The incredible way aspirin can boost your plants

Does Aspirin help plants grow

We all know aspirin is good for you and doctors have been prescribing this wonder drug for years to treat everything from toothache to fevers.

​But one thing gardeners have been dying to know is does aspirin help plants grow? There are so many uses for this over the counter medicine but using it in the garden might seem a step too far even for the most inquisitive gardener.

We’ve answered the question once and for all so you can finally find out the truth. So read on and discover how you can use this unassuming pill to strengthen the flora and fauna in your backyard.

What is aspirin?

Aspirin is a drug known as a salicylate which works to stop pain, fever and inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties means it is perfect for people who suffer from joint pain.


It is one of the first drugs to come into common usage and it is featured in around 1,000 clinical trials every year which makes it one of the most researched drugs in the world.

It was first named “aspirin” in 1899 by the Bayer pharmaceutical company and the name has stuck since then.

In 1950, it was named as the most used painkiller by the Guinness Book of World Records and it has remained a very important staple medicine ever since.

There are different types of aspirin which can be used for different things. There is a standard pill which is swallowed whole, a chewable aspirin or the soluble version which is dissolved in water and then drunk.

Uses of aspirin

Aspirin can be used to treat pain, and reduce fever or inflammation.

It can be used for people with cardiovascular problems, such as heart disease, attacks or angina, but needs to be supervised by a doctor. Because it thins the blood, aspirin shouldn’t be taken by anyone with a bleeding disorder like haemophilia.

It should be taken under a doctor’s supervision or after following the instructions on the label correctly and a good tip for people who have sensitive stomachs is to eat it with food.

Another use is in the garden. The soluble kind of aspirin is best for your plants as you need to dilute it and add it into a spray bottle the same way you would use a traditional fertiliser.

How to use it in the garden

Before we go into how you actually apply aspirin to your plants, there are a few things you should know.

There are side effects to using aspirin on your garden incorrectly and some tips to avoid this happening. If you spray in the evening it may cause the plants to react with the aspirin and cause burnt spots.

You will notice this happening if the plants seem to have brown or yellow patches and the leaves are wilting. The best way to prevent this is to use the aspirin solution in the morning so your leaves will dry out in the sun through the day and the aspirin will disappear.

The best time to spray your plants is very early in the morning, before dawn, as that avoids the time bees will be around to pollinate your plants. Aspirin may harm bees if it comes into direct contact with them.

  • 1. Crush one pill in one gallon of water
  • 2. Mix thoroughly until the aspirin is completely dissolved
  • 3. Put the solution in a spray bottle or watering can
  • 4. Spray or water your plants thoroughly with the mixture
  • 5. Use this the same as a fertilizer, around twice a month

As well as spraying directly on plants, you can also use soluble aspirin in a vase with some cut flowers to make them last longer.

You can also use the diluted aspirin to water new seeds and help them germinate. And on your vegetables, the science says your crop will be bigger and more plentiful if you’ve used this wonder drug.

Why does it work?

Aspirin is high in salicylic acid which is the chemical that fights pain and inflammation in humans. It is actually taken from willow bark which means it is a “natural” drug.

All plants produce salicylic acid in small quantities. It usually only happens when the plant is under-watered, under-fed or otherwise under attack from pests or disease. In small doses, this acid actually works to boost the plants natural immune system.

It does the same in humans which is why some people with repressed immune systems are prescribed aspirin to take once a day.

The United States Department of Agriculture carried out tests on plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, which form part of the nightshade family. Using aspirin, the researchers found the plants were tougher when hit by insect or disease attach.

In cut flowers, the acid actually stops the plant decomposing by stopping the cut stems producing a particular hormone. This means you can get a few more days from the blooms inside your home.

When aspirin is mixed with water and then sprayed on vegetables, they grow quicker and produce more crop than those using regular watering techniques.

Salicylic acid is known to change plants roots and leaves to make them stronger. As well as standing firm when pests and disease attack, those treated plants can also weather storms better.

What plants does aspirin work best on?

Any plants in the nightshade family, such as eggplants, peppers, potatoes or tomatoes, have been proven to react the best to this treatment.

Aspirin, thanks to being mass-produced, is a cheap drug. This means it can work out easier and cheaper to use this over the counter medicine in your garden than specialised plant food or fertilisers. If you follow the instructions properly, you can cut down the risk of harming your plants and boost the flora and fauna in your garden.

So there you have it. The answer to the question does aspirin help plants grow is definitely a yes.

Next time you are in the garden and see your lawn is looking lacklustre and your blooms need a boost, reach for the medicine cabinet rather than the man made fertilisers or the compost heap.

You can:

  • Dissolve aspirin in a vase of water to boost cut flowers
  • Dilute aspirin in a spray bottle and apply to plants
  • Water seeds to help them germinate

 If you have any questions or tips, comment below.

About the Author

I’m Emily and after a ten year career as a journalist I have moved on to share my passion for gardening. While getting out in the garden is one of my favourite hobbies, and helps me de-stress after a long day in the office, I often found myself frustrated at not getting the results I wanted from my plants. Through blogging, I have uncovered the answer to lots of common problems and now I want to share my knowledge with other horticulture enthusiasts.

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