If you’re keeping houseplants, you might be looking for the best way to give them a boost, whether they’re sick or healthy; after all, a plant can always grow better and more beautiful!
You may have heard about sugar water as a means of feeding your plant and enhancing its growth, and might be wondering is sugar water good for houseplants?
The answer is that sugar water is not really good for houseplants. Some people feel it might benefit plants in certain circumstances, but on the whole, sugar water is not a good idea, and it could actually damage your plant, rather than helping it to grow. Excess sugar in the soil might even kill the plant.
Plants need glucose to grow, so it seems logical that sugar water might help them grow. It already has the sugar required dissolved into it, readily available for the plant, so why wouldn’t the plant benefit from this?
It’s an attempt to make the things a plant needs easier for it to access and abundant.
However, as mentioned above, it’s not necessarily a helpful thing to be doing.
Plants do not usually take sugar in through their roots; they create it themselves when they photosynthesize.
One sort of plant that might benefit from the sugar water is cut flowers. In fact, I’ve written this in depth article on flower food and how flower food affects houseplants.
Their stems will suck up some, and it may help them to live for a bit longer and look a bit healthier for a while, and it doesn’t matter what the long-term effects are.
Most other houseplants will not gain any benefit as a result of the sugar water.
Can Sugar Water Kill Plants?
Yes, sugar water could actually kill your plants, especially if you put a lot of sugar in the water. You only want a teaspoon of sugar per quart of water for cut flowers.
Houseplants don’t have the right structures to draw sugar up through the soil, digest it and disperse it in their stems and leaves, so they aren’t likely to benefit from sugar in the soil.
In fact, if there is too much sugar in the water they are drinking, the osmotic pressure may start pulling water away from the plant, rather than toward it, which could directly prevent a plant from getting enough to drink, and may cause it to shrivel up and die.
It’s also worth noting that the type of sugar you might buy in a grocery store is much more complicated on a molecular level than the type of sugar a plant produces for itself.
Even if the plant could access sugar via its roots, this kind would likely not offer much benefit.
So, overall, adding sugar to your plant’s water can certainly kill it if it is done too often and in large quantities.
Is Spraying Plants With Sugar Water Good?
Some people believe that spraying a plant with sugar water is another good option. It is thought that it could help to attract beneficial insects, which will prey on problematic insects, and pollinate the flowers.
The plant is not taking the sugar in through its leaves for nutritional benefit; the idea is solely to help with propagate the species. For example, bees might be more attracted to a plant if they can smell sugar water on the stems surrounding its blossoms.
However, it is worth noting that most plants will produce enough advertisements independently, without needing an addition of sprayed sugar water from people. Their flowers have bright petals and enough scent of their own.
It’s also true that spraying sugar water can attract insects that will prey on your plant’s predators – but equally, it could attract those predators. Aphids in particular are likely to be attracted by sugar, and if it is covering your plant, you are quite likely to get an infestation that is difficult to deal with.
Again, it is probably best not to use sugar water on your plants, either as a spray or a drink. If you do wish to test it, it’s best to just try it on one plant, not multiple plants, and see how it goes.
Remember that it will likely leave some sticky residue on your plants.
You should avoid spraying sugar water on your houseplants; it may not do any direct harm, but it is also unlikely to bring any major benefits, and it will also make your house sticky if you spray inside.
Sugar Water For Dying Plants? Can It Revive Or Kill?
There is little to no evidence that adding sugar to the water of dying plants helps to revive them. As mentioned above, plants are not designed to take sugar directly from the soil, and they may not be able to absorb it very well, if at all.
Sugar water could clog up their roots, making them struggle even more than they are already doing, and making it harder for them to get the nutrients that they require.
If your plant is already dying, you may feel that adding a bit of sugar water can’t really hurt, and you could give it a try – but there are other options to try and save a sick plant. Plant food is a safe and readily available alternative.
If you are looking for some tried and tested alternative to help or even save your plant, here is the plant food I recommend.
This will give your plant a boost, but is specifically designed to be taken in by plants, and contains a range of the nutrients that they need in order to grow strong and healthy.
If you want to help your plant out, find a food that is suitable for it, and try this instead of sugar water.
It seems that sugar water is more likely to do further damage to your plant than to help it recover.
What Plants Like Sugar Water?
It doesn’t seem like any plants, besides perhaps cut flowers, really benefit from the use of sugar water.
Some people claim that blossoming plants will have bigger, fuller blossoms as a result of using sugar in their water, although that hasn’t been my personal experience.
There is also not much evidence to support this fact either, as there is for plant food.
This should minimize the damage you might do to your plant if it does not like the sugar water, but will still make sugar available if you feel it will be beneficial.
Alternatively, find (or make) a plant food that will give your plant a nutrient boost from the soil instead, and allow it to create its own sugar through photosynthesis.
Sugar water is not a good addition to offer to your plant, whether it is healthy or sick. The sugar is not in a form that they can process and make use of, so it won’t benefit the plant by providing something it needs, or reducing the work it must do to produce sugars.
Too much sugar can affect a plant’s ability to drink, and may kill it. It is possible that using sugar spray could help reduce pests and may pull in helpful critters, but there is also a danger that it could draw more pests – so this is a technique to be used with care.
All in all, there are better options than sugar water for helping to give your plants a boost when they need it