Can Plants Live and Grow When Watered with Juice, Soda or Milk Instead of Water?

Plants are complex organisms, requiring different conditions and nutrients to grow. There are many different basic requirements needed for plant growth such as sunlight, air, water, and soil. Some gardeners even include extra nutrients such as phosphate fertilizers to help the plants grow larger or to help flowers bloom. Water is one of the main key ingredients needed for plants to survive as it is vital in their everyday process such as helping them to breathe and respire, to help them take in nutrients from the soil, and also plays an important role in maintaining the plant cell structure, which helps the plants to remain tall. As such, many gardeners turn to experiments with plant growth using different liquids to test how the use of different liquids can boost or reduce plant growth. In this article, we’ll be exploring how plants react to different kinds of liquids such as juice, soda, or milk.


Water is one of the most important ingredients in growing a healthy plant. Water can transport nutrients throughout the plant. It is absorbed by the plant in the roots and used in various metabolic activities of the plant such as in respiration and photosynthesis. For example, the hydrogen in water is used in photosynthesis to make food for the plant. Without sufficient water, the plant droops and loses structural support because water helps to provide turgidity to help the plant stand and obtain sunlight.


Fruits juices are healthy for a human body, but can it be beneficial for a plant? Fruit juices usually contain a high amount of sugar due to the natural sugars from fruits. These sugars act like salt, where they can absorb water and drain water away from the plants, drying them up. As a result, it prevents the plant from taking up and absorbing essential nutrients from the soil such as nitrogen. Using juices from citrus fruits can cause more harm to the plants as the high amount of acid in the juice can break down the plant’s immunity by breaking down the waxy coating on the plant, exposing the plant and making it vulnerable and susceptible to bacteria and mold to infect the plant. In addition, the sugar can attract insects to feast on the plants too. However, there seems to be a benefit in using fruit juices to water plants, but only if it is diluted. A diluted solution of a ratio of 2 tablespoons of juice to 1 L of water can provide some nutrients. However, one must remember to wash off any residue of the juice on the foliage of the plant as it can attract insects to it.


Soda and carbonated sweet drinks contain a very high amount of sugar which is not an ideal choice for watering plants with. Similar to fruit juices, the high amount of sugar can prevent the plants from taking up water and dry up the plant. For example, Coke contains 3.38 grams of sugar per ounce which would definitely kill the plant as it would prevent the plant from taking in any other nutrients from the soil. Then, one would ask, how about those varieties which are reduced sugar, or those with no sugar such as Coke Lite or Coke Zero? Well, the lower sugar content can help to allow more movement of water molecules and nutrients into the plant but in general, it seems like there are no additional benefits of watering plants with such sodas. With that being said, the sugary sodas can provide benefit to plants by increasing the life of cut plants and flowers. They can be used to allow the flowers to last longer in vases, to prevent the short-lived flowers from wilting too soon. However, plain carbonated water can actually help to encourage plant growth better than normal tap water. It contains nutrients such as carbon, oxygen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur which are important for plant growth and are usually found in fertilizers. The absorption of these nutrients can then help to boost growth and contribute to a healthy living plant.


Milk contains a high content of fat and calcium which could seem to help provide essential nutrients to the plants to boost growth. Every plant requires calcium to grow. Calcium has a vital role in plant growth and the building of the plant cell wall. It helps the plant to regenerate new cells, ensuring a constant supply of fresh and strong cells to support plant growth. In addition, it helps to balance out chemicals in the soil and improve the absorption of water by the plant, allowing the plants to absorb nutrients more efficiently from the soil, hence boosting the growth of the plant. In the absence of calcium, the plant would experience various problems such as necrosis (or cell death, often seen as yellowing of the plant) at the tips of young leaves, abnormal formation of flowers and fruits, and deformed leaves. Other than calcium, milk also contains enzymes with fungicidal properties which can help the plant fight against bacteria and mold and prevent various diseases that may harm the growth of the plant. Therefore, it seems like milk would be a good replacement for water when watering plants. However, the composition of milk can deter the positive effect of using milk to water plants. Milk contains a high content of protein and fat which can make it difficult for plants to absorb water. Proteins and fats are large-sized molecules which cannot be absorbed into the roots of plants. Hence, the low absorption of nutrients from milk can prevent the plant from receiving the positive effects of the nutrients of milk.


In conclusion, different liquids can have different effects on plant growth, some are beneficial while others can be detrimental to plant growth. The effect on the plant is largely dependent on the composition of the liquid, whether it is high in sugar, or high in protein, which can bring about different responses from the plant. However, in general, water should be used to water the plants as it is able to provide the plant with the nutrients it needs by aiding in absorption.


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