The Simple Guide to Watering Plants with Sugar Water

Does sugar water help plants? One unique way to water your plants is by using sugar water. While not a common tactic, sugar water can sometimes be quite useful to plants. Learn more about its benefits in this article.

To prepare sugar water, all you need to do is add a measurement of sugar into water and stir it as it boils. Don’t take it out of the heat until it is fully diluted. After it cools, you’ll be ready to water plants with sugar water.

? Article as a part of a series of articles “Watering plants with X-ingredient”. You can also read: watering plants with milk, watering plants with coffee.

What Does Sugar Water Do? Can you give plants sugar water?

Plants absorb water through osmosis. In osmosis, water moves where it’s highly concentrated to a place of low concentration. This is done through a semipermeable membrane. When you pour sugar water onto a plant, the water concentration in the syrup is higher than in the plant roots. Therefore, osmosis occurs and water moves into the roots making the plant grow healthily.

If the water concentration in the roots is higher than that of the sugar water, then it’ll leave the roots causing the plant to wither with time.

According to Mary M. Karcher’s research and experiment, sugar water can improve the growth of plants such as beans by making them stronger and healthier. The growth can be achieved by using sugar water with a ratio of 50 grams of sugar per one litre of water.

When to Use Sugar Water

Water plants with sugar water if the plant has cut flowers that are starting to wilt. Sugar will be absorbed by the cut roots, making the plants come back to life. As you use sugar on the plants, however, remember not to over saturate.

The process of Photosynthesis

What helps plants grow? The process of Photosynthesis is very important in the growth of plants. During the process, plants manufacture their food with energy from the air, sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.

The plant’s chloroplasts then split carbon dioxide molecules into carbon and oxygen atoms to form carbohydrates, i.e., starches and sugar.

When to Avoid Sugar Water

You should never use sugar water for plants that are growing properly. Since plants produce the number of nutrients they need through Photosynthesis, if you add sugar when the plants are growing well on their own, the plant roots will not accept the sugar, and plants will wilt and die off. This is the effect of sugar on plants.

Alternatives to Sugar Treatment

In case your plants are still unable to go through normal Photosynthesis; you can opt for the following alternatives:

Plant Food. Plant food is one of the alternatives you can use in place of sugar water. Although it is mainly used with indoor plants, it can boost the plants. As you select the plant food to use, ensure it is safe with your specific plants;

Club Soda. You should mostly use club soda on young seedlings that do not yet have enough leaves to photosynthesize on their own. Club soda contains carbon dioxide, which seedlings can absorb faster for photosynthesis.

You can also wrap plastic on top of your plants to help them trap carbon dioxide for Photosynthesis.

Dangers of Adding Sugar to a Plant

Does sugar help plants grow? Well, adding sugar to plants can attract micro-organisms that can threaten the health of the plant. Too much sugar can lead to reverse osmosis, making your plants lose water, hence affecting their growth.

Undecided on the best type of water to give your plants? Contact us today for expert advice that will keep your plants healthy.

Dos and Don’ts of Watering Plants with Sugar Water

Here’s a summary of things to keep in mind before or while watering your indoor or outdoor plants with sugar water.


  1. Either boil the sugar in water or stir it in cold water until it dissolves to make the syrup;
  2. Only use it in withered plants;
  3. To water your plant(s), pour from the top so the syrup touches the leaves down to the roots;
  4. Water the withered plant about thrice a week until it recovers.


  1. Don’t spray sugar water on healthy plants; it will inhibit growth;
  2. Don’t water your plant with sugar water after it recovers; it’ll lower the plant’s osmotic potential.

Do you want to know more about exactly how to plants care properly — and still you home garden health? Check out our How to Water Plants guide and Self-Watering devices.