Again and again, you hear that banana peels are used as fertilizer. But does it really work? We investigate the myth and clear it up. Fertilizing is often a double-edged sword for gardeners: On the one hand, nutrients are essential for the optimal supply of our plants and thus also for a good harvest, on the other hand, mineral fertilizers are often not only harmful to the climate but also expensive.
In this context, home remedies such as coffee grounds, fertilizer with eggshells, or even banana peels are often mentioned. These waste products from the household are said to be ideal as fertilizer for plants and are considered a real secret weapon. But are banana peels really suitable as fertilizer? Here you will find all the facts about this curious household remedy.
That banana peels are really suitable as fertilizer is doubted by many gardeners. On the other hand, numerous plant lovers also swear by the peels, after all, they promise an almost free replacement of environmentally harmful mineral fertilizers. Also, the numerous minerals, which are present in the banana peel, speak for a positive effect as plant fertilizer.
Properties and ingredients of banana peel
That bananas are healthy and full of important minerals and nutrients is something most people know from childhood. But what about the banana peel, which is removed before eating?
In fact, even the peel of the yellow treat is full of important nutrients, making it far too good for the trash can. Just under 12% of the dried banana peel consists of minerals – potassium is the most abundant element. But banana peels also contain plenty of magnesium and phosphorus. Sulfur, sodium, nitrogen, and other trace elements are also present in smaller quantities.
Unfortunately, the banana peel does not only contain good things: Pesticides used in the cultivation and transport of the tropical fruit are deposited on it and can penetrate into the soil when banana peels are used as fertilizer.
If you want to avoid this, you can buy organically grown bananas in the supermarket. These are not treated with chemicals and can therefore be used in the garden without hesitation.
Use banana peels as fertilizer?
The myth of banana peel as a substitute for fertilizer also contains a grain of truth. In fact, the peels of the plant can be used wonderfully as a source of nutrients for our garden and houseplants.
The advantage is obvious: on the one hand, banana peels are often kitchen waste, which can be reused in a sensible way by processing them into fertilizer. On the other hand, the high potassium and magnesium contents of banana peel in particular form an optimal starting point as a nutrient supplier for other plants.
However, you have to temper the euphoria around banana peel a bit. Even though the banana is a great source of potassium and magnesium, you can’t use it as a complete substitute for conventional fertilizers.
The reason for this is their low nitrogen content – nitrogen is often the limiting factor in plant growth and therefore one of the most important ingredients in fertilizers. Banana peels are therefore only suitable as an additional potassium and magnesium fertilizer if a complete fertilizer is already being used.
If you want to switch to an environmentally friendly alternative here, it is better to use a primarily organic fertilizer. In addition, only the peels of bananas from organic cultivation are suitable for fertilizing plants, because conventional bananas, as already indicated, are often contaminated with pesticides.
Which plants should you fertilize with banana peels?
Unfortunately, banana peels cannot be used as a complete fertilizer – nevertheless, there are numerous plant species that benefit from fertilization with banana peels.
Especially for plants with high potassium requirements – for example tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) and cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) – an additional fertilization with banana peels can be useful.
But flowering plants such as roses (Rosa), geraniums (Pelargonium) and fuchsias (Fuchsia) also benefit from the extra portion of nutrients, as they are considered susceptible to a potassium deficiency.
Using banana peels as a fertilizer can thus improve leaf and flower formation. In addition, the potassium contained in banana peels promotes the winter hardiness of plants and can increase the aroma and shelf life of various fruits.
The advantage over other potassium fertilizers is obvious: it is almost impossible to overfertilize plants with the help of banana fertilizer if you only use peels that are produced in the household.
Application of banana peels as fertilizer
The application of banana peels as fertilizer is actually child’s play – in fact, all you have to do is chop up the peels with a knife or food processor. The rule here is that the smaller the individual pieces are, the faster the banana peel can decompose in the soil and release its nutrients.
The chopped banana peels can now simply be worked into the shallow soil of the plant’s root zone. If you have a particularly large number of banana peels on hand at the moment, you can also let the shredded pieces dry in an airy place, for example on a grid, and save them for later use.
When doing this, however, do not store the banana peel in a closed container or bag, as it will quickly become moldy. Coarse pieces can also be mixed in with bark pieces or grass clippings in the spring as a rich mulch material.
Use banana peel for leaf care
But not only can an old banana peel still be useful as fertilizer, it is also still extremely profitable for houseplants with large leaves such as the window leaf. In fact, it is ideal for freeing the large leaves from dust and dirt, which, thanks to the dry heating air, particularly likes to settle on the plants.
Dirt particles adhere extremely well to the slightly moist and sticky inside of the banana, which is why it is so easy to clean the leaves of ornamental plants. In addition, the soft flesh of bananas is particularly gentle during the cleaning and gives the leaves their old shine back.
If you are now further interested in home remedies as fertilizer, you can find our article on coffee grounds as fertilizer here. Did you know that plant and care banana tree? You can read how this works in our special article.