Neem oil, one of nature’s best ways to deal with problem insects, is pressed from the fruits, seeds, and bark of an evergreen tree (Azadirachta indica) that grows in South Asia, especially India and parts of Africa.
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), a member of the mahogany family and a native of India and South Asia. The plant has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, primarily as an antiseptic, but scientists have only studied its potential as a pesticide since the 1960s.
How does it work for indoor plants?
The most remarkable thing about neem oil is that many plants absorb it through their roots when applied to the soil. The roots deliver the neem to the stems and leaves, so when a hungry mealy bug takes a bite of the leaf, it gets a mouthful of the deadly neem. Of course, this systemic effect varies from plant to plant and isn’t necessarily effective on all insects, but it’s one of the reasons neem is such a powerful tool for fighting garden pests and commercial crops.
Neem is non-toxic to humans and wildlife, including most beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs that do not feed on leaves. (Be cautious about healthy caterpillars.) It is safe to use indoors, outdoors, and on food (be sure to wash everything well). You can use it safely around pets, provided they do not ingest the oil directly.