What Plants Not to Use Neem Oil On?

Neem oil is an insecticide that has natural properties. It has witnessed a lot of success in maintaining a pest-free garden. However, some plants don’t appreciate the smell of neem oil. 

This raises the question: what plants should you avoid applying neem oil to?

Neem oil shouldn’t be applied to plants like caraway, basil, cilantro, marjoram, dill, parsley, oregano, as well as thyme. Be cautious in spraying the neem oil onto plants with delicate or wispy leaves, such as peas, arugula, lettuce, and spinach, as this could cause burns to the foliage.

However, be aware that more robust plants with more vigorous foliage could be burnt (or perhaps killed) If you are not careful in mixing and applying neem oil.

Neem oil is intended to coat the plant leaves, as well as invading bugs that may be hiding in the leaves. The oil coating can cause suffocation to certain bugs and cell damage for many. However, neem oil is a solvent and should follow the proper guidelines. Spraying neem oil at the wrong time will damage your plants’ foliage. 

With this in mind, let’s take the time to look over the plants that are sensitive to the neem oil and those that don’t require neem oil, as they already repel the most threatening bugs.

Don’t Use Neem Oil on These Garden Plants

Neem oil contains the naturally found chemical azadirachtin that makes neem oils such a powerful organic insecticide. After it’s been dispersed in soapy water and placed on plants, it affects for up to one week before it has to be reapplied. Once consumed with the neem oil, garden pests will generally die within four to seven days.

Neem oil can cause harm or death to more than 200 insects, including the majority of soft-bodied bugs and the nymphs associated with diverse hard-bodied insects. Research has proven that Neem oil is safe for ladybugs and the most beneficial pollinators as well as predatory insects.

One of the main issues with neem oil is deciding what plants to spray with neem oil, how potent the spray of neem oil is, and the time of the day you apply the spray to your plant.

Before we get into these topics, let’s look at an in-depth look at plants that are a bit sensitive to neem oil and those that don’t require any neem oil application.

The Neem oil tolerant plants can take neem oil sprays pretty well; however, it is recommended to spray before evening to avoid burns to the foliage and keep a few things in mind in case you spray the oil prior to harvest.

Neem-sensitive plants are more successful using insecticidal soap sprays than neem oil, mainly because neem burns the delicate leaves of plants when mixed correctly and applied late in the afternoon. So if these plants are infested with insects, AGRIKULTURE TODAY recommends employing an insecticidal soap and not applying neem oil spray to plants with weaker foliage.

Can Neem Oil Burn Plants?

Neem oil is an effective natural insecticide. However, if not careful, you may accidentally cause damage to your garden plants.

Neem oil may cause burns to plants if applied during daylight hours, particularly in summer when temperatures are hot. The early evening or late afternoon is ideal for spraying flowers with neem oil as there is enough light to see; however, plenty of time allows the oil to dry before things get hot outside.

Can Neem Oil Kill Plants?

Neem oil is known to burn leaves. It is not known to cause harm to mature plants; however, it may cause damage to foliage and slow plant growth. Seedlings are more prone to neem oils and could be killed if applied with neem oil or exposed to sunlight. Therefore, care must be taken when applying neem oil around seedlings.

Neem Oil Sensitive Plants

Here is a list of plants that are sensitive to neem oil, and you should avoid using neem oil on them:

  1. Arugula
  2. Basil
  3. Caraway
  4. Chives
  5. Cilantro
  6. Dill
  7. Kale
  8. Lettuce
  9. Marjoram
  10. Oregano
  11. Parsley
  12. Pea
  13. Rue
  14. Sage
  15. Spinach
  16. Thyme

How to Make a Neem Oil Spray for Plants?

To apply the neem oil, you will need an outdoor sprayer, a bottle of the oil concentrate, and a few homemade liquid soaps.

  1. Fill the garden sprayer with one gallon of water. 
  2. Add two teaspoons of neem oil to the water.
  3. Add one teaspoon of liquid organic soap. 
  4. Shake well before spraying.

It’s all you need to make a powerful Neem oil spray!

After mixing your spray, make sure to apply it as fast as you can. AGRIKULTURE TODAY suggests mixing the neem oil solution when the sun is beginning to set and spraying it so you can see clearly.


Do not spray during the daytime. Ever. If you do, you’ll definitely burn your plants.

Neem oil is an excellent insecticide for gardens, but try to learn the most you can about the neem oil prior to you begin spraying your plant with it.

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