How to Use Activated Charcoal for Plants?

Sherin Woods is a California-based DIY enthusiast and garden design aficionado. With a background in Environmental Science, she combines creativity and sustainability in all her projects. A Pinterest favorite, Sherin is committed to eco-friendly solutions and has contributed to various home and garden publications. Her areas of expertise include DIY project planning, sustainable garden design, and content creation.
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Want to grow the most productive and disease-free garden, indoors and outdoors? Use Activated Charcoal For Plants!

How To Use Activated Charcoal For Plants

As they say–Prevention is better than cure; it is always wise to take essential measures before things go wrong in the garden. One such preventive measure is using activated charcoal for plants. You can also use it for container plants. It is easy to use and offers myriads of benefits in no time. But before you learn more about activated charcoal uses & benefits in the garden, find out what it is.

Also Read: How to Use Borax in the Garden

What is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a form of carbon, which has developed pores by undergoing a process of activation. In this process, carbon is exposed to very high temperatures with various gases. This Activation process significantly increases the surface that helps in the absorption of chemical impurities and pollutants.

Also Read: How to Use Cocopeat in Garden

Activated Charcoal is gaining a lot of popularity in the healthcare and cosmetic industry because of its ability to absorb toxins. Air purifiers, capsules, creams, gels, face masks, toothpaste, body cleansers, and soaps–It is used extensively in all.

What’s more! You’ll be surprised to know its substantial benefits in the garden soil we’re sharing below. Without wasting any more time, here is everything you need to know about using activated charcoal in the garden.

Step by Step Guide to Use Activated Charcoal for Plants

What you will need:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Tiller
  • Sprinkler
  • General-Purpose Fertilizer (Optional)
  • Measuring Tape

Step 1

Using a measuring tape, take the dimension and calculate the area of the planting site. Do make sure that the quantity of activated charcoal is proportional to the area of the garden. One pound of activated charcoal is sufficient for about two square feet of garden area.

Step 2

Make sure that the garden soil is not wet and dry enough for tilling (not overly dry and dusty). Pick up a handful of garden soil and squeeze it to make a ball of it. If the ball crumbles when you poke it, it can be tilled. If not, wait for the garden soil to turn dry enough for tilling.

Step 3

Using a tiller, like a rototiller, till the garden bed down to a depth of 8-10 inches. Remove roots, rocks, or any other such debris that you might find in your way.

Step 4

As mentioned in the first step, spread the charcoal on the tilled garden bed as per the area. Work the soil so that the charcoal embeds well to a depth of 6-8 inches. You can also add some amount of aged manure to the topsoil for added benefits.

Step 5

The next step is to water the soil thoroughly. You can also add fertilizer to the soil before watering. As the soil now contains activated charcoal, it will absorb both water and fertilizer much more effectively.

Step 6

Leave the site undisturbed for a couple of days till the soil becomes dry to the extent that it is workable. Your garden is now ready for planting.


Choosing the right charcoal is one of the crucial steps in this process. Do not use the charcoal from the barbecue, as it contains chemicals and other lighter fluids, which can do more harm than good. The ash of this charcoal is also not suitable for the garden soil.

Activated Charcoal Benefits in Garden

Want to grow the most productive and disease-free garden, indoors and outdoors? Use Activated Charcoal For Plants!

  • It improves the drainage of the soil by making it more porous. Thus, decreasing the chances of waterlogging.
  • It’s great for container gardeners as well. You can add a layer of granular activated charcoal at the bottom of the pot to improve drainage.
  • Overwatering is one of the leading causes of root rot, fungus, and bacteria in the plants. Charcoal absorbs this excess water in case of overwatering, thereby saving the plant even if there is excess water in the soil.
  • As the soil becomes become more porous, it improves the air circulation, which ultimately aids root development.
  • To improve porosity, you can mix the activated charcoal in powdered form in the potting soil.
  • Being an excellent absorbent, activated charcoal for plants absorbs the fertilizer quickly and releases it slowly over time. This keeps the soil remain fertile for a longer duration of time, as the essential nutrients won’t leach soon. It also saves the plant from overfertilization.
  • Being a neutralizing agent, it balances the soil, when it’s too acidic for plants.
  • Do not worry about the difficult task of treating the soil with charcoal repeatedly. The charcoal will continue to benefit the soil for years.

Reap these activated charcoal benefits for plants and see the fantastic results it has to offer! If you’re already using it, share your valuable comments.

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  1. Can you add the powdered activated charcoal to your watering can and use it that way instead of mixing it directly into the soil?

  2. I too would like an answer to this as I am wondering about adding the powdered charcoal to a watering can or adding to a waterbutt.

  3. If ,1) build the soil, use as above.
    2) Already planted pots, use as a amendment to the topsoil.
    Feed & water as normal, just realize the CHARCOAL will soak up your nutrients and slow the release.


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