Is Milk Good For Plants? (Best Ways to Use, Tips & Benefits)

Coffee, shakes, smoothies, and whatnot! We relish milk in so many ways. How about we let plants enjoy some too? Have you ever wondered what to do with that bad milk, which we forgot was in our fridge and is now past its expiration date? We wouldn’t like it, obviously, but guess what? Plants will! But can you use milk for plants? And is milk really good for plants? Let’s dig in!

Yes, milk is beneficial to plants and can be used to maintain plant health due to its high calcium, sugar, and Vitamin B content. Mix one part milk with one part water and spray the mixture on plants or apply directly into the soil. However, remember that too much milk can harm the plants.

But can you give any kind of milk to your plants? Or should you take heed of which type would suit them best? Let’s find out!

Types Of Milk That Can Be Used For Plants:

Unlike us, plants might not enjoy milk in just any form. The most suitable types of milk that can be used for plants or in gardens are suggested below.

Powdered Milk in Bowl
  • Cow milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Powdered milk
  • Sour milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Soy milk/Almond milk
  • Raw milk
  • Fresh milk
  • Spoiled milk/Expired milk (Yes, that’s true, as long as we’re using diluted milk)

Reminder: You must dilute all types of milk before applying, or plants will have difficulty absorbing water due to the fats and proteins in it.

Types Of Milk That Can’t Be Used For Plants:

Since plants are fussy milk drinkers, it should be considered what types of milk hinder plant growth and development and should be avoided.

  • Undiluted milk (full-fat milk can destroy plant foliage and make absorption of water difficult)
  • Flavored milk and sweetened condensed milk (they are processed and have high sugar content, which is unsuitable for plants)
  • Skim milk (leads to the development of rot in plants)

Since you are now aware of the perfect kind of milk for our plants, let’s focus on the ideal way of application.

How to Use Milk for Plants?

We can simply mix water with the last dregs of milk at the bottom of the mug or milk jug and feed them to our house plants. However, that wouldn’t be enough to feed a garden.

Therefore, you can follow a simple recipe for feeding plants in large numbers or a whole garden with milk food.

Watering Plants With Diluted Milk
  • First, mix equal parts of milk and water, i.e., 50% milk and 50% water.
  • Pour the mixture into a spray bottle or watering can.
  • Shake well before applying the mixture.
  • Apply generously to the foliage, preferably more on the lower side of the leaves.
  • Be patient and let the plants soak in the water-milk mixture.
  • After approximately 30 minutes, sponge off the excess mixture that the plants do not absorb. This will keep the unwanted ravenous insects away from our plants, looking for a treat.

Alternative Method of Using Milk for Plants & Gardens:

Another hack for applying milk to plants is by using a bottle. This method is excellent for small gardens.

  • Punch a small hole in the cap of a plastic bottle.
  • Pour the milk solution into the bottle (50% milk and 50% water).
  • Insert the bottle upside down straight in the garden soil, near the roots of the plant.

This is an excellent hack as it supplies milk and water nutrients directly to the roots of the plants. And that is it! Your plants are good to go now.

We have gone through the easy yet beneficial process of applying milk to plants. But what benefits are you having?

Precautions While Using Milk for Plants:

As you know how milk is beneficial for plants, it’s still important to keep a few points in mind before treating our plants with that wonderful white drink.

Cleaning Plant Leaves With Milk
  • Never use undiluted milk for plants as it will hinder water absorption.
  • Ensure to wipe the plants with a moist cloth after applying milk to get rid of excess milk to avoid attracting insects.
  • Avoid overwatering the plants with milk as bacteria in the soil will destroy them, leading to poor plant health and foul odor. Applying milk once every few months or at the beginning of the growing season would be enough.
  • Make sure not to use flavored or sweetened condensed milk as sugars and chemicals present in it will knock down the soil bacteria. 

Advantages of Using Milk for Plants:

  • Helps in Composting: Sprinkling milk during composting can facilitate the multiplication of bacteria, ultimately accelerating the formation of the compost pile.
  • Disease-free Plants: Spraying milk on the surface of leaves will keep pathogens causing diseases like mold, rot, powdery mildew, and mosaic virus away from our garden plants. You can spray it every few months. If the plant is already infected, milk can be applied once a week until the disease vanishes.
  • Makes Plants Attractive: A lovely milk spray bath will clean plant leaves and make them glossy & appealing. Just make sure to wipe them with a moist cloth afterward!
  • Helps in Absorption of Pesticides: Watering plants with milk helps absorb pesticides by preventing them from run-off from rain and strong winds. 
  • Improves Soil Health: Milk maintains soil pH and enhances its ability to absorb air and water.

Milk, indubitably, has several advantages and uses; ergo, it is a perfect fit for plants. But with plenty of benefits of milk on plants, certain disadvantages are also there.

Disadvantages of Using Milk for Plants:

Remember how we talked about balance? Well, that’s our focal point when it comes to applying milk to plants. Excessive milk can have detrimental effects on plants.

Bacterial Infection in Plant Leaves
  • Harmful bacteria can multiply with an immoderate amount of milk.
  • Excess milk will lead to an undesirable and foul smell.
  • Unmonitored application of milk will lead to stunted growth and might attract pathogens.

Nevertheless, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and milk can be considered an excellent choice for maintaining plant health.

Other Uses of Milk for Plants:

Along with these numerous benefits, milk can be helpful for plants in many other ways.

  • Disinfectant: Instead of toxic bleaches, you can use milk for disinfecting garden pruners and scissors. Simply dip the tool in milk, and you’re good to go!
  • Insecticide: Milk has enzymes that aphids, mealybugs, thrips, etc., can’t digest, leading to their death and making it a natural and effective insecticide.
  • Fertilizer: Milk fertilizer is the perfect plant food since milk is a rich source of calcium. The application can be done at the beginning of the growing season, followed by once in the middle.

Some Useful Tips For Using Milk For Plants:

Although milk has enormous merits, the following tips make great strides in improving plant health & nutrient uptake.

  • Avoid using chemicals after applying milk since pesticides or fertilizers will kill the commensal bacteria present in milk which helps the plants grow. Although milk helps absorb pesticides, it is best to avoid the use of chemicals and let milk show its magic.
  • Use milk with molasses, and your plants will thank you for existing. This mixture will feed the hungry high-protein plants like tomato, pepper, melons, and eggplants with calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. In addition, feeding plants with milk will increase the yield and boost the flavor.
  • Add calcium nitrate, eggshells, bone meal, or garden lime with milk to treat diseased plants.

These tips will help us give our plants the best nutrition possible, and it would be wonderful to see them growing and glowing with milk.

As some of us are more fond of milk than others, so are plants.

Plants That Like Milk:

Certain plants appreciate milk more than others. These include rose, tomato, pepper, squash, Azalea, Begonia, jade plant, English Ivy, etc.

  • Milk prevents the black spot disease in roses and powdery mildew in jade plants & English Ivy since lactoferrin is a natural fungicide in milk.
  • It also prevents blossom end rot in tomato, squash, and pepper, primarily caused by deficiency of calcium or the inability of plants to uptake calcium.
  • Azalea thrives in acidic conditions, and sour milk does the needful.

Therefore, there’s no reason for plants not to admire this fantastic drink.

Can you use spoiled milk for plants?

Yes, you can use spoiled milk for plants. Just make sure to dilute it before application.

Is milk good for the soil?

Yes, milk is excellent for soil as it acts as a natural fertilizer and increases the calcium content in the soil.

How often should you use milk on plants?

You should apply milk on plants every few months or spray it at the beginning of the growing season and then in mid-season.

Can I pour milk directly on plants?

It is best to avoid applying or pouring milk directly on plants since fats and protein present in milk will hinder water absorption by plants.

Is milk good for tomato plants?

Milk is beneficial for tomato plants as it helps overcome calcium deficiency, which is the main reason for blossom end rot in tomato plants.

Can you use milk for succulent plants?

Yes, you can use milk for succulent plants as it is a good fertilizer.

Can you use milk for indoor plants?

You can use milk for indoor plants as long as you dilute it with water in a 50-50 ratio.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s take some old milk from the refrigerator and treat our plants with a nice milky bath! But, if you don’t have enough milk in your fridge to water your plants, don’t worry! There’s another secret nutritious whitish liquid you can use; rice water. But, is rice water good for plants? If yes, how and when should you use it? Come with us and learn it all.