Is tea good for plants? The short answer is Yes. But not all teas are beneficial to plants. So, let’s walk you through the science of using tea to water your houseplants and how to use it properly.
It’s always a delight to find simple, cost-effective gardening hacks that actually work. One popular notion for gardening is the practice of watering your house plants with tea.
This is why the practice of using tea/tea bags to help your plants grow has gained a lot of popularity and traction among many gardeners.
However, whether or not it actually works is the question. The answer is yes!
For example, leftover tea can be a great way to nourish, hydrate, and fertilize your plants. But, not all types of tea is to be used for this purpose.
The History of Tea and Its Relation to Plants
For many centuries, people have used tea for its soothing, healing properties. Over the years, tea has continued to evolve, and today, we drink fresh tea with rich, exotic flavors.
One perfect example of evolution and sustainability is when many gardeners started to experiment with the healing properties of tea on their houseplants. And did it work? Yes, absolutely!
Components of Tea That Are Beneficial to Plants
Making a cup of tea today is much easier than in the past when people would boil actual tea leaves to make the drink.
When it comes to gardening, most gardeners and horticulturalists stick to the usual organic brands. This way, the plants get a more practical effect.
People prefer organic tea brands to processed one because the organic ones rarely contain pesticides. Similar to regular tea, organic tea has a lot of chemicals. However, pesticides cause more damage to the plants.
Therefore, adding organic tea will help your plants grow healthier by providing them with more nutrients.
How Does Your Cup of Tea Help the Plants?
When you break down tea components, you will find that tea consists of 4.4% nitrogen, 0.25% potassium, and 0.24% phosphorus.
Here’s a fun fact about plants: nitrogen is an extremely beneficial component for plants, and most fertilizers contain nitrogen. By adding tea to your plants, you will be providing your plants with good amounts of nitrogen. The only catch is that they may not be able to make full use of it since it is from tea.
Other than nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, here are a few more components found in tea.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the name because polyphenols are nothing by micronutrients commonly found in plant-based foods. These help to improve the overall condition of both the plant and the soil.
Theanine is an amino acid found in tea that can help your plant by boosting its growth, increase pollen fertility, and so on.
Can plants benefit from antioxidants? If you said no, you might want to think again.
Antioxidants serve as a powerful layer of protection against damage to plant cells. Some natural antioxidants found in tea are tannins, phenols, etc.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Tea (especially green and black tea varieties) contains high amounts of nutrients like vitamin C, D, K, and even riboflavin. In terms of minerals, tea contains iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and so on.
Which are the Plants That Can Thrive Well with Tea?
The benefits of organic tea for plants are plenty. While this is the case for most house plants, some may not benefit from tea as the others.
The acidic content of tea is something you need to consider before doing this. As mentioned earlier, tea contains amino acids that can help your plant by lowering the pH level. However, the soil’s acidity might increase during this.
Therefore, if you choose to try tea for your plants, make sure you know which plants are safe for use and which are not.
If you have ferns in your home garden, you can put the tea hack to the test because ferns grow well with slightly acidic soil. However, if you have the Maidenhair ferns, it is best to stick to water as these require alkaline-based soil.
Here is a list of all plants that you can try this hack with. If you see your plant, you are in luck!
- African Violets
- East lily
- Rubber Plant
- Spider Plant
If you are a beginner gardener, it is best recommended to be a little familiar with the pH levels of your plants’ soil. This will give you an idea of whether or not you can use tea for your plants.
If you are not sure of the pH levels, now is the best time to get it checked!
You can either do this at home, by yourself by purchasing a soil testing kit, or even get the opinion of more experienced gardeners and horticulturalists.
How to Start Using Tea for House Plants
There are quite a few ways you can start using tea for your house plants. The first, most obvious method is by directly pouring it over your plants. In simple terms, water them as usual but replace the water with some refreshing tea!
Another way to start this is by completely burying a fresh tea bag under the soil. That helps to enrich the condition of your soil and helps in the better growth of your plants.
The best part about these two methods is that they are cost-effective, simple, and sustainable. So, the next time you start to feel guilty over a cup of cold tea, simply give them to your plants instead!
Dos and Don’ts of Using Tea to Water Your Plants
If you are a rookie at gardening, the whole concept of watering your house plants with tea might be perplexing. However, we guarantee you that it will work.
So if you decide to try this out, keep this set of dos and don’ts in your mind before starting.
- Use 1 or 2 organic tea bags and brew a warm cup of tea
- Allow it to cool for a few hours or even overnight
- Once it is cool enough, pour the tea evenly over your plants
- Do not use the same amount of tea as water for your plants
- Do not overwater your plants with tea
Dos and Don’ts of Burying Tea Bags Under the Soil
If you are looking for an affordable way to enrich the condition of your soil, you can try this method.
Here are few dos and don’ts to follow when you bury tea bags under the soil.
- Use tea bags made of paper
- Remove the pin or staple before you bury it
- Utilize used tea bags for this method
- Do not use teabags made of polyester
One of the main reasons behind the origin of this gardening hack was to reuse and repurpose organic ingredients. One way to accomplish this is by using tea/tea bags to nourish your house plants.
If you are a new plant parent, this hack might seem strange to you. However, it is one that has been tried and tested for years and found to be effective.
In fact, think of it as a way of giving back to mother earth. Tea derived from plants, in turn, is used to nourish other plant life.