Hydrogen Peroxide for Plants

Updated on April 8, 2016

Hydrogen peroxide for plants sounds like pure madness, right? After all, why would you want to feed your garden vegetables with a solution that's most famous for its use of disinfecting wounds?

Well, to much surprise, this compound is actually the garden's best mate. That's right, your garden can greatly benefit from hydrogen peroxide treatments!

It might come at even more of a surprise to hear that it is completely compatible with organic gardens! So why is it so great?

Well, you'll just have to keep reading to find out, but how does natural pesticide, soil aerator and water cleanser sound for a preview?

Benefits

Recognized by the United States EPA as an organic treatment for agricultural crops, hydrogen peroxide offers many benefits to gardeners.

Pesticide

When it comes to the cultivation of organic food crops, root worms and other soil pests are difficult to spot and even more difficult to treat for.

Fortunately, feeding a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to the infected plants will rid them of these soil-dwelling pests.

Even a small amount will rapidly degrade external tissues and kill fungus, gnat larvae, cutworms, and parasitic nematodes upon contact.

A diluted solution can also be applied as a foliage spray to control the populations of soft bodied pests, such as aphids and spider mites.

Soil Aeration & Root Rot Treatment

An over-watered garden can easily fall victim to root rot. This rapid deterioration of plant roots can establish itself after just 24 hours of moist, oxygen-deprived soil conditions.

Again, hydrogen peroxide comes to the rescue! Watering thoroughly with a diluted solution, it will break down rapidly in the soil, boosting oxygen levels and expelling any anaerobic conditions.

Water Treatment

Many gardeners in urban areas with chemically treated municipal tap water choose to treat their water with hydrogen peroxide.

Due to its strong oxidation properties, it will remove chlorine, chemical pesticides and any organics that may be present.

Why It Works

The cleansing, insecticidal and aeration properties of hydrogen peroxide are all made possible by the chemical reaction that takes place when it breaks down.

Without going deep into chemistry, it should at least be known that under normal conditions, it will decompose to form water and oxygen. The formula can be observed as such: 2H2O2 --> 2H2O + O2.

In the initial part of the reaction, a single oxygen atom is formed. Since it is unstable, this oxygen molecule will bind quickly.

The majority of the time, the oxygen will bind with another oxygen to form a stable O2 molecule (aeration property), but some of the time, it will react with organic tissue of pests, thus acting as an oxidizer that destroys tissue (pesticide property).

Application

Soil Pest and Root Rot Treatment

  • Mix one part of additive-free 35% hydrogen peroxide with ten parts water.
  • Water infected plants thoroughly. The soil will bubble as the oxygen is released.
  • For pests, water with the mixture twice a week, allowing the top 2 inches of soil to dry between watering. Root pests should subside within a week.
  • For root rot, water plants very thoroughly, then allow the soil to dry. The top 2-3 inches of soil should be completely dry before returning to a regular water regimen. If the process is done correctly, root rot can easily be treated with only one watering of peroxide.

Foliage Pesticide Spray

  1. Mix equal parts 3% hydrogen peroxide and distilled water.
  2. Use a spray bottle to thoroughly soak the infected plants. Make sure to get the undersides of the leaves.
  3. Spray once a week or after it rains. Hydrogen peroxide both treats and further prevents pest infestation.

This weaker solution will prevent damage to the leaves but is effective as a general insecticide. I've found that it is effective against a variety of mites and aphids.

Because it also has fungicidal properties, one may find it as a possible solution to mildew and fungus outbreaks.

Water Treatment

For a general water treatment and dechlorinator, mix one tablespoon hydrogen peroxide for every gallon of water used.

The hydrogen peroxide acts instantly to drive out chlorine, excess iron and sulfates.

Good Luck

You'll be pleasantly surprised with the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide for plants! My one word of caution is to avoid using it in the soil too often. Since it will easily rid your soil of harmful pests, it can also take its toll on beneficial soil organisms.

So, use it wisely and only treat when an infection or rot has been confirmed. Thanks for reading my article. Leave me any feedback or questions that you may have!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Joan 

        5 weeks ago

        Will hydrogen peroxide also prevent the soft rot on Iris planted?

      • profile image

        Diana 

        4 months ago

        Any recs on a non-additive hydrogen peroxide solution? The only kinds I'm finding are "stabilized" 3% solutions (which I assume means they have additives). Looking to treat my potted plants that have fungus gnats. Thanks!

      • profile image

        Marianne 

        5 months ago

        Can it work against thrips

      • profile image

        Ali 

        5 months ago

        Fantastic.......have read a few things about H2O2.......but your instructions and details are the clearest.

        Thanks Zach

      • profile image

        Shirley 

        5 months ago

        Does this mixture work on orchids?

      • profile image

        Anon 

        7 months ago

        How could i dilute 34% to make a safe foliar spray? What ratio or millilters per gallon? Great article-Thank you!

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        7 months ago from Colorado

        Hi Kathy! Great question. Once the HP is applied to the soil, it will most likely kill any soft bodied insects/eggs/larvae present. The good news is that HP rapidly breaks down within a few minutes and any eggs/insects that come after this time will be unaffected.

      • profile image

        Kathy 

        8 months ago

        I have powdery mildew on corky stem passion vine and read that, once I clean the bad leaves and remove all from the soil that I should treat the top soil with HP/H2O. I'm guessing the zebra butterfly eggs and larvae will die off during the treatment of foliage (not with HP) and soil. Do you have any experience with affects on caterpillars and butterfly eggs?

      • profile image

        Alexander 

        9 months ago

        Very interesting, mate!

      • profile image

        Calendula 

        11 months ago

        Can I use the 3% kind to get rid of soil pests too? What would be the ration to mix it? Thanks!

      • profile image

        Hitesh 

        11 months ago

        How can I plant seeds samurai in my home?

      • profile image

        carmen pangan 

        12 months ago

        good to know..thank you for the info.

      • profile image

        Jenny 

        12 months ago

        I'm going to try this in my greenhouse as I fear I may have spider mites and definitely gnats. Thank you

      • profile image

        Msloan 

        12 months ago

        What a suprise. Why have we not received this information from our extension agents? Thanks bunches for this inexpensive useful tool

      • profile image

        Blia 

        12 months ago

        I have lots of tropical plants and dragon fruit plant and orchid cactus is it good to use it on these plants. When ever I take the plant inside for like few wks for the winter they get little bugs crawling and eating the outside of the plant to make the color change to brown and try to heel itself.

      • profile image

        Ted Atkinson 

        12 months ago

        Thanks for the hopefully cure of the root rot problen of one of our 6 American Boxwoods.

        I will let you know how it does.

        Ted Raleigh NC

      • profile image

        judy justice 

        13 months ago

        Can it be used on house plants?

      • profile image

        Kathy 

        13 months ago

        Can I mix the hydrogen peroxide and water and use it for several days or should it be mixed fresh every day? Wasn't sure if it would deteriate or not.

      • profile image

        Cassius 

        13 months ago

        Thanks man for the assistance, I have done this application before I read this article and it confirm what I did find out was true. I have used peroxide in waste water treatment and it kills the green algae, that is fungal in water or dams.

      • profile image

        Susan 

        13 months ago

        Interesting article! I have a question, though...

        My zinnias have had athids for over a month and I have been spraying them with insecticidal soap whenever I can(we have had so much rain). They now have developed black spot and I am now(not at the same time as the insecticide) spraying them with Eco-PM fungicide by Arborjet. It is a natural nontoxic product safe for people, pets, wildlife and the environment. So, after this long explanation...my question is, if I spray with the hydrogen peroxide mix will this take care of the athids AND the black spot? It would be wonderful if one nontoxic product could take care of both problems.

        Appreciate your input.

        Susan

      • profile image

        Katwoman 

        13 months ago

        I'm going to attempt to try this on my African violets. I have over 200 plants and due to reservoir watering I have spread my nematodes. I'll start with just a few and will report back. Thanks for the tip!

      • profile image

        dustin 

        13 months ago

        Thank you soooo much

      • profile image

        miki 

        14 months ago

        thank you! i just watered my seeedlings with this solution. will see if it perks up the less healthier plants

      • profile image

        Alstasan Silvox 

        14 months ago

        Nano silver hydrogen peroxide based disinfectant, fumigant, sanitizer and sterilant. Chemtex Speciality is a worldwide manufacturer, supplier & exporter of ALSTASAN SILVOX.

      • profile image

        Shubham Karnani 

        14 months ago

        Hydrogel Polymer marketed by Chemtex Speciality Limited under the name Alsta Hydrogel is a water retaining agent with the capacity of holding up to 400 – 600 times water than its own weight. Hydrogel agriculture or the use of super absorbent polymer for agriculture refers to hydrogel polymer application in soils for the purpose of stably providing water to the plants irrespective of drought and dry seasons. The plants can absorb water from this nontoxic water absorbent polymer throughout. Hydrogel in Agriculture is a potassium based super absorbent polymer acting in drought prone areas and rain-fed agriculture as a water retaining agent.

      • profile image

        Diane Brown 

        14 months ago from Philadelphia

        How to use the hydrogen peroxide as an insecticide is very helpful. While I learned about it's use from another website, you provided detailed information on how to use it. I have started an indoor organic vegetable garden and recently noticed a little molding in the drainage rocks, as well as a few little flying bugs in some (not all) of the plants . After reading your instructions I just bought the hydrogen peroxide and will be following the guidelines you have provided for combining with water. I am very optimistic and look forward to positive results. Thank you for sharing.

      • profile image

        heidi 

        16 months ago

        Loved this page. Have a great day.

      • profile image

        Judi 

        16 months ago

        Very interesting..I was told when I bought roses by the clerk to use a cap of peroxide in the water instead of the packet that comes with it. He said it will evev keep my vade clean...so I was curious

      • profile image

        Mata 

        16 months ago

        WoW! Thank you

      • profile image

        Senchie 

        17 months ago

        Thanks for this article. Will this treatment affect worms in the plant pot?

      • profile image

        Khushal chauhan, Simla, INDIA. 

        18 months ago

        After banning chloropicrin and methyle broimde for disinfecting orchard soil prior to replanting apple trees,I was in search of alternative chemical. Iam extermely glad to know about the use of Nano-Silver -Hydrogen -Peroxide, in agriculture for soil disinfection. I feel my problem is solved.

      • profile image

        Linda Zee 

        19 months ago

        I put it in my pond when I see string algae. Peroxide kills it off. My pond is about 5000 gallons, I throw about 5 or 6 bottles of standard H2O in it in the Spring and that does the trick. Won't hurt the fish.

      • profile image

        Desiree 

        20 months ago

        I am doing a project similar to this and I have one out of three plants growing so far with using the perioxide to plant them. I am growing basils, cucumbers,and lettuce. The basil is the only growing.

      • profile image

        Anna Owens 

        22 months ago

        Thanks for the tip! I will be trying it out soon.

      • profile image

        The dirt worker 

        23 months ago

        Thanks for all the tips

      • profile image

        debra 

        2 years ago

        What a great article. Here is another HP trick. I tried soaking my seeds in a 10:1 ratio of Water to HP this year. I used two varieties of basil. Half of the seeds of each type was soaked in just water and the other half was soaked in the HP mixture. The ones soaked in the HP mixture sprouted and grew faster and stronger than those soaked in just water.

      • profile image

        Judy 

        2 years ago

        Thank you so much for sharing this information!

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        3 years ago from Colorado

        Angel - Hydrogen peroxide will rapidly degrade into water and oxygen once it is applied. As long as you don't directly spray the bees or butterflies, they will be just fine. Thanks for reading!

      • profile image

        Angel 

        3 years ago

        I'm new to gardening and have an African Daisy that was gorgeous and I'm pretty sure is being ravaged by fungus now. But will hydrogen peroxide treatments harm bees and/or butterflies? I'd like to avoid that but I want my African Daisy to thrive too. Help!

      • profile image

        itslola 

        3 years ago

        So happy to find a place with informative and helpful information about using hydrogen peroxide!

      • profile image

        Nancy Carles Muir 

        3 years ago

        is the peroxide safe for pets if used this wat?

      • greenspirit profile image

        poppy mercer 

        3 years ago from London

        Lovely clear article. My sedum spectabile suffered rot badly this year due to the wet spring. I'm just about to lift, divide and wound dress with peroxide.

      • CherylsArt profile image

        Cheryl Paton 

        3 years ago from West Virginia

        Interesting. I would have never thought of hydrogen peroxide for the garden.

      • Diana Lee profile image

        Diana L Pierce 

        3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

        Good tips I have not heard of using peroxide for plants before, but I know it has many household uses. Lucky for us it is still inexpensive.

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        4 years ago from Colorado

        Jen Dittrick - A diluted foliar spray should work just fine for your flowers. Just make sure that the solution is not too strong, or else it could potentially burn the leaves.

      • Jen Dittrick profile image

        Jen Dittrick 

        4 years ago from Yorkton, Saskatchewan

        I know this is an older post but I just found it through Pinterest. It's been repinned. :) Anyway, I am very interested in using this method. Is it safe on flowers?? I plant Dahlias and was wondering if I can spray my Dahlias with the peroxide to get rid of the pests that always chew the leaves and petals.

      • Samuel Barrett profile image

        Samuel Barrett 

        4 years ago from Douglas County, Oregon

        seems to have a million uses! you can treat a pond with it to to oxygenate it!

      • savvydating profile image

        Yves 

        5 years ago

        This is truly amazing! I do not have aphids now, but if I do, I'm heading straight for the HP. I have heard, however, that hydrogen peroxide is a good cleanser for toothbrushes. Thanks for this valuable information. If I understand correctly, we must use a 10 to 1 mixture. (Voting up and useful)

      • profile image

        wanda 

        5 years ago

        Could you use as a vegetable wash? Can't wait to try on problems don't have any as of yet so far so good. Thank you

      • tirelesstraveler profile image

        Judy Specht 

        5 years ago from California

        The hydrogen peroxide worked like a charm. Washed the larva off the underside of the leafs nicely.

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        5 years ago from Colorado

        Probably not. Curling of the leaves can be caused by numerous different symptoms. It's best to try to isolate the issue before treating.

      • profile image

        Elaine Baldwin 

        5 years ago

        Will HP help with curly leaf problems?

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        5 years ago from Colorado

        tirelesstraveler -

        Besides haggard being my favorite word, it sure is the perfect way of describing how insects look after the Hydrogen Peroxide treatment! I'm glad it worked out for you. Feel free to share and link all you want! Thanks for reading.

      • tirelesstraveler profile image

        Judy Specht 

        5 years ago from California

        Also would like to share and link to my garden hubs if you don't mind.

      • tirelesstraveler profile image

        Judy Specht 

        5 years ago from California

        Splendid hub. Am battling squash beetles. Just tried washing the larva off with peroxide. The only actual beetle I found looked haggard. Hopefully this will take care of the problem. Voting up and useful.

      • FBohman profile image

        Fred Bohman 

        5 years ago from Orange County, CA

        Very interesting, organic is definitely the way to go. Great hub.

      • profile image

        elaine 

        5 years ago

        If the peroxide as a water treatment drives out chlorine, lead, etc. where do they go? Really, this sounds sarcastic, but I don't know.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 

        5 years ago from the short journey

        Thanks for this look at using hydrogen peroxide for plant health. It's news to me.

      • profile image

        Carol 

        5 years ago

        Okay Cool! I wasn't sure if hair peroxide was a little different..

        Hopefully my gnat infestation is on its way out. Thanks!!

        Btw, I found you through Pinterest and you were re-pinned :)

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        5 years ago from Colorado

        Carol -

        Both 30 & 40% peroxide can be used. Just be sure to dilute the mixture down to about 3-4% hydrogen peroxide. This can be accomplished by mixing one part peroxide with 10 parts water. Thanks for reading and good luck with those gnats!

      • profile image

        Carol 

        5 years ago

        Can I use peroxide bought from the beauty supply, say 40 vol. cut down or even the 30 vol.? If so, how would you dilute it (ie measurements)

        I would really like to try this as I have the Fly Gnats in my plants and can't get rid of them! :(

      • specializedparts profile image

        specializedparts 

        5 years ago

        Wow! This is a truly excellent Hub! I think I will use this on my indoor plant. I transplanted and the new soil sucks. It now has some root rot I believe and this might be the answer!

      • ytsenoh profile image

        Cathy 

        5 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

        Great helpful tip. I have never heard of this so I've learned something new. Thanks very much.

      • DommaLeigh profile image

        DommaLeigh 

        5 years ago

        I use the dish soap trick to keep pests off my trees and strawberries but my lawn keeps getting invaded with grubs from my neighbors. Will this work on grubs in a lawn?

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        5 years ago from Colorado

        Brazzy - When hydrogen peroxide is added to the soil, it will degrade all soft tissues, including those of beneficial earthworms. For this reason, I recommend applying peroxide only to container plants if you're worried about the safety of your earthworms. Your herbs will be fine. Thanks for reading.

      • profile image

        Brazzy 

        5 years ago

        The peroxide is good for getting rid of some worms as noted, but how will it affect the good worms that I want in my soil? I don't have space for fruit or veggies, just some flowers. I have some herbs growing but no worms to worry about in those containers.

        Thanks!

      • furniturez profile image

        furniturez 

        6 years ago from Washington

        I've been telling people this for years... thank you!

      • profile image

        mrslaurendickerson 

        6 years ago

        Not only is hydrogen peroxide great for your garden, but also the gardener. Use 3/4cup in your bathwater to alleviate aches, pains and help with a cold or flu symptoms. I have been using peroxide for over 20 yrs to clean my house, maintain my garden and ease aches and pains. It is the most versatile bottle in my house. Even better than 35% is 100 volume, purchased from certain beauty supply companies.

      • profile image

        CraZyHeaD 

        6 years ago

        Absolutely fantastic article. Very informative and knowledgeable. Thank you for saving everyone $$

      • Jojosi profile image

        Gillian Namele 

        6 years ago from Complicated

        Well, there is always the first time. Will try it. Thank you for the information. Voted up!

      • The Dirt Farmer profile image

        Jill Spencer 

        6 years ago from United States

        Good to know! Will have to try it. Thanks! (Voted up & useful.)

      • Joe Macho profile imageAUTHOR

        Zach 

        6 years ago from Colorado

        leann2800 & lisa.bom - I'm glad that you both were able to find this helpful. I hope that it helps you fight those pesky critters in the garden!

      • profile image

        lisa.bom 

        6 years ago

        Great information. I am going to try it in my garden in the spring. Thank you for being so informative.

      • profile image

        leann2800 

        6 years ago

        I have heard of a lot of household chemicals for the garden but not this one. Thanks for sharing.

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