Neem oil – a gardener’s best friend

Although our winter was insanely cold, we didn’t have a very hard freeze when it finally started to warm up here. Thus the bugs are out in force because they didn’t get killed off by the cold wave. I’ve often read about using neem oil on plants to combat aphids, scales, spider mites, white flies, locusts and other common pests. It’s also used as a fungicide and helps against powdery mildew. Neem oil insecticide can be used on vegetables, spices and herbs, fruit trees, berries, stone fruits and tropical fruits. Orchid growers also are known to love it. Bugs hate the taste and smell of the oil so the head over to your neighbor’s plants instead of yours.

Neem oil is extracted from the nut of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). It originally was grown in India and the oil and other parts of the tree have been used for centuries for medical purposes such as treating psoriasis and eczema, boosting the immune system, cleansing blood, restoring health to skin, hair and nails, and much more.

There are organic pesticide products using a 3-4.5% concentration of neem oil on the market (the active component of neem oil is a chemical called azadirachtin) but it’s not hard to make it yourself. Our biggest hurdle was finally just ordering the oil.

If you make your own neem oil pesticide, combine the ingredients fresh right before you use it because the neem oil will start to break down after a few days. And you will have to respray everything every few days and after it rains to keep unwanted pests from devouring your plants. But it is one of the only insecticides you can feel comfortable spraying on your fruits and vegetables until the day you harvest them that is certain not to harm you.

More on the wonders of neem oil will be coming soon as we start using it on Ayla to combat the ticks!

Neem Oil Pesticide and Fungicide Recipe

  • 1 oz. neem oil
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1-2 teaspoons liquid dishwashing soap

Mix ingredients in a garden sprayer and shake to mix. Spray on trees and plants every few days as needed.


  1. says

    Interesting post Tiffany, I have never used Neem oil and wonder if I need to? Will need to keep it in mind as the growing season continues….might just be the answer!

  2. says

    Thanks for this interesting post, Tiffany! I’ve honestly never heard of it before but it sounds pretty good, especially as I’m always afraid of using common pesticides.

    Where did you get the oil from?

  3. Trisha says

    Great information- I can’t wait to read about how it works on Ayla- we’re looking into natural stuff to combat ticks on our two dogs.

  4. says

    Thanks to the author for the article! While using neem oil for controlling pests, the product needs a certification from Environmental Protection Agency, US. This certification proves that the product is safe spraying over the plants. Note: Check before buying.

    • Tiffany says

      Interesting. Never heard that neem could even be EPA approved. Since I live in Germany that’s never a topic that has come up. To be honest, we’ve sprayed organic neem from a regular essential oils company and never had any problems. What are the health risks of neem if it’s not EPA certified?

  5. Pauline Mcdowell says

    My husband I did a gardening project for ForeverYoung school and 10 acres of an organic garden in Cape Coast, Ghana, West Africa. We used organic neem oil and this product was amazing and got rid of their insects. Use it about every 2 weeks or more often. Follow instructions in mixing with dish soap
    You can buy this product at Sprouts Farmers Market stores.
    Jesse and Pauline McDowell

  6. karen says

    Don’t forget that when there are blossoms on the plants, you don’t want to spray because of the bees. So spray before they flower or after the flowers begin to wilt.

    • Art says

      I read neem oil is “safe” for bees, ladybugs & other good insects. Do you know it will hard these type of animals?
      Here is what I’ve read:
      ***Does spraying neem harm beneficial insect?
      Please only use neem spray in the very early morning or late afternoon, or you may hurt beneficial insects. Neem oil is not toxic to them, but it can suffocate them if you spray them directly and the soap can hurt them too.
      You should only spray neem at times when insects are not active. Once the spray has dried it is not harmful to good insects any more, only to sucking and chewing bugs.***
      Thanks in advance

  7. says

    Janet – we noticed results after the first spraying although we still have to tame the slugs! It did keep a few at bay I think but it’s been raining off and on the past week and it seems that every time we spray everything, it starts to rain.

    Hi Anna! With kids around it’s always nice to know they can’t be harmed from what you’re spraying. I ordered a huge thing of it on ebay – the seller “fair-natur” had the best price on it at the time. Make sure it’s 100% neem oil & cold pressed to get the best results.

  8. says

    We’re going to start her with a bath with neem oil added to her normal pet shampoo and then will spray her down. Strangely enough the ticks seem to have dropped off for a while here – or maybe they’re just hiding in places on here that we don’t see or feel that often! Typically neem is not the strongest thing you can use to get rid of ticks but if you do happen to have one on your dog, you can dab tea tree oil on the tick and it will usually die and fall off. Yep, more great tips coming soon!! :)


  1. Red Spider on Cucumbers - Page 2 - Gardener's Corner - the only Gardening forum you will ever need says:

    […] Here's some information on neem oil and a recipe for a spray. Neem oil – a gardener’s best friend | No Ordinary Homestead […]

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