My father was a gardener and I remember him scoffing at the high prices of commercial fertilizers. He always had a homemade solution for taking care of plants. I’m looking for a way to do the same. So can I use vinegar in the garden on rhododendrons and gardenias? After all, they thrive in acidic soil.
Yama Sasuke, Portland
You are correct. You can definitely use vinegar in the garden on certain plants like rhododendrons and gardenias, as well as to get rid of powdery mildew on trees and other plants. Easy to grow flowers like hydrangeas and azaleas also thrive in soil with a low pH so vinegar works well for them, too. Try watering all these plants with a cup of white vinegar stirred into a gallon of water.
You’ll discover that the acid turns hydrangea flowers from pink to blue and keeps gardenia flowers blooming pure white, not yellow. The vinegar can be used to create an interesting effect among the same flowers. Pour the mixture on some and not on others to have both pink and blue hydrangeas and white and yellow gardenias at the same time.
But be careful to prevent the vinegar water from spreading to other plants because too much acid can kill some of them, like lilacs and geraniums. Killing a tree with vinegar is also possible, whether you do it accidentally or on purpose.
Will vinegar kill squash bugs and other unwanted garden pests? Definitely. Full-strength white distilled vinegar will kill garden pests like snails, ants, squash bugs, and flies, so it can be useful for targeting nasty bugs. Create a mixture of vinegar, water, and dish soap to get rid of garden pests. Keep it on hand if you notice a recurrence of pesky bugs in the yard and garden area.
Also, vinegar is useful to gardeners in many other ways. For example, it removes mineral buildup from terra-cotta pots with a little scrubbing. It also cleans rust from shears and other tools. And you can combine it with dishwashing liquid and salt for a homemade herbicide to get rid of weeds in lawn or garden areas or to remove weeds from growing up through gravel in a walkway or driveway. It’s ideal for moss, too, whether it sprouts in the driveway or attaches to a home’s foundation.
For a full list of what white or apple cider vinegar can do for you in the garden, take a look at this article:https://www.tipsbulletin.com/vinegar-in-the-garden/. It may inspire you to stock up during the next case lot sale at the supermarket.
I’m glad you wrote to ask about applying vinegar to your plants, and I hope your garden thrives as a result.