Beer as Plant Food

Written by Lisa Larsen for


The idea of using beer as plant food has been around for decades. For many it is believed to be the perfect pick-me-up for their garden. However, there are those who consider this just another old wives’ tale. There are ingredients in beer that seem useful to plants, such as yeast and carbohydrates. However, upon closer examination, these two items aren’t of much benefit to plants.


There are only four ingredients used in the beer making process. They are water, malted barley, hops and yeast. Ninety percent of beer is water.


Beer doesn’t contain any ingredient, other than water, that is truly helpful for nurturing plants. There are some who believe the carbohydrates in beer act as food for plants. However, plants need complex carbohydrates in order to thrive, not simple sugars such as those found in soda or beer.


Because beer contains yeast, many gardeners consider it a benefit to their plants. However, yeast is a fungus, and not only produces an unpleasant odor, but will also begin to grow around your plants. The fungus will eventually die, contributing nothing to the plants.

Uses for Beer in the Garden

Although beer is not useful as a food for plants, it can serve a purpose in the garden.

Slugs are naturally attracted to beer. When containers of stale beer are placed around your garden, the slugs will crawl in and drown. In this way, beer is a good organic solution for slug prevention.

Other Uses for Beer

Even though you can’t use leftover beer for your plants, there are still dozens of other uses for it. Beer is a great meat tenderizer, and it adds an interesting taste to steaks marinated in it. It is also used frequently in bread recipes. As a stain remover, beer rivals the most expensive brand names at a fraction of the cost. Soaking jewelry in beer will loosen dirt. Then buff the jewelry with a clean cloth until it shines. For your tired feet, try a beer foot soak. Beer will also help moisturize skin.

About this Author
Lisa Larsen has been a professional writer for 18 years. She has written radio advertisement copy, research papers, SEO articles, magazine articles for “BIKE,” “USA Today” and “Dirt Rag,” newspaper articles for “Florida Today,” and short stories published in Glimmer Train and Lullwater Review, among others. She has a master’s degree in education, and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

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