A Complete Guide of Using Hydrogen Peroxide for Plants


There are so many discussions on using hydrogen peroxide for treating plants, for it is being known as the strong oxidizing substance in chemistry. The major quests, many people are trying to get answer on these following questions:

  1. Is hydrogen peroxide safe for plant?
  2. Will H2O2 kill my plants?
  3. What kind of plants can be treated with hydrogen peroxide?
  4. Does hydrogen peroxide need to be mixed with water?
  5. Should hydrogen peroxide kills pests in the garden?
  6. Can I cure sick plants from fungal, bacterial and virus infections using hydrogen peroxide?
  7. How to apply hydrogen peroxide for plants?
  8. What is the right doze considered safe?
  9. What are the benefits of using hydrogen peroxide for plants?
  10. Why I get to choose H2O2?

For sure, the main goal of this article is guiding you how to use hydrogen peroxide safely and properly for plant. Underlining to the example of questions above, let’s break down into the short answers below. Then you can continue reading to our explanation relating to the topics.

  1. Hydrogen peroxide is safe for plant when you use it correctly.
  2. H2O2 doesn’t kill your plant in a right amount of dose.
  3. Almost all plant can be treated with hydrogen peroxide.
  4. Depending on the concentration you have, you may mix hydrogen peroxide with water or not.
  5. Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t kill bugs and insects directly on foliar spray but it repels them.
  6. H2O2 is a proven substance to kill many germs including fungal infections.
  7. Hydrogen peroxide can be used for either soil dripping or foliar spray or both.
  8. Referring to many literatures, almost all plants can tolerate 3% and this is the maximum doze (used for foliar spray or dripping).
  9. There are many benefits of using hydrogen peroxide in the garden. One instance, it could double acts as fertilizer.
  10. Hydrogen peroxide leaves no residues as it breaks down into oxygen and water. For residential use, I like a lot using hydrogen peroxide for my plants.

Which kind of H202 is safe for plant?

I must explain to you that hydrogen peroxide has been used in various applications since long time ago. Many products are specialized for specific function, i.e. hydrogen peroxide eardrops. Hydrogen peroxide that can be used for treating plants that’s the product that contains no stabilizer, additives and whatsoever. Just H2O2.

How to Prepare Your Own Hydrogen Peroxide (The Dilution Key Formula)

Since many people are too much stiffing on a ready-use information spreading throughout the internet, honestly you can break the rule. It is quite simple to prepare your own hydrogen peroxide mixture as long as you know the key formula. Just remember, you are going to make a mixture of maximum 3% concentration, whatever you have the stock (12% or above). The higher concentration you have, it will cost you less money because you can add water to get a higher final volume of H2O2 in lower concentration. However, working with higher concentration is dangerous and necessarily to be careful with strict precautions (at least a pair of rubber gloves and safety goggles are necessary).

Take an example when you pick for a ready-use 3% hydrogen peroxide from a marketplace, you can directly use it on plants or dilute it to get a lower concentration. A low concentration of H2O2 (below 1%) is good for preventing diseases and give an oxygen boost to plant. Nevertheless, it will not enough for curing plant from fungal infection.

To prepare your own H2O2 mixture you can simply use the solution dilution formula below:

M1 V1 = M2 V2

We can explain the formula as follows:

V₁ = A volume of concentrated solution to be used

M₁ = A concentration of concentrated solution to be diluted

V₂ = A volume of the dilute solution being made

M₂ = A concentration of the dilute solution being made

Let’s put it in the example how to make 250 ml 0.5% concentrated H2O2 spray from 3% H2O2 stock. Assumed I already got 1 liter 3% H2O2 in my box yesterday. It means right now I’m going to dilute some part of 3% hydrogen peroxide into specific amount of water to get final volume of 250 ml mixture. By looking at the dilution formula above, now I can put the numbers into the equality below:

V₁ × M₁ = V₂ × M₂

V₁ × 3% = 250 mL × 0.5%

V₁ = (250 mL × 0.5%) ÷ 3%

V₁ = 42 mL

According to the formula, I need to pour of the exactly 42 ml H2O2 into 208 ml of fresh water to get amount of fully 250 ml dilution solution in my bottle with 0.5% concentrated hydrogen peroxide. To achieve the accuracy I always had a glass beaker or measuring cup with me, which I placed on a truly flat surface.

Benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide for Plants and Your Garden

Sterilizing Growing Medium, Water and Soil

The best practice to use hydrogen peroxide as the cleaning agent is while you are preparing your potting mix, garden bed, potting soil, and hydroponic/aquaponics medium before any existing plant in it. The main purpose is to get rid of any living organism, the good and the bad one to get pure sterile growing medium. Alternatively, you may consider repotting with new sterile medium to gain best result.

Seed Sanitizer and Germination Accelerator

It is happier than ever when we can sow some leftover fruit or vegetable seeds from our daily consumptions. The bad news, sometimes we fails to sow them because of an unknown reason, which could be caused by some bad microbes and fungus. Therefore, it is not a big vain to increase the chance by seizing H2O2 pre-treatment before sowing.

In the plant tissue laboratory, hydrogen peroxide seemingly very popular and been used as a powerful and efficient tissue (seed and plant cell) sterilizer. Adopting to this theory, we can utilize it too. According to many guidance including Sigma-Aldrich (Owned by Merck) suggest that 3% hydrogen peroxide is more than enough to sterilize seed within 15 minutes in vitro. In the field, we can make a trial and error with that proportion. A stronger solution and a longer exposure to the hydrogen peroxide might burn the seed. Therefore, we can play with it making a start from 3% solution to a lower concentration.

For germination accelerator, hydrogen peroxide has been widely and commonly applied as a successful scarifying method for many kind of seeds pre-soaking treatment including vegetables and fruits. It can soften the outer part of the seed and also waken up a seed from their dormancy. For best result, many suggest to soak the seed with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide for only 30 minutes not more.

Accelerate Growth

Hydrogen peroxide is actually somewhat predominantly produced by plant during their chain of life including while doing photosynthesis. Many research suggest that any of H2O2 increment (which can be easily broke down into simpler substance, hydrogen and oxygen) in the plant cell or from outside plant cell would help the plant grow healthier and more vigorous. It could be in any stage of plant development including seedling, maturity and also fruiting.

Rescue and Restrain from Fungal Infection

Majority fungal infections causes plant unproductive, stunt or maybe death. Hydrogen peroxide is capable to kill fungus, mold and their spores immediately when in contact. Therefore, to rescue plant from fungal infection, you should give a direct application to the infection area. It could be by spraying, dripping or soaking.

Once you applied hydrogen peroxide spray/drip/soak, it will oxidize any of organic material too. We call it as a washing treatment. While the dirt do not instantly wiped out, at least it will be not stubborn anymore.

Insect Killer and Repellant

In truth, it is hard to say that hydrogen peroxide is a proven insect killer. Nevertheless, in some cases it works for earlier stage of insect such as gnat larvae.  A stronger solution (3%) is required to kill insect larvae. If you spray it on adult insect, it will just shock them so they will run away.

Non-residual Effect

One of the advantages that green-minded gardener are looking for, hydrogen peroxide has no residual effects after application as it breaks apart into oxygen and water.

The Best Time of Application

Finally, all the means of the goodness explained above likely to be not much helpful if you use hydrogen peroxide for plants in the wrong time. The reason is only one that is peroxide decomposition against light. When the hydrogen peroxide touched by light, it will lose its effectiveness quickly. In consequent, you need to adjust the time of application to avoid light as could as possible (afternoon or night is the best time of application).

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