A little bit of hydrogen peroxide in the garden can be a lifesaver for plants. With just a bottle, you’ll be able to provide optimum emergency care for your plants and effective pest control!
Previously, we already covered a multitude of plant-friendly alternatives for your gardening experience. If you’ve ever thought about using Epsom Salt, Banana Peels, Neem Oil, and Coffee Grounds to treat your plants and soil, you’ve come to the right place for another alternative solution.
In this article, we’ll show you the different ways to use hydrogen peroxide and why it’s a must-have for your garden!
Introducing Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound also known as H2O2. Unlike water, which has a composition of H2O, there’s an extra oxygen molecule in a hydrogen peroxide solution.
Today, hydrogen peroxide is used for its antiseptic properties. In medicinal settings, hydrogen peroxide is used to speed up the healing process of wounds, cuts, and fungal infections in people. A solution of this stuff on your teeth can even work as a bleaching agent and make it bright!
The extra oxygen atom in this solution is what makes it a miracle cure. The oxygen in hydrogen peroxide is what is used to kill mold, bacteria, and fungus. It’s so effective that it can even kill some forms of germs. With proper use, this solution can also heighten oxygen levels.
The power of this solution is what makes it so useful for plants. If you’ve battled root rot, fungus gnats, powdery mildew, or any types of pests in your garden, you’ll want to try hydrogen peroxide out.
Best Ways To Use Hydrogen Peroxide For Plants
Below, you’ll find a list of the best ways to use the magic of H2o2 in your gardening experience. Make sure that you’re using hydrogen peroxide with clean hands (preferably with gloves), and keep it out of your eyes and other sensitive areas on your face!
General Instructions for Hydrogen Peroxide in the Garden
Hydrogen peroxide is a very potent cure for plants. However, to prolong the shelf-life of this compound, it needs to be stored in a cool, dark place.
If distilled water is available in your area, hydrogen peroxide may be more effective. Trace minerals in tap water may interfere with the H202 concentration by weakening it. However, this isn’t a must. Any type of water will do fine, as long as it is used immediately upon mixing with the hydrogen peroxide.
Root Rot Hydrogen Peroxide Solution
One of the most common problems gardeners face is root rot. It shows up in your plants in a very sneaky way.
Signs of Root Rot
Often, the first stages of root rot happen when leaves begin to yellow at a fast pace. Suddenly, plant growth will appear stunted, while your plant’s roots are suddenly turning into mush. When root rot isn’t treated immediately, it will kill your precious plant in just a matter of days.
The other symptoms of root rot in your plants are as follows:
- Stunted plant growth
- Plant roots that are black and mushy, falling apart at the touch
- Wilting plants despite watering often
- Yellow leaves (more yellow than healthy leaves)
Causes of Root Rot
Root rot really begins when a healthy plant is overwatered. Excess water in the soil causes 2 consequences:
- The plant loses oxygen because the soil is compacted (which leads to your plant ‘suffocating’)
- The excess moisture in the soil becomes the perfect environment for fungus.
The real cause of root rot is a fungus that eats away plant roots. But, this fungus only begins to multiply when there’s too much water around the soil and roots, which they love. The soil is the perfect cool dark place where these fungi love to thrive.
While the best tools against root rot are really proper watering habits, sometimes, even the best gardener can fall victim to it. Prevention is always better than the cure, but if your plants are in dire need of emergency help, we’ve got the perfect solution!
Using Hydrogen Peroxide Against Root Rot
To use hydrogen peroxide to fight root rot, you have to act quickly. Once your plant presents any symptoms, you must take it out of its potting mix and wash off the soil in lukewarm water.
Here are some instructions for using a hydrogen peroxide solution as a treatment:
- Take the plant/s out of its pot, and wash off the soil in running water.
- Observe the roots of the plant, and pinch it lightly as if to check its bounciness.
- Plants often have delicate roots. However, if upon pinching them, they crumble or simply fall apart in your hands, this is a warning sign of root rot.
- The color of the root growth will also determine the severity of the problem. If the plant’s roots are black or brown, it’s time to start the pruning process.
- Prune off the roots that no longer appear healthy.
- Healthy roots are thick and often have a white color.
- Get rid of all black or brown roots by taking a pair of disinfected shears or scissors, and cut until only white roots are left.
- Optional: Transfer the plant/s to a new potting mix.
- You can also keep the plant in its old soil, but we don’t recommend it. If you choose to do this, allow the soil to dry out completely.
- It may be better to move your plants to a new soil mix so that you can avoid further damage.
- Using a level 3 hydrogen peroxide concentration, thoroughly dilute 15mL (1 tablespoon) of hydrogen peroxide to 240mL (1 cup) of water.
- If you kept your plant in its old potting mix, wait for the soil to dry and use this treatment by drenching the soil as if you’re watering the plant.
- If you’ve decided to change your plant’s soil, simply spray the hydrogen peroxide solution around the roots before repotting, or use this solution by drenching the soil during your next watering.
*NOTE: 35 Hydrogen peroxide can also be used for plants, but with a dilution rate of 1 part hydrogen peroxide mix to 15 parts water.
Benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide
By adding a hydrogen peroxide solution to your infected plant, you add extra oxygen to its roots. This helps boost their healing process and can effectively treat any fungal growth on the roots.
Hydrogen peroxide breaks through the cell walls of the fungus. This can kill fungus and prevent any more from growing.
The diluted medium of hydrogen peroxide is a great way to disinfect the spores in your potting medium. This diluted chemical treatment works wonders, but it’s always best for gardeners to readjust how they water their plants!
Hydrogen Peroxide Concentration for Germination
Vegetable growers know how important it is that their plants are healthy and robust. This always starts from the way their seeds and seedlings are treated. In most cases, hydrogen peroxide can be used to boost germination rates and strengthen seeds.
How Hydrogen Peroxide Helps Seeds
If you’ve ever grown your own seeds, germination is a hit or miss. You might be doing everything right (including putting the seeds in a cool dark place, misting the soil with enough water, etc), but some seeds just don’t come out of dormancy.
A study was done by the International Horticultural Society, though, shows that hydrogen peroxide is safe to use and helps boost the germination of seeds by up to a whopping 15%. Through this method, seeds are treated with hydrogen peroxide through a deep soak in a concentration from 8-24 hours.
Hydrogen peroxide not only promotes root growth for fully-sized plants, but it also gives extra oxygen to seeds, too!
Hydrogen Peroxide Seed solution
To make a hydrogen peroxide mix for plants, take 1 fl. oz (2 tablespoons) of a level 3 hydrogen peroxide and thoroughly dilute the solution with half a gallon of water (1.5 L).
Afterward, soak your seeds in this hydrogen peroxide mixture anywhere from 8-24 hours. You can also use this mix in a spray bottle and spritz it on a paper towel before placing seeds on top.
To increase your chances at germination, make sure to keep your seeds in a cool, dark room away from too much sunlight. Soon enough, the seeds will come to life and be ready for the garden!
Hydrogen Peroxide for Pest Control and Garden Preparation
The uses of hydrogen peroxide for plants are multi-faceted. It can be used to treat root rot, start seeds, and even protect your garden from pests.
Hydrogen peroxide is a friendly alternative to harmful chemical pesticides and is a great way to get rid of pests. Like Neem Oil, another fantastic alternative, a hydrogen peroxide solution can boost your gardening experience by lessening the amount of insects and other pests in your garden.
Fungus Gnats and Fungal Infections
If these mosquito-like insects are present in your soil, it’s time to use hydrogen peroxide. Fungus gnats often indicate the presence of fungal growth in the soil, which means that you can use hydrogen peroxide to eliminate both the fungal infection and the fungus gnats! Double-win!
To do this, mix a solution with 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide to 3 parts water. You can use this diluted mixture as a spray or as a weekly watering habit to treat your plants from those pesky gnats.
Aphids, often called ‘plant lice’ are a common gardening issue for anyone who keeps Philodendrons and other indoor plants. It’s almost a right of passage in the gardening world.
Fortunately, you can get rid of these insects with a spray bottle and some hydrogen peroxide. Make a mixture of 1 tbsp (15mL) hydrogen peroxide mixed with a cup of water. Shake this diluted mixture thoroughly.
Afterward, spray this on the leaves of your plants. Make sure to also look in between the stems and base of your plants, as aphids tend to burrow in narrow spaces.
The key to aphids is consistency. Make sure to use this treatment at least once a week for the next 3 weeks until your plants are free of bugs.
To kill aphid larvae, use the mixture in your watering can and soak the soil.
If you’re just about to plant your seeds on a raised bed or the old planter box by your garden, you can use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the soil. Take 1 cup (240mL) of the level 35 hydrogen peroxide mixed with a gallon of water (4L) and drench a square meter (1m2/10 x 10ft) of soil.
This solution helps the soil become resistant to fungal infections and can help boost the roots of your plants. Feel free to use this treatment once a season.