For many people, their garden is the pride and joy of their home. Whether you’re building an indoor jungle or landscaping an outdoor space to enjoy the warmer months, there’s nothing more annoying than bugs and pests that choose to make your plants their home!
While you no doubt want to protect your new and established plants, many people are reluctant to use artificial pesticides. The good news is there are natural alternatives available that will do just a good job of keeping insects out of your sprouts, ferns, and flowers.
One of the most popular alternatives is neem oil. Neem oil has been used for centuries by people all across the world as a natural method of protecting plants from pests. Continue reading to find out more about this versatile and much-loved natural oil.
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is a product extracted from the neem tree, which is also known as the Indian lilac or, by its botanical name, Azadirachta indica.
Neem oil available from N-Essentials is virgin and cold-pressed from the seeds of the neem tree. It is marked by its heavy, pungent aroma — similar to garlic — and is available in a range of colours, from green-brown to dark brown.
As an advantage for the environmentally conscious, neem oil is biodegradable and does not harm the environment. It cannot target all organisms and focuses on particular pests without affecting helpful and necessary insects – unlike insecticides and fungicides.
Neem Oil as a Pesticide
If protecting your plants from bugs and insects is a priority, and doing so using natural means is another, purchasing neem oil in Australia should be at the top of your to-do list.
Neem oil contains an active ingredient called azadirachtin, which works to repel and kill bugs by suffocating them and disrupting their feeding cycle. It can be used in such a wide variety of garden and household products because of its natural properties. It also contains compounds like nimbin, and nimbidin, which can combat bacteria, parasites and fungi. Generally speaking, neem oil is most effective at killing soft-body insects, including beetles, caterpillars, whiteflies, spider mites, and more.
While other pesticides may rely on chemicals and artificial ingredients, neem oil is all-natural, meaning you don’t have to be concerned about spraying it around your garden and home.
How to Mix Neem Oil for Plants
Neem oil is quite a concentrated product and should be diluted before use on plants. Using too much neem oil can cause leaves to burn if they are exposed to direct sunlight for a prolonged period.
You should also avoid using neem oil on young or small plants, as it may be too intense for their roots and buds.
Check out the following process for mixing and applying neem oil to plants.
Keep in mind that whenever you’re introducing a new product to your garden and greenery, it’s worth doing a small spot test before liberally applying it to ensure your plants do not have an adverse reaction.
- Protective gloves,
- A spray bottle,
- Two tablespoons of neem oil,
- Four litres of water,
- Two teaspoons of any detergent.
Step One: Blending Your Ingredients
Pop on your protective gloves before working with any of the ingredients. Mix the detergent and water together in your spray bottle. The detergent acts as a surfactant, which will help the neem oil to mix with the water and attach itself to the plant. After the detergent and water have combined, you can slowly add the neem oil to the mixture. Mix thoroughly.
Step Two: Testing & Using Your Product
If you’ve already tested the product on a plant or an area in your garden and all your greenery has tolerated it well over the course of 24 to 48 hours, you can go ahead and spray the mixture on all surfaces of your plants. This includes flowers, leaves, stalks, and undersides.
Step Three: Consider Repeat Use
Observe the results. Cases will vary for every garden, but you may need to use the neem oil solution repeatedly. Settle on a cycle of using the spray every one to two weeks, as the solution works by disrupting feeding and reproduction cycles. Be consistent when using the spray.
N-Essentials tip: spray the neem oil solution on your plants during the early morning or later in the afternoon. Temperatures are lower at these times; the coolness will slow down the rates of evaporation and offset any possible harm to the plants from direct sunlight.
How Often Should I Spray Neem Oil on My Plants?
How often you should spray neem oil on your plants will depend on a number of factors, including the type of plant and the environment it is in.
Like any type of pesticide, applying too much neem oil can damage your plants, so it’s critical that you get the balance right.
Neem oil for plants tends to take a little while to work. If you don’t see a positive change instantly, don’t be concerned and avoid the temptation to over-apply the spray. If you apply too much neem oil and stress your plants or do so in too hot of a climate, you can cause leaf burn.
As mentioned above, neem oil upsets the pests’ cycles of reproduction and feeding. These cycles differ depending on the pest. Try finding out as much as you can about the plants you’re treating and the possible pests that target them to understand your spraying cycles better.
Can Neem Oil Kill Plants?
Too much neem oil may certainly harm your plants. As is the case with all pesticides — natural and chemical — there are certain plants you should not use neem oil on.
Avoid applying neem oil to delicate herbs, including basil, oregano, parsley, and more. It is also less likely to be effective on plants that don’t have smooth, broad surfaces.
If your plant has recently been transported into a new pot or is showing signs of stress, avoid using neem oil or patch test first on a small surface.
You should also avoid applying neem oil during the flowering stage, as it may impact the pollination process.
Although neem oil is natural and considered safe, we advise that you don’t spray your entire garden. Only treat the plants that you know are affected. The more selective you are with neem oil, the better.
Where Can I Buy Neem Oil?
From N-Essentials, of course!
Here at N-Essentials, we are a supplier of natural raw ingredients that can be used in everything from skincare to household cleaning products.
We know that many of our customers are growing increasingly concerned about the effect of the ingredients they are using on their health and the environment, which is why we’re so passionate about providing solutions.
Our neem oil is available in a range of sizes, from 100ml right up to 20 kg. While it’s an excellent natural pesticide product, many of our customers also choose to combine neem oil with other raw ingredients to create skin and hair care products.
For more ideas and inspiration on how to harness the power of neem oil in your life, check out the blogs and recipes section on our website.
Alternatively, contact our friendly team today to further discuss our products and how neem oil can be used to protect plants from pests and disease.