What is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is a super versatile product to have at home. Commonly known for the wonders it does in the beauty world, this little guy is also a must have for all plant lovers out there!
Neem oil is a natural essential oil extracted from the Neem tree, that can be used for the prevention or cure of pests in your houseplants, vegetable garden, etc. It works by smothering small insects, like spider mites and disrupting larger insects normal bodily functions, through a chemical called Azadirachtin. This makes them inactive and kills them slowly. This process is completely harmless to your plants and home.
How to use?
As this is an oil, it’s best to use an emulsifying agent like dish soap (we recommend a natural soap like Dr Bronners, or alike to keep your plants extra safe but a small quantity of dish soap will be harmless). Mix half a tea spoon of Neem oil with a couple of drops of soap ( 2 - 4 drops) and mix them together until smooth and combined. This will allow the oil to mix well with the water, so make sure not to skip this step.
Add 500ml (1 pint) of luke warm water (not cold as this will be hard to mix with the oil and soap mixture but not too warm that it will upset your plants). We recommend using a spray bottle and cotton pad or cloth but a bowl will do if that’s all you have.
Evenly spray/ wet your plant, making sure to reach every little corner. You can also dip your cotton ball or cloth in the mixture until it’s damp and slightly wipe off some excess (while still keeping the leaves damp with neem oil). This will ensure that any eggs or pests lying in your plant will be either squished or drenched in the mixture, giving you much better results.
As this is a natural process it can be slow in achieving results and may need to be applied a couple of times before your plant is healthy again. So don’t be upset if it takes you a few days to notice any changes or a few rounds of treatment to clear away all the pests.
Alternatively, you can spray your plants once a week to prevent pests, giving them a good clean and shine in the process!
This mixture is only really efficient in plants with a smooth, flat surface. As intricate crevices, fuzzy leaves and spikes can create oil-free areas for the bugs to crawl and hide in.
We also highly suggest that you do a little bit of research regarding your plants prior to using this method or choosing to make this a weekly routine. Some plants such as cacti and succulents should never be misted as they like having a dry soil and being in environments with low humidity. Other plants with fuzzy leaves, for example, can be too delicate for misting so avoid all together. If your plant already has a lot of humidity, make sure to fully wipe down your plants after completing the process to avoid them rotting.
Some plants like Monsteras and Begonias are more appreciative of extra humidity and wont mind the extra weekly misting! Enjoy the process of caring for your plants and make sure to keep looking out for signs of wether they’re too dry or too moist, to give them just what they need to thrive.
You can find more plant care tips as well as how to create self care routines around your plants in our book “Hi Cacti: Growing Houseplants & Happiness”.
In need of Neem Oil? Order here!