What Happens When You Use Soda to Water Plants?

2 min


In an improbable scenario, you’ve run out of plain water but still have cases of soda in the pantry. Should you water your plants with it? You might be shocked to learn that soda water can benefit your plants, but only if the soda contains sugar. A carbonated beverage such as club soda contains critical nutrients, but the sugar in flavored drinks such as cola or root beer may hinder the plants from absorbing these nutrients and may even harm the plants.

Unflavored soda water is beneficial to plants and promotes faster growth. However, the inclusion of sugar may nullify the benefits of carbonation and minerals in soda water. Flavored soda can harm plant roots and make them susceptible to illness.

A Study on This Specific Issue

In 2002, two University of Colorado Boulder researchers published the findings of a study that looked at the effects of watering Helzine soleirolii, or Baby Tears, with club soda. During the 10-day experiment, the researchers supplied the same food to both groups of plants, applied the same fertilizer, and exposed them to the same amount of sunlight. They irrigated one group’s plants with normal water while giving the other group club soda.

The plants that received club soda grew more than twice as quickly as the other group and produced healthier shades of green, according to the researchers. The extra nutrients in the club soda were expected to cause this, and the results of their experiment verified their predictions.


What Makes Plants Like Club Soda?

Club soda as well as other unsweetened carbonated beverages, such as mineral water, contain a variety of minerals vital to plant growth. These are some examples:

  • carbon
  • oxygen
  • hydrogen
  • phosphorous
  • potassium
  • sulfur
  • sodium

Plants can still absorb these nutrients from the soil when watered with normal water, but club soda acts as a supercharger. The nutrients are absorbed promptly after entering the roots. This does not imply that you should water your plants entirely with club soda, as this could be too good to be true. However, short-term use of club soda has been demonstrated to be advantageous.


What Happens When Sugar Is Added?

Most gardeners understand that salt water is terrible for plants, and sugar water is generally the same. Any concentration of solute alters the osmotic potential of water, making it more difficult for roots to absorb water. As a result, when you offer your plants sugar water, the soil will likely stay moist for longer. This is due to the roots’ inability to absorb it. Another disadvantage of sugar water is that it feeds soil microorganisms, some of which may harm the roots. As a result, the sugar water raises the likelihood of fungal infections and other ailments.

The effect of sugar water on plant growth is a popular topic for science fair projects, and many students conclude that sugar is beneficial to plants. It supplies essential nutrients in the form of carbon and hydrogen molecules. However, at high concentrations and for long periods of time, the disadvantages of lower osmotic pressure and increased root damage likely outweigh the nutritional benefits.

Keep the Cola for cleaning pennies

Commercial soft drinks contain a lot of sugar. Coca-Cola, for instance, has 3.38 grams of sugar per ounce. If you water your plants with flavored Coke, the sugar and carbonated water may provide some nutritional benefits, but the plants may have difficulty absorbing the nutrients and may be more susceptible to root disease.


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