Is Pasta Water Good For Plants? (Benefits, Tips & Uses)

Pasta is certainly one of the most popular Italian foods. And while it is simple to prepare, the water used to cook it is usually wasted. But did you know that this pasta water can benefit your plants and gardens? But how? And is pasta water good for plants? Let’s take a look!

Key Takeaways

  • Pasta water is good for plants as it is rich in starch and fertilizes the soil, and feeds the healthy microbes in the rhizosphere. 
  • You can apply fresh pasta water or fermented water to plants and soil. Read the stepwise instructions below to make pasta water!
  • Avoid salted pasta water and allow it to cool down to room temperature if boiled before using it for plants. 
  • Fermented pasta water wards off pests and helps in plant growth. For more benefits, uses and tips for using pasta water for plants, continue reading!

What is Pasta Water?

Cooking Pasta in Boiling Water

Pasta water is derived from fresh pasta after soaking or boiling it. This water has starch along with some beneficial nutrients and minerals that get leached out while soaking or boiling pasta.

How to Make Pasta Water?

Spaghetti, linguine, macaroni, or other long pasta can be used to make pasta water by soaking or boiling them. Given below are a few methods of preparing pasta water.

1. Pasta Water from Washing/ Soaking

  • Wash the pasta with fresh water and discard this water (You can also use this water for your plants, but it might contain dust).
  • Add 2-3 cups of water to the bowl.
  • Rinse the pasta a few times and leave it to soak for 24- 48 hours.
  • Stir the pasta and strain the water into a clean bowl. This pasta water can be used for plants after diluting it with distilled water.

2. Pasta Water from Boiling

Boiling Pasta Water
  • Take a cup of pasta, wash it, and strain the water. 
  • Add 2-3 cups of water to the pasta and stir it well.
  • Let the pasta boil for 30-45 minutes on medium flame.
  • Strain the boiled pasta and collect the pasta water.

The boiled pasta water contains more nutrients than washed or soaked pasta water as the heat leaches extra nutrients into the water.

3. Fermented Pasta Water

  • Fill a glass jar with pasta water.
  • Add one tablespoon of sugar and four tablespoons of milk to the water.
  • Mix it well and cover the jar by tying it with a clean cloth.
  • Let the pasta water sit for 3-12 days.
  • When the liquid turns opaque to translucent, the fermented pasta water is read!

This water influences the growth of lactobacillus bacteria and can be used to fertilize plants or as a pesticide.

How to Use Pasta Water for Plants

Pasta water is used as a natural fertilizer for indoor and outdoor plants. Dilute the pasta water and apply it to the plants in the early morning or evening to prevent evaporation of water and nutrients.

Pasta water performs better in the seedling stage of the crop as it requires more water and nutrients at this time.

Rice Water Spray on House Plants

Here are a few methods to apply pasta water to plants:

  • Misting: In this method, the water is applied to the plants through a sprayer in the form of fine droplets to prevent overwatering. Misting is mainly used with succulents.
  • Top Watering: Top watering is nothing but applying water to your plants directly on the soil using a hose, can, or other watering equipment. Watering plants with this method helps push down the accumulated salts to the bottom of the soil and pass them through drainage.
  • Bottom watering: The bottom watering method is the most effective way to apply pasta water to indoor or potted plants. In this method, water is poured into a large tray, and the planter is placed on the tray. 

The nutrients from the pasta water pass through the drainage holes and distribute the water evenly in the soil. This method prevents over-watering issues in plants.

How Pasta Water Works to Benefit Plants?

Pasta water is rich in starch. And starch contains sugar that serves as a source of energy for plants and provides food to the bacteria residing in the soil.

Bacteria in the soil break down organic matter (starch) to ingest nutrients for the plants. With faster microbial activity, more nutrients will be available to the plants and aid plant growth.

Furthermore, these bacteria and microbes protect plants against disease by increasing plant immunity. Thus, pasta water is an excellent fertilizer and pesticide for plants.

Essential Benefits of Using Pasta Water for Plants

Pasta water is a good thickening agent for your soups and sauce and is an excellent fertilizing solution for your plants. And research shows that the pH of pasta water (pH-7) is similar to that of the plant roots, making it a perfect watering source for your house plants.

Watering Plants With Diluted Milk

Below are a few more benefits of pasta water you must know.

  • Pasta water contains manganese, copper, selenium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, and calcium, along with starch, and stimulates plant growth when used for watering plants.
  • It encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the soil, such as lactobacilli and mycorrhizae, and keeps the roots healthy.
  • Fermented pasta water controls fungal diseases and pests and, thus, acts as an organic pesticide and fungicide. 
  • Pasta water is environmentally friendly as it reduces the chemical residues in the environment.
  • Using pasta water for plants is a sustainable approach to reuse water.
  • It is cost-effective and protects plants from burns caused by harmful synthetic fertilizers. 
  • Leftover Pasta water, when salted, can be used as a herbicide to kill the weeds.

Precautions to Take While Using Pasta Water for Plants

Like rice water, potato water, and eggshell water, pasta water is beneficial to plants. But though this liquid gold has many benefits, it can cause concerns if not used carefully.

So, here are some precautions you must take while nourishing your plants with pasta water.

  • Avoid using leftover pasta water if it is salted or seasoned with oil or other ingredients. 
  • Fertilize your plants with traditional organic fertilizers at least once a year, along with pasta water.
  • Dilute pasta water before using it on plants in a ratio of 1:2 (1 part pasta water and 2 parts distilled or tap water).
  • Use this starchy water in limits. If used excessively, the starch in the soil might build mold growth and lead to the yellowing of leaves.
  • Do not apply boiling pasta water directly. Let it come to room temperature before using it. 
  • Do not use pasta water stored for an extended period (Fermented pasta water also cannot be used after 12 days).
  • Do not immediately feed your plants with pasta water after fertilizing them with chemicals. This may hinder the metabolic and photosynthetic processes in plants.
  • Strain the water properly before using it to water plants. There should be no pasta remnants in the soil.

Using Fermented Pasta Water as a Pesticide

Research shows that after fermentation, pasta water acts as a natural fungicide against soil diseases. Besides, fermented water aids microbial growth and strengthens the roots.

Moreover, the sour alcoholic odor from fermented pasta water deters the pests like snails, lizards, and iguanas from your garden.

This water also acts as an irritant to small insects like gnats, aphids, fruit flies, plant flies, flea beetles, and other tiny pests, keeping your plants healthy.

Using Pasta Water in Succulents


Succulents require dry, aerated soil, and their water and nutrient needs are low. So diluted pasta water is a great source of fertilizer and irrigation for succulents.

It’s best to mist the water to avoid overwatering in the soil, preventing succulents from root-rotting.

To use pasta water for succulents, dilute this solution in a 1:2 ratio (1 part of pasta water and two parts of filtered water) and fill it in a clean spray bottle. Spray this water over the foliage of the succulents.

What Plants Benefit from Pasta Water?

Pasta water is good for indoor and outdoor plants, including veggies, flowers, fruits, succulents, and even weeds. When used in the limit, it promotes plant growth as they produce lush green foliage with large fruits and flowers.

  • Some reports show that pasta water is good for growing leafy green vegetables like lettuce. 
  • The iron in pasta water keeps the roses fresh, bright, and healthy.
  • Calcium in pasta water builds the cell membrane in tomatoes, prevents them from blossom-end rot, and promotes blooming.
  • This starchy water helps maintain the freshness of the grapes and increases the sweetness of this fruit.

Can you water plants with cooking water?

Yes, you can water plants using cooking water as long as it’s not seasoned with salt and other ingredients. Boiling vegetables, eggs, rice, and pasta leaches beneficial nutrients in them and helps to fertilize your plants. But remember to use cold cooking water for your plants as the hot water might cause burns or kill the plant.

Can I use day-old pasta water?

Normal pasta water gets spoiled quickly as it is an organic matter. Though you can use day-old pasta water for your plants, it is not advisable to store it for more than 2-3 days.

Is pasta water good for Succulents?

Pasta water is good for succulents and other houseplants. Succulents benefit from this starchy water when it is misted on their leaves and in the soil.

Can I use salted pasta water for plants?

No, salted pasta water should not be used for plants as salt might disturb plants’ nitrogen uptake and physiological activities.

Is pasta water good for houseplants?

Pasta water is good for houseplants as it is rich in starch, vitamins, and minerals and fulfills the water requirements of the plant.

Is pasta water good for compost?

Yes, pasta water can be a great addition to your compost as it has the properties to stimulate microbial growth. Moreover, when used in compost, it accelerates decomposition and adds nutrients to the finished compost. But remember to strain the water well before adding it to the compost pile.

Pasta water is rich in starch and contains trace amounts of vital nutrients that boost plant metabolism. Hence, watering plants using pasta water is a part of sustainable living by saving water, but it should be used within limits.

Like pasta water, rice water is another nutritious liquid that usually ends up in drains. So can you reuse this water? Is rice water good for plants? Join us to learn more.