This Unexpected Beverage Will Help Your Plants Thrive
You probably have it in your refrigerator right now.
Keeping plants happy and healthy is easier said than done. If you're a gardening novice, you might think all it requires is water and a sunny window. But once you've shepherded a few plants from seedlings to adulthood, you realize there's a lot more to consider, including the proper soil type, watering schedule, drainage, and pot size. To make the process easier, we consulted gardening experts for their favorite plant-saving hacks. Here, they tell us the popular beverage you can water your garden with to bolster new growth and rescue withering plants. Bonus: You likely have this drink in your refrigerator right now.
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How plants consume water.
You know that your plants need water—but do you know why? According to the University of West Virginia, plants require water for two reasons: the first is to help them complete photosynthesis, which is the process by which they create their own food, and the second is to move the nutrients created during photosynthesis throughout the plant. "Nutrients and sugars from photosynthesis are dissolved in water and move from areas of high concentration, like the roots, to areas of lower concentration, such as the blooms, stem, and leaves, for growth and reproduction," they write.
According to Texas A&M, the primary nutrients plants need are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and potassium. More on those in a minute.
Sparkling water can help plants thrive.
It turns out there's a popular beverage that also contains nutrients like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and potassium: sparkling water. "By watering your plants with sparkling water, or even club soda, you'll provide them with nutrients needed for healthy growth," says Andrew Porwol, master gardener and owner of Garden Centre Shopping.
Jason White, a professional gardener and CEO of All About Gardening, notes that the practice can also enhance plants' drought tolerance and fast-track their growth. "The science behind this is that soda water is infused with carbon dioxide gas, the element responsible for making it fizzy," he explains. "Carbon is an essential part of a plant's photosynthesis and high levels of it mean plants can grow larger and faster."
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Use this method.
If you'd like to give this trick a try, start by finding a bottle of sparkling water or club soda (avoid mineral water and varieties with sugar). You'll also want to ensure your sparkling water is at room temperature before watering your plants. "Refrigerated water causes more harm than good as it shocks the roots, killing them," says Emma Loker, an expert gardener and team member at DIY Garden.
Then, leave your sparkling water outside in a watering can to allow some of the carbon dioxide gas to escape. Finally, water your plants as usual with your watering can. "Don't wet the leaves, as this increases the likelihood of mold growth," advises Loker.
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Use your sparkling water wisely.
Sparkling water is more costly than tap water, so it's wise to only use it when necessary. Porwol suggests watering plants with it once a week. "Indoor plants benefit greatly from sparkling water as it gives them that mineral boost that they lack from the outside soil," he says. "It's also helpful for any sick plant, especially those with lackluster leaves," he says since the beverage will help brighten leaves over time.
Soon, you'll have a lush garden and happy, healthy plants. Bottoms up.