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Hydrogen Peroxide for Plants

Updated on April 08, 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?


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


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).


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!


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    • profile image

      leann2800 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      lisa.bom 5 years ago

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

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 5 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!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

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

    • Jojosi profile image

      Gillian Namele 4 years ago from Complicated

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

    • profile image

      CraZyHeaD 4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      mrslaurendickerson 4 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.

    • furniturez profile image

      furniturez 4 years ago from Washington

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

    • profile image

      Brazzy 4 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.


    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 4 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.

    • DommaLeigh profile image

      DommaLeigh 4 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?

    • ytsenoh profile image

      Cathy 4 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.

    • specializedparts profile image

      specializedparts 4 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!

    • profile image

      Carol 4 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! :(

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 4 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 4 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 :)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

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

    • profile image

      elaine 3 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.

    • FBohman profile image

      Fred Bohman 3 years ago from Orange County, CA

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

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 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.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

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

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 3 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.

    • profile image

      Elaine Baldwin 3 years ago

      Will HP help with curly leaf problems?

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 3 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.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

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

    • profile image

      wanda 3 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

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 3 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)

    • Samuel Barrett profile image

      Samuel Barrett 3 years ago from Douglas County, Oregon

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

    • Jen Dittrick profile image

      Jen Dittrick 2 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.

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 2 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.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 2 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.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 2 years ago from West Virginia

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

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 2 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.

    • profile image

      Nancy Carles Muir 21 months ago

      is the peroxide safe for pets if used this wat?

    • profile image

      itslola 21 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Angel 20 months 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!

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 20 months 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

      Desiree 3 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

      Linda Zee 2 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

      Khushal chauhan, Simla, INDIA. 5 weeks 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

      Senchie 2 weeks ago

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

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