Lactic Acid Bacteria Benefits for Cannabis Plants

Using lactic acid bacteria in agriculture is a relatively new idea. However, it seems there are a host of reasons to do so, including natural pest control, improved soil quality, and enhanced crop growth. This is fantastic news for organic cannabis cultivators looking for new and exciting ways to improve plant health and boost their yield.

This article explores some of the best-known lactic acid bacteria benefits and how to use them for maximum effect.

What Are Lactic Acid Bacteria?

There are 38 known genera of lactic acid bacteria. Some of the best-known examples include Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, and Bifidobacterium species.

These beneficial microorganisms produce lactic acid as a by-product of their digestive process and have been used globally for centuries to preserve food by pickling and fermentation. They are also famous for their probiotic effects and have a positive impact on gut health, making them a popular addition to probiotic supplements and foods.


In recent years, scientists have begun to explore the potential of lactic acid bacteria in agriculture. They provide a range of benefits and could be a viable natural alternative to the harmful chemical pesticides and fertilizers commonly used over the past few decades.

They form a symbiotic relationship with plants, with both organisms benefitting one another in various ways. The plants provide the bacteria with carbohydrates as a food source, and, in return, the bacteria create an optimal environment for the plants to thrive. We will explore some of their key benefits in the next section.

Benefits of Lactic Acid Bacteria for Cannabis Plants

There is little research specifically on lactic acid bacteria and cannabis, but there is a growing body of evidence surrounding their use in general agriculture. According to a 2022 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Science, the potential benefits of lactic acid bacteria include:

  • Biocontrol: Lactic acid bacteria can act as organic pesticides, as they create acidic soil conditions and have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
  • Biofertilization: Lactic acid bacteria promote the decomposition of organic matter to increase soil fertility. They also enhance nutrient availability and uptake; for instance, they fix nitrogen in the soil and improve the solubility of phosphorus and potassium.
  • Biostimulation: Lactic acid bacteria secrete hormones that stimulate root and shoot growth.
  • Bioremediation: Lactic acid bacteria detoxify heavy metals and mycotoxins in the soil, increase moisture retention, and improve aeration.

How to Provide Your Plants with Lactic Acid Bacteria

There are several different ways to use lactic acid bacteria for plants, depending on your desired effects.

You apply lactic acid bacteria in the form of a liquid culture, which we will explain how to prepare below. You must dilute this liquid with a mixture of water and nutrient solution using a 1:1000 ratio, which is equivalent to ¾ of a teaspoon (4ml) of lactic acid bacteria culture per gallon. You can then use it in the following ways:

  • Use as an ingredient in compost or compost tea to prepare soil prior to planting
  • Apply sparingly as a foliar spray to prevent fungal infections
  • Treat seeds to promote germination, inoculate them with beneficial microbes, and prevent infections

Now, let’s look at how to prepare a lactic acid bacteria culture at home using just a few everyday items and ingredients.

Preparing Lactobacillus at Home

Lactobacillus is one of the most common lactic acid bacteria species, and it is easy to create a liquid culture to use on your cannabis plants. Here’s what you will need:


  • Rice grains
  • Water
  • Organic cow or goat milk (unpasteurized is best)


  • Sieve
  • Large bowl or jug
  • Wide mouth mason jar
  • Cheesecloth
  • Elastic bands or string
  • Measuring jug
  • Plastic bottle with lid


  1. Place the rice in the sieve and rinse it twice, collecting the cloudy rinsing water in the bowl or jug.
  2. Pour the rinsing water into the jar and cover it with cheesecloth. Secure the cheesecloth with elastic bands or string.
  3. Store the jar at room temperature, keeping it away from direct sunlight. Do not move the jar unnecessarily or shake it as it ferments.
  4. After 3-5 days, you should notice that a mat has formed on top of the liquid. It should also have a slightly sour smell, indicating that it has successfully fermented. Pour the cloudy liquid into a bowl or jug and discard the mat layer.
  5. Measure one part fermented rice water and ten parts milk to fill approximately ⅔ of your jar. For example, if you have a 32oz mason jar, use 2oz of rice water and 20oz of milk.
  6. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and secure, as in step 2. Then store it at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, as in step 3. Once again, avoid moving or shaking the jar.
  7. After 3-5 days (or longer in cooler climates), you should notice that the jar contents have separated, leaving a solid white mass floating on top of a layer of yellow liquid underneath. This liquid is your lactic acid bacteria culture. Remove the solids, taking care not to mix them back into the liquid, and pour the liquid into a plastic bottle for storage. Place the cap on the bottle loosely.
  8. Keep the lactic acid bacteria culture at room temperature for up to a week or in a refrigerator for up to six months. The culture should have a sweet aroma. If it begins to smell rotten, discard it and make a new batch.

Precautions to Take During the Use of Lactic Acid Bacteria

Lactic acid bacteria are living organisms, and you will need to take precautions to keep them alive.


Firstly, avoid disturbing your soil too much after adding the bacteria. The largest colonies live just beneath the surface, and exposing them to UV light can kill them. Many experts recommend applying lactic acid bacteria at night or just before you turn off your grow room lights.

You will also want to avoid salt-based fertilizers as they upset the natural balance of the soil, killing off beneficial microorganisms and allowing harmful ones to thrive. Opt for organic soil amendments instead, as these will act as food for your lactic acid bacteria and cannabis plants alike!

Bottom Line on Lactic Acid Bacteria

Using lactic acid bacteria for cannabis plants is a fairly new idea, but it has several potential benefits. A decreased risk of infections and enhanced growth are some of the most obvious advantages. Lactic acid bacteria also improve soil health and help the environment rather than harming it.

Although research is in its infancy, these microorganisms are showing great promise in the cultivation of various crops. Moreover, it is easy to create a liquid culture at home, so why not give it a try and see how lactic acid bacteria work for you?

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