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Are Banana Peels Good For Hydrangeas?

Bananas are a widely loved fruit, and their popularity has led to curiosity about using their skins, especially among gardeners who aim to nourish their plants effectively. Let’s explore this topic.

Banana peels can be beneficial for hydrangeas. They contain potassium and other nutrients that can support robust growth and enhance flowering.

However, it’s important to manage expectations as banana peels are more of a supplementary nutrient source. To ensure hydrangeas flourish, they still require regular fertilization with organic matter and mineral fertilizers.

How to use banana peel as a fertilizer properly?

To effectively use banana peel as fertilizer, follow these steps:

  • Drying the Peel: Place the banana peel in full sunlight. It should take one or two days to dry out completely. In colder or cloudier conditions, you can use an oven. Set it to the lowest temperature, as the goal is to dry, not bake, the peels. This process might take several hours based on your oven’s efficiency.
  • Grinding the Dried Peels: Once dried, the peels need to be ground into smaller pieces. This can be done using a blender or a mortar and pestle. Aim for pieces smaller than half an inch.
  • Application: Spread a uniform layer of the ground banana peel around your hydrangea. Use no more than 10 oz (approximately 280 grams) per bush. The peel can also be mixed with other types of mulch, like compost.
  • Benefits and Frequency: The dried banana skins will gradually release nutrients into the soil, acting as a slow-release fertilizer. They won’t rot or attract pests. You can apply this fertilizer to your hydrangeas two to three times per growing season.

Read also: Hydrangea Care Guide

What to Avoid When Using Banana Peels as Fertilizer

Do not bury fresh banana skins near hydrangeas. The benefits are minimal, and the potential harm is significant. Fresh plant debris decomposes, potentially fostering harmful bacteria, including those that cause root rot. This condition can be difficult to manage once it affects the plant.

Organic matter should be allowed to decompose before being added to the soil. Decomposition can reduce nitrogen levels in the soil, which may negatively impact plant health.

Refrain from soaking banana peels in water to create liquid fertilizer. Such fertilizers tend to be inefficient. Instead, use the peels as dry fertilizer or incorporate them into compost.

Creating Compost with Banana Peels

  1. Preparation of Peels: Begin by cutting banana peels into small pieces, ideally not exceeding half an inch. Smaller pieces decompose more quickly.
  2. Adding Green Mass: Incorporate green plant matter for nitrogen, which is essential for composting. Use cuttings from tree or shrub foliage, making sure it constitutes about one-third of the total compost volume.
  3. Additional Organic Matter: You can add varied organic materials to the compost, but avoid anything of animal origin (like meat, fish, or dairy products) to prevent attracting pests like mice or rats.
  4. Choosing a Composter: You can opt for a commercial composter, available in various models. While some are more efficient than others, they generally offer convenience. Alternatively, a homemade composter made from boards or similar materials works well. Another simple method is to dig a shallow pit and deposit the organic matter there.
  5. Air Circulation: Ensure all compost layers have sufficient air access to facilitate proper decomposition. Lack of air can lead to fermentation and the production of harmful substances.
  6. Moisture Management: Regularly monitor the compost’s moisture level. It should be slightly moist but not overly wet to promote optimal composting conditions.

Do banana peels affect soil pH?

Banana peels have minimal impact on soil acidity, and a significant quantity is required to make a notable difference. Hence, as previously mentioned, you should not apply more than ten ounces of dry skins per bush.

For achieving a beautiful blue color in hydrangeas, soil acidification is necessary. This allows the plants to absorb more aluminum, leading to the desired blue hue.

The most convenient and effective method for soil acidification is using aluminum sulfate. This approach provides plants with the necessary elements in a readily usable form. However, it’s important to note that this change is gradual and can take 1-2 years.

To turn hydrangeas pink, the soil needs to be more alkaline. Garden lime is an excellent solution for this. It’s available at garden centers. Simply follow the instructions to apply the lime to the hydrangeas, and in time, you will see them bloom into beautiful pink flowers.

Add Fertilizer

In addition to banana peels, hydrangeas require more comprehensive nutrition to achieve a lush bloom. It’s advisable to fertilize them at least annually. Use a combination of organic matter and mineral fertilizers for optimal results.

Compost is an excellent organic option, available for purchase or homemade. Spread it around the bush to not only fertilize but also mulch, ensuring the layer is no more than two inches thick to allow air to reach the soil.

For mineral fertilization, slow-release fertilizers are recommended. These are widely available and should be applied according to the instructions on their labels.