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Gibberellic Acid

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How to Use Gibberellic Acid on Plants

Give your plants a boost by applying a natural growth hormone to them during stressful times. Gibberellic acid acts on plants to speed the rate at which seeds germinate and the plant matures, according to the California Rare Fruit Growers. Using this hormone on your plants in the proper amounts can help to keep you plants healthy and overcome issues such as a lack of blossoms or too few fruits.

Combine 125 mg of gibberellic acid with 2½ cups of water in a sprayer to create a solution of 200 parts per million. Spray this solution to young plants which have not produced enough flowers.

Mix two-thirds a cup of water with 125 mg of gibberellic acid, and spray on plants to promote blossom setting and increased fruiting.

Apply a combination of 125 mg gibberellic acid with a quarter-cup of water directly to seeds to increase the rate of germination.

Promote growth of cut surfaces of branches by rubbing 125 mg of gibberellic acid mixed with 1 tsp. lanolin directly to the cut edge.

The History of Gibberellic Acid

Discoveries in Japan

In the late 1800s a disease called bakanae---"foolish seedling"---attacked rice plants in Japan, Taiwan and other Asian countries. The plants exhibited extended growth patterns and then died. A Japanese plant pathologist, Shotaro Hori, proved the cause of the disease was a fungus, which was later named Gibberella fujikuroi. In 1926, Eiichi Kurdsawa identified a chemical in the fungus that caused the disease. In 1935, Teijiro Yabuta isolated a non-crystalline substance called a gibberellin that affected the growth of rice. Three years later, Yabuta and Yasuki Sumiki isolated another gibberellin from the fungus.

Discoveries in the United States

Scientists in the United States did not begin researching gibberellins until after World War II. In 1950, John E. Mitchell of the Research Unit at Camp Dietrick, Maryland, began researching the fungus and gibberellins. He worked in coordination with the northern regional research labs of the United States Department of Agriculture in Peoria, Illinois, to develop a fermentation process to extract pure gibberellic acid for agricultural use.

Other Discoveries

Scientists in the United Kingdom were also working with gibberellins in the 1950s. Experiments conducted by Akers Research Lab produced the same results as experiments in the United States. The compound was named gibberellic acid. In 1955, members of the Japanese group headed by Sumiki produced gibberellic acid, in addition to three other gibberellins. Since then between 100 and 150 gibberellins have been discovered in rice, wheat, barley, maize, corn and other plants.

Uses of Gibberellic Acid

Gibberellic acid is used to stimulate germination of seedlings that may usually need scarifying, a cold period or some other treatment. It is also used to help pollination of closely related species or self-pollinated clones of plants. Gibberellic acid can induce early flowering and improve fruiting of plants.

How Gibberellic Acid Is Produced

Producers grow the fungus, Gibberella fujikuroi, in huge vats. Then the gibberellic acid is extracted from the fungus and purified. The gibberellic acid is sold as a powder or a liquid. It has been available commercially since the late 1950s.

The Uses of Gibberellic Acid

What Is Gibberellic Acid?

Gibberellic acid is a plant growth regulator derived from a fungus, Gibberella fujikurdi. Plant pathologists in Japan discovered the fungus in the late 1800s, when it caused rice seedlings to grow too tall and thin, resulting in the death of the seedlings.

How Is Gibberellic Acid Made?

Gibberellic acid is derived from Gibberella fungi grown in large vats. It is sold as a powder, which is mixed with water to make a solution.

Uses For Gibberellic Acid

Gibberellic acid is most commonly used in the home garden to improve germination of seeds, especially those that require a cold period or stratification. It is also used to promote flowering, increase fruit set and increase size of fruit.

Is Gibberellic Acid Organic?

Gibberellic acid occurs naturally in plants and regulates plant growth. Only a few micrograms of the compound is absorbed by seeds, where it helps them grow. It does not remain in the plant. Most organizations for certified organic foods approve the use of gibberellic acid.


Do not get gibberellic acid in your eyes, or on your skin or clothes. Use rubber gloves or wash hands thoroughly after use. Wash implements with vinegar and rinse well. Dispose of toweling and filtering materials, as well as any remaining solution, according to local, state and federal laws.

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