Everyone is familiar with hydrogen peroxide uses as a topical antiseptic and a personal care product.
However, most people are unaware of the fact that hydrogen peroxide a simple substance has amazing benefits and is something of a miracle product when it comes to gardening. In every phase and type of gardening, hydrogen peroxide can be extremely useful and helpful.
In this article, we explore the many reasons why a hydrogen peroxide solution may just be the gardener’s best friend. Read on to learn more.
For All Hydrogen Peroxide For Plants Users – Handle With Care!
In addition to health and beauty applications, H2O2 has many household cleaning uses such working as a bleaching agent or for first aid applications.
It’s important to note that; although it is a valuable and generally safe product.
However, it does possess corrosive and combustible qualities. Always use hydrogen peroxide in a diluted form and handled it with care.
The best container would be the one used in hydrogen peroxide production.
But you can also use a safe spray bottle for a more controlled use but it should be made of compatible materials. Always keep hydrogen peroxide out of reach of children.
Store hydrogen peroxide away from sources of heat. Finally, always check the expiration date before using.
H2O2 occurs naturally, however the commercially produced product is not considered organic. Even so, when using it in your garden, it breaks down to become water.
For this reason it makes hydrogen peroxide a very environmentally friendly alternative to pesticides, fungicides and chemical fertilizers.
Its Chemical Makeup… Very Similar To Water
Water’s chemical name is H2O. Two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen makes water.
Hydrogen peroxide’s chemical name is H2O2. Its make up includes two atoms of hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen. It is that difference that makes it so useful as a garden aid.
Oxygen is the nemesis of a number of diseases and undesirable organisms. Among them are:
Properly diluted hydrogen peroxide provides an extra dose of oxygen to plants and helps fight off these unwanted invaders.
How Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide On Plants?
There are myriad uses for H2O2 in gardening. Such as:
- Mold & Mildew Preventative & Treatment
- Hydrogen Peroxide for Root Rot Prevention & Treatment
- Infection Preventative
- General Liquid Fertilizing Program
- Seed Sprouting
- Pest Control
Can You Use H2O2 Full Strength?
How much hydrogen peroxide for plants?
It is wise to remember that less is more when using hydrogen peroxide in your garden soil. It must be diluted significantly to be safe for use.
Most gardeners begin with the lowest concentration of the product to be had – 3%. Even this must be diluted for safety. Here are some guidelines:
1. General Purpose Dilution
A combination of a single teaspoon of H2O2 in an 8-ounce cup of water makes a good hydrogen peroxide solution for the following tasks:
How much hydrogen peroxide per gallon of water? The above mix translates to 2.6 oz or 15.3 tablespoons per gallon of water.
2. Bacterial, Fungus & Infestation Treatment
You can make up either of these nutrient solutions in advance to keep on hand to use quickly and easily. Just be sure to store your mixture in a dark colored container with a tightly fitting lid. Keep it in a well-ventilated, cool, dark place.
Frequency Of Treatment
As a general rule, you should thoroughly drench your healthy plants with a preventative mixture following every rainfall. If dealing with ill or infested plants, a daily drenching for 3-5 days should suffice. Keep a close eye on your plants and let your own best judgment be your guide.
10 Ways To Use Hydrogen Peroxide In And Around The Garden
Here are ten excellent applications of this simple miracle product:
1. Create A Sterile Growing Medium
When starting seeds or propagating cuttings, use a sterile growing medium such as vermiculite or perlite for best results. However, you can sterilize river sand with food grade hydrogen peroxide as a thriftier alternative.
Hydrogen Peroxide Soil Treatment or Drench here’s how:
Place the soil or sand in a watertight container and soak it completely with a 3-6% hydrogen peroxide mixture. You will want to let the mixture sit overnight.
Check on it and turn it a few times to be sure that all of the soil is thoroughly drenched. This treatment will kill off pathogens, nematodes and their eggs.
2. Sanitize Your Seeds For Sprouting
If your seeds are contaminated with pathogens, they will kill off your seedlings. To prevent this problem, soak seeds in heated 3% hydrogen peroxide for a period of five minutes.
Rinse the seeds in room temperature, running water for a full minute to remove the peroxide before planting. This method can also be used when sprouting seeds to grow edible sprouts.
3. Speed Up Germination
The soaking method described above will help seeds germinate quicker thanks to the extra oxygen contained in H2O2.
Sprouting is a very oxygen intensive process, and using hydrogen peroxide is an excellent way to help your seeds get the very best start.
After sowing seeds, water them with the weak dilution (1 tsp H2O2 + 1 cup H2O) for the first week. This will give them a boost and help them germinate quickly.
4. Grow Strong Plant Roots
Extra oxygen also helps promote good plant root growth. It is always a good idea to have well-aerated soil, and hydrogen peroxide can help meet this goal by delivering extra oxygen.
Watering with a light mixture can help introduce oxygen even in compacted or clayey soil.
To make a large batch of treated water, combine:
- One Pint 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
- One Gallon of Water
Water mature plants with this solution one time weekly. Be sure to soak the area around the roots thoroughly. You can also use this strength of dilution when transplanting and when starting root cuttings.
5. Treat Powdery Mildew Fungus
To make a pint of fungal treatment spray, mix 4 tbsp Hydrogen Peroxide with 4 cups of water. This makes an excellent treatment for plants that show symptoms of fungal infections such as powdery mildew.
Remember that hydrogen peroxide can burn sensitive tissues, so it is always best to use a 3% solution in dilution when treating plants.
Always test your hydrogen peroxide solution on a small area before applying your spray.
6. Treat Bacterial Rot
Bacterial infections can be the death of a wide variety of plants. If a plant is injured by inclement weather, poor pruning or damage caused by insects or disease, bacteria can get a foothold and cause severe illness or death.
You can help prevent this with regular spraying of an H2O2 solution.
This is especially wise after pruning knockout rose bushes and trees for example.. It’s also smart to prepare tubers and bulbs for winter storage by dipping them in a hydrogen peroxide solution and then allowing them to air dry thoroughly before storing.
7. Repel Insects
A good H2O2 solution has a strong oxidizing effect that deters a wide variety of pests and destroys their eggs.
Sap-sucking insects such as aphids are especially sensitive to this concoction, and moths are also strongly affected.
Fungus gnats also die upon contact with food-grade hydrogen peroxide.
8. Treat Your Hydroponic & Aquaponic Gardens
The right amount of H2O2 adds oxygen to the water and benefits both plant and fish life.
Root rot treatment with hydrogen peroxide:
Because hydrogen peroxide breaks down to become water, it is quite a bit safer than chemical antiseptics usually used to combat fungal infections.
Read our article on: Hydrogen Peroxide for Root Rot
9. Use Hydrogen Peroxide Mix As A Disinfectant
You can use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect your tools, seed trays, pots and surfaces in your greenhouse or potting shed.
The best form for this purpose is a 6-9 percent solution. You can use this product undiluted, but do so carefully.
To sterilize tools and equipment, you can either dip them into the solution or spray it on and wipe it off with a clean, damp cloth.
The 6-9% solution is very effective in killing fungus, viruses and bacteria.
In stronger solution (10%) it can kill mold spores and is useful for removing and preventing mold and mildew on hard surfaces (e.g. greenhouse walls). If you use a very strong solution, you must exercise extreme caution.
10. Kill Weeds
You can use very strong H2O2 (10% solution) full strength to kill weeds and moss. Pour it directly into pavement cracks in the late evening or early morning for best results. It will work best without direct sunshine.
When using this treatment, you must be very careful. Wear protective gear and avoid letting the solution come in contact with plants that you want to keep. If you come in contact with this strong product, wash thoroughly and immediately with cold, running water.
Using Hydrogen Peroxide Saves Money & The Environment
Despite the need for safety precautions, H2O2 is an environmentally friendly product. Unlike chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides it breaks down to become water once its work is done.
You don’t have to worry about it lingering in the environment to poison the water table or kill off beneficial insects because it simply does not do those things.
It is also a remarkably versatile and thrifty addition to your garden arsenal. With just a couple of simple recipes, you can create gentle, yet effective solutions to almost any gardening challenge.
Remember it only takes a very small amount of H2O2 to benefit your plants and potting mix. Begin with a very weak solution of 3% peroxide.
You will probably attain perfectly satisfactory results. If not, increase the strength of your solution in increments and proceed with caution.
You may never need to use the more concentrated strengths of commercial grade peroxide, but if you do be sure to treat them with caution and respect. Handle them wisely to avoid injury.