Finding the secret to keeping your houseplants healthy and vibrant doesn’t have to be a guessing game. In fact, the solution may right be in your kitchen cabinet. Hydrogen peroxide has many household uses from cleaning stuck-on messes on cookie sheets to removing red wine stains on carpet. But it can also help revive plants — especially when they look like they’re about to die.
It may seem like bad idea to use a chemical on your favorite houseplant, but that’s not the case with hydrogen peroxide. A study published in the journal Agronomy found that treating your plants with hydrogen peroxide once a week helps with increasing growth and mineral accumulation. Researchers found that the chemical specifically helped boost the plant’s iron, calcium, and potassium levels.
The most obvious signs that your plants are in need of a boost are when the leaves start wilting and turning a brown or yellow color. The University of Maryland’s Home and Gardening Information Center calls this stage of plant decay “root rot.” Common mistakes such as overwatering or not using a clean pot for planting allow fungus to grow within the stem and the roots. Luckily, hydrogen peroxide can kill the fungus caused by root rot and bring your plants back to life!
Lifehacker recommends diluting the hydrogen peroxide with water before you apply it to your plants. The ideal ratio is one part hydrogen peroxide (Buy on Amazon, $5) to two parts water. Make sure the soil is dry, then fill a spray bottle or watering can with the mixture and water your plant with it like you normally would. Do this again the following week when the soil dries in place of your regular watering, and continue until your plant looks happy again. If you can’t tell if you plant’s roots are healthy, take a peak underneath the soil, they should be firm and a whitish color.
This method should work to revive limp plants with root rot, but properly caring for your plants on the regular will help you avoid the problem in the first place. Now that you’re one step closer to becoming a gardening expert, you can turn your green thumb into a side business!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.
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