Saturday, July 20, 2013 By Giselle Diamond
Sodium bicarbonate is more commonly known as baking soda. It has been used for many different purposes, including for its benefits to plants. Baking soda is used to keep mold from growing on plants and protect them from other harmful fungal diseases. Baking soda is helpful in testing the pH level of the soil to make sure your plant is set in the best environment.
Each plant grows best at a certain pH level in its surrounding soil. The soil acidity and the makeup of nutrients varies not only around the world but even in different parts of the same garden because of the amount of sunlight and rocks and other materials in those areas and whether plants had previously grown there. Test the soil’s pH level to determine that your seedlings and plants are properly placed. To do this, collect 1 tbsp. of the soil you wish to test and then add a dash of baking soda. If this results in a hissing noise, the soil has a pH level of five or lower and is considered acidic.
Plants that require a more acidic soil include geraniums, begonias, hydrangeas and tomatoes. For optimum growth of these and other acidic-preferring plants, add a small amount of baking soda to their regular watering routines. Adding a small amount of baking soda to a few cups of water once a month will keep the soil at an appropriate level.
Baking soda is also used for indoor plants and plants in clay pots. The sodium bicarbonate acts as a preservative to the potting soil and helps it retain its nutrients and resilience. The baking soda, when used for this purpose, is added before the soil or the plant and is thinly coated to the inside surface of the pot. The potting soil is then added along with the plant, and the sodium bicarbonate will improve the growth of
the planted flower or seedling.
Baking soda is also a remedy to any mold or mildew that is growing on the leaves or other parts of your plants. Add 1 tbsp. baking soda to 4 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. of liquid soap. Put these ingredients in a spray bottle. Gently mist the infected plants on every surface, including the undersides. This process should be repeated every two weeks until the plant is devoid of any mildew or mold.
Some plants can’t handle any kind of baking soda solutions. If you are unsure, test your plant’s tolerance by applying a very small amount of the sodium bicarbonate water solution to a few leaves. If the leaves burn or the plant shows signs of weakening, do not proceed with any further applications. For all plants, it is a good idea to thoroughly water them as normal in the days preceding a baking soda treatment. Also, spray them in the morning or early evening to avoid direct sunlight.