When it comes to eliminating pests from your garden, neem oil is the way to go. It’s organic, can be easily mixed into a spray, and will usually last you a very long time. Use neem oil, and it won't be long before those pesky bugs plaguing your garden start to disappear. Who needs man-made chemicals?
Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide found in seeds from the neem tree. It is yellow to brown, has a bitter taste, and a garlic/sulfur smell. neem oil can be very beneficial by providing an all-natural pesticide that controls both pests and diseases.
While it doesn’t sound very attractive, neem oil is loaded with nutrients, and is also used in natural skin care products because it contains high levels of antioxidants that help protect the skin from environmental damage. Neem also helps fight free radical damage in the skin because it contains carotenoids, which provide high antioxidant compounds. As a result, cold-pressed neem oil and neem extracts are widely used in cosmetics such as soap, hair products, cosmetics, hand creams and pet shampoos.
When the leaves on your plant look like they are covered with thousands of tiny spots, chances are you have a spider mite infestation. If you're an eco-conscious home gardener, you'll probably reach for a plant-based pesticide such as neem oil to minimize the effects of chemicals on the environment.
Benefits of Neem Oil for Plants
There are a whole host of reasons to use neem oil in your garden, but here are some of the most compelling reasons. If these don’t convince you to add neem to your gardening toolkit, I don’t know what will!
It’s Completely Biodegradable
Because it’s derived from the neem tree, it’s a biodegradable compound and breaks down quickly. Most neem oil products are simply water, neem oil, and some kind of solvent or surfactant to help the oil and water mix together.
It Doesn’t Poison Your Water
Part of the reason using synthetic pesticides is frowned upon is the effect that they have on groundwater. They can contribute to toxic runoff similar to over-application of fertilizers. BEcause neem oil breaks down so quickly and is non-toxic, you won’t have to worry about any pollution issues.
It’s Not Harmful to Beneficial Insects
We all know that it’s important to protect pollinators like bees, butterflies, and other beneficial bugs like ladybugs. Won’t neem kill these off as well?
Nope! If you don’t over-apply neem, they’ll be just fine as they don’t eat the leaves of your plants. Neem oil primarily attacks bugs that feed on plant material by inhibiting their feeding and causing them to die off.
Earthworms Will Thrive
Most conventional pesticides will kill off earthworms, removing a vital piece of your soil’s ecosystem. Neem won’t harm them — in fact, they’ll thrive in a neem environment! You need earthworms in your soil for their castings and their ability to aerate your soil.
Neem Doesn’t Create Dead Zones
Most synthetic insecticides create dead zones where they’re sprayed. These are zones where no insects — beneficial or otherwise — will survive. This is no good for the biodiversity of your garden and soil! Because neem targets a specific category of insect, it will only create a dead zone for the pests you don’t want in your garden.
It Kills Pests Throughout Their Lifecycle
Many insecticides only target a specific stage of a pest’s life: egg, larval, or adult. Neem is able to kill insects throughout their lifecycle because it works in a variety of ways:
- Prevents feeding (adult stage)
- Disrupts growth (larval stage)
- Smothers out (egg / larval stage)
Blanket Control for 200+ Insects
Initially need was found to prevent feeding in desert locusts, but has since been found to affect over 200 different insects, including some of the most annoying garden pests:
- Scale insects
Neem Will Kill Nematodes
If you haven’t dealt with nematodes in the garden…you’re lucky. They can decimate your plants, but new research has shown that extracting neem in a specific way can help control one of the most harmful nematodes — root-knot nematodes. It prevents the larvae from hatching, stopping the reproductive cycle.
Natural Mosquito Prevention
Surprisingly, neem spray can also prevent mosquitoes from buzzing around your head in the garden. They aren’t a fan of the garlic-peanuty scent and will stay away from an area sprayed with neem.
It Kills Japanese Beetle Larvae
Also known as lawn grubs, these annoying little buggers are a destructive garden pest. There are many ways to prevent japanese beetles, but disrupting their growth cycle with neem oil is an incredibly effective strategy. The best time to spray is at night, then reapplying after a sprinkling or rainy day.
Most Pests Don’t Build a Resistance to Neem
One problem of synthetic pesticides is that bugs can build up a tolerance or resistance to certain substances. So far, it’s not been reported that insects have built up resistances to neem use, meaning it’s a future-proof solution.
It’s Safe for Cats, Dogs, and Critters
Contact pesticides will usually accumulate in soil and water, making them harmful to pets and critters that live in the area. Because neem oil breaks down so quickly, it’s not present long enough to cause problems for pets and wildlife. Even if they do ingest it, it’s not harmful to them.
It Can Be Applied In Many Ways
Because neem kills insects no matter where they are in their lifecycle, you can use it in a variety of ways. You can use it as a foliar spray, apply it over the winter, and use it as a soak. There are a few pests (caterpillars, aphids, mites) that survive or go dormant over the winter, so if you can attack them during that season you can prevent a lot of headaches come spring.
Neem Cake is a Garden Boon
You might not be familiar with neem cakes, but they’re just the byproduct of extracting neem oil. They’re crushed neem fruit and seeds, formed into cakes. They retain some of the pesticide properties of neem oil itself, but are also organic matter that wil break down in your soil ove time, adding more nutrition to the oil.
It’s Great for Houseplants
As a houseplant addict, I want to make sure my babies are healthy and not overrun by common houseplant insects like mealybugs or aphids. Neem spray works perfectly well indoors to combat these annoying bugs, so you can feel safe spraying it indoors to treat your houseplants.
It’s Safe in Greenhouses
Greenhouses are amazing ways to extend the growing season and create the perfect environment for your plants, but unfortunately are also great environments for pests. Many pesticides are dangerous for use in an enclosed environment like a greenhouse, but neem can be safely used in a variety of formats.
Acts as a Powerful Fungicide
Neem oil works as a smothering agent for many common fungal infections:
- The dreaded powdery mildew
- Tip blight
- Black spot and leaf spot
You must spray on a weekly basis until you see a significant decline in the fungus, then spray twice a month to prevent further occurrences.
It Can Kill Some Bacteria
Fire blight is one of the most annoying bacteria to infect your plants, as it causes them to look like they were burned to death. Neem oil can prevent and control fire blight, but you must apply it during the dormant season.
How Does Neem Oil Work?
The Azadirachta indica, more commonly referred to as the Indian lilac, margosa, or neem tree, produces seeds that contain neem oil. After pressing these seeds, people will typically use the extracted oil as either an organic pesticide or medicine. Unlike some more popular pesticides, neem oil does not kill insects on contact. Instead, it disrupts the bugs' hormones and causes them to stop following some of their normal biological processes. For instance, some bugs that are exposed to neem lose the will to eat and experience disrupted fertility. Neem oil also prevents larval development, meaning you won't have to worry about new generations of pests springing up anytime soon after using it. Plus, neem oil's antifungal properties will prevent unwanted spores from germinating. Nearly all of neem oil's beneficial properties can be attributed to nimbin and azadirachtin, two compounds in its chemical composition.
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Plants when packed well can be shipped around the world. We securely pack each plant with great care to make sure it reaches you in a healthy and happy condition. We only sell hardy plants online, and are confident that our plants will reach you feeling excited to be in a new home.
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Our care guides are a simplified version of what you should follow given our tropical humid climate in Mumbai. However, even small changes in light, temperature, water, humidity, fertilization, and insect infestation can all have an impact on your plant. If you just received your plant, please give it some time - every plant takes time to adjust to a new environment.
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