Using Milk In The Garden: how and when to use it, and its pros and cons!

Using Milk In The Garden

Most of us pour expired milk down the drain. After all, what is old (and sometimes soured) milk good for? You can’t drink it or cook with it, but your plants will love it.

So, does milk help plants grow faster than water? Milk is an excellent fertilizer that helps plants grow faster than water. Instead of wasting the old milk, feed it to your plants so they can grow faster and fight off disease more effectively. The milk does not necessarily have to be old and out of date; it can be fresh and still provide a wealth of nutritional benefits to plants.

Both indoor houseplants and outdoor garden plants will benefit from regular doses of milk. Read on to discover all the benefits milk provides to help plants grow faster than water.

You might also enjoy reading: How To Use Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer? And everything you need to know.

Nutirition For Plants

Milk is rich in calcium, protein, vitamins, and sugar, all of which are beneficial to plants and promote strong and fast growth.

  • Calcium increases the amount of potassium, salt, and phosphorus that plants absorb. It also helps the plant use nitrogen more efficiently, stimulates photosynthesis, and plays an important role in the development of cell walls and membranes. 

If a plant is lacking in calcium, new growth is inhibited, old growth will develop brown spots on the leaves, and the produce will be misshapen.

  • Protein meets the plant’s growth and nutritional needs to grow strong. Protein also helps to build and repair plant structure, plus it enables the plant to use nitrogen more efficiently.

If a plant is not getting enough protein, growth will be slow, and the plant will be spindly and non-productive.

  • Vitamins are essential for healthy plant growth. Vitamins C and B have been shown to aid in plant growth, and both of these vitamins are found in milk. Milk also contains vitamin E, which helps protect plants against disease and even some pests. A strong, healthy plant is able to withstand an attack from pests or diseases, but a weak plant will succumb to attack.

Vitamin E helps plants be better able to withstand environmental stresses, like too much or too little water, excess heat or cold, pests, or diseases. Without enough vitamin E, plants will quickly succumb to environmental stresses and cease to be productive.

  • Sugar is something that plants have naturally, but if a seedling or plant is struggling to survive, a little boost of sugar can give it a needed boost of energy. Milk contains a small amount of sugar that would be beneficial to plants and help them grow faster.

Sugar is also carbon and will improve soil structure. When the milk is used to water the plants, the sugar in the milk will seep into the soil and attract a bio-diverse sub-culture, like earthworms, that will naturally help improve the soil’s fertility, drainage, and airflow.

  • Moisture from the milk is also beneficial. Plants must have moisture to survive, and with many regions dealing with drought conditions, the extra moisture in the form of old milk is welcomed by the plants.

See also: List Of Plants That Thrive With Coffee Grounds? (And how to properly grow them!)

Prevents and Treats Diseases

Applying milk to the soil will help prevent fungal diseases like powdery mildew. Milk is more effective at preventing diseases than treating them but can save a plant if the fungus is treated while in its early stages.

If a plant develops powdery mildew, a weak milk solution will treat the problem and save the plant. Mix a DIY solution that is one part milk and three parts water into a spray bottle and saturate the plants, especially the parts that show signs of powdery mildew. 

This milk treatment is very effective on begonias, jade, ivy, cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins. It’s an effective organic fungicide that is beneficial and will treat all plants that develop mildew. Apply the milk and water solution on a sunny day and re-apply weekly until the mildew is gone.

Milk will help plants grow faster and keep them healthy from the seedling stage all the way through to the harvest stage.

Milk Is A Organic Fertilizer

Milk is rich in healthy amino acids and enzymes that plants need to grow fast and strong. Amino acids help boost chlorophyll concentration in the plant, promoting a higher degree of photosynthesis. This will aid in fast plant tissue growth, so the plant will develop lush foliage and produce buds, blooms, and produce earlier.

Amino acids increase the amount of energy available to the plant so it can grow fast and mature sooner. The increased energy keeps the plant productive longer, and flowers or food production will be increased.

The soil needs enzymes to promote the decomposition of waste materials and to recycle nutrients. The faster waste and nutrients are turned over and recycled into a usable form for the plants, the faster the plant roots can access them for absorption.

When milk is applied to the soil, it feeds it the needed amino acids and enzymes so plants can grow fast and be productive.

Milk Cleans Plant Leaves

Most plants are prone to an aphid infestation. Aphids are tiny green pests that attack tender new plant growth and suck the sweet sap from stems and leaves. These pests are the size of a grain of rice and congregate on the underside of leaves. Severe plant damage can be done by them before you even notice the infestation. 

A regular leaf cleaning with a weak milk solution will keep the aphids away or remove them once they are on the plant leaves.

How To Use Milk To Clean Plants’ Leaves:

  • Mix one part milk and three parts water into a small bowl.
  • Dip a clean, soft cloth into the solution and wipe down the leaves and stems.
  • Don’t wring the cloth out; you want to get plenty of the solution on the plant.
  • Re-wet the cloth as needed.
  • This milk bath for plants will also help prevent various leaf viruses and fungal diseases.

Even if the plant is healthy, wiping the leaves with a weak milk solution is a gentle way to clean the leaves and remove dust particles. 

See also: Can You Compost Pasta? Here’s what I found out!

How To Use Milk On Plants

Moderation is always key. You don’t want to pour full-strength milk on your plants, and you don’t want to use diluted milk too often. A little here and there is good for plants, but too much of a good thing can turn out bad.

Tips On Using Milk On Plants:

  • Create a mix that is half milk and half water.
  • Use mix as a normal water application and give your plants a few days to see how they will respond.
  • If all goes well, apply another feeding of diluted milk in one month and every month thereafter.
  • It’s best to start the milk feedings in spring during the onset of the growing season and continue feeding as long as the plant is actively growing.
  • For houseplants, stop the milk feeding when the plant enters dormancy for the winter.

What Types Of Milk To Use For Plants?

You can use fresh cow milk, powdered, evaporated, buttermilk, soy, or almond. Soured cow’s milk is fine to use, also. Mix any of these milk varieties with equal parts water before using.

What Types NOT To Use For Plants?

Don’t use whole cow’s milk; it contains too much fat. Don’t use sweetened condensed milk, flavored milk, or skim milk. 

Do Plants Grow Better With Milk Or Water?

Generally, plants will do well and thrive better in water. Feeding your plants with milk can be beneficial in small quantities. And avoid using milk as a substitute for water. Milk is rich in calcium, helping plants grow and preventing rotting, which commonly happens during the humid season due to calcium deficiency.

In addition, milk is rich in essential proteins and vitamin B that are essential for the overall health of plants.

Does Milk Make Plants Grow?

Milk makes plants grow because it contains the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Milk acts as a fertilizer, providing plants with additional calcium, vitamins, and proteins. Applying a diluted mix of milk and water on the plants’ foliage or directly around their roots can promote plant health and encourage growth.

Milk can be used effectively to fight against fungal diseases, including molds, rot, and powdery mildew, making it excellent for potted plants.

Spraying a diluted mix on the surface of plants’ leaves lowers their susceptibility to fungal infestation.

How Often Should You Water Your Plants With Milk?

Generally, it is recommended to use milk monthly once. And for plants already suffering from blossom end rot problems, along with watering your plants with milk, you can also apply calcium nitrate spray, eggshell powder, bone meal powder, and garden lime to the soil.

Water plants with milk every two months and at the beginning of the growing season for vegetable crops, flowers, or planter beds. When spraying your plants, fill a mister bottle with the milk mix and mist both sides of plant leaves.

See also: Can You Compost Bread? (Here’s the truth!)

Pros And Cons Of Using Milk In The Garden

Using milk in gardening can work as a fertilizer and help eliminate plant diseases, such as powdery mildew and viruses. Here are the benefits of using milk in your garden:

  • Milk as a fertilizer: Milk contains calcium, beneficial proteins, vitamin B, and sugars that are good for plants, enhancing their overall health and crop yields. 
  • Milk can be used as a quick remedy for Blossom End: This works well-growing tomato or pepper; spraying milk on the plant leaves helps a lot. Blossom end rot is generally due to a deficiency of calcium in the soil or a deficiency in the plant system to uptake calcium from the soil.
  • Milk can be an effective antifungal agent, particularly in preventing powdery mildew.
  • Milk can act as an effective pesticide, specifically for aphids
  • Milk effectively reduces the transmission of mosaic leaf viruses, including tobacco mosaics. 

Drawbacks of Using Milk In The garden:

  • Excessive use of milk can help harmful bacteria to reproduce and spoil the plant producing a foul odor and then poor plant growth.
  • Milk can sometimes cause plant rot and some leaf spots if used inadvertently

How To Use Milk In Your Garden:

  • If you are using skim milk, pour or spray it directly onto your plant’s leaves, This technique is called foliar feeding. The leaves will absorb the milk solution.
  • To be safer, use 50 percent milk + 50% Water and spray on the plant’s foliage
  • Pour the milk solution near the base of the plants, where the roots will slowly absorb the milk, particularly for smaller gardens.
  • When you finish your milk container, before you wash it out, load it with water, shake it, and water your plants.
  • Avoid spraying any chemical pesticide or chemical fertilizer after applying milk fertilizer, as it can affect the valuable ingredients in milk required for their growth.

See also: Can You Compost Rice? (Yes! And here’s how to)

Wrapping Up

Using milk in the garden offers tremendous benefits; it can act as fertilizer and help prevent certain plant diseases. One thing to remember is that milk should not be used as a replacement for natural water.

Use milk in your garden about once a month, and do not apply chemical pesticides after using milk in your garden, as it can negate its benefits to your plants.


Hello friends, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind Plants Heaven is a blog that shares information about preparing, creating, and maintaining gardens in and out of your home, regardless of where you live. My goal is to help you learn to love gardening and reap the benefits that come with it. I am still learning; therefore, the information I share on this site may not always be “expert” advice or information. But, I do my VERY best to make sure the information shared on this blog is both accurate and helpful.

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Using milk in the garden: Most of us pour expired milk down the drain. After all, what is old (and sometimes soured) milk good for? Read on to find out more.