There is a lot of misinformation out there about the best way to take care of plants. Many people are convinced that the “correct” thing to do is to use toxic chemicals on them, or at least something that kills all living things around the plant. They don’t realise that the plants themselves are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
The notion that “heat” kills all life on earth is laughable, and anyone who says otherwise is quoting someone else’s opinion, but there is a lot of truth to the idea that heat does kill all living things. If you leave your coffee for forty years and drink it every day, it will be hot. If you leave your coffee for forty years on a cold night, it will be cold. This is because heat kills all life through dehydration.
How safe is neem oil?
Most neem products are safe. Neem oil has been used in cosmetics for around a hundred years and is not only safe, but extremely effective. It kills fungus in the plant, and is a very good antifungal (antibacterial too, depending on which version you use) – much better than any chemical product that you can buy.
But if you are worried about neem-related toxicity, don’t be – it’s perfectly safe. The active ingredient in all versions of neem oil is azadirachtin.
Will neem oil freeze?
Well, that depends. If you live in a tropical climate (i.e., anything warmer than about 15°C), neem oil will not freeze even if it is left outside during the winter. In colder climates, it may start to become solid at around 0°C, but may not become totally solid until -15°C or even lower. Even then, it will be liquid at room temperature as soon as the sun comes out and the temperature rises above 5 or 10 °C.
How is neem oil made?
Neem oil is usually made using a fermentation process. It may be then distilled, or may be simply left to age and cure in the dark for a few years. The finished product is usually a bright yellow liquid that does not have an unpleasant smell (although some people claim different).
What form should I use?
The most popular form of neem oil for use in the home is as a pest repellent or fungicide. As this oil has a very low concentration of active ingredient, neem oil should not be used in large quantities to treat plants or crops. Neem oil should only be used as an occasional topping-up treatment for indoor plants, or in situations where you would normally use insecticidal soap.
The most important thing is that you don’t use too much neem oil, as it is highly toxic. Do not dilute neem oil with water, as the resulting mixture will be much more dangerous than the original substance.
Where is neem oil from?
It is usually made from the leaves of the neem tree. These are relatively common in India, but are not easy to find elsewhere.
What else can I use it for?
There are lots of other uses for neem oil that you won’t find mentioned on pet shops or online shops. The most important of these is as an antifungal (usually against black spot fungus). You can also use it topically against poison ivy and oak, and as a mosquito repellent.
Is it safe to spray neem oil after watering plants?
Yes, it is safe to spray neem oil after watering your plants. The danger that you would normally associate with using a toxic substance like neem oil is not present, as long as you don’t overuse it.
What is Azadirachtin?
Azadirachtin (C18H14O4) is the isolated active ingredient in neem oil. It was the first insecticidal compound to be isolated from a plant, and has been shown to have some effect on parasitic wasps.
What is the benefit of using neem oil?
The main benefit of using neem oil is that it is both 100% natural and 100% organic. It is not possible to buy anything that will protect your plants better, even if you find a shop selling products that are totally organic. Neem oil kills aphids and whitefly (as well as ants, fungus and many other things) without toxic effects on your plants.
Is it harmful to use neem oil for plants?
Well, that depends what you mean by “harmful. ” The active ingredient in neem oil is azadirachtin, and this is a naturally occurring substance found in a number of plants. The biggest offender is the neem tree, which produces more than twice as much azadirachtin per hectare as any other species of plant.
It is quite safe to use (it will not kill you, or anything else) and has been used for a century without ill effects on anything other than the insects that it kills.
How often is it safe to spray with Neem oil?
You may use neem oil as often as you like. If you have an infestation of aphids or other insects, it is fine to use it every day for a week or so. Just be careful not to overdo it – if you kill too many insects, the population will drop below the level at which they are effective.
Is there any alternatives to Neem oil for plants?
Stem neem oil is a very good alternative to neem oil, especially if you are using it a lot – 1-2 applications per week is recommended.
Is there any alternatives for home use?
There are many insecticidal soaps available as alternative to neem oil. These soaps have a broad spectrum of activity against a range of pests. Insecticidal soaps are considerably more toxic than neem oil. They are usually completely non-toxic and relatively “biodegradable,” but some formulations are somewhat toxic. When these soaps contain pyrethrins, they may have respiratory irritancy potential.
In summary, you should use neem oil when you have a pest problem. It is easy to use and safe to handle and use around your kids. It works well as an insecticide on indoor plants and outdoors. Neem oil also works well as a fungicide for bud rot, root rot and mold.
You should use neem oil during the early stages of growth because it will stop insects from landing on the plant. It is important not to overuse neem oil, and you should discontinue use if you begin to see signs of stress in your crop.