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houseplants leaves with ozone damage

Can An Ozone Generator Kill Houseplants? Solved & Explained

Ozone generators are devices designed to produce ozone. They are generally used to remove unpleasant and very persistent odours from homes or cars, with people even using them to get rid of plant pests.

However, it is critical you understand the effect an ozone generator (or ozone) can have before you use it anywhere close to your plants!

In this article, I will tell you exactly what will happen if you ran an ozone generator near your houseplants, and how to fix it.

Firstly, Can an Ozone Generator Kill Your Houseplants:

Yes, an ozone generator can damage and even kill your houseplants. Plants are very sensitive to ozone because it will enter their leaves during their respiration process and burn them from the inside. Their leaves will slowly turn yellow and prolonged exposure to ozone will eventually kill them.

What Effect Does Ozone Have On Houseplants?

Ozone damage can have several different effects on plants, and you might see various symptoms, including:

  • Leaves turning brown or yellow, or possibly even red, which makes it difficult for them to photosynthesize properly.
  • Spots of silver or bleached white appearing on the plants.
  • Conifers getting tip burn and some yellow-brown mottling on them.
  • Some plants may have reduced yields and the fruits and vegetables might mature while they are still very small.

You may also see the plant leaves withering and dropping off, especially for certain plants, like citrus plants and grapes.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of overlap between what ozone damage looks like and what many plant diseases look like – so it isn’t always easy to tell what is affecting your plant.

Does Ozone Destroy Plant Foliage?

Yes, ozone destroys plant foliage. It usually just damages the plant leaves, rather than outright killing them, but it is perfectly possible for it to kill leaves too if the plant is exposed to a lot of ozone.

The ozone enters the leaf via the stomata (openings through which the plants breathe) and burns the tissues inside when the plant is trying to breathe. You will observe some of the previously mentioned symptoms if this is happening to your plant.

With prolonged exposure, it’s quite likely that you’ll see the foliage starting to die off, but it may take some time for this to happen.

Can You Run An Ozone Generator With Houseplants In The Room?

If possible, it’s best to remove houseplants from the room when running an ozone generator. If you are only using an ozone generator for a short period, such as 10 minutes or so, it should be reasonably safe, but any more than that and you’ll risk damaging your plants.

You should be very wary of running it for longer or doing it too often.

Some plants may be more sensitive to the damage done by an ozone generator than others, but it’s still best to be cautious even if you think your plant is tough.

Of course, the proximity of the plants to the ozone generator matters too.

If you have the plants on the far side of the room, they are less likely to be harmed by the ozone generator than if you have them right beside the ozone generator.

If you can’t remove the plants from the room, it would be a good idea to at least position the generator as far from them as you can.

How Long Does It Take For An Ozone Generator To Kill Houseplants?

It will depend heavily on the kind of plant you have and how resilient it is, but in general, it would take many hours and even up to a day for an ozone generator to kill a healthy houseplant.

There are some YouTube experiments where people put their plants alongside ozone generators and run them for more than ten hours without the plant dying, but there aren’t any scientific studies on this yet.

It’s therefore not easy to say how long an ozone generator would take to kill a houseplant, although these experiments suggest that even several hours of exposure would not result in the plant’s death.

It would kill most of the foliage off, however, and could make the plant very sick.

On the whole, it’s not a good idea to run an ozone generator near your plant for any extended period of time, as this could kill it, especially if it is already suffering from diseases or pests.

How To Protect Your Plants When Running An Ozone Generator

The best way to protect your plants when running an ozone generator is to remove them from the vicinity. Place the plants in another room with the door closed, or at least as far from the ozone generator as possible.

If you are deliberately using your ozone generator on your plants to kill insects or mold, you should make sure that the exposure is limited and that you are doing so in a controlled environment.

Besides removing your plants from the ozone generator vicinity, there isn’t much else you can do to protect it. Even covering your plant will still put it at risk.

Will Your Plants Recover From Ozone Damage?

If your plant has been exposed to too much ozone, it should recover given enough time. However, the actual leaves that were damaged will probably not recover, and these can be removed using sterile shears.

Like any damage that the plant sustains, it should heal from ozone damage gradually, as long as the ozone generator is removed and the plant is looked after.

You may want to feed it to encourage it to produce new foliage, and make sure that it is getting enough light.

If your plant has been very seriously damaged by ozone, it may not recover, but this is quite unlikely, as most plants can survive hours of ozone exposure without being destroyed. It may take quite a while for the plant to recover, however.

How To Revive Plants After Ozone Generator Treatment

The best way to revive a plant after it has been damaged by ozone is to provide it with the best possible conditions for the species.

If it likes bright sunlight, provide this. If it prefers shade, make sure you put it somewhere away from direct light.

Similarly, make sure that you provide it with plenty of water, the correct amount of fertilizer, and humidity if this is needed.

The better you can make the plant’s conditions, the more likely it is to recover well.

You will need to be patient with your plant after it has been damaged by ozone, because it will often take quite a long time to recover.

You may not even see the damage for quite a few days, and even once you do see it, it may develop further before the plant starts to recover.

Can An Ozone Generator Kill Houseplant Pests?

Yes, an ozone generator can kill most houseplant pests and some people do use them for that reason. It can be an effective way to kill off spider mites, thrips, aphids, and other pests without having to turn to pesticides or the normal manual methods (e.g. soap and water).

However, this must be done with care to avoid excessive damage to the plant.

If the generator is run for too long on a regular basis, the damage may build up and could make your plant sick over a more gradual period.

Although an ozone generator can be an effective way of dealing with a wide variety of pests, it is one of the riskier options, so you may wish to proceed with caution, or try other methods first.

Does An Ozone Generator Kill Powdery Mildew On Plants?

Yes, an ozone generator will effectively kill powdery mildew on plants. The ozone serves to neutralize the mold and prevent it from spreading. Since powdery mildew is one of the most difficult molds to treat, this is a particularly beneficial use of an ozone generator.

Powdery mildew can affect a whole range of plants, and if you are struggling to get on top of this, you might want to consider using an ozone generator to kill it.

It is most common in high humidity environments, but can appear almost anywhere with wet weather, and will quickly spread to infect other plants if it is not dealt with.


An ozone generator will work for removing pests and diseases from your plants, but prolonged exposure to it will cause major leaf damage and could – in extreme cases – result in the plant’s death.

Be cautious about using an ozone generator on or around your plants.

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