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How to Water Plants With Different Liquids

By Katie Jensen ; Updated September 21, 2017
Cows make good manure tea.
Cows image by nirbo from Fotolia.com

Plants need only a few things to keep them happy and growing: sunlight, food and water. While sunlight is pretty much a given--garden plants will not grow without light--water is second in line as a critical factor. Mixing different elements with water affects plant growth. Most of the time the additions speed up the growth, but occasionally it will slow down growth. Adding alcohol to the water for narcissus stunts the leaves and stems and keeps them shorter according to a 2006 study done at Cornell University.


Water the garden or plants to be fertilized with 1 inch of water. Or fertilize the day after a rain. The fertilizer needs to seep down into the area where the plant roots are growing.

Mix the fertilizer at half the recommended dosage on the package and water houseplants and outside containers twice as often as the directions recommend.

Dilute 1 tbsp. of fish emulsion into one gallon of water. Use on plants that are actively growing. A quart of the mixture for each large plant is adequate. A cup to a pint is enough for smaller plants. The mixture smells as bad as you might expect so don't plan on spending time in the garden the day you use it.


Water plants so the ground is moist and the teas can penetrate the soil to the root area.

Add rotted manure from vegetarian animals such as cows, horse, sheep or birds to water. A good ratio is 1 gallon of manure to 5 gallons of water. Stir well to distribute and dissolve the manure as much as possible. Let the mixture sit a week then use to water plants. Scoop out with a bucket or watering can.

Add one cup of rabbit pellet food that is compressed alfalfa, to 1 gallon of water. Stir well then dump the water into a fresh empty bucket. Dump the mixture back and forth once a day for four days. Water the plants with it after the four days.

Place old used tea bags in a bucket. When there are 20 or so, fill the bucket with hot water. Let the water cool. Use it to water acid-loving plants like gardenias and azaleas. Use fresh tea bags and use them more than once.

Water acid-loving plants with diluted coffee. Coffee is used in the compost heap, as well. It adds acid to the soil and organic matter from the grounds.


Things You Will Need

  • Fish emulsion
  • Bucket
  • Cup
  • Stir stick
  • Manure
  • 5 gallon container
  • Rabbit pellet food
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee


  • Wash the fish emulsion solution off the plant leaves. It won't hurt the leaves but it may leave them water marked or looking dirty where the fish emulsion hit the leaves.


  • Cover standing water or tea if children are around.
  • Don't use coffee with flavor additives, creamers or artificial sweeteners.

About the Author


Katie Jensen's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in business and personal finance. Her passion includes cooking, eating and writing about food.