‘It works!’: Tea can be used to water plants – ‘promotes very leafy growth’

Gardeners’ World expert gives advice on watering plants in pots

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Plant care instructions vary depending on the species of plant and, as a result, keeping these green friends looking their best may seem like a challenge. However, there are some natural ways to give plants a boost without the use of specialist or chemical fertilisers. Leslie Vincents of Atkins Garden shop explained how gardeners can use tea to water their plants – this works for both garden plants and houseplants.

Many gardeners question whether they can water plants with the classic British tea.

Particularly those who drink a lot of the stuff, and are left wondering how best to dispose of teabags.

Just like with coffee grounds, there are some gardening enthusiasts who will tell you that watering plants with tea helps to fertilise them. 

Leslie explained that this “bizarre gardening trick” does in fact “work”.

She said: “It’s one of the more bizarre gardening tricks, but it can work!

“Tea and tea leaves are just organic matter which is highly nutritious. 

“The tea leaves are packed full of nitrogen, far more than your usual plant fertilisers and this promotes very leafy growth.”

The gardening expert detailed how to carry out this hack.

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Leslie said: “Brew a pot using two tea bags then leave it cool overnight.

“This is absolutely essential as you don’t want to be throwing boiling or even warm water on your plants.”

Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in tea can be beneficial to indoor plants as well as those in the backyard. 

As Leslie said earlier, nitrogen encourages leafy growth, so, in theory, burying tea bags in soil, watering with cold tea or sprinkling dry tea leaves onto the soil might help leggy plants to look more bushy.

However, when learning about whether to water plants with tea, it’s worth knowing that there are also other ingredients in tea that could potentially prevent plants from growing, which include fluorine and aluminium.

What’s more, tea can make soil more acidic, so trying this hack could have an impact on the pH levels of the soil. 

Gardeners could try this watering plants with tea hack on plants that are happiest in slightly acidic soil – like poinsettia, hydrangeas, spider plants and rubber plants. 

Although, stick to standard plant food for those that prefer alkaline conditions.

Chris Bonnett, gardening expert at Gardening Express, shared that sparkling water can give plants an extra boost.

This is because of the “macronutrients” which are often included in carbonated water.

He said: “Carbonated water contains several macronutrients, like carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, potassium, and sodium.

“These are incredibly beneficial for your greenery, but let the fizzy water go flat before pouring it on plants.”

Once the fizzy beverage is flat, simply water your plants as usual with the liquid.

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