Can You Water Houseplants with Tea?

Two houseplants and a mug on a table.

If you have plants that are not thriving in your home, you might be wondering if you can water them with tea to help revive them. This is a common piece of advice that plant owners are given when they have plants that are not thriving.

Using tea to water plants can help hydrate and nourish them. You will get the best benefits from organic tea brands which have lower levels of pesticide residue. Watering plants with tea is most effective for plants that grow best in acidic soils.

This can be a great way to use your leftover tea and your houseplants will benefit from the added nutrition that you are offering them each time you water them in this way. Read on to learn more about watering your plants with tea to keep them green and healthy all year.

What Nutrients Are in Tea?

You might not think of tea as being full of nutrients, but your daily cup of tea might actually have more nutritional value than you realize. You have probably been drinking tea for years without realizing that it offers many health benefits that are good for you and can also be good for your house plants!

Teas are rich in polyphenols. These nutrients come in three types and may or may not be present in all varieties of tea. These are the primary nutrients that make tea so good for your health, but they can also be beneficial to plants that need a little pick-me-up.

·         Flavonols: myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol

·         Theaflavins: only present in black teas

·         Catechins: present in green tea. Epigallocatechin-3 gallate is the main nutrient in this grouping

Teas are also rich in other nutrients:

·         Theanine: an amino acid that is found in bay mushrooms and tea leaves

·         Antioxidants: which protect cell structures from damage. In teas, you will have access to phenols, tannins, lignans, and flavonoids.

·         Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins C, D, and K as well as riboflavin. You might also find trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, nickel, iron, and zinc.

When you select an organic tea, you will be getting a product that is rich in antioxidants that are good for plants as well as for people!

How Tea Affects Plants

When you water your plants with tea, you will be delivering nutrients to the soil that might be missing from common potting soils. Your plants may also have consumed the nutrients that are present in the soil and they can be replenished by watering them with tea.

Most teas will deliver 0.25% potassium and 0.24% phosphorus. You will also get 4.4% nitrogen from teas. This means that these nutrients will be delivered to the soil when you water your plant with your leftover tea.

As long as you are drinking organic tea, you will avoid giving your plant a dose of pesticides along with the healthy vitamins and nutrients that are present in the tea.

Can You Water Your Plants With Tea?

The answer to this is, yes! Watering many varieties of plants with your leftover tea can give them a healthy boost of necessary antioxidants and minerals. Always make sure not to use hot tea to water your plants as the extreme temperature can be too much for them.

Always make sure not to water with tea on top of your normal watering regimen for the day. You do not need to add your tea treatment on top of your regular watering schedule. Always make sure that you know the daily water requirements of each variety of plants in your possession so that you do not harm the plant by overwatering it.

To prepare tea for watering your plants, brew the tea using 1 or 2 organic teabags. Let the tea sit for at least two hours. It is best to let the tea rest overnight for optimal results.

When the tea is ready, pour it over the plant leaves as well as the soil. You will want to make sure to pour it evenly over the plant so that you do not overwater one area of the pot. You do not need to give your plant excess water just to deliver the tea.

Which Plants Love Tea?

If you are not sure if your plants will prefer tea to regular watering, you should look into the ideal acidity of the soil for each kind of plant that you are caring for. Acidic soil is not the ideal soil for all plant varieties and tea will tend to increase the acidity of your soil.

You can check on the soil preferences for any kind of plant online or there are many gardening books out there that will give you all of the necessary information that is required to be sure of your plant’s soil needs.

Some basic plant varieties that are common to see as houseplants love the amino acids and tannic acids in teas. These are plants like ferns with the exception of a few varieties that are very sensitive to acidic soil. Many plants actually prefer slightly acidic soils and the ones that do not are the exception rather than the rule.

Some other plants that love tea treatments are:

·         East Lily

·         Tomatoes

·         Poinsettia

·         Oxalis

·         Hydrangeas

·         Spider Plants

·         Rubber Plants

·         African Violets

·         Philodendron

If you are concerned about the pH of your soil, you can check it easily before you start watering with tea. There are soil testing kits that are readily available that will allow you to be sure of your soil’s pH before you provide tea treatments.

Is Tea Better Than Fertilizer?

Tea provides nutrients similar to those that are included in many fertilizers. This means that tea can be a much more affordable way to support healthy plant growth for your house plants and those that are living in your garden.

If you want to compare the effectiveness of fertilizer with your tea treatments, you can keep a journal of the condition of your plants after each kind of treatment. Some varieties of plants will prefer the tea treatments, but others might prefer to be treated with regular fertilizer.

In many ways, the tea should cause the same effect as fertilizer without having to handle messy or toxic substances. This can be especially beneficial if you are fertilizing food-producing plants. Watering with tea can be a great way to prevent waste and to avoid having to invest in expensive chemicals to pour onto the soil that your plants are growing in.

What if I Don’t Want to Brew Tea?

If you don’t want to have to brew tea to water your plants, you can actually bury the tea bag in the soil instead. Make sure to remove the string and the staple before you do so. You will also want to make sure that you have purchased paper tea bags.

Get the teabag wet and then bury it in the soil near the plants you are caring for. As you water the plants, you will be delivering the tea to the soil with each watering. This can be a great solution if you do not want to have to make the tea yourself before you give it to your plants.

Watering Plants With Tea Can Work Wonders

If you have been struggling to keep some of the plants on your property or in your home healthy, watering them with tea might be the perfect solution for your needs. You will probably find that these plants will be healthier than ever and you will avoid having to handle pesticides and chemicals that are contained in many fertilizers.

Being able to produce beautiful and healthy plants and vegetables doesn’t have to be a struggle if you use this simple plant care hack.

Kate Inskeep

Kate Inskeep is a mom of three from Illinois who loves growing things. She fell in love with houseplants after a friend gifted her some succulents. Before long, her windowsills were full of plants, and she was hooked.

Recent Posts