Are Pet Ashes Good For Plants?

Whether it’s a cat, a dog, or losing Nemo, losing a pet is tough grief. Some of us go the digging way, creating little graves with flowers; tons of us decide to cremate them.

Whether it’s a cat, a dog, or losing Nemo, losing a pet is tough grief. Some of us go the digging way, creating little graves with flowers; tons of us decide to cremate them.

 While some of us store the cremated pet ashes in an urn next to a fireplace, many honor them in a garden where they loved to play catch spreading their barks and purrs within the plants.

However, are pet ashes suitable for plants? Like how manure helps plants grow, does spreading a pet’s ashes over a plant induce growth? The answer is no, and this article will give a detailed explanation.

Are Pet Ashes Are Harmful to Plants?

Pet Ashes are not a growth product that makes flowers bloom and plants stand tall and pretty. It’s quite the opposite; Plants thrive on fertilizers that provide natural nutrients to generate the essential elements they need to survive. 

Aside from the sunlight, photosynthesis relies on an optimum calcium concentration and pH level in the soil; cremated pet ashes stunt the healthy development of plants due to their high level of calcium. When pets are cremated, not only do their beautiful furs go through a crematorium, but their flesh and bones are included.

Bones are major calcium suppliers, thus making up the primary part of the ashes. Spreading cremated ashes over a plant hinders the structure and productivity of the soil, further ruining nutrient availability.

 However, you don’t have to feel gloomy at the thought of not giving Nemo a resting place, as cremated ashes in small amounts are harmless to plants.

So how do you spread the love of our favorite furry animals over gardens without harming the plants?

The answer is finding a balance; since Pet ashes contain high calcium concentrations, using a neutralizing agent to reduce its attention is the best way to go about it.

This is where alternatives like soy mealcoffee grounds, or manure come into play.

Coffee is a major booster for the body, but it isn’t beneficial to the human body alone. Its acidity can substantially decrease the pH level in cremated ashes; this also applies to soy meal and manure. 

Although coffee grounds, soy meal, and manure are potent methods of neutralizing a high concentration of calcium in the ashes, you should utilize them in moderate quantities to avoid stunted growth.

An excellent quantity to be used per week is 1-4 cups of coffee grounds with 3-4 glasses of water mixed with the cremated ash. Keep in mind that the alternatives mentioned above decrease the alkalinity of the ash to a minimal level.

The ideal way to lower soil pH levels is by applying elemental sulfur, a fertilizer efficient at decreasing the soil’s pH level. The elemental sulfur varies in size, depending on the quantity of the pet ash and desired location.

The x-large elemental sulfur is ideal for a large quantity of pet ash, with the desired location being trees. The large-sized sulfur works best for moderate pet ashes buried underneath plants, small trees, or bushes. In contrast, the medium-sized elemental sulfur is sufficient for a small number of pet ashes stored within a large container.

The downside to utilizing the elemental sulfur is it’s weather-specific; it works only during the summer season as bacteria thrive higher in warm seasons. 

As the weather gets warm, bacterial activity increases; hence, mix the sulfur with ash thoroughly before applying it to the soil.

Nonetheless, these alternatives to making pet ash good for plants take few days to be effective, especially the elemental sulfur, which works within 90-120 days. 

If you decide to plant a tree on the resting place of your beloved pet animal, testing the soil pH after 120 days of applying either manure, coffee, or sulfur is advisable.

Regardless of your soil pH attaining the optimum level of 5.5-7.0, it is ideal to wait for few months before planting your tree. 

However, few plants can grow and withstand the alkalinity in pet ashes. These plants include;

  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • European Ash
  • Dalmatian Bellflower
  • Ornamental Cherry 
  • Dwarf Mugo Pine

Keep in mind that the plants mentioned above thrive under alkalinity only in the wild; nonetheless, there are also potted or house plants that can withstand alkaline soil. These plants are;

  • Orchid
  • Aloe vera
  • Easter lily
  • Amaryllis
  • Gardenia
  • Philodendron
  • Barrel cactus

There are other ways to make a plant memorial for your pet ashes without ruining the plant life, and we’ll be exploring those options next.

Alternative Ways to Bury Pet Ashes Underneath the Ground

If you are in a hurry to place grow a plant on your pet’s ashes but lack the patience of waiting 120 days for the fertilizers to kick in or months to cultivate a garden, there are alternative ways of burying a pet to consider.

The Biodegradable Urn Alternative

Urns are prominent ash storage options, and biodegradable urns are environment friendly, made from natural materials like coconut shells, recycled paper, plant materials, or wool fiber which decomposes with time. 

Placing your pet ashes in a biodegradable urn enhances the environment making the memories of your favorite animal part of nature with zero harmful effect. The biodegrading of the jar depends on the material used to craft the urn.

Biodegradable urns containing pet ashes are suitable for plants or trees memorial decompose once they contact the soil. There are different types of biodegradable urns to hold your pet ashes, these include;

Biodegradable living urn: Crafted from recycled plant materials designed to hold cremated ashes, the living jar contains soil additives that grow your pet ashes into a beautiful memorial plant or tree. Once in contact with the soil, the urn dissolves, and decomposition occurs within few months.

Designed in an eco-friendly casing that allows you to engrave the name or special memory of your pet, the living urn is an ideal resting place for the ashes of your pet.

Biodegradable burial urn: Sustainable and crafted from eco-friendly bamboo material, this urn buries ashes without plants or areas growing on it. Usually designed in a cylindrical shape with a birch lock to secure ashes, the burial urn has a casing to engrave the name of your pet.

Biodegradable water urn: Designed to sail cremated ashes across the water, the water urn is constructed from plant materials and infused with pressure and heat. The water urn is also shaped for engravings and is ideal for water-based burials.

Biodegradable plant urn: Although designed for homes, plant urns are made from hardwoods with a ceramic pot accompanying them that contains a small plant. Using the plant urn is like killing three birds with one stone; it beautifies your home décor, keeps your pet ashes close, and fulfills your plant desired burial.

The Non-degradable Urn Alternative  

Designed to be sturdy and sustainable against unfavorable conditions, the non-degradable urn decomposes slowly with no plant growth. The materials that are recycled to craft this urn vary from glass to ceramic or wood.

The different kinds of non-degradable urns include;

  • Display Urns which are ideal if you want to display the pet ashes indoors or outdoors
  • Keepsake urns are small and hold only a minimum quantity of ashes, and are designed with a sentimental purpose, usually in the form of a necklace or other creative items.
  • Scattering urns are designed to hold ashes temporarily for scattering ashes.


Pets are part of our families, and losing them is always a heartbreaking experience. Some of us choose to honor the pet ashes through a plant or tree memorial as pet parents.

However, pet ashes are not suitable for plant life; thus, the best way to memorialize the ashes under the ground is by mixing them with fertilizers to lower the soil pH or placing them within biodegradable urns. Either way, your pet’s happy wagging and purrs complement the environment, spreading their love amongst nature.

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