How To Apply Neem Oil To Soil As A Drench

Neem oil is an extremely useful “natural insecticide” coming from the nuts of the Neem tree. 

neem oil as a soil drenchneem oil as a soil drench

The oil contains a naturally pesticidal compound called Azadirachtin, which is extremely useful for combating a wide variety of plant pests such as:

When pests consume Azadirachtin, it kills them gradually by acting as a growth inhibitor and an appetite suppressor. 

This twofold action causes both failure to molt and starvation.

This natural substance is effective against above-ground pests when sprayed on plants. 

It is effective against belowground pests when used as a soil drench. 

Even though Neem oil is fairly benign to beneficial insects when you choose to use it as a soil drench, you eliminate any chance you might accidentally harm bees, predatory insects, and other good bugs.

How Does Neem Oil Soil Drench Work?

Neem soil drenches work as a systemic insecticide

This means the plant absorbs the effective ingredient in the drench (e.g.Azadirachtin), which is distributed throughout the vascular system of the plant. [source]

When this happens, any part of the plant ingested by a pest contains the pesticidal ingredient.

As a bonus, Azadirachtin also helps protect plants against fungal infections when used in this manner. 

This means Neem oil used as a soil drench can help defend your plants from soil-dwelling larvae and problems such as root rot.

Interestingly, Azadirachtin is very effective against soil-dwelling pests and pathogenic organisms, but it does not harm friendly fauna such as earthworms.

Using Neem oil as a soil drench for your tomato plants is an excellent idea because they are especially likely to have nematode problems.

How To Mix Neem Oil For Soil Drench

To make an effective concoction to help fight against soil-dwelling pests and fungus, begin by following this recipe:


  • One tablespoon of cold-pressed Neem oil
  • One teaspoonful of dish soap
  • One quart of warm water


Simply combine all of the ingredients and use it as a soil drench about once a month as a preventative. 

If you are treating an infestation, use for regular watering on a weekly basis until the problem is abated.

This same mixture is used as a foliar spray.

How Much Neem Oil Soil Drench Should You Mix up at Once?

Only mix up the amount you will use at one go. 

Once the Neem oil is combined with water and dish soap, it will begin to degrade. 

Keep full-strength neem oil in your refrigerator for as long as a year.


#1 – Carnivorous Plants Cannot Tolerate Soap!

If you are treating carnivorous plants, you should not use dish soap or any other type of soap. 

The purpose of the dish soap is to act as an emulsifier. 

This helps to distribute the oil throughout the warm water, so it spreads evenly through the soil. 

If you eliminate the soap, simply use slightly warmer water and slightly warmed oil. 

Stir or shake vigorously before applying.

#2 – Do A Patch Test 

No matter what type of plant you are treating, it’s a good idea to do a little test to make sure the plant will respond favorably. 

If using the mixture as a spray, just treat a small portion of the plant and wait twenty-four hours to see how it responds. 

If using it as a drench, treat just one plant (if you have several of the same types) and observe it for twenty-four hours before treating all of your plants. 

Alternately, you may wish to use a diluted solution the first time to gauge your plants’ response. 

#3 – Neem Oil As A Soil Drench For Cannabis Is NOT The Best Choice 

If you’re growing marijuana, you may find Neem oil negatively impacts the flavor of the product. 

Some cannabis growers find Neem seed meal is a better alternative for controlling soil-dwelling insects. 

The Neem seed meal not only discourages and negatively impacts soil pests, but it also provides a good dose of nitrogen and acts as a beneficial fertilizer. 

Its NPK rating is 6 – 1 – 2.

Learn more about Neem Oil For Plants

Where Can You Get Neem Oil?

Neem is an excellent SAFE, NATURAL insecticide/pesticide solution for pest problems around the home.

Pick up Neem Oil at your local garden center or online at Amazon.

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