Become a Gardening Legend with the 3 Superpowers of Cinnamon

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Cinnamon tastes great and is a superfood in its own right, but its true brilliance shines through when helping other foods grow into their best selves-- in the garden. With a whopping 3 magic powers, all totally unrelated to its health benefits, cinnamon is the natural alternative to many common gardening chemicals. You can sprinkle it about on its own, or brew it overnight like tea and spritz the resulting liquid. Either way, you'll immediately start seeing benefits like...

1. It kills bacteria and fungi.

Cinnamon has the amazing ability to kill most harmful bacteria and fungi, but even more amazing is the twin ability to not kill wildlife and pets. It can stop damping off disease on seedlings (where little white hairs smother the baby plant), prevent competition from mushrooms, and even help plants heal as a natural horticultural antiseptic. These antimicrobial properties also make cinnamon great for transplanting trimmings, as a thin layer is enough to stop the cut stock from getting infected without interfering with new root growth. 

2. It smells good.

Despite what your mother may have assured while goading you into the bath at five years, smelling good is not normally a superpower. But the smell of cinnamon is so strong and distinct that it can actually help deter pests like ants, which rely on scent to get around. Other common pests like fruit flies and aphids also hate the smell, making cinnamon a great substitute for chemical pesticides. 

3. It absorbs water.

Dried, powdered cinnamon is incredibly dry, something you'll know quite well if you've ever taken the cinnamon challenge. Because of its natural cellulose matrix, cinnamon can absorb a surprising amount of water, making it a perfect companion for plants like orchids that require a delicate balance of moisture to thrive. And because of superpowers number 1 and 2, the saturated cinnamon won't get moldy or smelly, so you can leave it to dry out and absorb water next time. 

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Cinnamon may be a gardening miracle, but it's just one of many incredible hacks to kick your garden into high gear. For way more botanical awesomeness, check out the Little Book of Gardening, with over 140 pages of gardening guides and helpful tips. Better act fast while the planting's still good-- no amount of cinnamon can fend off winter!