13 Ways Baking Soda Can Work Wonders in Your Garden

For many of us, gardening is a source of joy and relaxation. But keeping our precious plants healthy can sometimes feel like a constant battle against pests, diseases, and less-than-ideal soil conditions. Thankfully, there’s a world of natural alternatives waiting to be explored!

One such surprising hero in the garden is baking soda, a common pantry staple. Don’t relegate it just to the kitchen – baking soda boasts a surprising range of benefits for your plants. Let’s discuss 13 ways this household item can become your secret weapon for a thriving garden.

1. Natural Pest Control

Tired of pesky insects munching on your precious greenery? Baking soda can be a lifesaver! Here’s how to target specific critters:

  • Aphids, Ants, and Cabbage Worms: These soft-bodied insects dislike the slightly abrasive nature of baking soda. Create a simple dust by mixing equal parts baking soda and flour. Gently puff the mixture onto the affected leaves, focusing on the undersides where pests tend to hide. Reapply after rain for continued protection.
  • Slugs and Snails: While baking soda can be effective against these slimy visitors, a more humane approach is recommended. Consider creating a barrier of crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth around your plants, which are natural deterrents without harming the creatures.
  • Unwanted Visitors: Rabbits can be a real nuisance in the garden. Baking soda can act as a deterrent. Create a thin barrier by sprinkling baking soda around the perimeter of your plants. However, remember to reapply this method frequently, especially after rain.

2. Fungal Disease Prevention

Fungal diseases like powdery mildew can wreak havoc on your plants. Baking soda’s magic lies in its ability to raise the pH level, creating a less acidic environment that discourages fungal growth. Here’s how to create a baking soda fungicide spray:

  • In a spray bottle, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2-3 drops of liquid soap (such as dish soap) and 1 liter of water. Shake well before use.
  • Spray the solution directly onto the affected areas of your plants, paying attention to the undersides of leaves where fungal spores often lurk.

Remember, this solution is most effective as a preventative measure. Apply it regularly throughout the growing season, especially after periods of heavy rain or high humidity.

3. Soil pH Test

Understanding your soil’s pH level is crucial for plant health. Different plants thrive in specific pH ranges. Baking soda can be used for a simple DIY test, though it’s not a substitute for a professional soil test:

  • Take a small sample of moist soil and place it in a container.
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda over the soil.
  • Observe the reaction. If the soil fizzes, it indicates an alkaline soil (pH above 7). No fizz suggests acidic soil (pH below 7).

While this is a basic test, it can give you a starting point to determine if your soil might benefit from adjustments.

4. Boost Bloom for Certain Plants

As mentioned earlier, baking soda can raise soil pH. This can be beneficial for plants that prefer alkaline soil, such as hydrangeas, begonias, and geraniums. Here’s how to use it to potentially encourage blooms:

  • For these specific plants, add a very small amount of baking soda (around 1/4 teaspoon) to your watering can. Ensure it dissolves completely before watering your plants.
  • Be cautious, as too much baking soda can have the opposite effect. It’s always best to start with a small amount and observe the results before applying more.

5. Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

The beauty of fresh cut flowers can brighten up any space. But keeping them looking vibrant can be a challenge. Baking soda can come to the rescue here as well!

To extend the vase life of your cut flowers, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of sugar in your flower vase. Fill the vase with lukewarm water and add your blooms.

The sugar provides nourishment, while the baking soda helps regulate the water’s pH level, preventing the growth of bacteria that can shorten the lifespan of your flowers.

6. Deodorize Compost Piles

Composting is a fantastic way to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, sometimes compost piles can develop unpleasant odors. Baking soda can come to the rescue!

Sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over your compost pile every few weeks. This helps neutralize odors by absorbing ammonia, a common culprit behind compost smells.

Remember, moderation is key. Too much baking soda can disrupt the delicate balance of microorganisms needed for successful composting.

7. Clean Garden Tools and Supplies

Keeping your gardening tools clean and free of rust is essential for preventing the spread of disease and ensuring optimal performance. Baking soda is a gentle yet effective cleaning agent:

  • For a quick clean, create a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to your tools and scrub with a brush. Rinse thoroughly and dry completely before storing.
  • For tougher grime or rust, combine baking soda with white vinegar to create a fizzing action that helps loosen dirt and debris. Scrub and rinse as before.

8. Extend the Life of Seeds

While not a guaranteed method, some gardeners swear by using baking soda to improve seed germination and shelf life. Here’s how to try it:

  • Dissolve a pinch of baking soda in a cup of water. Soak your seeds in this solution for 30 minutes before planting.
  • Rinse the seeds thoroughly and plant them according to the recommended depth and spacing for your specific variety.

Important Note: There is limited scientific evidence to support this method’s effectiveness. It’s always best to follow the recommended storage guidelines for your seeds.

9. Control Powdery Mildew on Pumpkins

Powdery mildew, a fungal disease, can cause white spots to form on the leaves of your pumpkin plants.  Baking soda can be a natural remedy:

  • In a spray bottle, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 liter of water. Add a few drops of liquid soap to help the solution adhere to the leaves. Shake well before use.
  • Spray the affected areas of your pumpkin plants thoroughly, ensuring good coverage on the undersides of leaves.
  • Apply this solution every 7-10 days, especially after periods of rain or high humidity. Remember, this is most effective as a preventative measure.

10. Neutralize Salt Damage

Winter road salt or accidental spills of de-icing products can harm your plants by raising soil salinity. Baking soda can help counteract this:

To address mild salt damage, water your affected plants thoroughly with a solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda per gallon of water. The baking soda helps to leach out some of the excess salt from the soil.

In severe cases, soil replacement may be necessary.

11. Deter Unwanted Wildlife

Certain animals can be a nuisance in the garden, munching on your precious plants. Baking soda can act as a deterrent for some critters:

  • To discourage unwanted visitors like rabbits and deer, sprinkle baking soda around the perimeter of your garden. However, this method has a limited window of effectiveness, especially after rain. Reapplication is often necessary.
  • Keep in mind that strong winds or heavy rain can wash away the baking soda, so strategic placement and frequent renewal are key.

12. Prevent Blossom End Rot

Blossom end rot, a calcium deficiency, can cause the ends of fruits like tomatoes and peppers to develop dark, sunken spots. Baking soda may offer some help:

  • While research is ongoing, some gardeners report success in preventing blossom end rot by adding a small amount of baking soda (around 1/4 teaspoon) to their watering can when watering calcium-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers.
  • Ensure the baking soda dissolves completely before watering your plants. Monitor your plants closely and adjust the amount of baking soda if needed, as too much can disrupt soil pH.

13. Clean Clay Pots

Clay pots add a touch of rustic charm to your garden, but over time, white mineral deposits can form on their surfaces. Baking soda can help restore their beauty:

  • Create a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stained areas of your clay pots and scrub gently with a brush. Rinse thoroughly and allow the pots to dry completely before planting.
  • This method is a gentle and effective way to clean your clay pots without resorting to harsh chemicals.


Baking soda is a versatile and affordable addition to your gardening arsenal.  It can be a natural alternative for pest control, fungal disease prevention, and even soil pH modification for specific plants. Remember, when using baking soda in your garden, “less is more.” Always test on a small area first and observe the results before widespread application. Now go ahead and embrace the power of natural solutions alongside traditional gardening practices, and watch your garden flourish!