Due to the enormous popularity of bananas, many have the question of using their skins. This is widely popular among gardeners who always strive to provide their plants with all the nutrients. So let’s dive into that.
Banana peels are a good supplement for growing hydrangeas. Due to some content of potassium and other elements, this material will promote vigorous growth and flowering.
However, you should not expect too great results because banana peels can only serve as an auxiliary source of nutrients. You still have to fertilize the hydrangea with organic matter and mineral fertilizers for lush flowering.
Also important is the way you will make this type of fertilizer. Improper use can harm your plants.
How to use banana peel as a fertilizer properly?
The best way to use banana peel as fertilizer is to dry it and place it near a hydrangea.
There is a lot of information online about using wet banana peels as fertilizer. Still, I do not recommend doing this because it will rot and attract various insects. Also, wet skins have several other disadvantages, which we will discuss below.
To dry the banana peel you need to put it in full sun, and after one or two days, it will dry.
In cold and cloudy weather, you can use the oven. Set the minimum temperature because you do not need to bake the remnants of bananas. All you need to do is dry them to a crisp.
The drying process can take several hours, depending on the efficiency of your oven.
You can also go the other way and hang banana peels on a rope in a dry room (like drying clothes). This method is more straightforward and less expensive. But such a drying process can take quite a long time (from several days to several weeks).
Next, dry skins need to be a grind. You can use a blender or mortar and pestle. Chop everything well so that the pieces are smaller than half an inch.
Sprinkle an even layer of dry shredded banana peel around the hydrangea. This fertilizer should be no more than 10 oz (280 grams) for each bush. Also, you can mix it with other mulch (such as compost).
Dry skins will slowly release nutrients into the soil, which means that they will act as slow-release fertilizers. Also, they will not rot and will not attract pests.
This way, you can fertilize hydrangeas two to three times a season. More information about hydrangea care can be found here.
What should you not do?
The first thing you should not do is bury a fresh banana peel near a hydrangea. The benefits of this will not be much, and the harm can be significant.
Fresh plant debris will begin to decompose, and they will form colonies of various bacteria (including pathogens). This can lead to root rot of the plant, which is quite challenging to cure.
Before applying, the organic matter must decompose, and only then it can be added to the soil.
Besides, the process of decay reduces the amount of nitrogen in the soil, which can adversely affect plants.
Another disadvantage of burying plant remains near a plant is that you can damage the roots. As a result, the hydrangea may wither, or the plant may get sick through wounds.
The second thing you should not do is throw leftover bananas (and other food) around the bushes. Otherwise, they will rot on the surface and will attract various pests. And again, there will be bacteria that can infect your plants (crown and leaf rot).
You also need to know that banana skin contains a certain amount of saponins. Saponins are substances that can cause indigestion and vomiting. So if you have pets, they may be under the threat of poisoning if they taste it.
The third thing you should not do is soak a banana peel in water and make a liquid fertilizer. The efficiency of such fertilizer will be poor (if not zero). It is better to use this material as a dry fertilizer or to make compost.
Make compost from banana peels
Properly prepared compost will be more beneficial than if you leave the skins under the plant.
Cut the skins with scissors into small pieces; their size should not exceed half an inch. The smaller pieces, the faster you get the result.
You also need to add green mass to the compost, as composting processes require nitrogen. To do this, cut the green foliage from trees or shrubs. Its amount should be about a third of the total mass of compost.
In addition to skins and greens, you can add other organic matter. The compost mustn’t contain animal origin (meat, fish, dairy products, etc.).
Otherwise, various pests (mice, rats, etc.) will get into the compost, and you will not get quality material.
You can use a composter; there are a lot of different models on the market. Some of them are better, some are worse, but in general, it is quite convenient.
Many people prefer homemade composter, which can be made of boards or something like that. The easiest way is to dig a shallow hole and put all the organic matter in it. This also works well.
All layers of compost must have access to air during the composting process. In this case, you will get an adequately rotted compost.
If there is not enough air, fermentation processes will begin, and aggressive substances may be formed, which can further harm your hydrangeas.
Always check the humidity of the compost; it should be slightly moist but not wet.
At insufficient humidity, the raw material dries without decomposing. With an excess of water, the bacteria that are supposed to turn organic matter into fertilizer will die, and you also will not get well-rotted compost.
What about soil ph?
Banana peels have almost no effect on soil acidity. An exception may be a massive number of them, so I wrote above that you should give more than ten ounces of dry skins under each bush.
However, if you want your hydrangeas to have a beautiful blue color, you need to acidify the soil slightly. In this case, the plants will absorb more aluminum, and you will get the desired result.
Acidification of the soil can be done in different ways, but the most convenient and effective is to use aluminum sulfate.
In this case, the plants will receive the desired elements in the finished form. However, it should be remembered that this will not happen quickly; this process can take 1-2 years.
For hydrangeas to turn pink, you need to make the soil more alkaline. The best solution for this will be garden lime, and it can be purchased at the garden center.
Just follow the instructions and apply lime to the hydrangeas, and after a while, you will get gorgeous pink flowers.
Add compost and other fertilizers
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, banana peels will not provide everything your hydrangeas need. It would be best if you feed them at least once a year to get a lush bloom.
I recommend fertilizing with two types of top dressing. The first is organic matter; the second is mineral fertilizers.
Compost is perfect as an organic fertilizer. You can make it yourself or buy it in the garden center.
Spread the compost around the bush. In addition to fertilizing, it will act as mulch. The compost layer should not exceed two inches. A thicker layer will prevent air from accessing the earth’s surface.
Mineral fertilizer is also necessary for the successful cultivation of hydrangeas. I recommend using slow-release fertilizers. There are many useful products on sale, choose the best and apply as indicated on the label.