DIY Lactobacillus For Your Houseplant Soil

DIY Lactobacillus For Your Houseplant Soil

Lactobacillus is a soil probiotic that not only helps with providing nutrients but also helps with suppressing harmful microbes. Lactobacillus can be used in the garden and with our houseplants. This article will look at what Lactobacillus is and how to make your own DIY lactobacillus soil probiotic at home. Applying lactobacillus on a regular basis to our houseplants and the garden can make a major difference. 

If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley and I am a soil scientist. I am located in a Canadian Zone 3 and a USDA Zone 4. I write articles and make YouTube videos all designed for Canadians and Cold Climate gardeners using science based methods. If you are looking for anything specific be sure to let me know in the comments down below.

Are Microbes Considered Apart Of The Soil?

Soil is often thought of as an inorganic mix of rock. However, a healthy soil is considered both inorganic and organic. The inorganic portion of soil is from the parent rock that has been broken down by wind, water and thousands of years of primary succession. The organic matter is the detritus and humus that have built up in soil from years of plant activity. The amount of organic material is based on the volume of plant activity over time. The organic portion also contains molds, fungus, bacteria, algae, single-celled life forms and other microscopic life. Keep in mind organic components in soil are both alive and dead. The fungi, bacteria and algae are all examples of living components. Lactobacillus is a living component of a healthy complete soil both outside and indoors.

Lactobacillus is a genus of bacteria commonly found in soil and the guts of animals. This type of bacteria is anaerobic and promotes the decomposition of organic matter. In addition to organic matter decay, they suppress disease and perform growth-regulatory effects on fungi, yeast and other bacteria. This means it has the ability to not only provide nutrients but help prevent disease such as root rot.

The energy release is different with lactobacillus when compared to other bacteria. Normally decomposition causes a buildup of heat and gas. This heating can cause harm to the plants. Lactobacillus uses fermentation which means less energy and releases a gentler byproduct. 

Some other benefit of Lactobacillus include:

  • Lactobacillus solubilizes phosphate – Using Lactobacillus in phosphate-accumulated soil will increase its capacity to absorb the insoluble form of phosphates and help overcome the saline disorder as a result of decomposition of the phosphates.
  • Improved pore space in soil/soil ventilation
  • Lactobacillus increases the solubility of fertilizer
  • Bacteria can directly promote plant growth or seed germination, as well as alleviating various abiotic stresses.
  • Lactobacillus will neutralize ammonia gas produced where the immature compost is applied

You can easily make a Lactobacillus probiotic for your houseplants and garden in a few easy steps. Below is a list of materials and directions for making your own homemade Lactobacillus.

Materials Needed For DIY Lactobacillus Soil Inoculant

  • White Rice
  • Water (distilled)
  • Milk (unpasteurized is best, organic whole milk if raw milk is unavailable)
  • A sugar (brown, molasses, white sugar, your choice)
  • Mesh strainer
  • Mason Jar
  • Cheesecloth.

How to Make a Rice Wash

  1. Fill half of a jar with rice then fill the rest of the way with water.
  2. Let this soak for an hour and shake every 15 minutes. The water should become cloudy.
  3. Next, strain the water into another jar and toss the rice. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and a rubber band. Seven days but if the temperature is warmer you can aim for four.
  4. The rice wash will separate into 3 different layers and have a bit of a sour smell. Take a turkey baster and remove the top layer where it can be discarded. When you get to this is what you want to save. The middle layer is lactobacillus and other beneficial bacteria. The last layer can be thrown out.
  5. Place the middle layer into a large jar or split the middle layer up equally across multiple jars. This is the first step in making a DIY Lactobacillus soil innoculant.

Culturing (growing) Lactobacillus

  1. For every one part of rice bacteria you will mix in 10 parts milk. So if the jar has a ½ cup of rice bacteria you will need 5 cups of milk.
  2. This can now sit for another week. Make sure the lid on the jar is resting on the jar. There can be a build up of pressure and bubbling that occurs. A slight overflow is completely normal, so place a saucer underneath it. 
  3. This again will separate into two layers. After about a week you’ll notice it has separated into 2 layers. The bottom pale yellow layer is the layer we need.
  4. Using a baster you can remove the bottom layer out. Or you can scoop out the curds and strain the remaining liquid using a fine mesh strainer. The curds can be tossed into the outside soil for extra organic material.
  5. The leftover liquid is your culture that can be stored in the fridge or activated.

Activating Your DIY Lactobacillus

  1. You will want a glass jar where you can mix one part sugar and one part liquid. So for one cup of lactobacillus liquid you need one cup of brown sugar. Mix the sugar in till it is dissolved.
  2. You can now seal this mixture up in a jar at room temperature where it can keep for up to 6 months.
  1. When it’s time to use the active bacteria you will want to mix 2 tablespoons of activated liquid with a gallon of water. You can apply this every time you water.

Lactobacillus is a soil probiotic that not only helps with providing nutrients but also helps with suppressing harmful microbes. Lactobacillus can be used in the garden and with our houseplants. This article will look at what Lactobacillus is and how to make your own lactobacillus at home. Applying lactobacillus on a regular basis to our houseplants and the garden can make a major difference.

3 thoughts on “DIY Lactobacillus For Your Houseplant Soil”

  1. Hi! First of all I would like to thank you for creating great informative content that is very science-based. I was wondering if using Yakult (a Japanese sweetened probiotic milk drink fermented with live and active strains of lactobacillus, specifically Lactobacillus casei) would have the same benefits as the DIY lactobacillus you have posted here?

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