There is no denying the attractiveness of orchids. Orchids have long been associated with sex (thanks to the Greek doctor Dioscorides).
But more importantly, it can be a symbol of love, friendship, marriage, fertility, innocence, royalty, etc., depending on the color.
More interestingly, of the 27,800 (still increasing) varieties, many are used as aphrodisiacs.
But when you give this plant to your partner, there is one thing that makes it less romantic-pest infestation.
You don’t want to use harsh chemicals on this wonderful flower, but thankfully, the gardener’s greatest natural ally, Neem oil is a safe and effective insecticide While protecting these flower treasures.
How to use neem oil to control orchid pests
There is not much difference between using neem on orchids and other plants.
However, orchids like Phalaenopsis (Phalaenopsis) It may be a little more sensitive, so some extra steps are essential for healthy plants.
Precautions for neem oil on orchids
As mentioned earlier, orchids may be more sensitive than some other plants.
The following precautions can not only keep your orchid happy and healthy, but can also be applied to other flowering plants.
- Avoid direct sunlight during treatment – Neem oil will dissipate quickly, but the foliar spray is still water-based, which can cause sunburn when wet leaves are exposed to direct sunlight.
- Do not process at temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit – Neem oil loses its effectiveness at higher temperatures, and heat may also cause burns due to its oil content.
- Always test before treatment – Some orchid varieties are more sensitive to neem oil. At the same time, individual plants can develop sensitivity, so test a small portion 24 hours before any treatment.
- Avoid blooming – The flowers of many orchid species (including Miltonia and Masdevallia) may be sensitive to neem, even if the rest of the plant is not sensitive, so try not to touch the flowers when using foliar sprays.
- Always spray outdoor plants at dusk or dawn – Bees and other beneficial insects are the least active at this time, so neem oil needs 45 minutes to 1 hour to dissipate safely.
- Avoid using neem oil near inhabited water features, Because azadirachtin is slightly toxic to many aquatic organisms.
Select the type of neem
Neem trees are divided into three main types, each with its own applications and capabilities.
The 100% cold-pressed raw material neem oil is unmodified neem oil.
Always make sure you buy cold pressed, so it is the most effective and store in a cool and dry place.
Raw neem contains azadirachtin, a natural insecticide that mimics the hormones of many insect species.
Used for soil soaking, azadirachtin becomes a systemic insecticide consumed by any pest that pierces or chews the plant.
Once ingested, azadirachtin can block appetite signals, cause infertility, and prevent the nymphs from entering adulthood.
Due to the risk of chemical burns, do not use raw neem in foliar sprays.
Neem cake is the solid leftover when making neem, the raw material.
These cakes contain trace amounts of neem oil and azadirachtin, which are usually used as supplementary fertilizers.
The exact NPK varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but is usually around 4-1-2.
Neem cake will not affect leaf-based pests, but can effectively resist grubs and other ground pests without harming earthworms.
The clarified hydrophobic neem oil is a modified form of neem, in which most of the azadirachtin is removed and used as a chemical pesticide.
Its concentration is 0.5% to 3% azadirachtin content.
We strongly recommend that orchids use a percentage of 0.5% to 1% to reduce the risk of burns.
Clarified neem is most commonly used in foliar sprays because it is more gentle in nature and can suffocate any bugs it covers.
Use neem foliar spray
For foliar spray, first mix 1 teaspoon of pure castile soap per gallon of water.
notes: Avoid using Dawn dish soap for orchids, because if you use too much, it may damage the wax.
Add 4 teaspoons of clarified neem to the mixture and pour it into a spray bottle.
We recommend using a 0.5% percentage as a preventive measure, and a 1% percentage for most infections.
Unless the pest has spread to the flowers, try to put a piece of cardboard in front of the flowers when spraying, and proceed from top to bottom.
This will protect the flowers of more sensitive species while still being exposed to most infestations, although thrips and other pests may also attack the flowers.
Repeat every other day for 14 days or until the infection disappears.
Just break down the neem cake and apply according to the instructions.
Remember that cake contains NPK and is considered fertilizer, so be sure to adjust regular orchid fertilizer as needed to maintain the proper total amount of NPK.
Neem soil soaking
Neem soaking can last up to 22 days in the plant without harming the waxy coating or the flowers. However, due to their epiphytic properties, soaking is not the best choice for some orchids.
When mixing, use 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap or pure castile soap to make a lotion, and then add 2 tablespoons of raw neem oil.
Pour 2 to 3 cups of the mixture directly onto the soil above the roots, covering roughly the same root spread radius.
Avoid splashing on the plant itself.
Neem will kill ground pests when it is soaked, without harming earthworms, and will be absorbed by plants as a systemic insecticide, which also serves as a partial fungicide with antibacterial properties.
Reapply when watering every 14 to 21 days as a preventive measure or until the pests disappear.
Neem oil is non-toxic to humans and pets, but you should still wait one day after treatment before making a bouquet, provided that the recipient is allergic or sensitive to neem.