The Effect of Household Ammonia on Plant Growth

Written by john brennan
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The Effect of Household Ammonia on Plant Growth
Ammonia is a common household cleaning chemical. (bottles of cleaning product. bleach. disinfectant. image by L. Shat from

Household ammonia is a solution of ammonia (NH3) dissolved in water. Like all other known living organisms, plants need a source of nitrogen to grow and reproduce, so ammonia can be used as a fertiliser. However, it may not be the best option available.

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It's important to note that some brands of ammonia may include other compounds, which could have other effects on plant growth. Assuming the brand in question contains only ammonia and water, however, the effect on growth depends on the concentration and how the ammonia is applied.


Ammonia affects plant growth indirectly through change in soil pH. Ammonia is a weak base, meaning it reduces the pH of solutions in which it's dissolved, and hence, the pH of the soil to which it is applied. The effects of pH change depend on the type of plant. Different plants prefer different pH ranges, and some are better adapted to acidic or neutral soils.


Ammonia also affects plant growth directly by acting as a source of nitrogen for the plant. In this regard, its influence is positive. Excess amounts of ammonia, however, or too much ammonia applied too close to the plant (closer than several inches) can damage or even kill the plant. Ammonia is also lost quickly into the air, so it must be injected beneath the soil surface to ensure sufficient retention.

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