Molasses for plants


1 Quart

It sounds strange, but a can of Coke can actually be beneficial for the garden.

In fact, various forms of sugar are very useful to use in your foliar sprays.

If you’re applying any kind of microbial inoculant, such as effective microorganisms or compost tea, the right sugar will give the microbes some food to eat right when they get out there, to wake them up and get them working away on all the amazing things they do for us.

Along the same lines, if you’re applying any kind of organic fertilizer, sugar will give your existing microbes the food they need to get them moving so that they’ll start breaking down that new fertilizer, making it available for plants.

That’s especially helpful when applying a source of nitrogen such as liquid fish, because the carbon in the sugar balances out the nitrogen, much like we try to do when building a compost pile.

So yes, I apply some form of sugar every time I spray anything. It’s not expensive either.

I’d use Coca-Cola in a pinch, but really, there’s another type that is ideal…

Molasses For Plants

I’m talking about unsulfured blackstrap molasses.

The ‘unsulfured’ part is important because sulfur is used in some products as a preservative, to kill microbes, and we obviously don’t want to do that, as we’re trying to encourage microbes.

The ‘blackstrap’ is important because it’s the most nutritious of all types of molasses.

I use blackstrap molasses for plants whenever I’m ‘activating’ effective microorganisms and sometimes again when I’m spraying it, about equal amounts of EM to molasses for each process.

So if you’re buying the ProBio Balance mother culture, pick up 1 or maybe 2 times as much molasses. If you’re buying the Bio Ag ‘activated’ culture, just pick up the same amount of molasses to apply along with it.

The benefits of molasses as fertilizer, in addition to the sugar, are that it actually contains a nice array of minerals for the garden, and it’s also very sticky, so it helps your microbes and fertilizers stick to plant leaves during application.

Who Needs This The Most?

If you’re just picking up 1 organic fertilizer, I definitely recommend liquid seaweed or sea minerals or even liquid fish before getting a sugar source.

But the professionals really do use some type of sugar in every application, and I do too, and since it’s so inexpensive, I say go for it.

How To Use It

If applying it with EM, I use it at the same rate as my EM.

So for me, 1 quart will do about 1000 square feet for a whole year (8 applications * 1/2 cup).

Additionally, if you’re getting some ProBio Balance mother culture and planning to activate it, you need almost as much molasses as mother culture for that process, too (we use molasses during activation and again during application).

I dissolve the molasses in a small amount of warm water first, right in the sprayer, to make sure it doesn’t clog the sprayer.

Get It Here


1 Quart

  • Blackstrap molasses is a great companion to microbial inoculants and organic fertilizers.
  • It helps plants more effectively uptake organic fertilizers, and helps microbial inoculants more effectively do everything they do.

Just choose from the drop-down menu and click ‘Add To Cart’ up above!


  1. jason on March 8, 2014 at 8:29 am

    hi phil!i was informed mollasses could be used at 5ml per 5 gal totie up chlorine, above you suggest not using too much in the garden due to yeast. i was planning on using mollasses in my fertilizer injector to help de-chlorinate my city water, through my drip irrigation. would dextrose be better and do the same thing?thanks

    • Phil on March 8, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      The two natural things I have traditionally used are ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or humates/humic acids, but more recently, I’ve learned that apparently many materials will work, from molasses to a bit of compost to sugar to all kinds of things, and it happens instantly, so yes, your 5ml of molasses should be fine.

  2. Elena on March 25, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Hi Phil,I received several of your products. thank you very much.My questions are related to how much of the product to use if I am using a 2 gallon backpack sprayer. I do not have a hose end sprayer because I don’t have the extra funds right now to purchase one.Anyway, how much dextrose and how much NPK plus Calcium product per gallon.How much BioAg probiotic EM per gallon in a back pack sprayer. I know I shouldn’t make the mist too fine because it could harm the beneficial microbes. Is this also true for the NPK+calcium , & the dextrose.Also, how much molasses would I add per gallon when I am spraying the EM/BioAg?Thanks for converting these amounts for us backpack sprayer folks. Hopefully, next year I can invest in a hose end sprayer.Elena

    • Phil on March 25, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      -The NPK is 1:50 parts water, so 5 Tbsp per gallon of water.-The dextrose is used at the same rate as the NPK, so just put the same amount of dextrose as NPK.-The Bio Ag is at least 1:250 if possible, so 1 Tbsp per gallon of water. But when using a backpack sprayer, I have gone down to 1:125 just to save my back, so 2 Tbsp per gallon of water.-The molasses is used at the same rate as the Bio Ag, so just put the same amount of molasses as Bio Ag.The mist can be very fine on the NPK and dextrose. I would come through a day or two later with the Bio Ag and molasses, and then the mist shouldn’t be as fine.

      • Elena on March 30, 2014 at 4:59 am

        Thank you very much! I appreciate your thorough response.

  3. Ellen Erickson on June 2, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    hmm, which Coke is good for applications… I really do not drink this stuff but anything for plants LOL

    • Phil on June 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Any cola with sugar is good, although if we’re trying to stay away from GMOs, we’d want to go with an organic cola.

  4. Deitra Brunner on March 2, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    I plan to purchase the dextrose for the garden, but I was reading about the benefits of blackstrap molasses on another website and was wondering if the brand that you sell is ok for direct human consumption or is it just for garden use.

    • Phil on March 3, 2015 at 12:57 am

      Hi Deitra, the molasses is made for human consumption.

      • Deitra Brunner on March 3, 2015 at 3:41 am

        OK thanks, I just wanted to make sure I am thinking right (I mean, that may not be the best indicator; but one out of a whole bunch is better than none–lol).

  5. Lynne on March 19, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    In the section above, titled “Who Needs this the Most”, in the second paragraph, do you mean “inexpensive” rather than expensive?

  6. Bob V on May 26, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    why did you stop selling dextrose on your website ?

  7. Bruce Turner on May 18, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Will the molasses attract unwanted animals, ants or flying pests?

    • Phil on May 19, 2016 at 11:42 am

      I’ve heard people say that molasses can both repel ants and attract them, but when applying it at 1/2 cup per 1000 square feet as I recommend, I’ve never had any complaints, or any problems myself.

  8. Gary Schilling on November 5, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    How early in vegetative life {seedlings} can you start using molasses ?

    • Phil on November 7, 2016 at 10:24 pm

      Good question, I’ve never seen any info on it. I use it from the beginning.

  9. Jenn on February 27, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Can you tell me if molasses becomes too old to be effective? I have two one gallon containers and don’t know how old they are.

    • Phil on February 28, 2018 at 9:17 am

      It can go bad. If it smells bad or if you see mold, toss it. But it does often last for a few years, so may still be fine.

  10. Bryan on March 6, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    I’d like to know if there has been any testing of the liquid seaweed on pasture? And if so, do you also recommend using it combined with molasses? And what would be the rate used for pasture?

    I’d also like to try it on my lawn.

    • Phil on March 9, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      People definitely use the seaweed on lawns and pastures, but I have no test data. Molasses is occasionally used, but less so.

  11. Amy Gofton on April 10, 2018 at 4:36 pm


    I am new to all the organic gardening but am hoping to try a few recommended things. Thatn said I am confused- I was told to do the compost tea foliar feeding, but then also read something about what seems like a simpler option- with mixing molasses, kelp, AEM and epsom salt- as a foliar feed. nShould I be doing both of these things? alternatively? how often?

    I was going to buy the stuff to ry both, but I dont want to over do the whole thing. Please help me sort this out.
    Best, Amy

    • Phil on April 11, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Good question, Amy. There’s no right or wrong answer here. All can be very helpful, but as to how helpful, that depends on the garden. I usually steer people towards the simpler option when they’re starting. Save the compost tea for when you’re totally addicted to doing everything possible to improve your garden 🙂 And go easy on the epsom salt – it’s a great product, but only if your plants are deficient in magnesium and sulfur.

  12. R on January 24, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Phil you seem awesomely helpful!

  13. Royal Woolsey on June 3, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    When applying to individual plants, mixed 2 tbsp per gallon. How much tea do you apply to each plant?

  14. Janet Wilson on April 22, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Can use it on Roses

  15. Gail L Seal on June 1, 2020 at 8:17 am

    When in plants development is it best to give it molasses?

  16. Rev. Anthonyjoseph Rios on May 16, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    I have one more question. I know that honey when applied to the base of a cutting in the rooting process, aids in the formation of roots. Does molasses have the same effect?

    • Phil on May 20, 2021 at 8:35 pm

      No, not that I’m aware of. Honey has antimicrobial properties, so perhaps it has something to do with that, although I’m not sure about that either.

  17. SArah on May 9, 2022 at 12:06 pm


    So I can combine the Fish, and probiotics, and molasses all into the sprayer at the same time? This wouldn’t be three different applications? Also, should I water the soil first before spraying the fertilizers?

    • Phil on May 10, 2022 at 11:25 am

      Yes, you can combine them all together. That’s exactly what I do. And yes, it’s a great idea to water the soil before spraying, or waiting for a rain and spraying then.

  18. Kenneth Rehmer on May 14, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    I have three molasses lick tanks for my cattle to use, but I built an applicator for my hay unroller back in 2012 (deep drought). Hay was scarce & very poor so I was able to apply molasses to the top of the hay that was unrolled on the fields when it was fed. The cattle thought that they were eating high quality alfalfa hay. The earth worms and under ground critters loved it too, because they devoured the left over mulch with in two to three days. I feed about 700 5X5 big round bales each winter. My ground was highly depleted before I started and that seems to be helping a lot. I have about 180 gal. of molasses left in the holding tank and wonder if that can be used to feed my fields. This spring I sewed 6000lbs of red clover seed for the nitrogen and to graze for feed but am wondering if the molasses could hurt the red clover? Thank you

    • Phil on May 16, 2022 at 10:52 am

      I don’t know of any way the molasses would hurt the clover. It must be possible to overapply sugar just as with anything else, but a modest application sounds good to me.

Leave a Comment