Silver Secrets: Another Way to Kill Pathogens

By Kathryn Van Druff
Published: July 16, 2020 | Last updated: April 23, 2021 03:20:55
Key Takeaways

Most people don’t think of using colloidal silver to cure their own health, so it’s no surprise gardeners don’t think of it to improve their plants’ health, either. Kathryn Van Druff gives us 10 secret benefits of ionic colloidal silver in the garden that will make you wonder why it’s not more common.

You may have heard of colloidal silver’s healing powers in human health. Some people use it when they feel a sinus infection coming on, while others have used colloidal silver to treat skin conditions and infections, including bacteria, yeast, viruses and parasites. Known as nature’s antibiotic, it’s no surprise that colloidal silver can also offer preventative, therapeutic and restorative properties to our plants and our gardens.


Colloidal silver is essentially pure water with ultra-tiny nanoparticles of silver suspended inside. The ionic form of silver is capable of killing more than 650 different pathogens. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) named silver as an oligodynamic biocide, which means it attacks primitive life forms but doesn’t harm more mature organisms.

The beauty of using colloidal silver in the garden is that it’s very safe for the plants, but it tenaciously targets the bacteria, parasites and other pathogens.


In his published work, Use of Colloids in Health & Disease, in 1919, Alfred Searle wrote:

“Applying colloidal silver to human subjects has been done in a large number of cases with astonishingly successful results. For internal administration, orally or hypodermically, it has the advantage of being rapidly fatal to parasites without toxic action on its host.”

From a gardening perspective, this sort of result opens the door to remarkable possibilities. In particular, it suggests a rapid remedy to common garden pests and problems without harming the plants, helpful pollinators, or the humans who consume the ensuing fruits or vegetables. Here are some of the top ways your garden can benefit from a touch of colloidal silver.


An Organic Alternative to Potentially Harmful Chemicals and Pesticides

Whether you’re growing commercially or simply for your family’s dinner table, no one wants extra chemicals on their fruits and vegetables. When treated with pesticides, plants tend to absorb topical chemicals. Colloidal silver is a safer, more organic alternative to many of the poisons marketed for gardens and farm pest prevention.

"An application of colloidal silver also is reportedly safe for children and family pets that may come into contact with the plants."

Effective Eradication Plants of Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi and Eggs

Colloidal silver effectively inactivates the oxygen metabolism the enzyme needed to sustain life for these undesirable organisms. Spraying colloidal silver onto plants infected with bacteria, fungi and viruses swiftly causes these undesirable organisms to suffocate and perish, all without the negative effects of traditional pesticides or the toils of other pest removal methods. An application of colloidal silver also is reportedly safe for children and family pets that may come into contact with the plants.


No Harm to PollinatorsHoneybees, ladybugs and other beneficial insects do not seem to have a negative response to colloidal silver. Whether it’s found in their drinking water or placed upon surfaces they touch, such as leaves and blossoms, this eco-friendly garden enhancer keeps your garden’s pollinators happy and healthy, too.

Read More: Below the Surface - Root Growth Stimulation & Microorganisms

Bigger Fruits and Vegetables

In a study published in the March 2010 issue of the journal Mycobiology, green onions were treated with silver nanoparticles at the roots to eradicate Sclerotium cepivorum fungal infections. In addition to clearing up the fungus, the silver increased the fresh weight and the dry weight of the onions, producing larger, more desirable vegetables.

Greener Leaves and Stronger Roots

Using ionic colloidal silver in the garden can transform the overall health of the plant. In addition to treating and preventing pathogens, viruses and fungi, the silver nanoparticles can impact the strength of the root system and the size and hue of the leaves. Large, vibrant green leaves indicate a truly healthy plant.

Better Plant Immunity and Improved Cell Rejuvenation

People may turn to colloidal silver supplements for a variety of illnesses and infections, from swimmer’s ear to pink eye. The silver is known to improve a person’s immunity, so it makes sense that plants can also gain a beneficial immune boost. Colloidal silver helps to make the plants more robust in preventing issues before any problems even occur, but also in recovering from damage caused by nuisance organisms.

No Pathogen Immunity Over Time

One of the main problems with traditional antibiotics is that bacteria can morph over time, becoming immune or less responsive to the effectiveness of the drugs. Unlike antibiotics, pathogens, viruses, fungi and bacteria do not develop immunity to silver nanoparticles. Applying colloidal silver in the garden should continue to offer improvements for the foreseeable future.

Safety to Gardeners

Many people ingest colloidal silver or apply it topically to treat various conditions. If there is a chance you ingested colloidal silver, you should always make absolutely certain that you are using true colloidal silver and not silver protein or ionic silver, as some toxicity may occur, depending on use. Check the Silver Safety Council’s Silver Safety Pyramid ( to ensure proper daily, short-term and lifetime usage.

Read More: Beneficial Elements For Your Nutrient Regimen

Water Purification

Colloidal silver possesses a unique ability to purify water supplies and reservoirs. Various airlines employ silver water filters to keep waterborne illnesses at bay when airborne. NASA also leveraged the power of silver for its purification properties, developing a copper/silver ionization process to sanitize the water.

The purification process removes bacteria and algae from the water, as evidenced by its original intended purpose of dispensing silver ions and killing bacteria in the potable water supply on the Apollo spacecraft. Using colloidal silver in your watering can, rain barrel or other water collection system allows you to ensure the water is free from bacteria, algae and pathogens before you water your garden, giving your plants pure, healthy water.

"After spraying colloidal silver onto your plants, you can rest easy knowing that no residue remains."

No Residue Left Behind

After spraying colloidal silver onto your plants, you can rest easy knowing that no residue remains. Your fruits and vegetables are still perfectly safe and healthy for your family to enjoy. Colloidal silver may also be combined with water and vinegar to create a fruit and vegetable wash. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in its recent study, “Epidemiology of Foodborne Norovirus Outbreaks, United States, 2001-2008”, that produce accounted for 46 per cent of all foodborne illnesses across 17 food categories.

In terms of norovirus, more than half of the cases were tied to produce, particularly leafy vegetables and fruit. According to a recent study published in the journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, colloidal silver can deactivate murine norovirus (mouse-based norovirus).

How to Apply Colloidal Silver to Your Garden

Colloidal silver works rapidly and efficiently. In many cases, it needs only moments of contact with the fungus spores or other organisms. Applying colloidal silver to your garden can be a relatively effortless process.

  • Apply small amounts of a diluted solution to the roots to fortify the plant while also preventing root rot.
  • Mix a diluted solution containing one tablespoon of colloidal silver and one liter of water and spray on the leaves and flowers.
  • Add to your watering can at the rate of one tablespoon per liter of water.

Interestingly, plants may have the ability to control their rate of absorption of colloidal silver. Researchers found that the more nanosilver they applied to the green onions, the less the plants absorbed. This indicates that the plants absorbed only what they needed to promote their protection and healing.

One study suggests that, over time, soil can become contaminated with the silver particles, causing the plants and young seedlings to respond in a certain way. In this study, pine tree seedlings exhibited reduced growth. If heavy silver saturation is a concern, you may find container gardening to be a good place to start with your silver application.

This way, you can replace the soil any time you choose if things aren’t going the way you envisioned. With this in mind, moderation may be the key to using colloidal silver in your gardening endeavors.

Read Next: Proper Propagation - Perfecting the Practice of Plant Reproduction


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Written by Kathryn Van Druff | Freelance Writer & Marketing Specialist

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Kathryn M. Van Druff is a freelance writer and marketing specialist with her own business, Dances with Words. She has years of experience writing about gardening, landscaping, and home design topics. Kate is also an avid home gardener, wife, and mother to two daughters and a border collie.

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