What Plants Not to Use Neem Oil On

I have been using neem oil for many years to kill and treat pests on plants in my garden. This oil is an ecological and environmentally safe product, but you must know how to use neem oil because not all plants tolerate neem oil well. That’s why I created this article to let you know what plants not to use neem oil on. Also, see the analysis of 95 plants on which neem oil can and cannot be used. I include a chart to give you the list of 95 plants on which you can and cannot use neem oil.

Neem oil is safe for pets and humans, but it should always be applied correctly. Not all plants tolerate neem oil well. That’s why here you will learn which plants you should not use neem oil on, as well as, which plants you can safely apply neem oil.

Never use neem oil near water sources because neem oil may be slightly toxic to some fish and amphibians. Neem oil is safe for humans and pets.

What Plants Not to Use Neem Oil On

Neem oil comes from the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) and the main active compound that can kill more than 200 insects is azadirachtin. It is important to know how to mix neem oil for plants so that you can apply neem oil correctly.

What Plants Not to Use Neem Oil On? Neem oil should not be applied to plants known to be sensitive to neem oil.

What does it mean for a plant to be sensitive to neem oil? A neem oil-sensitive plant is a plant that can be damaged.

Which plants are sensitive to neem oil? Herbs in general, such as mint, thyme, rosemary, and coriander, among others, are more sensitive to neem oil, so use it on them with care. Leafy plants such as lettuce or spinach are sensitive to neem oil. However, it is possible to use it and that is the core of this article. Special care should only be taken with leafy plants when applying neem oil.

Can we use neem oil on a neem oil-sensitive plant? Yes, we can if we take certain precautions. I recommend you to continue reading this article, particularly the section “Can Neem Oil Burn Plants?” to better understand this issue.

How to apply neem oil to a sensitive plant? Neem oil should always be applied in the afternoon when the sun is not so strong or in the early evening. Neem oil is still an oil and if any oil remains on the plant the sun will literally fry the leaves causing foliar burns. That is why neem oil should never be applied in the morning, and even less in the middle of the day. Special care should be taken when applying neem oil during the summer so that the plants do not get foliar burns.

Regarding neem oil we can classify plants in 3 categories:

  1. Plant “Tolerant” to neem oil application. Therefore, it can use neem oil on this plant, and it is useful. See the column “Neem Oil Useful (Plant Tolerant)”
  2. Plant Sensitive to neem oil application, and represents the list of what plants not to use neem oil on. You should not use neem oil on sensitive plants, or you should put into practice the tips and recommendations suggested in this article. See the column “Do Not Use Neem Oil On Plant Sensitive”
  3. Plants where the use of neem oil is not necessary because they naturally repel pests. See the third column “Neem Oil Use Unnecessary”

Below is a chart with a list of 95 plants separated into categories to differentiate what plants neem oil can be applied to and what plants not to use neem oil on.

PlantNeem Oil Useful (Plant Tolerant)Do Not Use Neem Oil On Plant SensitiveNeem Oil Use Unnecessary
Amaranth✔️
Arugula✔️
Basil✔️
Beans✔️
Beets✔️
Bell Pepper✔️
Blueberries✔️
Bok Choy✔️
Borage✔️
Broccoli✔️
Brussels Sprouts✔️
Cabbage✔️
Caraway✔️
Carnation✔️
Carrot✔️
Cauliflower✔️
Celery✔️
Chicory
Chives✔️
Cilantro✔️
Collards✔️
Columnea✔️
Corn✔️
Cornflower✔️
Cowpeas✔️
Crepe Myrtle✔️
Cucumber✔️
Dandelion✔️
Dill✔️
Easter Lily✔️
Eggplant✔️
Escarole✔️
Fennel✔️
Forget-Me-Not✔️
Gardenia✔️
Garlic✔️
Geranium✔️
Hydrangea✔️
Impatiens✔️
Indian Cress✔️
Jalapeno ✔️
Kale✔️
Kohlrabi✔️
Lantana✔️
Lavender✔️
Leeks✔️
Lemon Tree✔️
Lemongrass✔️
Lettuce✔️
Mango✔️
Marigold✔️
Marjoram✔️
Melon✔️
Milk Thistle✔️
Mint✔️
Mustard✔️
Okra✔️
Onion✔️
Oregano✔️
Parsley✔️
Parsnip✔️
Pea✔️
Pepper✔️
Philodendron✔️
Potato✔️
Pothos✔️
Pumpkin✔️
Radish✔️
Rhubarb✔️
Rutabaga✔️
Rhododendron✔️
Rose✔️
Rosemary✔️
Rue✔️
Sage✔️
Sago Palm✔️
Scallion✔️
Shallot✔️
Spinach✔️
Squash✔️
Strawberry✔️
Succulent✔️
Sunflower✔️
Sweet Potato✔️
Swiss Chard✔️
Tansy✔️
Tarragon✔️
Tomatillo✔️
Tomato✔️
Thyme✔️
Turnip✔️
Vinca✔️
Watercress✔️
Watermelon✔️
Zinnia✔️
Plants to Use and Not to Use Neem Oil On Chart

Can Neem Oil Burn Plants?

Can Neem Oil Burn Plants? Neem oil may burn the plant if not applied at the correct time of the day. As I explained above, neem oil is an oil and as you know, oil at high temperatures (the sun) burns a lot. That is why if neem oil remains on the plant, it could burn the leaves.

Therefore, neem oil should be applied in the afternoon or early evening. In this way, the neem oil will have several hours to dry and the next morning when the sun rises it will not burn the plant. During the summer is the time you should be most careful when applying neem oil because the sun is very strong during the summer months.

The first time I applied neem oil to my plants, nothing was explained to me about the best time to apply neem oil and I applied it in the morning. The leaves of my plants were burned because I did not apply the neem oil in the afternoon or evening.

But I have been using neem oil for many years now, and none of my plants have ever been burned. I use neem oil on tomato plants as prevention.

can neem oil burn plants
Plants that suffered leaf burns from applying neem oil when there was too much sun.

Can Neem Oil Kill Plants?

Neem oil may kill plants if it is applied at a time of the day when the sun is too strong, for example, if you apply neem oil in the morning. If you apply neem oil in the morning and the oil does not dry out, the sun will cause foliar damage to the leaves of the plant.

Foliar damage to the plant will cause the plant to grow more slowly because the plant will expend energy to generate new leaves. Therefore, you should always avoid applying neem oil in the morning or midday.

I also do not recommend applying neem oil to the seedlings because they are still very small and more sensitive to anything you apply to them. However, when the seedlings are growing, it is rare for pests to appear.

can neem oil kill plants
Cucumber plant with incorrectly applied neem oil. Neem oil should never be applied when the sun is strong.

How to Mix Neem Oil for Plants

Preparing neem oil for application to plants is very simple, you will only need the following:

You should read the manufacturer’s label because each manufacturer has different directions for diluting neem oil. For example, to dilute the neem oil that I use, the ratio is 1 teaspoon per 32 oz of water. In my two articles on how to mix neem oil for plants and how to apply neem oil to plants, I talk more in detail about mixing neem oil.

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Final Conclusions About What Plants Not to Use Neem Oil On

Neem oil is a safe organic product to use in the garden and orchard. Remember that the most important thing is the moment in which you apply the neem oil so as not to cause foliar damage to the plant.

Neem oil does not have immediate action when applied, it takes 4 to 6 days to kill the insects. Once neem oil is applied, repeat the application every 2 days for the first 14 days for maximum effectiveness. I hope this article on what plants not to use neem oil on will be helpful.

what plants not to use neem oil on
Neem oil can be applied as a preventive method against pests. Apply every 15 days to the plants in your orchard.
About Julia Morgan

We are the Morgan family, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for TheGardenStyle.com as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website. We hope that all our advice will be useful to you and that you will become an expert gardener.