My tomato plants stems had mealy bugs and with in an hour of my notice I started to spray neem oil liquid soap water and the plants now looks very bad and the leaves looks very dull. Will the leaves again regrow or the plant will die? I have applied this before also when my plants did not have mealy bugs but I never saw this change. Please tell me as what can I do now? enter image description here

  • a photo will help. To remove neem oil: just use a lot of water. But I fear that the problem existed before your application of neem oil. – Giacomo Catenazzi Aug 22 '18 at 8:13
  • No before I applied neem oil the plant just had mealy bugs and it was green and fresh with little not fully grown leaves after neem oil application only it became very dull. – user23599 Aug 22 '18 at 8:15

There should be no worries using Neem on tomatoes, Penn State U says so. The only catch is to apply it exactly as the instructions recommend.

In applying the Neem you will have applied two ingredients, the soap and the Neem oil. The soap is used as a spreader to allow the oil to stick to the leaf. Tomato leaves are covered in tiny hairs that will resist the oil if the soap is not present. You leave the oil in place for the bugs to eat and croak.

So we can speculate on why you see the dullness: because of the tiny hairs, what you normally see will be light reflections from the hairs along with the leaf surface. Now with the Neem in place the hairs are somewhat covered and the Neem itself will be mixed in. Think back to what kind of soap you used, there are chemical soaps that will harm plant surfaces and need washing off, but in the case of the Neem really it needs to be left on for the bugs to chow down on.

If you used innocent soap and followed the mixing instructions then just sit back and be patient, all will be well.

  • Hi I used a normal liquid hand wash not too harsh and this was the one which I have used for many times and I never saw this and to add it I had this mealy bug problem in hibiscus and this is the same way I sprayed the oil and now the plant looks good after several times spraying but this is the first time I have got this issue In tomato and there were flowers in that plants because of which I am worried 😯 I don't wat the plant to die because of this. – user23599 Aug 22 '18 at 10:00
  • Some Hibiscus can have hairy leaves but the species I know are smooth and shiny, in which case the effect on colour will be less marked. Maybe you are just very sensitive to colour like Leonardo da Vinci? Let us know if you see further changes. – Colin Beckingham Aug 22 '18 at 10:14
  • For sure thank you so much for your answer will wait for another two days and will post here if I don't see any further changes or growth in my plant. Hope for the best. Thanks a lot. – user23599 Aug 22 '18 at 10:21

Could be that the neem oil was added during the day and the sun cooked the leaves. In Texas, when the temp gets above 90, I can’t use neem oil


Neem has another use besides pesticide. Neem is also used for spraying leaves to make them shine, more glossy, gets rid of dust. I'd never use it this way, ugh. I hate the smell of Neem. But even on hairy tomatoes your plants should look better not duller.

What soap did you use? How much did you mix in the mix with the Neem? How much Neem? Grins, did you read the label 5X each and every time you use any pesticide? That was what they harped in our Pesticide Licensing seminars. Constantly. I read it once every single use, I am bad with instructions.

I've never needed a spreader/sticker with Neem. I'd put my plant in the shower and let it have a good rain or if it is outside use a water wand to give your tomatoes a shower. Wait a few days and if you see live mealies spray again without the soap. You might have used too much soap and it left a sticky residue which could block the gas exchange stomata beneath the leaves. I'd wash the plants off and wait for the mealies who already have had a meal to die. They don't die that quickly. Let us know what and how much soap you've used.

Don't spray Neem during the day when beneficials and bees are around. Some Neem products say it is safe for bees but don't believe it. Avoid spraying Neem on the flowers. Use a paper plate and wear gloves. Conversely you don't water in the evening or at night because you want your plants dry going into the night time to reduce fungal problems.

  • Hi, I have added a Pic so that would help. I just used the neem oil and a handwash liquid with more than a litre of water. Because I usually doubt about the concentration of that so I used in more water. But I never had this issue. I think I made a mistake by doing it as you could see the Pic my plant is in a very bad condition. Can you please suggest me on how to bring it back to original state or is this will remain. And I have another question as why my plant got affected now after flowers came it didn't have any issues when it was small. – user23599 Aug 23 '18 at 1:31
  • Oh oh. This is not at all good, user23599. This looks like a blight. So sorry! I really do not think this was because of Neem or Soap. This is a major fungus that completely destroys your plant and all tomatoes. I've been through this. Where did you plant these tomatoes? Were tomatoes or any of this family planted in that soil last year? The year before? – stormy Aug 23 '18 at 2:52
  • Major sigh. There is no saving these tomatoes. We do need to understand what happened so that you don't have to go through this again. Bummer. – stormy Aug 23 '18 at 2:54
  • Nope this is the first time I have planted tomatoes completely in new soil in a grow bag I also have another plant that is fine in the same grow bag. I have two grow bags with two tomato plants in each. So one tomato plant is absolutely good but little burns after neem oil this is the same in two grow bags. – user23599 Aug 23 '18 at 2:57
  • Even though this is not the case because of neem oil or soap how cm this happened with in few hours after application of neem oil. I completely don't understand. Before that it was green in color. – user23599 Aug 23 '18 at 2:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.