Is Pasta Water Good For Plants? (Ways to Use, Tips & Benefits)

Pasta is among the most preferred Italian foods that make you drool whenever you think about it. While it is easy to cook pasta, the water used to cook it gets wasted often. But did you know chefs recommend using pasta water to thicken sauce and soups and make bread?

Moreover, it can also be used in your skincare and hair care regimen. But have you ever wondered if pasta water can serve any purpose for your plants and gardens? If not, you must! So, can you use it for plants? And, is pasta water good for plants? Let’s take a deeper look.

Pasta water is good for plants as it’s nutritious and rich in starch. It fertilizes the soil and feeds the healthy microbes in the rhizosphere. Fermented pasta water wards off the pests and helps in plant growth. However, avoid using salted pasta water and let it cool down to room temperature if it is boiled. 

What is Pasta Water?

Pasta is washed to remove the dust formed while processing and packaging it. The dust and some powder remnants of pasta diffuse into the water when they are washed.

Pasta water is, thus, the water derived from fresh pasta after soaking or boiling it. This water is abundant in starch along with some beneficial nutrients and minerals that get leached out while soaking or boiling pasta.

Cooking Pasta in Boiling Water

How to Make Pasta Water?

Spaghetti, linguine, macaroni, or other long pasta is easy to make and can be prepared by soaking or boiling them before using them in the dish. Given below are a few methods of preparing pasta water.

1. Pasta Water from Washing/ Soaking

  • Take a cup of fresh pasta into a bowl, wash it once, and discard the water (You can also use this water for your plants, but it might contain dust).
  • Now add 2-3 cups of water to the bowl.
  • Rinse the pasta a few times and leave it to soak for 24- 48 hours.
  • Stir the pasta and strain the pasta water into a clean bowl. This water can be used for plants after diluting it with distilled water.

2. Pasta Water from Boiling

  • Take a cup of pasta and add it to your cooking bowl and wash it.
  • Add 2-3 cups of water to the pasta and stir it well.
  • Let the pasta boil in water for 30-45 minutes on medium flame.
  • Strain the boiled pasta and collect the water.
Boiling Pasta Water

The boiled pasta water contains more nutrients than washed or soaked pasta water as the heat leaches extra nutrients into the boiling water.

3. Fermented Pasta Water

  • Fill a glass jar with pasta water.
  • Add one tablespoon of sugar and four tablespoons of milk to the water.
  • Mix it well and cover the jar by tying it with a clean cloth.
  • Let the pasta water sit for 3-12 days.
  • When the liquid turns opaque to translucent, fermentation is done. 

This water influences the growth of lactobacillus bacteria and can be used to fertilize plants or as a pesticide.

How to Use Pasta Water for Plants

Pasta water is used as a natural fertilizer for indoor and outdoor plants. Dilute the pasta water and use it to water your plants in the early morning or evening to prevent evaporation of water and nutrients. 

Pasta water performs better in the seedling stage of the crop as it requires more water and nutrients at this time.

Rice Water Spray on House Plants

Here are a few methods used to water plants using pasta water.

1. Misting: This method is mainly used with succulents. In this method, the water is applied to the plants through a sprayer in the form of very fine droplets to prevent them from overwatering.

2. Top watering: It is generally used to water your garden or plants. Top watering is nothing but applying water to your plants directly on the soil using a hose can or other watering equipment. 

Watering plants with this method helps push down the accumulated salts to the bottom of the soil and pass them through drainage.

3. Bottom watering: The bottom watering method is the most effective method for using pasta water and can be used in indoor or potted plants. In this method, water is poured into a large tray, and the planter is placed on the tray.

The nutrients from the pasta water pass through the drainage holes and distribute the water evenly in the soil. This method prevents over-watering conditions in the plants.

How Pasta Water Works to Benefit Plants?

Pasta water is rich in starch and contains trace amounts of other vital nutrients and minerals. Starch in pasta water contains sugar that serves as a source of energy. It provides food to the bacteria residing in the soil to reproduce and grow.

The soil bacteria break this organic matter (starch) in the soil to assimilate nutrients for the plants. With increased microbial action in the soil, more nutrients will be made available to the plants, influencing plant growth.

Moreover, these bacteria and helpful microbes in the soil help prevent diseases by increasing the strength and immunity of the plants. Thus, pasta water is an excellent addition to the plants and acts as fertilizer and pesticide.

Essential Benefits of Using Pasta Water for Plants

Pasta water is a good thickening agent for your soups and sauce and is an excellent fertilizing solution for your plants. Furthermore, research shows that the pH of pasta water (pH-7) is similar to that of the plant roots, making it a perfect watering source for your house plants.

Below are a few benefits of pasta water, indicating that they are suitable for your plants.

  • Pasta water contains manganese, copper, selenium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, and calcium, along with starch, and stimulates plant growth when used for watering plants.
  • Pasta water promotes the growth of healthy bacteria like lactobacilli and mycorrhizae in the soil and keeps the roots healthy.
  • Fermented pasta water controls fungal diseases and pests and thus, acts as an organic pesticide and fungicide. 
  • Pasta water is environmentally friendly as it reduces the chemical residues in the environment.
  • It is an easy-to-make and readily available source of fertilizer for plants.
  • Using pasta water for plants is a sustainable approach to reuse water.
  • It is cost-effective and protects plants from burns caused by harmful synthetic fertilizers. 
  • Pasta water has fertilizing properties and increases the plant and crop yield.
  • Leftover Pasta water, when salted, can be used as a herbicide to kill the weeds.
Watering Plants With Diluted Milk

Precautions to Take While Using Pasta Water for Plants

Like rice water, potato water, and eggshell water, pasta water benefits plants. Though this liquid gold has many unique properties, it also can become a cause of concern if not used carefully.

So, here are some precautions you need to take while nourishing your plants using pasta water.

  • Avoid using leftover pasta water if it is salted or seasoned with oil or other ingredients. 
  • Fertilize your plants with the traditional fertilizers (organic fertilizers) at least once a year while using pasta water.
  • Dilute pasta water before using it on plants. You should dilute it with distilled water or tap water in a 1:2 ratio.
  • Use this starchy water at the limit. If used in excess, the starch accumulates in the soil and might build mold growth and lead to the yellowing of leaves.
  • Do not use boiling water directly after cooking pasta. Instead, let it come to room temperature before using it on plants.
  • Do not use pasta water that has been stored for an extended period (Fermented pasta water also cannot be used after 12 days).
  • Do not use pasta water on plants after fertilizing them with chemicals immediately. This may hinder the metabolic and photosynthetic processes in plants.
  • Strain the water properly before using it to water plants. There should be no pasta remnants in the soil.

Using Fermented Pasta Water as a Pesticide

Fermented pasta water encourages the growth of beneficial microbes and strengthens the roots. Research shows that pasta water acts as a natural fungicide against soil-borne diseases after fermentation.

The sour alcoholic odor from fermented pasta water deters the pests like snails, lizards, and iguanas from your garden. Also, this water acts as an irritant to small insects like gnats, aphids, fruit flies, plant flies, flea beetles, and other tiny pests, keeping your plants healthy.

Using Pasta Water in Succulents

Succulents require dry, aerated soil, and their water and nutrient needs are low. Pasta water is a rich fertilizer and irrigation source for succulents when it is diluted and misted over them. Furthermore, misting helps to prevent overwatering in the soil, thereby preventing their roots from rotting.

To use pasta water for succulents, dilute the water in a 1:2 ratio (1 part of pasta water and two parts of filtered water) and fill it in a clean spray bottle. Now, this water can be sprayed over the foliage of the succulents.

Succulents

What Plants Benefit from Pasta Water?

Pasta water is good for indoor and outdoor plants, including veggies, flowers, fruits, succulents, and even weeds. When used in the limit, pasta water shows positive growth in the plants as they produce lush green foliage with large fruits and flowers.

  • Some reports show that pasta water is good for growing leafy green vegetables like lettuce. 
  • The iron in pasta water keeps the roses fresh, bright, and healthy.
  • Calcium in pasta water builds the cell membrane in tomatoes, prevents them from blossom-end rot, and promotes blooming.
  • This starchy water helps maintain the freshness of the grapes and increases the sweetness of this fruit.

Can you water plants with cooking water?

Yes, you can water plants using cooking water as long as it’s not seasoned with salt and other ingredients. Boiling vegetables, eggs, rice, and pasta leaches beneficial nutrients in them and helps to fertilize your plants. But remember to use cold cooking water for your plants as the hot water might cause burns or kill the plant.

Can I use a day-old pasta water?

Pasta water gets spoiled quickly as it is an organic matter. Though you can use a day-old pasta water for your plants, it is not advisable to store it for more than 2-3 days.

Is pasta water good for Succulents?

Pasta water is good for succulents and other houseplants. Succulents benefit from this starchy water when it is misted on their leaves and in the soil.

Can I use salted pasta water for plants?

Salted pasta water should not be used for plants as the salt will hinder the nitrogen uptake in plants and might distort their physiological activities.

Is pasta water good for houseplants?

Pasta water is good for houseplants as it is rich in starch, vitamins, and minerals and fulfills the water needs of the plant by stimulating their growth.

Is pasta water good for compost?

Yes, pasta water can be a great addition to your compost as it has the properties to stimulate microbial growth in the compost. In addition, pasta water, when used in compost, would accelerate the decomposition process and add nutrients to the finished compost. But remember, while adding pasta water to your home compost, you must strain the water well and avoid adding pasta.

Pasta water is rich in starch and contains trace amounts of vital nutrients required for plant metabolism. Further, the starch in pasta water feeds healthy bacteria in your soil and deters pests. Watering plants using pasta water is a part of sustainable living by saving water, but it should be used within limits.

Remember that pasta water is not a substitute for traditional fertilizers and must be supplemented with organic fertilizers at least once a year. So without any second thought, use pasta water for your plants the next time you make a pasta recipe for breakfast or dinner.

Like pasta water, rice water is another nutritious liquid that usually ends up in drains. So can you reuse this water? Is rice water good for plants? Join us to learn more.