Health & Medical Food & Drink

Does Root Beer Affect the Growth of Plants?

    Soil Fertility

    • In the wild, plants are often found growing in the soil that suits them; those that flourish in dry, infertile soils can be found near the beaches and seasides while those that grow best in rich, moist soils can be found in woodlands and along forest floors. Garden plants are completely dependent on the soil they are placed in. Many plants struggle when set in poor, sandy or rocky soils because they lack nutrients. The condition of poor soil can be drastically improved by the addition of organic materials, such as rotted manure, leaf mold or compost, and by the routine application of liquid fertilizers, such as brewed tea, weak coffee, baking soda solution, cola or root beer.

    Root Beer Fertilizer

    • Carbonated soft drinks, such as root beer, contain carbonic acid. This compound lowers the pH of the soil temporarily, giving acid-loving plants like roses, blueberries, azaleas and rhododendrons an immediate boost. In addition, sodas tend to be high in sugar, which is a form of carbon -- one of the nutrients plants use most. On the downside, the combination of sweet, fruity fragrances and thick, sugary syrup tends to draw unwelcome guests, such as ants, flies and wasps.

    Alternative Plant Foods

    • In addition to sodas, plants may also benefit from regular applications of brewed tea or weak coffee. The tannins in these beverages create an acid-rich environment that increases the root function for a variety of plants. Alternatively, alkaline-loving plants, such as dianthus, clematis, cucumbers, lilacs and delphiniums, will flourish when given an occasional watering with a solution made from 1 tbsp. of baking soda and 2 qt. of water. The increase in alkalinity helps the roots take in nutrients, resulting in healthier plants with bigger blooms.


    • Homemade plant foods are handy and economical; however, they may not be perfectly balanced. While the majority of items used to water, feed or fertilize the garden are biodegradable and are therefore beneficial, too much of any one element can be toxic. Using a variety of items, such as grass clippings, compost, egg shells, coffee grounds and rotted manure, adds both nutrients and organic material to the soil, improving its structure and increasing the soil's overall fertility.

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