Do plants like sugar water? I have read a few blogs on the internet where people enthusiastically espouse using sugar water. This is not a good idea!
Sugar water can cause pathogenic bacteria to grow, cause mold to grow on leaves, and actually dehydrate the roots of plants. There are some advantages to using molasses solutions, that contain a bit of sugar – but these will be far more effective if you actually culture microbes in the solution first to remove the sugar.
Watering Plants With Sugar: What Happens?
The sugar will go into the soil. Here it will contribute to the osmotic pressure in the soil – if you add a lot of sugar, it will actually dehydrate the roots. Sugar will cause rapid growth of bacteria in the soil, and these bacteria will remove oxygen from the soil. Now your soil is putting the roots under stress and has no oxygen. This will kill some roots. In short, you can damage your plant badly!
Do plants like sugar water?
There are anecdotal tales on the internet about sugar being helpful to plants, but I cannot find a peer-reviewed article that shows any benefit. My general gut feeling would be that, no, they do not like sugar water. Sugar is a very desirable chemical to microbes – if you pour sugar into the soil, the microbes in the soil will consume this – in so doing, they first consume oxygen, and once this has been depleted, anaerobic bacteria will ferment the sugar – producing more carbon dioxide and acids and solvents that will damage the roots. The lack of oxygen will also damage the roots, or even kill them.
Does sugar make plants grow faster?
If plants are under stress, they grow more slowly. Introducing sugar into the soil, will increase osmotic stress, increase the growth of carbon dioxide-producing bacteria and reduce oxygen in the soil. Adding sugar to the soil will also result in the soil becoming acidic, and this will cause heavy metals to leach out of the soil. All of these will conspire to cause slower plant growth.
We have often been told that “sugar gives you energy”. Biologically this is true – in very very small concentrations. If our sugar levels go wrong for us as humans we call it diabetes. It kills you. Plants are hardly ever exposed to large concentrations of sucrose in nature – this means they will always be stressed by its presence outside the roots.
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The Best Way To Water Plants With Sugar…
If you want to use a sugar product buy some black strap molasses – mix a tablespoon of this per gallon of water, add a bit of yeast and let it ferment for a week. Dilute this mixture 1/10 with water and use it as a foliar feed and drench.
The company I work with in Mauritius produces thousands of tons of the above mix, which is applied to sugar cane with great success. Molasses is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphate, sulfate, and trace minerals. Removing the sugars through fermentation helps to make this better for the soil. Adding molasses straight to the soil can damage plants due to the sugar in the molasses.
In my main line of work, we help distilleries convert molasses into alcohol such as rum and neutral spirits. In this process, molasses and water are mixed and fermented in very big tanks. When I say very big I mean tanks that ferment 100 000 gallons each day at the bigger distilleries.
The fermented product is injected into a distillation system that uses steam as a heat source to strip the alcohol out of the mix. This alcohol is distilled to 96% purity, and the gunk that falls comprises water and molasses that has its sugar removed by fermentation and converted to alcohol. So this is sugar-free molasses – we call this dilute mess vinasse.
We then take this vinasse as it is known, and boil the water out of it to produce concentrated molasses solids or CMS. CMS is an exceptional fertilizer because it contains minerals – and does not contain sugar. If molasses was a good fertilizer, people would rather use it straight as a fertilizer, but the sugar in molasses is toxic to plants in large concentrations, hence we go to all this effort to make CMS and alcohol to produce “sugar-free” molasses to use as a fertilizer.
There are billions of dollars worth of systems like this in Brazil, India, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, the USA, China, and many more sugar-producing countries. Trust me – if sugar was good for plants, these folks would be applying it!! Sugar is not good for plants. That is why these sugar barons do not give sugar to their plants.
They give sugar (and alcohol) to you – and give the good healthy nutrients back to their plants. There is a lesson in there somewhere.
Conclusion On The Topic “Do Plants Like Sugar Water?”
Do not put sugar water on your plants. You risk damaging the plants. If you do wish to do something like this, mix a few tablespoons of molasses in a gallon of water, ferment it for a week by adding yeast and dilute this 1/10 and use it as a drench and foliar feed.
The molasses has nutrients in it that straight sugar does not. A second answer to our question would be – plants do not like sugar, but, they love the stuff that sugar came from – molasses. Because sugar is essentially basically bad for humans, bad for plants, and all the good stuff stays in the molasses. So, consider using molasses in your coffee!! It is a healthier alternative to sugar.
Can sugar water help plants grow?
No - it will damage the roots, make the soil a bit anaerobic and hurt your plants.
Will sugar water hurt plants?
Can plants have too much sugar?
Yes. Sugar ferments in the soil and uses up oxygen. It also burns the roots with its high osmotic potential.
Do plants need sugar?
Plants produce their own sugar in their leaves. They do not need us to provide additional sugar to their soil.
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