The Type Of Herbal Tea You Can Use To Get Rid Of Your Soil’s Fungus

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The Type Of Herbal Tea You Can Use To Get Rid Of Your Soil's Fungus

Sharing a cup of tea with a loved one is always enjoyable, but have you ever considered sharing it with your plants? While you should avoid giving your plants sugary iced tea, you can give them chamomile tea. Chamomile is known for its calming properties, making it a popular evening beverage. However, it also has antifungal properties that can be beneficial in the garden. German chamomile, in particular, may help other plants by preventing the spread of fungal diseases in the soil. So, while you drink your tea to relax, you can let your plants drink it to improve soil health.

This is an excellent way to use leftover chamomile tea bags. Instead of throwing them away, you can steep them in the water again to give your plants a drink. If you grow your chamomile, you can use fresh flowers to make the tea, which is a great way to use the plant if you have extra growing.

Fight fungi with chamomile

German chamomile flowers

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It may seem strange to water your plants with something other than plain water, but herbal tea without additives like sugar is perfectly safe. It can work to keep your plants safe and healthy by stopping the spread of fungal diseases. A 2021 article published in the Journal of Fungi notes that chamomile contains elemental sulfur, which is naturally antifungal and can kill fungi spores. The journal article also mentions that chamomile tea was successfully used to treat seedlings plagued by the fungus known as damping-off.

Chamomile is also known to have antiviral and antibacterial properties, according to Mount Sinai. While most studies available online refer to using chamomile to stop the spread of fungal diseases, it may also slow down viral and bacterial diseases. While this still needs to be studied, trying it on your plants at home wouldn’t hurt. Chamomile tea isn’t a cure-all for your plants, but it can stop the spread of fungus by inhibiting its growth.

Share tea time with your plants

German chamomile tea

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Making chamomile tea for your plants isn’t very different from making it for yourself. Take 2 tablespoons of fresh chamomile flowers or 1 tablespoon of dried flowers and put it in a tea infuser. Add almost boiling water and steep for about five minutes. Remove the tea infuser and allow the water to cool completely before watering your plants. Boiling water kills plants, so it’s important to let the water cool down so that you don’t accidentally harm your plants. You can modify this recipe for larger portions. Since you’re not drinking it, the amount of flowers you use won’t matter too much. You could even add a cup or two of German chamomile flowers to a one-gallon jug and let it steep in room temperature water for a day, then strain out the flowers — and now you’ve got plenty of tea for your plants.

Water your plants according to their usual schedule, but use tea instead of water. Water the soil well to ensure you cover every spore. If any spores aren’t watered, they can continue spreading. However, don’t overwater your plants in hopes of getting rid of the disease -– fungi thrive in moist conditions, after all.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.