Farming with an Old Technology that Copies Nature’s Basic Formula

by Edward DuQuette
I’ve written and taught on the subject of farming and alterative growing techniques for quite a few years now. Aquaponics has always been my favorite subject to elaborate on. Aquaponics, and its close cousin Hydroponics, both have endured a wave of criticism and praise. But when it’s all said and done, both technologies have proven themselves over and over again as successful means of growing larger and more desirable fruit and vegetable products. So who’s the new guy in town, what’s the newest growing technique? Well first of all it’s not new; the developed process has been around for over 50 years and the bases of this process been around since the first plant popped its way through the soil. When I first heard of it about two years ago, it sounded too simple to be true.
Making it Easy
As an engineer, I love to unravel technology to understand it. As a teacher, I love to take what I’ve learned and teach it to others, and as a writer, I love to present it in written text to excite experimentation. In Japan around 1935, a hormone was found as a result of a plant condition that caused plants to grow much taller than normal. The condition was called “foolish seedling “disease, and after many years of research, this natural occurring plant hormone was identified as Gibberellic acid or GA3. The direct benefits of GA3 are that it helps regulate plant growth, rapid seed germination, and plant resistance to cold and disease in almost all vegetable, fruit and flowers. Where does Gibberellic acid come from? It’s a natural product extracted from the Gibberella fujikuroi fungus that is found on rice plants. There are many forms of gibberellic acid with GA3 proven to be the most effective.


Tomatoes grow larger, taste better (sweeter), produce more per plant and much larger plants. This tomato was nearly 4 lbs., the plant also produced over 50 tomatoes around that size.

Letthe Growing Begin
Gibberellic Acid is a white powder; it can be purchased in 2.0-5.0 grams packaging. Larger quantities are also available, but for initial experimentation the 2.0-5.0 gram packaging is the most economical. A little GA3 goes a long way and because of its involved manufacturing process it is not cheap. You will also need a new unused plant sprayer, isopropyl alcohol 70%, distilled water (or filtered water) and a source of music.
Dilute the GA3 powder; the GA3 powder is very hard to dissolve just by stirring in water alone. Proper dissolving can easily done by adding very small amounts of alcohol to the GA3 being used until the powder is dissolved (this very small amount of alcohol will not hurt your plants). The dissolved powder than can be added to the distilled water to produce the proper PPM dilution. (See chart below) Also recommended is the addition of a wetting agent; a few drops of agriculture soap can be used.
It is very important to remember proper PPM dilution rates for success. Too much GA3 or too little can affect your end results. The GA3 needs to be applied in early morning before sunrise if possible. Bright sunlight will effect GA3, making it less effective or destroying its effect completely. Only mix what you’re going to use that day. The powder can spoil in high heat and will only last about one week once mixed. Wrap the unused powder container in aluminum foil to protect from direct sunlight. If stored in a cool, dry place, the powder can store for up to 2 years. Do not freeze or refrigerate.
GA3 Powder 90% is soluble in 70% common rubbing alcohol. Before it can be used is must be turned into a liquid. The amount of Gibberellic acid that needs to be used is very small. Drop the correct amount of powder in a small bottle, then add a few drops of rubbing alcohol. The only reason to use alcohol is to dilute the Gibberellic acid powder. Use just enough alcohol to wet the gibberellic acid powder. If after a couple of minutes you can still see some powder, add a few more drops of alcohol. Then just add water to get the right concentration. It is often said that alcohol will damage plants, but not in the very low concentration needed to dissolve Gibberellic acid. 90% GA3 powder will not dissolve in water.
You don’t need much of the solution to soak your seeds, just enough for the seeds to fully swell. Most seeds can be soaked in the small poly-bags. Tiny seeds should be folded up in a filter paper for ease of handling when soaking. Larger seeds can be soaked in a pill bottle or small jar.
To know the concentration, replace X and Y, (X mg / Yml) x 1000 = Z ppm
To know the amount of solution to make to get a certain ppm, replace X and Z, (X mg / Z ppm) x 1000 = Y ml
To know the quantity of powder to use, replace Z and Y, (Z ppm x Y ml) / 1000 = X mg
For example: 100mg of GA3 in 200ml of water gives you 200ml at 500 ppm (part per million). 100mg of GA3 in 400ml of water gives you 400ml at 250 ppm. 1g of GA3 at 90% concentration will be supplied as a powder in a small ziplock bag, sufficient quantity to make 2 liters of solution at 500 ppm. You should have enough for a couple of years.
Use strong solution, 500 ppm, on very hard to germinate seeds; and a 250 ppm on seeds that are just hard or slow to start. Seeds enclosed in a hard coat may be submit to a higher concentration, 750-1000 ppm. You can scarify the seeds at first. Soak seeds for at 24 hours and at most three days for the ones enclosed in a hard coat. Keep the seeds at room temperature with occasional careful shaking. The seeds may then be sown. Don’t use it on easy to start seeds unless you dilute it greatly, like 25-100 ppm, and soak them only for 2-3 hours. Normal, easy-to-sprout seeds will become very elongated and stretched out, then die if GA3 is used on them. Concentrations of about 2 ppm can cause tubers to sprout earlier.
Gibberellic acid can also influence the timing of flowering, flower gender, flower size, and number of flowers. If a plant is sufficiently developed, premature flowering may be induced by direct application of GA3 to young plants. Formation of male flowers is generally promoted by concentrations of 10 to 200 ppm, female flowers by concentrations of 200 to 300 ppm. You may have an increase in the number of flowers by direct application of GA3 to young plants, at 25 ppm.
When there is difficulty with fruit set because of incomplete pollination, GA3 may be effectively used to increase fruit set. The resulting fruit may be partially or entirely seedless. GA3 applied near the terminal bud of trees may increase the rate of growth by stimulating more or less constant growth during the season. Since GA3 regulates growth, applications of very low concentrations can have a profound effect while too much will have the opposite effect.
Although GA3 is not listed as a poison, the following precautions should be observed. Flush with water any GA3 that may get into the eye. Avoid skin contact if possible and wash away any contact with soap and water. Avoid ingestion of GA3.
Edward DuQuette teaches several classes on Aquaponics, organic farming, hydroponics, and solar and wind power as off the grid options at 2- Utah Colleges and a Trade School Program. He freelance writes for several publications (his favorite is Cornell SFQ). He has a background in electronics engineering and mechanical design, with military and commercial applications. Ed is semi-retired and lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah. He can be reached at
For additional information on GA3 check the web. Also if you like your results and want to extend your application consider buying a system for Sonic Bloom Company.
Seaweed/ Kelp fertilize I used was Dr. Earth Seaweed Concentrate 16oz bottle. Gibberellic Acid can also be purchased of the web. Be sure its 90% pure powder.
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Carli Fraccarolli


  1. Avatar of Devon Devon on June 5, 2016 at 9:18 am

    When you say direct application to plants do you mean Foliar Spraying. Thanks…

  2. Avatar of donna donna on June 21, 2018 at 9:17 am

    It would be great if the answers were posted here for everyone, rather than private emailing. I would appreciate knowing that answer also.

    • klr235 on June 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Donna,
      Unfortunately, we do not have the capability for the author to be notified of comments under the article and to be able to respond. Therefore, individual email inquiries are necessary. Sorry for the inconvenience, but feel free to email the author any questions!

  3. Avatar of john cobler john cobler on November 2, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    i bought 2grams and dont know how to mix for old seed

    • Kelsie Raucher on November 7, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      Hi John,
      Questions about this can be directed to the author of the article. Edward can be reached at

    • Avatar of Mike Anand Mike Anand on November 19, 2020 at 1:58 pm

      To make Small house plants flower, eg., Peace Lilly and Orchids etc., what ppm, how much and how often ? Thanks!

  4. Avatar of Ken Ken on January 27, 2019 at 12:50 am

    Dilute to 250 ppm (some say as high as 2000 ppm, but stretchy plants or worse result) with article suggested alcohol method. Soak overnight in solution. Wash lightly with ro water at 6.0 ph and use same ro water to make a papertowel bed wet with ro, not soaked papertowel. Place in platic bags that are vented to air in dark. Await cracking, never letting seeds get dry. Heating is best at 69 to 70 degrees.
    P.s. direct spray is foliar spray at terminal bud end, not every where like fan leaves. This stretches stems nicely. Especially paired with IAA (auxin).

  5. Avatar of Angela Waterford Angela Waterford on August 29, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    I’m glad that a little GA3 will go a long way in order to make my plants grow healthy. I think I’ll hire a plant growth regulator service to use this on my flower seeds so that I’ll have a headstart in the garden contest that I entered. Since it’s natural, I’m sure that the judges will approve of me using these on my plants.

  6. Avatar of Robert Takos Robert Takos on March 1, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    3-1-2021 weighed out 1 gram GA on electronic micro scale. Dilution with alcohol was difficult.
    15 ml 70% rubbing alcohol in glass container finally dissolved 1 gram GA in about 15 minutes.
    Drop by drop method using 1 gram GA with constant stirring took more than 200 drops and 20 minutes before the plastic cup began to form residues/melt; GA is an acid after all.
    Q: I am concerned my plastic sprayer will melt, same as my plastic cup. What kind of plastic will withstand GA’s acidity?
    Q: How important is distilled water in place of tap water?
    Q: Dissolving GA is tedious. Will pure grain alcohol facilitate dissolution of GA?

    • Avatar of Nick Husby Nick Husby on January 16, 2022 at 2:46 pm

      Skip the drop method, just add like 20 or 30ml alcohol all at once. I just dump enough rubbing alcohol on it to fill the bottom of the tiny dish that came with my scale and mixed it by sloshing around with my tweezers. The extra alcohol will dilute the acid so it doesn’t eat stuff and it works faster. It should still be an insignificant amount of alcohol when diluted in water.

      I use tap water, but I have a whole house filtration system. As long as the PH is below 7.0 you should be fine. A higher PH will react with the GA3.

  7. Avatar of Dinesh Bhandari Dinesh Bhandari on March 28, 2021 at 4:10 am

    How much ppm of ga3 in 100 litre of water need for vigorous g
    rowth in apple plant
    1• for vigorous shoots
    2•for thik stems

    • Avatar of Dinesh Bhandari Dinesh Bhandari on March 28, 2021 at 4:13 am

      Please suggest my plants almost in dyeing situation

  8. Avatar of Om Prakash Nishad Om Prakash Nishad on July 9, 2021 at 1:52 am

    I bought 2.5 gm 40% GA3. Can I dissolve all of it in 50 ml of Rubbing Alcohol and keep it for 6 months? Please suggest any method to store GA3 in liquid form for atleast 6 months.

    • Avatar of Nick Husby Nick Husby on January 16, 2022 at 2:49 pm

      It stores best in powder form, up to 2 years. Once mixed, you should keep it refrigerated and protected from light. I store my mixed solution in a brown glass bottle in the back of the fridge.

  9. Avatar of Mary Parisi Mary Parisi on August 5, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    I am no expert on GA3 but the instructions which came with the small quantity I just purchased said that when mixed with water it would only be good for a week.

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