Sex hormones

A friend of mine swears that if you mix a birth control pill with a gallon of water and use it to water the plant once before the plant begins to flower and again two weeks after it begins, the plant will grow monstrous buds. He says it has something to do with estrogen. Is this weed fact or fiction?
Uncle Jesse,
Rock Hill, South Carolina

It is common knowledge among ornamental gardeners that birth control pills act like a tonic on some plants. I have interviewed several prizewinning flower growers who have told me that birth control pills increased the number and size of the flowers on their plants. Many years ago I interviewed a farmer who used birth control pills on his tomatoes and claimed increased yields.

Using birth control pills on ornamental plants does not pose risk. However, if you think of marijuana as a food plant, then there is a more of a risk. I don’t think that I’d want to ingest a food plant treated with estrogen or progesterone.

Birth control pills are typically made from hormones harvested from the urine of pregnant horses. Some people use human menstrual blood as a fertilizer, with apparently successful results.

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