Neem for the Garden: Organic Insecticide

13 April 2022

Neem for the Garden: Organic Insecticide

A friendly guide to find out how neem can help you in the garden.

The neem tree is native to India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, but has travelled the world to places such as South America, Florida, and parts of Africa. Neem extracts are chemically rich:

It has also been used traditionally to protect against insect pests and studies have shown that neem works in many different ways to deter and weaken plant-eating insects.

Neem contains actives that cause insects to stop feeding and reduces their breeding and movement. One of these actives is azadirachtin, discovered to be one of the most potent insect antifeedants discovered to date. Neem has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties as well.

Neem is especially effective against:

Aphids, leaf hoppers, wasps, and ants
Moths and caterpillars
Mites and ticks
Beetles, weevils
Cockroaches, mantids
Flies (and fly-strike)

Like oil and water

Good quality neem oil has a strong, slightly acrid smell similar to musky garlic. However, it’s an oil, which means it doesn’t readily mix with water, so an emulsifier is necessary to make an effective mixture. 250ml of neem oil and 50ml of emulsifier together make about 50L of neem oil solution, which is plenty for a small garden or several houseplants.  Wondering where to start? Look no further than our ready-made Gardener's Neem Kit, which contains everything you need to make up your neem spray.

Neem may be toxic to some fish, so do not dispose of unused solution in rivers or waterways-use it on your grass instead.

Azadirachtin breaks down in water and when exposed to light, so remember to always make up your spray fresh and use it within 5-7 days for best results.

Did you know? You can use this solution as a safe anti-flea solution for any mammal. Unlike our Shield range which contains essential oils, a simple neem solution is safe for cats and can help them stay flea-free when they’re exploring outside.

Without a trace

Neem oil (and our plant-derived emulsifier) is biodegradable and non-toxic to the soil. In fact, neem cakes (the by-product obtained in the process of cold pressing of neem tree fruits and kernels) are used as an organic manure!

Neem is also safe for bees, earthworms, and other beneficial critters in the garden. It’s even safe for you to handle without gloves. In fact, you may find that rubbing a little oil into your skin brings a major benefit, especially if your skin is dry!

The one downside is that the solution must be resprayed every 4-8 days, or when it rains, as the actives are broken down by sunlight and washed away by rain. This means that it does not build up in the environment, and studies have shown that the oil can be used regularly and that even low concentrations are effective against some insects- and, hey, it’s good to have an excuse to get out into the garden!

Serendipity Herbals’ commitment to the environment


Here at Serendipity Herbals, we aim to do our part in moving towards a sustainable future. That means our products are biodegradable and naturally derived, all our packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable, and we encourage our customers to recycle or upcycle their old bottles and packaging whenever possible.