What Effects Do Sugar & Salt Have on Plants?
Sugar is Fuel
- Much like humans, plants use sugar as fuel for energy. Plants make their own nutrients through a process known as photosynthesis. They combine water, sunlight and carbon dioxide and produce sugars. The glucose and sucrose they create is stored in the leaves and stems of the plant and used to fuel the growth of flowers and roots that do not produce energy on their own. Adding water with dissolved sugar to the plants during watering can sometimes boost the growth of immature plants since they are unable to make as much of the fuel on their own.
Sugar Water for Pests
- Sugar can occasionally be used as a pesticide. Plants that are infested with aphids, whiteflies and mites need predators to naturally take care of the problem. Ladybugs are a natural predator of these plant pests, and they also like sugar. Spray some sugar water on your plants to attract ladybugs and the pretty little beetles will come along and gobble up many of those pesky pests.
- Unlike sugar, salt does not provide energy to plants. In fact, it robs plants of nutrients by absorbing the water they need to survive. Adding salt or saltwater to the soil around plants will simulate drought-like conditions for the plants because the salt will absorb the water in the soil before it can replenish the plants. Some of the salt could also be absorbed into the roots and stored in the plant itself. When this happens, it can cause conditions such as leaf scorch.
Reduced Cold Hardiness
- Salt is spread all around the roadways of the nation to help fight against icing during winter storms. The salt gets dissolved in water and cars and snowplows distribute the salt by splashing it into lawns and upon plants as they pass by. There are other, less common ways that salt can make its way into the soil as well. When salt gets into a plant, it can result in a loss of cold hardiness in some species. This weakening of plants can result in death of the plants in cold weather when they could have otherwise survived the winter.