Is It Good To Water Plants With Green Tea?

Fertilizers play an essential role in overall plant development and health, especially in soils that are reused frequently. However, overuse of inorganic fertilizers can result in consequences like fertilizer burn and fertilizer run-off, so organic fertilizers like green tea are better. 

It is good to water plants with green tea as it is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK), the three macronutrients necessary for plant growth. Green tea can be applied directly to the soil or the leaves in foliar application. You can also use the used tea leaves as fertilizer. 

Green tea is a good option as an organic fertilizer for your plants. This article explores the benefits of green tea, as well as how you can use it to water your plants and how to use the tea leaves in your garden. I will also list some plants that benefit from green tea, so keep reading to learn more. 

The Benefits of Green Tea for Plants

Green tea has several benefits for plant health, just as it does for human health. Liquid waste green tea is rich in the three plant macronutrients. These macronutrients are: 

  • Nitrogen (N) 
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K) 

They are typically written as NPK on fertilizer packaging and perform several necessary functions in plants. 

Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient for every plant, and plants use it in large quantities. Nitrogen supports the production of proteins and amino acids that serve as the building blocks for plants. Without nitrogen, plants cannot grow

Familiar sources of nitrogen for plants include organic matter like compost, inorganic fertilizers that are ammonium-based, and rainwater. 

Rainwater contains nitrogen in the form of nitrates, which is why it’s so much better for your plants than tap water. You can learn how to supplement your tap water in this article about making tap water more like rainwater: How to Make Tap Water More Like Rain Water?

Apart from nitrogen, plants need phosphorus to grow strong roots and potassium to help with water intake and improve photosynthesis. 

Green tea supplies all of these essential nutrients to plants, along with trace amounts of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are good for plants in small quantities. While you may want to avoid using too much green tea if you’re watering plants with hard tap water, small amounts are good for fertilizing your garden. 

In addition to nutrients, green tea contains tannins. Tannin acidifies the soil, which may be helpful in some situations. Most plants prefer soil that is pH neutral. If you’re using tap water to water your plants, the alkalinity of the tap water can be balanced by adding acidic fertilizers like green tea. 

Green tea is also rich in antioxidants, which is commonly touted as one of its primary health benefits for human beings. 

Plants use antioxidants to protect themselves from sun damage and improve their overall resistance and longevity. Therefore, adding green tea to your plants supplies them with these antioxidants to help them become stronger. 

Can You Water Your Indoor Plants With Green Tea? 

Indoor and outdoor plants have the same nutrient requirements, but outdoor plants tend to need less frequent applications of fertilizers. 

You can water indoor plants with tea as it provides a complete fertilizer that will not burn your plants, especially if you’re using green tea. Indoor plants are also best served by water-soluble fertilizers, so use actual tea to fertilize your indoor plants instead of the tea leaves. 

Indoor plants are more at risk of fertilizer burn because they’re potted in lower volumes of soil than outdoor plants, which are more likely to be planted in the garden than in pots. 

Applying diluted fertilizer more frequently supports indoor plant growth better than concentrated fertilizer applied infrequently. 

Organic fertilizers like green tea are a great option to fertilize indoor plants potted in a sterile potting medium. Green tea has all three macronutrients and some micronutrients needed for plant growth. It can also be diluted as necessary for application. 

How To Water Plants With Green Tea 

Watering your plants with green tea is a straightforward process. Here’s how to do it:   

  1. Make some tea. Make a pot of tea with bags or leaves and dilute it depending on how much you need. Using distilled water will increase the antioxidant concentration
  2. Let it cool. Hot water burns plants as easily as it burns human skin. Wait until the tea cools to room temperature before you water your plants with it. You can even let the tea sit overnight.
  3. Water your plants thoroughly. Watering a day before fertilization helps bolster your plants and prevents any possibility of fertilizer burn. If you’re letting your tea cool overnight, water the plants soon after you’ve made the tea so you can fertilize your plants the following day. 
  4. Apply it to the base or spray it on the leaves. Pour the tea into the base of your plants, around the roots. You can also add your tea to a spray bottle and spray it on the leaves, but remember to dilute the tea as the leaves are more fragile than the roots. 
  5. Don’t water your plants after. Watering your plants before fertilizing protects your plants. But watering your plants after adding green tea will result in run-off, where the excess fluid will be carried away from the roots of your plants. Therefore, give your plants some time to absorb the nutrients from your green tea application. Wait about a week before watering them with green tea again. 

Another way to water your plants with green tea is to infuse your watering can with a tea bag. You’ll end up cold-brewing or cold-steeping the tea in the watering can, a process where the tea is brewed slowly, improving the antioxidant concentration

Cold-brewed tea contains less caffeine, which is good because too much caffeine harms plants and stunts their growth. 

Using Green Tea Leaves in the Garden

Besides using brewed tea to water your plants, you can also bury green tea leaves as a fertilizer in your garden. 

Green tea leaves have the same benefits as brewed green tea. Aside from improving the organic matter in the soil, it also enhances the aeration in the soil. You can also add the tea leaves to your compost pile. They are an excellent source of nitrogen. 

Note: Don’t add whole tea bags unless the bag itself is compostable. Even then, take care to remove the staples before you add the bags in. If the bags are not compostable, open them and pull the tea leaves out to use in your garden. 

What Plants Benefit From Green Tea? 

As noted earlier, green tea is acidic and can balance your soil pH if you use alkaline tap water to water your plants. However, if your water is not alkaline, you should only apply green tea to plants that can handle a lower pH.  

Plants that benefit from green tea are those that thrive in acidic soil, like berries, ferns, easter lilies, roses, philodendrons, and other leafy tropical plants. You can also add green tea to soils that prefer a neutral pH value but are planted in alkaline soils or watered with alkaline water. 

In general, most plants will benefit from being watered with green tea. The tannins in green tea are unlikely to damage plants unless they’re susceptible to acids. (These plants include cacti or dahlias.)

The most important thing in using green tea is to identify what pH values your plants prefer and the current pH value of the growing medium. Then you can determine whether adding green tea might hurt the plant or not. 

Final Thoughts

It is good to water plants with green tea as green tea is a good source of the plant macronutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Green tea also supplies micronutrients and antioxidants to your plants. 

However, the tannins in green tea are acidic, so ensure that you are aware of the pH level your plants prefer and the pH value of the soil before you add the green tea. You can also use green tea leaves as fertilizer by burying them.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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