Hydrogen Peroxide Food Grade Vs. Regular For Plants

Hydrogen Peroxide Food Grade Vs. Regular For Plants

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Have you ever wondered about using hydrogen peroxide on your plants? But more specifically did you know there’s a difference between hydrogen peroxide that is food grade and regular hydrogen peroxide being used on your plants. The Gardening in Canada article is going to look at exactly what you should be using on your plants to prevent any unnecessary issues. Let’s jump into Hydrogen Peroxide Food Grade Vs. Pharmacy For Plants.

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, make YouTube videos, Instagram & Facebook posts 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.

The short answer to whether or not you should use food-grade hydrogen peroxide over regular hydrogen peroxide on your plants is, YES. Food-grade hydrogen peroxide is a better choice.

Now let’s get into a bit of the science as to why you should choose food-grade hydrogen peroxide over regular medical grade hydrogen peroxide. I’m also going to include a printable document that you can place inside of your house plant or garden planner.

If you’d like to grab a PDF copy of the planner check out this link here. If you would like to grab a paperback copy from Amazon and then check out these two links here. One is for a house plant planner and the other is for the garden planner. Both are different and have varying levels of information.

If you want to grab food-grade hydrogen peroxide I based the recipe below on click here.

What is hydrogen peroxide?

Both food-grade hydrogen peroxide and medical hydrogen peroxide are identical. How they work and what they do are essentially the same. Hydrogen peroxide is considered very unstable. Both food-grade hydrogen peroxide and medical hydrogen peroxide are identical. How they work when it comes to plant care is also identical. This is because both are H2O2 in a bottle.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is considered very unstable. This was this is what makes it so great at decomposition. Hydrogen peroxide when used splits into two components. Oxygen and water, the oxygen is the part that helps with decomposition. In the presence of excess oxygen, decomposers are able to decompose organic material at a rapid rate. 

The ability to decompose organic material at a rapid rate is actually why doctors do not recommend using hydrogen peroxide for disinfectant any longer. The hydrogen peroxide ability to attack organic molecules is not reserved for only harmful molecules. This means both beneficial and non-beneficial microbes are affected. It has been known to slow the healing process for humans and also can affect the beneficial microbes of plants.

This is what makes hydrogen peroxide effective on plants. It’s what makes plants healthy when exposed to organic elements such as pests and/or diseases. So long as the past or disease is organic a nature it can become bided using hydrogen peroxide. But more on this later.

If you want to grab food-grade hydrogen peroxide I based the recipe below on click here.

Food grade vs medical hydrogen peroxide for plants.

Due to the volatile nature of hydrogen peroxide, it is difficult to make shelf-stable. This means lots of chemicals, stabilizers and toxins are used to help allow it to sit on consumer shelves. One of the more common elements used as a stabilizer for hydrogen peroxide in the medical field is silver. This is because silver is not human harmful to humans in the disinfecting process.

When it comes to food-grade hydrogen peroxide there are no stabilizers used. This means that there are no toxic chemicals that can be harmful to plants added. However, this does mean that it is not shelf-stable and therefore is not readily available at the grocery store. This is one reason why hydrogen peroxide food grade vs regular for plants is important to look at.

So the next question would be is silver or any other stabilizers within the over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide are harmful to plants.

Is over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide harmful to house plants?

There are new studies coming out specifically about plants and silver. One research journal I did was titled “silver beware antimicrobial nanoparticles in soil may harm plant life.” In the study, it looks at the effects of silver on the plant environment. Ultimately this study did find that silver and even small quantities can affect the plants.

Specifically, the issues were found in environments where the soil was exposed to silver. This is due to the size of the silver particle. Silver in an ionized form is between one and 100 nm.

This means the particle is smaller than most viruses. Due to its size, it is very effective in killing microbes. Again indiscriminately between beneficial‘s and non-beneficial microbes. Ultimately scientific American continues to go on and say that silver is used for odour-resistant clothing, hand sanitizer, water treatment systems, micro-proof teddy bears, and hydrogen peroxide.

This increase in silver has resulted in silver nanoparticles being documented in our department. Up until recently the effects of silver nanoparticles on the environment around us were misunderstood. However, there have been lots of lab studies in recent times showing that silver nanoparticles are highly toxic to bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms.

Is food grade hydrogen peroxide safe to use on plants?

So the next question is likely to be whether or not food-grade hydrogen peroxide is safe to use on plants. We now know that using over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide should be avoided at all costs. This is due to the silver stabilizers within the product.

When it comes to food-grade hydrogen peroxide we still have the effects of disinfecting. This is in discriminatory meaning it will kill both beneficial and non-beneficial microbes. The killing of beneficial microbes is never a good thing because that means the microbial communities need to be reestablished. This goes for both on the outer surfaces of the leaves and the soil itself.

The good news is that plenty of studies have been done on soil microbiology. And in particular the sterilization of soil and how long it takes for beneficial microbes to come back into the area. The general consensus is 24 to 72 hours for microbes to reestablish an area. 

If you want to grab food-grade hydrogen peroxide I based the recipe below on click here.

Silver Stabilizers In Regular Hydrogen Peroxide Is Harmful To Plants

This means if you choose to use a hydrogen peroxide that does not have silver stabilizers it is likely that your beneficial microbes more recolonize your soil. This may mean in some cases that the harmful microbes are removed from the system and the beneficial microbes are allowed to be restored.

My only hesitation when it comes to this is that you are working in a closed system. This is especially true when you’re working with house plants or a container garden. You were in a close system meaning you have no exposure to the earth around you. means your new microbes will need to come from the soil within your pot. 

If you have somehow sterilized your soil to a point of no return. The concern is that the microbes will take an extended period of time to recolonize. And therefore this may affect your plant’s nutrient uptake potential, particularly in an organic system. When it comes to food-grade hydrogen peroxide there are no stabilizers used. This means that there are no toxic chemicals that can be harmful to plants added. However, this does mean that it is not shelf-stable and therefore is not readily available at the grocery store. This is a reason why hydrogen peroxide food grade vs regular for plants is important to consider when using.

Can you use food-grade hydrogen peroxide on plant leaves?

When it comes to using food-grade hydrogen peroxide on the plant leaves. You have my go-ahead mostly because it is not affecting the soil microbes. This means if you use food-grade hydrogen peroxide on your leaves you’re likely to see good results. 

Fun Fact About Hydrogen Peroxide & plants

Did you know that plants naturally produce hydrogen peroxide? This is particularly done in plant cells during photosynthesis and for respiration. It can also happen in the process of respiration but usually to a lesser extent. Hydrogen peroxide H2O2 in this case is a reactive oxygen species (ROS). 

Natural occurring hydrogen peroxide with him plants is known for playing a crucial role in signalling molecules in several types of physiological processes. It can control things in genetic systems such as cellular redox homeostasis and H2 O2 signalling. Hydrogen peroxide that naturally occurs in a plant can help regulate plant growth, development and even its ability to acclimate to new environments and respond in defence of Pests and disease.

Now you’re probably wondering how does naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide within the plant cells not eat itself. After all, I did say that hydrogen peroxide attacks organic material. Scientists seem to think that the naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide is kept inside specialized organelles within the plant cells. The specialized organelles that hold the hydrogen peroxide have a hydrogen busting catalase within them which helps keep the hydrogen peroxide and a stable form.

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Aerate The Soil? 

Hydrogen peroxide does not aerate the soil. Soil aeration is something that is used very loosely within the plant community. It is not simply The process of adding oxygen. It is much more complicated than that.

For example, soil naturally has something we called porosity. Within the porosity of the soil, we have various different components. One component of soil porosity is air. This means that if your soul prosody is not high enough or your soil pores are tiny and infrequent you will not have more air simply because you’ve added hydrogen peroxide.

While it is true that hydrogen peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen in the presence of organic material. This does not mean that oxygen is going to stay within that soil system to be used for plants. This is particularly true if there is no space for that oxygen to reside in.

So long answer short is that no hydrogen peroxide does not aerate plants well. Regardless of it being potting soil or your garden soil outdoors. This is one reason why neither hydrogen peroxide food grade vs regular for plants should be used.

Does hydrogen peroxide sterilize soil?

The next reason why you would use hydrogen peroxide with your soil is to sterilize it. The short answer to this is that yes hydrogen peroxide does sterilize your soil. If you use over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide that contains silver you may end up with increased sterilization that you did not bargain for.

If you use food-grade hydrogen peroxide at the sterilization process will only take place in the areas that it was applied. And the length of time in which the sterilization will last is dependent on how much organic material to hydrogen peroxide ratio you have.

I have spoken about this at length both on my podcast, my YouTube channel, and my blog. In all cases, I do not advocate for sterilized potting soil. Sterilized potting so it means you do not have the necessary microbes needed for basic functions such as nutrient cycling. The only case I would use hydrogen peroxide to sterilize a soil would be to use with seedlings. Seedlings and seed starting need a sterile environment due to their susceptibility to fungal and bacterial attacks.

If you are currently having issues with things such as fungus gnats, thrips, mealybugs etc. be sure to check out my YouTube video or my blog post all about how to control these problems. 

There you have it a complete guide on whether or not you should use hydrogen peroxide on your plants. Keep in mind there is a difference between food-grade hydrogen peroxide being used on plants and over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide being used on plants.

Using Food Grade Vs. Regular Hydrogen Peroxide
Using Food Grade Vs. Regular Hydrogen Peroxide

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