How to: get your plants drunk
Andrea Bellamy |

Now here’s a worthwhile study. A new Cornell University researcher has found a way to keep paperwhite narcissists from tipping over – by getting them tipsy.

The study finds that a touch of booze keeps certain houseplants from getting too tall by stunting their growth. “Dilute solutions of alcohol — though not beer or wine — are a simple and effective way to reduce stem and leaf growth,” said William Miller, professor of horticulture and director of the Flower Bulb Research Program at Cornell.

“While solutions greater than 10 percent alcohol were toxic, solutions between four and six percent alcohol stunted the paperwhites effectively,” said Miller.

To control stem and leaf growth, he suggests waiting until paperwhites or other daffodil shoots are several inches long to drain the water and replace it with a solution of four to six percent alcohol — hard liquor or rubbing alcohol.

To get a five percent solution from 80-proof liquor, which is 40 percent alcohol (such as gin, vodka, whiskey, rum or tequila), add one part liquor to seven parts water. To use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol), which is 70 percent alcohol, dilute one part with 10-11 parts water.

Read more here.

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