HomeGardening Guide9 Uses of Charcoal in the Garden | Is Charcoal Good for...

9 Uses of Charcoal in the Garden | Is Charcoal Good for Garden Soil

It might sound weird at first, the Uses of Charcoal in the Garden are many! If you want to know the multitude of benefits it has on offer, keep reading!

If you want to develop a healthy garden, taking an in-depth look at the leftovers from your weekend barbeque might be a good idea! Sounds weird? Trust us; it is not! Adding charcoal to the garden soil is one of the simplest ways to increase its pH levels, improving air circulation with its ability to retain nutrients and water. Let’s have a closer look at the uses of charcoal in the garden!

Check out our article on Activated Charcoal for plants here! 

1. As a Soil Conditioner

Uses of Charcoal in the Garden

Charcoal acts as an excellent soil conditioner, thanks to its high potassium content and low cost, it’s a suitable replacement of lime in soil additive mixes. What’s more, you can also use it for bedding organic insecticides or weedicides as well, as it helps to sweeten mulch and bring it at the optimal pH, especially for roses.

2. Neutralizes Plant Poisons

Walnut trees produce a hormone called Jugalone, which releases into the surrounding soil by leaves that wither and fall to the ground. It is toxic to any plant that strives to establish in the vicinity of the walnut. When walnut trees fall, the decomposing roots continue to release the poison.

Charcoal can be added to the build-up for complete surface adsorption. You can spread it as a slurry or gently work it into the soil. This is one of the best uses of charcoal in the garden!

3. Container Filler

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The next time you pick up some rocks for filling the bottom of your pots, consider using natural hardwood charcoal instead. You see, charcoal is a better option because it’s lighter than gravel and rocks. Hence, its inclusion makes the pots lighter and, consequently, easier to move around.

This is particularly convenient when the weather is unpredictable. You need to move your plants frequently, to take advantage of sunlight, or to protect them from the frost. What’s more, you can even reuse the charcoal when you change the container!

4. As a Soil Additive

There is a reason why store-bought soil mixes contain charcoal. When included in potting soil, charcoal soaks up the nauseating odors of compost and manure, while leaving the nutritional integrity of the mixture intact. You can even add a few charcoal pellets to your potting mix, in case the smell becomes too much to bear.

5. Herbicide Neutralization

Uses of Charcoal in the Garden you never knew

Herbicides, often have a long hang time in the soil. They tend to linger around for quite a few years, even after the target plants have died. This causes an unfavorable growth environment for your future crops.

If you intend to use an area subjected to Isoxaben or Oryzalin Herbicides, add some hardwood charcoal to the soil just before planting. This will serve a two-fold purpose- diluting the herbicides and precluding the potential growth problems for optimum development of plants.

6. Pesticide Cleanup and Removal

The absorption qualities of activated charcoal, coupled with its non-toxic nature, makes it ideal for neutralizing the harmful effect of pesticides. Scientifically speaking, a mixture of one pound of charcoal mixed in one gallon water, is enough to treat and clean up pesticide build-up in about 100-150 square feet of soil.

If the affected area is too big to spread it manually, consider spraying it all over to remove superficial pesticide treatments. Do keep in mind that charcoal works only for organic pesticides, not for the synthetic ones. This is one of the best uses of charcoal in the garden!

7. Charcoal Mulch

You don’t always need brown or green plant material to mulch. Mulching with black charcoal can be just as effective. It creates a protective covering over the soil surface while preventing moisture from escaping the soil. This helps to preclude the growth of weed in the process. Using a layer of charcoal as mulch around light-colored plants is a unique way to create a different look and highlighting a freshly done patch in the garden!

8. Anti-Fungal Protection

In research published in Frontiers in Plant Science, it states that adding charcoal to the soil is an effective strategy to manage and reduce fungal infections in plants. As charcoal is one of the most potent ways to kill the mycotoxins that mold creates, using it in your garden is surely going to keep fungal infection at bay.

9. Organic Insect Killer

Uses of Charcoal in the Garden with many benefits

If scientific reports are anything to go by, powdered natural charcoal is extremely potent in deterring Tribolium Castenum. It is a beetle, having a voracious appetite when it comes to grain products like beans, flour, pet food, dried flowers, cereals, pasta, and so on.

Tribolium Castenum and the flour beetles are the worst nightmares of every grocery store owner. Using well-bleached and desiccated charcoal dust can do a neat job of killing these pesky insects, that too without leaving behind any toxic residues!

Charcoal is one of the best, simplest, and cheapest ways to aid to the growth of your garden!


  1. Maybe you should be a bit more specific and detailed in your quick google searches. Horticultural Charcoal. Please gardeners, don’t put chunks of the charcoal from your grill into your plants. Please.

  2. You can do the same with your own garden or farm soil by adding the single vital ingredient of terra preta, charcoal.  When used in soil building, charcoal is often referred to as “biochar.”


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