The Q&A Archives: Science Project On Plants

Question: My daughter is doing a science project on houseplants. She watered one with water, one with plant food and water, one with milk and one with apple juice.

The plants watered with milk and apple juice did not survive as expected. However, I can't find any information on why apple juice and milk would kill the houseplants.

Can you help me please?

Heidi and Tonni Utman

Answer: I can't provide you with specific information, but plants are generally able to tolerate a wide range of soil pH so I don't think the sugar in the milk or apple juice was sufficient to change the pH to the point that the plants would die. I think, at least in the case of the milk, that the fats may have clogged the openings in the roots (essentially plugging up the vascular system). I'm not sure why the juice would have such a detrimental effect.

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