Hydrogen peroxide and gardening

Hydrogen peroxide and gardening

Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant that is not intended for everyday gardening. It would be best if you did your research before using any peroxide in gardening. 35% hydrogen peroxide short exposures can result in chemical burns and other injuries. It is always recommended to use products as they are intended to be used. A lot of research goes into products to ensure safety and the effect of the product on the environment. Hydrogen peroxide typically has stabilizing agents added to the product to help with stability due to how volatile the product is. 

Speeding up seed germination and reducing pathogens in seeds

Not all seeds that hobby gardeners get are treated with fungicides or have been genetically modified to fend off pathogens such as one of the many fungal pathogens or bacterial pathogens present on seeds. 1% hydrogen peroxide has been found in most cases to provide the best germination rate and lowest fatality rate of the seeds. Different rates of hydrogen peroxide will affect seeds differently based on what the seed is. Sunflower seeds saw the best germination rates at 3%, whereas others saw the best rates at 1% or 2%. Some of the bulker seeds benefit from stratification. Hydrogen peroxide weakens the seed’s coating. Allowing for water to penetrate the seed and activate the embryo inside the seed’s coating.

Use as an anti-fungal

People do use this as an anti-fungal. Hydrogen peroxide is one of the few products that prevent the germination of mold spores and active growing fungi. This kills beneficial bacteria and fungi and causes other damage to the product. After applying, your plants can easily get sunburned or other damage. The product can also open you to other pathogens. After application, it might be wise to apply some beneficial bacteria or other products claiming to contain beneficial fungi and bacteria. Unfortunately, it is hard to tell if the products were stored correctly and if your beneficial bacteria/fungi are still alive. Fungal spores quickly die when exposed to elevated temperatures. Again it is always recommended to use products as intended. Hydrogen peroxide has not gone through all the testing as anti-fungal products have gone through. 

Use as pest control

Hydrogen peroxide has shown in commonly been shown on many blogs and on youtube channels to control fungus gnat larvae. This does work to an extent but requires a larger application. This can damage young seedlings due to the fact hydrogen peroxide is not targeted pest control. It can damage the roots of the plant and kill off beneficial organisms. Though not fully conclusive, USDA has experimented with low concentrations of hydrogen peroxides, and the plant health has decreased. The dry yields of flowers, roots, and plant weight were all reduced. “The first and most likely explanation for the anecdotal reports of dramatic growth stimulus of hydrogen peroxide watering solutions may be a result of hydrogen peroxide decreasing or eliminating diseases in soil containers rather than as a direct stimulus to the plant.”

In summary

There have been a lot of claims of hydrogen peroxide being beneficial in the garden. Some may be true, while others have not. The products sold in the retail market go through rigorous screening processes. This includes safety for people, the environment and effect on the target pest. Think carefully before attempting a home sullutions.  

About the Author

Leave a Reply

You may also like these