Bananas are a good source of potassium, phosphorus and calcium. To varying degrees, these nutrients are beneficial to both humans and plants.
You can repurpose banana peels as an organic plant fertilizer in your garden, and in this article I will teach you how to use banana peels to fertilize your plants and what to expect from banana skins used as plant fertilizer.
So, next time you’re eating a banana, don’t toss out the peel, but use one of the following ways to turn it into a nutritious fertilizer for your plants.
How to Make Plant Fertilizer from Banana Peels?
There are many recipes and methods to turn banana skins into a veritable plant fertilizer. Here are just some of the ways you can make banana peels work as a natural fertilizer.
Soaking Banana Peels in Water
This method is straightforward — simply let fresh banana peels sit in water for 24 to 48 hours and use the water to water your plants. Alternatively, you can puree banana peels with water for an easy-to-use fertilizer.
You can chop up banana peels and add them to a compost pile and use the compost as a good way to increase the organic material content of the soil and fertilize for your plants.
Drying Banana Peels
If you’re worried about smells and potentially attracting pests, I recommend chopping up and drying your banana peels in the over or in the sun.
You can use these banana chips or turn them into a powder in a food processor, then work them into the soil.
Working Banana Peels Into the Soil
You can also cut banana peels into one inch strips or chop them into small pieces, then lay them on top of the soil or work them into the potting soil.
The problem with this method is that you may attract fruit flies and other pests.
When banana skins are used chopped or as strips, they slowly decay and release fertilizer into the soil much like a slow-release fertilizer.
Used in powdered form, the effect is more immediate compared to working banana skins into the soil.
Are Banana Peels Good for All Plants?
While all plants can benefit from the nutrients contained within banana peels, it’s important to remember that they’re not a complete fertilizer.
If you’re only using banana peels as a fertilizer, it may not be enough for your plants. So, my recommendation is to use it in combination with a balanced plant fertilizer.
Another potential issue with banana peels is the use of pesticides. Bananas are routinely sprayed with pesticides, which can seep into the soil of your plants.
If you’re planning on using banana peels around edible plants or in a vegetable garden, pick organically certified bananas for this project.
Pesticides can end up in your edible plants, so you must avoid using peels treated with pesticides if you grow your plants for human consumption.
Which Plants Like Banana Peels?
Flowering plants and some fruit-bearing plants enjoy it if their soil is amended with banana peels. Roses, staghorn and elkhorn ferns, tomatoes, and peppers all can benefit from banana skins added to their soil.
As I mentioned, with fruit-bearing plants and edible plants, you must watch out for pesticides seeping into the soil, so choose certified organic bananas instead.
Benefits of Fertilizing Plants with Banana Peels
Banana peels feed your plants with phosphorus, potassium, calcium and trace amounts of magnesium and nitrogen.
Gardeners who use banana peels in their gardens, cite the following benefits:
- Stimulating flowering and fruit production
- Stimulates the growth of healthy root systems
Of course, an added benefit is that they’re a cheap and natural fertilizer, often available in households.
Can You Fertilize Indoor Plants with Banana Peels? (does this fertilizer stink?)
While you can fertilizer even your indoor plants with banana peels, there are a few caveats that you must know about.
They smell bad
Banana peels added on top of the soil of potted plants will start decomposing and well… they won’t smell too good. Even when worked into the soil, they can still emit some odor as they decompose.
You can dry out banana peels in the oven or out in the sun, then turn them into a powder or chips, thus reducing odor problems associated with decomposition and rotting. Composted banana peels are also an option.
The rotting process can attract pests
You may dismiss the bad odor as a non-issue, but you won’t be happy with the pests that may pop up in your house because of banana peels added to your potted plants.
There are at least half a dozen types of insects and bugs that will happily feast on the banana peels you leave on the soil of your potted plants.
Fruit flies, regular flies, gnats, ants, bees, and sometimes even cockroaches may grace you with their presence if you decide to add banana skins to your plants.
To avoid these issues, it’s best to use composted banana peels instead. You can still enjoy the benefits of increasing the organic matter around your plants but without the hassle of dealing with pest problems.
They’re not a complete fertilizer
As I mentioned before, banana skins are not a complete fertilizer and you’re going to need to supplement your plant’s feeding regimen with other fertilizers as well.
Depending on your plants, you can use slow-release fertilizers or a balanced water-soluble, liquid fertilizer. These will complete the nutrition offered by your banana fertilizer.
Whether composted or worked into the soil as they are, banana skins can add organic matter to the soil and provide some essential nutrients needed to sustain healthy plant growth, blooming, and fruit formation.
Of all the methods I described above, pick the one that works best depending on whether you plan on using banana peels for your indoor plants or outdoor plants.
Use banana skins for your plants in addition to complete plant fertilizers to make up for any nutritional deficiencies not covered by the nutrients in banana peels.