for fruit trees?
    I have 3 trees, the largest is about 30 cm in diameter and the other two are about 15cm in diameter. I know how to do the mix now and how to dig the trench, but how much do I put in the trench?

    1. The label of the neem oil I sell doesn’t discuss trenching, and although it does mention drenching, it doesn’t differentiate the application rate, so for a trench, I’m not sure what to suggest but it sounds like you can start with the usual application rate and extrapolate from there.

  54. I have started using Neem oil this year as I have all types of pests and fungal problems – questions though, my tomatoes are still sticky with Neem oil i assume, even after washing them with water and vinegar.
    I sprayed 5 days ago harvested today.
    Are my tomatoes and vegetables safe to eat or did I sorry too much?

    1. You can spray it all the way up until harvest but yes, you need to wash the harvest with soap and water rather than vinegar and water. I suppose there could still be some residue after that on some types of vegetables – I’ve never noticed. It’s hard to say how long you would need to wait between your final spray and harvest if you wanted to prevent this because it probably depends on several factors. Perhaps 2 weeks would be enough but if there’s no rain or irrigation during that time, I wonder if you’d still taste some residue.

  55. Julianna Munoz says:

    Hi Phil,
    I’m not the best at math so I was hoping you or someone here could check my calculations for using the Neem oil. We are spraying 650 sq ft with the hose end sprayer. I calculated 1.3 TBS Neem and 2/3 tsp soap. Assuming these new measurements are correct, would I still fill the container on the hose 3/4 with water and and have it set to 10?

    1. Sorry for the confusion, Julianna – I’ve tried a couple of times, but I still need to make my instructions easier to follow. Your neem and soap amounts look great. Rather than filling 3/4 full with water, though, use 5X as much water as neem and set the sprayer to spray 10 Tbsp/gallon. So for your 1.3 Tbsp of neem, that’s 6.5 Tbsp of water.

  56. Lynn Nash says:

    Hi, I am about to order some of your products (Bio Ag, Liquid Seaweed, and Sea Minerals) but my specific issue is nematodes. I don’t see nematodes on the Neem Oil list above, plus I already have some from a different seller. Question: Do any these other products address them? If not, do you have a product that does? In my organic raised bed gardens I use horse manure from my horses. Most of it is composted in an aerated composter that heats up to kill pathogens (O2 Compost) but before I got that system I was using compost that was probably full of nematodes etc. I also use compost from kitchen/yard scraps in my garden, but this does not get hot like the compost at the barn. It’s full of red worms, so I guess that’s a good thing. But nematodes could be in there too? . The knots on the roots of my tomatoes and peppers I’m assuming are caused by nematodes, and my garden is not as healthy as it used to be. Hoping the addition of your products will give it a boost. Thanks for any ideas or product you can recommend.

    1. Hi Lynn, neem actually can help, as can all of the other products you’ve listed, so I would try them all. And in the future, I encourage you to grow tomato/pepper varieties that are resistant to root-knot nematodes. There are many tomato options, and at least a few peppers. In addition, I would keep searching online because I have come across a few organic nematicides that may be useful.

  57. Darlene Marchand says:

    Hi Phil, I started my tomato seeds March 9th and today I found a couple tiny flying bugs..I think on here they called them gnats …I do have tiny showing of my plants
    and not sure if I can put neem on them yet. I am feeding them water by a teaspoon
    Yet as they are just peeking.
    Any suggestions as I see at the top of comments to be careful with seedlings.
    I have used neem on large plants outside with great results..but not sure about
    Thanks will look forward to hearing from you..Dar

    1. I’d be apprehensive about using it on seedling leaves. Presuming you’re using pure neem oil, you could try to water the soil with 1/4 teaspoon of neem oil plus 1 drop of liquid soap per cup of water, all blended or at least shaken vigorously.

  58. rather than shake the gallon and oil(s) to mix them .
    which does work just not as well as
    letting a Nutri Blender to the job. in seconds you
    get a truly homogenized mix. with some foaming
    that needs to settle down prior to filling the
    sprayer with. this way you are assured each volume
    of mix out the spray nozzle is evenly mixed.

    for my morning green tea i do the same blender step
    to mix in my oil supplements : omega – 3 , C-15 (dr gundry)
    and olive oil. the green tea becomes white.
    and most mornings it gives me an energy boost that
    lasts for a few hours w/ no hangover like caffeine can do

    1. Great idea, thanks for sharing, Bob. It probably leaves behind some residue and smell, yes?

      1. Phil,
        hi. did u take it to mean the same blender is used for both mixes ?
        if so , then i apologize for being so incomplete with the facts.

        the green tea blender is a 1-speed $24. ‘mini’ version of a ‘Magic Bullet’.
        it comes with an 8 oz and ca 12 oz plastic screw-on container.
        for the cost its been a ‘happy’ item to have lucked upon at w-m.

        its too small to mess with for mixing a quart of aphid spray

        for the aphip spray an older Oster multi-speed w/ a 6-cup glasss is used

        being glass its easy to get rough with while
        cleaning for safe re-use w/ edibles like batches of veg’ & fruit smoothies.

        1. Oh, glass is nice. All of my blenders have been plastic, in which case, yes, it would be nice to have a dedicated container just for this.

          1. Phil , hi. and its good of you to respond to my remarks.
            and let me know they have had an impact.

            here , in colorado , today marks the beginning of a
            warming trend. thus its on the ‘DO’ list to mix
            some Castile soap aphid mix 1-2 qt’s and a tray at
            a time ( Stuewe 5×5 ones for 2.25″ dia. cones )and with
            a 3″ boat cushion sit out on the grass and turn the
            plants in the 5×5 cones inverted and sideways and
            rotate to spray the underside of every leaf. most all
            have aphids on them on this underside.

            its a bit of a chore, takes maybe a half hour to
            do 12 trays ( $7. ea in lot of 10, w/ shipping ).
            and given the alternative of the plants being
            sucked dry & dying the trouble is well worth it.

            right now a paralled effort is readying some
            pH adjusted 7.5 tap water to 6.0-6.5 range to
            soak some jiffy 7 pellets for flower seeding.

            my Hanna 98103 meter does well enough and
            the probe lasts a good year with proper storage
            between uses in sat’d KCl solution.
            and its +/- 0.2 pH units is plenty accurate enough .

            carry on

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