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What Are the Effects of Aspirin on Plants?

Updated November 21, 2016

Florists have been known to recommend putting aspirins in vase water to keep cut flowers alive longer, but to some this is little more than an old wives tale. Scientists continue to study the effects of aspirin on plants, but the results are pretty promising. Because of the natural acid that aspirin contains, it may actually help plant health -- similar to the way it helps improve the health in human beings.

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Chemical Composition

Aspirin contains salicylic acid, the same acid that plants produce when they are damaged or stressed by environmental conditions. Aspirin was actually first produced by nature, in a sense, in the form of pain-reducing willow bark. Naturally, willow bark contains salicylic acid. When aspirin is introduced to plants, gardeners are giving the plants the natural acid they produce themselves whenever danger of disease and death are present.

Aspirin Effects

Because salicylic acid is a plant's natural defence mechanism, adding aspirin to plants helps boost plant immunity to disease, insect damage and other environmental stresses. Aspirin is not a foolproof method or a treat-all cure, however. When plants are particularly stressed, aspirin may provide some help but it will not always prevent death and additional damage. Despite its plant immunity-boosting qualities, aspirin will not prevent all disease and damage that may strike plants. Aspirin will help to trigger and boost the plant's own defence mechanisms against damage and death.

Using Aspirin

To use aspirin effectively on plants, mix aspirin tablets with water. Choose uncoated tablets, 1 aspirin per 1 gallon of water. Adding more aspirin will not help the plant by providing more protection; too much aspirin may harm plants instead and damage foliage. Treat plants with aspirin water every two weeks to keep the plant's immunity levels high. Rather than using commercial aspirin, an alternative may be mixing powdered willow tree bark with water. Willow bark is already naturally high in salicylic acid, the main component in aspirin.

Aspirin on Plants

Regularly using aspirin on plants will boost plant health and promote growth. Plants which may become targeted by disease and insects may be completely protected against such damage when receiving regular doses of aspirin, resulting in more healthy growth. Water newly-planted seeds with aspirin water to encourage seed germination, a process which will be greatly improved with the addition of the aspirin.

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About the Author

K. C. Morgan is a professional freelance writer, with articles and blog posts appearing on dozens of sites. During her years of writing professionally, K. C. has covered a wide range of topics. She has interviewed experts in several fields, including celebrated psychoanalyst Frances Cohen Praver, PhD; television personality and psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig; and entrepreneur Todd Reed.

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