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The plants in our home are natural wellness enhancers, and we love to use different plant-based remedies to keep them flourishing. One of the most common debates amongst plant enthusiasts is whether honey or molasses makes for a better plant food. Both provide essential nutrients to plants, but they offer different benefits1. When considering using honey vs molasses for plants it’s important to consider the mineral content and health benefits as they relate to the needs of your specific plant.
To grow healthy plants you need to provide the right kind of water, food, and fertilizer. Organic fertilizer is a great choice because it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that can be harmful to plants and the environment. It also provides a slow release of nutrients which is ideal for plants. Organic gardeners are known for using a variety of different organic fertilizers, lime compost tea, seaweed extract, sugar beets, different kinds of sugars2 (brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup), or anything from a compost pile but the use of honey vs molasses for plants is a common debate amongst them.
Chemical fertilizers can damage the roots of a plant if not used properly, which is why natural methods can help. Sugar cane has long been added to plants to boost growth and foliage. Plants use photosynthesis to produce sugars that they will nourish from3. Sugar water is a common way to provide hydration and food to wilting plants or seedlings.
Related: 9 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
When considering between honey vs molasses for plants its important consider a few factors since when used in the wrong conditions the plant roots will not accept the sugar and plants will wilt and die off.
The state of your soil should be taken into account. Checking your soil issues and PH levels is key to adding the right sugar to your plants. Honey and molasses are both alkaline, meaning they will raise the soil’s pH level. If your soil is too acidic, using honey or molasses can make it too alkaline which will not be good for your plants4
The different soil micro-organisms will also affect how your plants grow when you use honey or molasses. The presence of mycorrhizal fungi can help plants better absorb the sugars from honey and molasses, while the absence of these fungi can lead to stunted growth5.
Honey – the anti-fungal properties of honey make it great for treating bacterial growth and root rot. It also has a high sugar content which is good for plant growth.
Molasses – this is a great choice if you have low nitrogen levels in your soil as it is high in nitrogen. Molasses is also a good source of magnesium, potassium, and copper which are essential nutrients for plants.
Overall Root Zone
While sugar content doesn’t contribute to root growth it can be viewed as a rooting hormone or root stimulant as it helps stimulates rapid foliage growth. Sugar can help the with budding and flowering, and helps keep the plant healthy6. With this in mind it’s important to consider the effect of honey vs molasses for plants when it comes to the roots.
Honey – honey has antibacterial properties which can help to prevent fungal overgrowth in the root zone and helps to reduce the spread of diseases. There are beneficial bacteria in honey that can help plants to absorb nutrients from the soil.
Molasses – benefits of molasses include it being is a good source of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Molasses also helps to improve the structure of soil and aids in the development of mycorrhizal fungi.
Overall health benefits
As a food source, honey vs molasses for plants both have benefits that should be considered based on the plant you are growing.
Honey – honey bees gather nectar from flowers and convert it into honey. This creates organic matter, which is then deposited into the hives. Acetic acid, formic acid, and propolis are all present in honey and these contribute to its bactericidal and antifungal properties.
Beneficial microbes and enzymes are also present in honey which can help to fight pathogens. Honey has been shown to be effective in fighting a number of different plant diseases.
Molasses – molasses is made up of sucrose, glucose, and fructose. These sugars are essential for plant growth and development. Molasses also contains over 20 essential vitamins and minerals which help to improve the overall health of plants. Vitamin B6 , magnesium, and potassium are all essential for plant growth and molasses is a good source of these nutrients.
The beneficial microorganisms in molasses also helps to improve the overall health of plants. These microorganisms can help to suppress plant diseases and pests.
When considering honey vs molasses for plants, both have benefits that should be taken into account. choosing the right sugar for your plants will help them to grow healthy and strong.
Plant Life Cycle
Honey and molasses stimulates rapid foliage growth and if your plant is not in a rapid growth phase, using honey or molasses is not recommended. For plants in a dormant state or are area already growing well on their own, honey or molasses will not do much for them.
In the end – Molasses is the winner
When you compare the two it makes sense to use molasses as it offers many beneficial microorganisms that help with plant growth, it’s high in essential nutrients for plants and it also helps to suppress plant diseases and pests. Molasses is the all-around winner when it comes to using sugar for plants.
(unless your plants have fungus, then use honey)
Many people use dry molasses on cannabis plants to see better results in bud growth. Cannabis cultivation is an art, and many growers swear by the benefits of using molasses as a supplement.
How To Use Sugar For Plants
No matter which you choose it’s important to consider there are different kinds of sugars, grades of molasses, and types of honey. To be sure you are caring for your plant correctly consider the amount used and how you use it.
This rich formulation is fortified with a boost of all three primary macroelements: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Honey Chome also contains carbohydrates derived from natural, sources such as honey and agave nectar.
Soil Mender Dry Molasses – $23
Soil Mender Dry Molasses aids in attracting beneficial soil microorganisms. Contains cane molasses and roughage products that help to improve soil tilth, water-holding capacity and the overall health of plants.
After you’ve chosen your sugar choice there are many different ways use it in your plants. The most common method it to take a gallon of water and add your sugar of choice:
- 1 teaspoon of honey or 2 tablespoons of molasses
- Use warm water to help dissolve sugars but let sit to reach room temperature
- And water plants every two weeks
- Do not use too much as it can attracts insects, especially ants.
- Keep your sugar solution low if you want your plants to thrive, while it nourishes the beneficial microbes that in turn enrich the soil when they multiply too fast, they deplete the soil from nutrients.