At some point, many gardeners will experience plant pests and diseases. By selecting all-natural, organic products such as the popular neem oil to care for your plants, you can safely and effectively treat many common plant ailments.

Neem oil, derived from the pressed seed of the Azadiracta indica A. Juss (the neem tree), has been used for medicinal purposes and pest control in India for thousands of years.

Neem oil is a safe, all-natural product that functions as a repellent, insecticide and fungicide. It is also used to prevent root rot.

Whether it be spider mites or fungus gnats, mealy bugs or aphids, plants both indoors and outdoors are subject to experiencing pests or disease at some point during their lifespan.

The most-common plant pestilence is the spider mite. In winter months, plants in the Yukon naturally live in a drier environment. Spider mites, especially affecting the well-known palm varieties, thrive in our climate.

Another area for disease is vessels that lack adequate drainage. Plants whose roots accumulate too much moisture are lacking the much-needed oxygen levels required to cycle nutrients through their support systems.

A pest or disease can also enter your environment by way of introducing new plants which may already be infected or by using soil that is contaminated.

When inspecting plants, look to the leaf.

Most pests will show the first signs of infestation on the underside of the leaf. If the leaf is sticky to the touch, you can bet this is the aphid secreting its gelling saliva.

Aphids are among the most-difficult pests to remove from a plant. They migrate quickly to the healthy, growing tip of the plant and multiply at an enormous rate.

Due to their small, translucent egg shapes, aphids can be difficult to detect. When massed together, they look like water droplets. The first signs of aphid infestation can be a flaccid foliage where new growth looks specifically unhealthy. The plant may also lose the depth of its natural colour, looking pale and lifeless.

Should you discover aphids on your plant, start by scraping off the aphids using a Popsicle stick and then follow through with a neem-oil spray.

Try using natural and organic products, such as neem oil, as a solution to your plant-care challenges. And limit the use of harmful chemicals.

By honouring the environment, you can give your plants every opportunity to thrive in a natural environment.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited