Banana peels are actually much too good for the organic waste garbage can. When properly prepared, they make an excellent fertilizer for roses and houseplants.
People eat an average of almost twelve kilograms of bananas a year, a four-person household produces over 400 banana peels every year, most of which end up in the trash can. Yet banana peels are well suited as organic fertilizer for a wide variety of garden plants, because the dried peel of a ripe banana contains about twelve percent minerals. The largest part of this is potassium at around ten percent, with the remainder distributed mainly between magnesium and calcium. In addition, the peels contain around two percent nitrogen and smaller amounts of sulfur.
Use banana peels as fertilizer: Tips
Use organic bananas for fertilizing
If you want to use the peels of your bananas as fertilizer, you should only buy organic bananas. In conventional banana farming, banana trees are treated weekly with fungicides, primarily as a preventative against the dreaded “Sigatoka Negra” – a fungal infection that destroys up to 50 percent of the crop in some growing areas. Depending on the size of the plantation, the fungicides are sometimes even sprayed over large areas by airplane. Treatments take place until shortly before harvest, as the banana peel is not eaten anyway, unlike apples or cherries, for example.
One problem with fungicide treatment is that the preparations also stays in the peel. It decomposes much more slowly than that of an organic banana. In addition, no one wants to bring “chemicals” from overseas into the home garden without necessity, especially since it is hardly transparent which preparations are used. Switching to organic bananas is also relatively inexpensive, because organically produced bananas are only slightly more expensive than conventional ones.
How to prepare the peels for fertilizing?
In order for the banana peels to decompose quickly in the soil, you should either cut them into small pieces with a knife or chop them with a food processor. The latter works best with fresh peels that have been coarsely chopped beforehand, as they often become very fibrous when dry. You can then let the banana peels dry in an airy place until you have the required amount, or use them directly as fertilizer. Do not store the peels in a closed container or foil pouch to prevent them from becoming moldy.
To fertilize, simply work the fresh or dried shell pieces flat into the soil around the roots of the plants. Flowering perennials and roses respond especially well to fertilization with banana peels. They are healthier, more eager to bloom and get through the winter better thanks to the high potassium content. Since the nitrogen content is very low, you can fertilize your plants with banana peels throughout the season. Overfertilization is hardly possible in this case – besides, you hardly have enough “banana fertilizer” to supply an entire rose bed anyway. Around 100 grams per plant is a good dose.
How to make liquid fertilizer from banana peel?
You can provide houseplants with a liquid fertilizer from banana peels. To do this, crush the peels as described in the previous section and boil about 100 grams with a liter of water. Then let the decoction steep overnight and strain the peel residues with a fine sieve the next day. You should then dilute the “banana water” 1:5 with water and water your houseplants with it.
What plants like banana fertilizer?
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.
- Carrots (Daucus carota ssp. Sativus)
- Celeriac (tuber) (Apium graveolens var. Rapaceum)
- Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus)
- Parsnips (Pastinaca sativa subsp. sativa)
- Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)
- Pumpkins (Cucurbita)
- Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)
- Zucchini (Cucurbita pepo var. giromontiina)
- Fuchsias (Fuchsia)
- Geraniums (Pelargonium)
- Roses (Rosa)
Leaf care with banana peel
The foliage of large-leaved houseplants should be freed from dust from time to time, especially in winter when the heating air is dry. This can also be done excellently with banana peels: simply rub the leaves with the inside of the peels, as the dust adheres very well to the slightly moist and somewhat sticky surface. In addition, the soft pulp gives the leaves a new shine and even protects the leaf surfaces from new dust deposits for a certain time.