Neem oil

16 Mar 2020

Potentially toxic to childeren and pregnant people if ingested

In addition to its use in organic insecticide sprays, this oil has been used for centuries in medicines and skincare. I haven't myself used it on my skin/hair but there are plenty articles online about its frankly jaw-dropping properties. Personally, I've only held off because I like going quite slow with any new product (I research the hell out of it, then scour the internet for stores, then take up to a month to actualy crack the seal, and then I don't shut up about it).

Skin/hair benefits aside, this oil does everything I want from an insecticide. The idea is that the oil doesn't harm most beneficial insects, and it doesn't carry the same risks to plant health as dishwashing liquid, and neem oil doubles as a foliar fertiliser. It works by supressing hormones in the pests, reducing their desire to eat and breed (and generally making the leaves taste bitter). It sounds like a pretty awful way to go I know, but when you can't wipe/spray your pests with water/find ladybugs then you gotta do what you gotta do.

What

An oil extracted from the neem tree, Azadirachta indica from the Indian subcontinent. Used in medicine, skincare, and argi/horticulture. It has antifungal, antiseptic, antipyretic and antihistamine properties, and can be used as a foliar fertiliser to boost your plants immune system and overall health.

How

Mixing the oil with a premixed solution of warm slightly soapy liquid is recommended because it helps the neem oil dissolve. You can tweak the amounts listed below but try keep the principle the same.

  1. Mix 1 cup warm water with 1/4 teaspoon of eco-friendly dishwashing liquid
  2. Add 1/3 teaspoon neem oil, shake, and use immidiately as the oil will start to break down.

Where

Your neem oil solution can be sprayed all over the plant leaves, as well as the soil. Some sites recommend using it as a 'soil drench' but I've not had the need to try that.