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Sugar Water Effect on Plants

spoonful of sugar image by Brett Mulcahy from

It is a myth that adding sugar to your plants will increase their vitality. Gardeners sometimes mistakenly dissolve sugar into their irrigation system after hearing rumors of the compound's ability to help plants thrive. Unfortunately, this is not true, and long-term use can be very detrimental to the overall biological functions of the plant.

Plant Nutrition

Caring for your plants is the best way to bring out their full potential. Simply provide adequate sun, water and the various macro-nutrients found within fertilizer. Adding other unnecessary compounds like sugar can increase the risk of environmental threats such as pests and disease by attracting them to your soil. Make sure to take precautionary measures to avoid such infestations.


Sugar compounds are naturally created within plants by absorbing water, sunlight and carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. These sugar compounds are then used to create energy for the plant to help it accomplish necessary biological processes such as reproduction and growth. Since these sugar compounds are highly different from the processed sugar you buy at the store, adding sugar to the water can negatively impact the plant's ability to make its own food and halt these productions.


Processed sugar will stimulate micro-organisms found within the soil of your plants near the roots. These micro-organisms aid the absorption of water and nutrients but can be overstimulated and stressed by sugar. This stress will make it more difficult for root systems to nourish the rest of the plant and can lead to long-term complications.

pH Levels

Dissolved sugar added to a plant's soil can disrupt the sensitive pH balance present there. The pH levels of the soil directly affect a plant's osmosis within the roots. If this balance is changed too much for the plant, it will be prevented from absorbing nutrition from the soil. Also, sugar water forces soil to retain moisture for longer periods of time, increasing fungal growth in the area and possibly causing dangerous infections.


Gardeners from around the world have made claims about sugar's beneficial effects for their plants, but there is little scientific research that backs these claims. Most researchers have found that sugar blocks a plant's natural ability to grow, and experiments involving sugar water regimens have yet to produce any such additional vitality in any part of the plant.

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