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Can Vinegar Help Your Plants Grow?

Person sprays a houseplant.

When it comes to gardening or tending your indoor plants, finding natural and affordable ways to repel pests is helpful. You may have heard that vinegar is a great solution for natural pest control but think twice before dousing your houseplants.

While affordable, accessible vinegar might repel pests, it also can cause severe damage to your houseplants when used irresponsibly.

This probably isn’t news to you, but vinegar is highly acidic. It has 5% of acetic acid. While vinegar uses are practically endless in some areas, using it directly on your indoor plants can allow the vinegar to eat away at leaves. It can damage the cells and potentially kill your houseplant.

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Vinegar can harm a houseplant’s ability to retain moisture. When applied to the leaves, vinegar may cause the leaves to dry out and die. If applied to the soil, vinegar may cause the roots to dry out and die. Vinegar-soaked soil is typically ruined for future use.

Certain houseplants tolerate (and may even enjoy) some vinegar to lower the pH of the soil. Camellias, Azaleas, Japanese anemones, and Gardenias are examples of plants that tolerate higher levels of acidity. Even with these, you want to be very careful.

If you’ve been considering using vinegar on your plants to adjust the pH levels in the soil or remove pests, stop and do some research. You may be risking the health of your plant if you proceed without caution.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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