Making Houseplant Tea with Eggshells and Banana Skins, and why you should.
When visiting the garden centre, the 'plant feed' shelf contains a mind bogglingly enormous range of commercial fertilisers you could feed to your houseplants. But I stopped using them years ago. I make Houseplant Tea with Eggshells and Banana Skins instead.
Since we started keeping chickens, we get through more eggs than we used to. I used to make houseplant tea with eggshells occasionally, now I make it all the time. Our hens go to all the trouble of laying beautiful eggs for us every day. We eat and enjoy the contents, and it's nice to do something with the shells too so nothing goes to waste.
Meanwhile our youngest eats bananas like they're going out of style. So we always have banana skins. We compost both eggshells and banana skins at the allotment, but I create a simple houseplant fertiliser out of them first before they go into the counter top compost bin. It costs nothing, takes minutes of your time to do and the plants seem to love it.
How many houseplants can one family have?
Quite frankly: never enough. We have houseplants in every room, with multiple houseplants in the bathroom where it's lovely and steamy from the shower. So a nice cheap/free way of feeding them all and keeping them happy is fine by me.
Why are bananas and eggshells good for plants?
Bananas contain nutrients that houseplants love. When you soak banana skins and the skins decompose, banana peels release potassium and small amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and magnesium into the water.
Meanwhile egg shells are a rich source of calcium in the form of calcium carbonate. According to "Concepts of Eggshell Quality", a paper published on the University of Florida website, eggshells also contain other nutrients which are important for plants such as phosphorus and magnesium, together with traces of sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, iron and copper. Again, as you soak the skins the goodies are released into the water.
Combined together, banana skins and egg shells make a great combination. I have read that if you're making your own fertiliser then you should add commercial houseplant feeder too to ensure your plants are getting everything they need. I never do that. The plants seem completely happy with their tea, they thrive on it and I don't feed them anything else.
What you need to make Houseplant Tea with Eggshells and Banana Skins
You will need:
A bowl, large jar or ceramic plant pot.
Used egg shells.
This isn't going to be a very long method. Simply pop your banana skins and broken up eggshells into the pot and pour water over the top. Try to make sure your skins and eggshells are completely under the surface to delay the inevitable arrival of fruit flies and other things that will be attracted to it in time.
After 2-3 days (less on hot days, more on cool days), pour the tea out into another vessel, compost the skins and shells and you're ready to dilute it for use.
Doesn't it smell?
It doesn't smell if you leave it for 2-3 days only. Not even slightly. However if you forget and leave it longer, like go away on holiday for example (don't even ask), it goes slimy, smelly and hideous and attracts every fly in a 10 mile radius. Don't do that.
What if I only have eggshells?
Just use them without the banana skins. I used shells on their own for years. An alternative method I have read about is to boil the egg shells for a few minutes, then use the tea when it's gone back to room temperature. I happen to think life is a bit short for boiling eggshells. Besides, my plants seem quite happy to enjoy the tea without the boiling thing.
How much do you dilute the Houseplant Tea?
I dilute the tea with water 50/50 in a watering can and then water my plants with it. Arguably you don't need to dilute the tea, but I'm not a great fan of insects around my plants (is anyone?). My logic being: the more diluted the tea is, the less likely it is to attract anything. And because I use the tea all through the summer months, they get the goodies little and often which I think is a good way to feed them.
How often do you feed your Plants?
I use this feed 50/50 every time I water from about March to October. In the winter time I don't feed my houseplants at all.
Does it work?
My houseplants say "yes, dear Reader, it does. By the way, if you're talking to her, could you let her know she doesn't need to have plants suspended from the ceiling all the time? Sometimes we're happy just to be in a pot on the side. Thanks."
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