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Using Wine on Plants: Here’s What you Need to Know

If you’ve ever wondered if it’s okay to use wine on the plants that you have in your home, the answer is yes.

Using wine on plants is a time-tested, proven, and natural method to eliminate many common plant diseases. The tannins in wine have been used to cure plants since the 17th century. Adding red wine to compost results in triggering beneficial bacteria that boost up the growth of your plants. 

It is essential to control compost’ moisture while adding wine.  Adding dry ingredients like cardboard might be helpful for this purpose.  

There is still more to know about the interesting effects wine has on plants, and there are all in this article.

Is Wine Good For Plants? 

Using Wine on Plants

Wine is an alcoholic drink typically made from fermented grapes. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide.

The alcohol content of wine varies depending on how much sugar was present when the fermentation began. Most wines are around 12% ABV (alcohol by volume). 

This means that one bottle contains approximately 1.2 liters of pure alcohol.

Alcohol stunts the growth of plants from 5% concentration and above. The greater the concentration the more pronounced the effect in a shorter space of time.

If the wine is mild and the alcohol content is much less than 5% wine can have some beneficial effects on plants.

The sugar present in the wine enhances the growth of some advantageous bacteria in the soil. 

Adding red wine to the composting bin activates some good bacteria as it has nitrogen and aids your garden to grow bigger. 

Second of all, wine is mostly water (about 90% in the case of red wine), and water is good for plants.

Furthermore, wine also aids your plant growth by preventing damage caused by pests and other insects.

Can Plants get Drunk?

Can plants get drunk if we pour wine into them? Sounds a bit funny! Well, the answer is, NO. 

The plants don’t have any nervous systems like humans and animals do.  In the case of humans, just like animals, ethanol is absorbed into the blood and then into the brain where it engages with the immune system’s ability to send or receive information. 

Methanol is slightly toxic for animals. Plants like the methanol in wine and use it like carbon dioxide as it increases metabolism. 

10% methanol concentration of methanol is toxic on roots while 30% concentration becomes toxic on leaves. 

As plants lack the nervous system and they are without a brain, so that’s why they can’t get drunk.

Using Wine as a Fertilizer: 

While it is not suggested to add a full bottle into the plant, it may result in possible bacterial damage. 

The idea is to take any leftover wine and keep it until it spoils. Letting it spoil turns the wine into vinegar.

After the wine has turned or spoiled, add it to your compost base. 

This process releases nitrogen from the wine, activating bacteria that help break down and enrich your compost fertilizer. 

After that, supply that fertilizer to your plants, which helps in the healthy growth of the plants. 

In case if you haven’t a compost base, then this compost recipe given below is a must to try in which amount may vary depending upon the number of plants you have. 

  • Coffee grounds
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • Properly washed, baked, and blended eggshells
  • Properly washed, baked, and blended carrot peelings
  • Properly washed, baked, and blended potato peelings

Mix all ingredients of this compost recipe well and add them into the soil according to need. After that, blend it to moisten your plants. 

In case you haven’t any remaining red wine (which will be better if you have it), then different leftover wines can be mixed, and keep them aside until you have enough of the mixture reserved. 

Using Wine as Herbicide: 

Another amazing thing you can do is to use the wine as an herbicide.

To use wine as a herbicide you should ensure that the alcohol content is far greater than a concentration of 5%.

Alcohol can be toxic to plants. It affects their ability to absorb nutrients from soil and water. Also, it inhibits root development and this is the concept by which it can be used to get rid of unwanted growth, both in the garden and in potted plants.

Additionally, once a wine turns bad, it can still aid the plants and act as a weed killer. This is one of the things you can do with spoiled wine.

And after turning into vinegar, it can be effective as an herbicide. Shortly, it is one of the safe and effective methods to control weeds. 

Wine as a Pesticide and Insect trap: 

One of the essential advantages of wine is that it is an effective pesticide against aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies. 

For removing mealybugs and aphids, dipping a cotton ball in the remaining wine and dabbing it on them can be helpful. Do this process every seven days until the pest disappears.

Please keep in mind that wine without dilution can burn the plants.

To avoid this problem, make a spray solution of 1:10 dilution in water. 

First, do a patch test on the leaf to ensure that the leaf does not burn. Keep it for 4 to 5 hours then wash out the plant with water. 

Wine can be quite advantageous in trapping insects like fruit flies. However, wine causes insects’ legs to stick with each other and also they dislike the smell of it. 

Is Wine Good for Compost? 

Well, maybe it happens to you that sometimes the taste of your wine does not feel good and you feel like composting wine is a better solution. 

Many theories are present related to the effect of wine on composting. Among them, one is quite acceptable according to which wine present in the compost as a liquid will remain for the required water.

Maintaining moisture in a functional compost heap is quite important for running out the process as lack of proper moisture will result in the death of some essential bacteria.

 However, according to a claim of some people, yeast present in wine uplifts the decomposition rate of organic materials, most importantly wooden materials. 

Moreover, nitrogen present in the wine also aids in the destruction of carbon-related materials. Composting can also be done on the cork of a wine bottle. 

The thing worth mentioning here is that try to avoid overwhelming a small compost heap by placing a large amount of wine on it. 

This may eliminate the required balance and some bacteria might be killed because of a large amount of wine. 

Simply adding a little bit of remaining wine to the compost heap is good but avoid doing it regularly. 

How to Apply wine to Plants

Wine can be applied to plants by any conventional watering method.

Applying Wine to Plants by Misting

The misting method requires placing the wine into a spray bottle and mist the leaves. This method works well when applying a small amount of wine to each leaf. However, if using a larger amount of wine, it may be better to apply directly to the soil.

Applying Wine to Plants using the Bottom Watering Method

Bottom watering is applying water to plants from the bottom up. The flow of water is opposite to the conventional watering method and is pulled up into and throughout the soil by capillary movement. 

Plants are placed in a bottom watering tray and allowed to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

This method of watering proves to be effective from our experience as it gives the water enough time to move into and fill the entire root structure. 

The roots are now exposed to more nutrient availability from the surrounding soil. In turn, this results in healthier plants with lush green leaves. 

The Takeaway

Wine has nitrogen that makes a great addition to your composting bin. Red wine activates good bacteria in compost that enhance the plant’s growth. 

Just make sure to keep the compost moisture under control after pouring wine into the plants. Moisture can be kept under control by placing cardboard or other dry ingredients in the soil. 

Wine is considered one of the good sugar ingredients for the compost pile. 

If you have any other questions left in mind related to using wine on plants, please do let me know in the comment section below. I’ll be glad to share my experience with our fellow plant lovers. 

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