Banana peel fertilizer is a DIY-style garden hack that has seen a rise in popularity on social media.
The idea is that when you soak banana peels in water, the nutrients from the peels concentrate in the water, making a rich fertilizer tea.
But, does banana peel fertilizer actually work?
In short, the answer is yes. While banana fertilizer will provide some of the potassium (K) plants need for photosynthesis, it’s likely in very small amounts. It’s better to use an NPK-balanced fertilizer on your plants to ensure they get all the nutrients they need to grow, flower, and fruit.
Here are a few fertilizers to consider:
- All-Around Best (Veggies & Flowers) – Foxfarm’s Liquid Concentrate Fertilizer (6-4-4)
- Best for Veggies – Jobe’s Organics 9021 Fertilizer (2-7-4)
- Best for Flowers – Jobe’s Organics 9621 Fertilizer (3-5-4)
Now don’t get me wrong, putting banana peel tea on your garden isn’t going to hurt it.
And it’ll surely add some potassium (K).
But I just want you to understand it isn’t going to magically make your plants grow, flower, and produce fruit that will blow your mind — it’s not magic!
But if you have an excess of banana peels and you don’t have a compost pile to add them to, why not put them to use.
Below you will see some ways to make banana peel fertilizer just from your waste without any other special equipment.
All you will need is some banana peels, a little sunlight, a container of water, and some patience.
Continue reading this article to learn more about how banana peel fertilizer can benefit your plants, as well as some of the other ways you can use banana peels in your garden.
We will also expand on how banana peel fertilizer may not be so helpful, and what you can do instead.
Banana Peel Fertilizer (and How To Make It)
Banana peel fertilizer is just what it sounds like.
All you need are leftover banana peels, and you’re well on your way to a happier, healthier garden.
There are two main techniques for making banana peel fertilizer.
The first is a slow-release fertilizer, while the other is more of an immediate dose.
Slow Release Fertilizer
For the first process, you will be making a basic, dry fertilizer to infuse into your soil.
Since this is a slow-release fertilizer, make sure to mix it into the soil three to six months before planting anything.
Gather your banana peels and a metal tray to get started.
To make this type of banana peel fertilizer effective, you need to dry out the banana peels completely.
An easy way to do this is to spread the banana peels out on your metal tray and place them in sunlight.
The banana peels will get brown and crispy after about a day of drying out.
If the skin still seems flexible and you have run out of daylight, you can place them in the oven on the lowest setting until they are fully dry.
Make sure not to burn the banana peels — this can eradicate some of the helpful nutrients you are trying to imbue into your planting soil.
Once the banana peels are dry, you need to prepare them to be ground up.
You can do this by using a blender, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle.
Sometimes the stems are too fibrous to become crispy enough and will need to be removed.
Blend the dried banana peels into the finest powder you can get.
In addition to removing the stems that can’t get small enough, it helps to break up the pieces of skin beforehand.
Store the banana peel fertilizer powder in a jar that seals well and keeps the fertilizer out of direct sunlight.
Mix the powder into your soil three to six months before planting and watch your plants thrive on all the extra potassium.
Banana Peel Fertilizer Tea
The second process for making banana peel fertilizer is even more simple, but it takes a bit of time and patience.
This fertilizer is a kind of “tea,” so the first thing to do is gauge how many banana peels you want to use.
Depending on the number of banana peels you have for the fertilizer, choose a container that can be filled with water like a glass jar.
- Put all of the banana peels into the container. You can pull the peels apart or cut them up to fit them into the container better if you want.
- Fill the container with water. The water needs to cover the top of all of the banana peels. If any of the peels are left exposed to the air, they will become moldy, and the fertilizer will be less effective. You certainly don’t want to add mold to your garden.
- Let the banana peels sit in the water for about a week. You will notice that the water takes on a brownish color, which means that the nutrients in the peels are being leached out into the water. You also may notice the water level dropping.
- The banana peels are absorbing water, and some of the liquid is also evaporating into the air. Keep an eye on the water level and add more as needed to keep the tops of the banana peels covered.
- After about a week, you can remove the banana peels from your banana peel fertilizer tea. Use this fertilizer tea to water your plants every once in a while — you don’t need to overwhelm your garden with potassium.
This type of banana peel fertilizer isn’t as powerful as the powdered banana peel fertilizer, and neither of them will change your soil in an astronomical way.
If you need really high levels of potassium for your garden, look for a fortified fertilizer like this.
Banana Peel Fertilizer For Tomatoes
All plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, also known as NPK.
We will break down the specifics of this shortly, but first, let’s look at a specific example and one of the most popular garden plants: tomatoes!
Nitrogen is great for helping plants to grow big, green leaves.
Bananas don’t have any nitrogen (N) in their makeup, so their phosphorus and potassium go straight to the fruit and help it grow bigger and better.
Phosphorus (P) is essential for transporting water as well as converting nutrients into usable forms.
Potassium (K) transports sugars throughout the plant and also helps to produce sugars as well as proteins.
The best way to deliver this extra support to your tomatoes without waiting for your fertilizer to be ready is to “plant” one peel in each hole before putting the plant over it.
The banana peel will provide plenty of nutrients and enrich the tomatoes as it breaks down.
What Is The NPK Rating of Banana Peel Fertilizer?
Whenever you decide on fertilizer to use for your garden, it’s important to check the NPK rating.
NPK stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
These are the three key elements that plants need to grow big and strong.
The nitrogen helps to produce green leaves, the phosphorus supports roots and blooms, and the potassium is good for overall plant health.
Most good fertilizers will have an NPK rating right on their label (like this one does).
Different plant species have different needs, so make sure you check your plant’s diet before dousing it in fertilizer too high in one of these areas.
There can always be too much of a good thing, and it will cause lasting damage.
The breakdown for banana peel fertilizer’s NPK rating is 0.1-0.1-2.3.
For comparison, standard fertilizer is usually 1-1-1.
Bananas have virtually zero nitrogen, which means all of the nutrients will be going towards producing fruits and flowers and preserving overall health.
Other Ways To Use Banana Peels in Your Garden
Using banana peels to create banana peel fertilizer is just one way to use banana peels in your garden.
There are plenty of options for using up your leftover banana peels without just throwing them away and leaving them to decompose in a landfill.
A word of caution: if you bury your banana peel as we mentioned as a technique for tomatoes above, make sure you are aware of potential digging pests. The sugar in bananas, as well as the smell of decomposition, can attract animals that may cause damage to your garden.
The absolute best way to use up your banana peels is to compost them.
Composting is a great way to take care of your garden while reducing the amount of waste you generate.
It gives your plants a balanced diet of all the different organic matter breaking down instead of a straight shot of potassium into the soil.
The Verdict Is Out!
Ultimately, banana peel fertilizer is a fun do-it-yourself project that doesn’t require much effort and can give your plants a little boost of potassium.
But if you’re looking for a fertilizer that will really give your plants a balanced boost of nutrients, I’d recommend Foxfarm’s Liquid Concentrate Fertilizer (6-4-4).
If you do end up burying peels in your garden, beware that their sugary smell can attract unwanted pests and digging animals or bugs.
So while banana peel fertilizer is easy and useful, it is not the best way to use your leftover banana peels and fertilize your plants.
Throw those banana peels into the compost bin if you have time to wait for a great fertilizer.
Your plants will thank you with an enriched bounty of fruits and flowers!