Plants have a lot of things in common with humans. One of these is the fact that they’ll use the rain to get clean when outdoors but require artificial means when indoors.
Since your house plant probably won’t get up and walk to the shower, you will need to occasionally give your plants a sponge bath. That is where a leaf shine using neem oil comes in.
This is especially true of indoor plants with large leaves, where an accumulation of dust can not only dull any variegation but may interfere with photosynthesis.
An all-natural leaf shine with Neem oil could be the answer to this problem. But did you know you can actually use neem oil for some extra benefits?
How to Make a Leaf Shine Made from Neem Oil
Making and using neem oil as a leaf shine is a little bit different from the foliar sprays you might be used to.
There are also some special considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when using a neem leaf shine.
Differences Between Leaf Shine and Foliar Spray
Leaf shine products generally don’t use neem oil in its foliar spray since the main goal isn’t to fight infestations.
Additionally, you won’t be covering the entire plant (and blooms) with the mixture.
Foliar sprays are left on the plant while shines are wiped off, meaning the shine will have less effective against an active infestation than a foliar spray treatment.
Benefits of Using a Neem Leaf Shine
Neem oil, even in a more diluted form, can help combat common infestations on contact.
The cloth, which will end up having neem all over it, will help dislodge and kill pests.
Additionally, the neem will affect any external fungal or bacterial infections.
Drawbacks of Using a Neem Oil Solution Leaf Shine
Neem foliar sprays generally remain on a plant for 45 minutes to an hour, giving them time to suffocate infestations, but a shine is immediately wiped off.
This means it’s far less effective against an infestation (but will still help in the earliest stages of infestation).
Always test a tiny area of your plant 24 hours before using neem to ensure the plant isn’t allergic or over-sensitive.
Additionally, the leaf shine can increase a plant’s risk of sunburn.
Avoid using the shine on plants exposed to direct sunlight, and treat such plants only after the sun is no longer directly hitting the plant.
You should also avoid using the shine on window plants during the hottest part of the day.
Neem Oil Leaf Shine Recipe and Application
The recipe for a neem leaf shine isn’t too different from that of a foliar spray.
Begin by mixing 1 tablespoon of pure castile soap or Dawn dish soap into a gallon of room-temperature distilled water.
You’ll probably want to skip using insecticidal soap since it won’t be on the plant long enough to be of benefit.
Next, add four teaspoons of clarified hydrophobic neem oil to your emulsion and mix well.
- As this is a leaf shine, we suggest using a .5 to 1% percent Azadirachtin content.
- Pour the mix into a spray bottle.
- To apply, you will want to do each leaf individually when possible.
- Place a soft cloth behind the leaf and give it a spray.
- This is to help protect juvenile leaves, which tend to be more sensitive to chemicals and sunburn.
- Gently use the damp cloth to wipe down the leaf, leaving behind a nice sheen and no dust or grime.
Repeat this as often as necessary, although a plant in a generally clean home will only need to be wiped down 1 to 2 times per month at most.