Have you ever wondered how to lower food waste? There are many recipes online for soups from veggie scrapes, but today we brought you a great trick for repurposing your banana peels! Banana water for plants can be an easy and effective way to give your green pets low doses of nutrients throughout the year. It's natural and easy to make from ingredients you probably already have at home. Continue reading to learn more about making a homemade banana fertilizer.
What Is Banana Water?
Banana or banana peel water is liquid compost or 'compost tea' made from cut peels. It contains many components plants need to stay healthy and continue growing. Feeding banana water to your green pets is a great way to use up any excess fruit before they go rotten.
Is Banana Peel Water Good for Plants?
Using banana water for plants doesn't have many cons if you do it correctly. Banana peels contain essential nutrients for plant growth, like magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. The amount of nutrients infused into water is very unlikely to cause fertilizer overdose. However, be aware that it won't be a total replacement for fertilizer across the board.
Since banana water is a relatively new trend, there aren't many scientific studies on its benefits, though many gardeners swear by this trick.
Banana Peel Water Benefits for Plants
You can use banana water for your indoor and outdoor plants, so long as your green pets benefit from the nutrients in banana peels. A word of caution on using it for indoor plants – the sugar from the banana (especially if using fermented banana water) may attract insects or flies to your plant.
The list of benefits of using this fertilizer is much longer:
- Adds a small number of vital nutrients, such as magnesium and calcium, that are important in plant growth;
- Can be used more regularly than store-bought fertilizer since it is a lower dose of nutrients;
- The concentrate can be diluted with fresh water for more uses out of one batch.
How to Make DIY Banana Water Fertilizer for Plants
There are many recipes on how to make banana water for plants, but one thing stays consistent across all of them. You have to use organic bananas. Peels from conventionally farmed bananas have pesticides, many of which can harm your plants and soil if used for the 'compost tea.' With that disclaimer aside, here are different ways you can make your own banana peel water:
From Boiling Banana Peels
- Cut your leftover banana peels into small pieces, about a half inch to one inch (1.25-2.5 cm) in length.
- Place the banana peel in water for 2-3 days. It should be enough time for bananas to soften and extract nutrients.
- Once banana pieces are soft enough, boil them for 30-45 minutes to break down the stronger fibers.
- Strain the liquid and allow it to cool before using.
- Dilute the liquid with five parts of fresh water. Now you have ready-to-use banana peel water!
From Dried Banana Powder
You can grind dried banana peels into a powder and mix it with water. To make the powder, you can use banana peels, a dehydrator, an oven, or even a sunny spot in the yard, and a bit of time!
- Cut up your banana peels into small, half an inch to inch (1.25-2.5 cm) large chunks.
- Place the peels onto a sheet pan with parchment paper or on a dehydrator tray. Ensure none of the pieces are touching each other!
- Dehydrate the peels at 115˚F (46˚C) for up to 8 hours or until they are fully dry. You can also dry them in an oven at 200˚F (93˚C) or outside in a bright, sunny spot. You'll know they're ready when the peels have turned black and break when bent.
- Allow the pieces to cool before grinding them into a powder. For this step, you can use a high-power blender or food processor. The texture should be similar to ground coffee.
- Mix two tablespoons of dried banana powder with 16 ounces (470 ml) of water. This concentration should be enough for one medium-sized potted plant. Preserve the excess in an airtight container in the freezer.
From Soaked Banana Peels
- Cut banana peels into small pieces, and place them in a large bowl or jar. Cover the peels with water, aiming for a 1:2 water-to-peels ratio.
- Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 2-3 days.
- Strain the soaked banana peels from the water. Discard the used peels or use them in compost.
- Pour the water into a jar for convenience. You now have ready-to-use compost tea!
Fermented Banana Water
The fermented banana water recipe is very similar to regular banana water. The main difference is sugar, which starts the fermentation.
- Prepare equal parts of a cut, ripe banana, and dark brown sugar.
- Mix the ingredients and place them in a container that can be easily sealed.
- Leave the bananas for about two weeks. During this time, the fermentation process will take place, and bananas will get to a liquid or juice-like state.
- After two weeks, you will have concentrated fermented banana liquid. You can dilute the mixture with fresh water. For this, add about half an ounce (14 ml) of concentrate for every 33 ounces (1 liter) of liquid.
This type of fertilizer is at its best quality when it's fresh. We recommend this option if you have a lot of green pets to water at once.
How to Use Banana Water for Plants
Now that you've made your banana water, it's time to use it! While banana water works well for most plants, and some green pets absolutely love it!
For Tomato Plants:
- Make your batch of banana water using any preferred method listed above;
- Allow the water to cool sufficiently before diluting;
- Use diluted banana water once a week to help fertilize and hydrate your tomato plants. This water works well for tomato plants since they are susceptible to blossom-end rot caused by a calcium deficiency. Though regular use should help prevent the rot, we recommend also using a fertilizer tailored to tomatoes to ensure you get the desired flowering and fruiting.
Succulents don't like heavy fertilization, so banana water is a great safe option for providing needed nutrients.
- Prepare banana water by following one of the recipes above, and allow it to cool before using;
- Succulents enjoy bottom watering, so set a tray with an inch (2.5 cm) of water and place your plants in it;
- Allow succulents to absorb the water. Usually, it takes about 10-15 minutes.
Many plants have their own features to be considered when using alternative fertilizers. Feel free to branch out and research our other guides more suited to your specific plant's needs.
How Much Banana Peel Water to Add to Plants?
Dilute your DIY banana peel water with five parts of regular water. This concentration should be safe for green pets. Water your plants with this mixture just like you usually would.
The best option for storing banana water concentrate is to keep it in the fridge in a clean, closed container. We recommend using the concentrate in two to four weeks. However, if you notice any weird smell, get rid of the 'compost tea' and make a new batch.
How Often Can We Use Banana Water for Plants?
You can water your plants with banana peel water fertilizer once a week. Many plants require watering once a week, so you can use compost tea during each hydration session. However, if your plants need a drink more often in the summer, stick to only using banana water once a week.
What Plants like Banana Water?
Most plants will benefit from the nutrients in banana water fertilizer. This compost tea can be especially useful for heavy feeders. Here are some plants that appreciate the addition of banana water to their regular watering schedule:
- Tropical houseplants such as pothos, snake plants, monsteras, and philodendrons;
- Bell Peppers;
- Air plants;
Banana Water for Plant Myths
As any other new trend, banana peel water already has some myths surrounding its efficiency. Here are the most common misconceptions and the truth behind them:
- Banana Water is a good source of potassium for plants
While banana peels do contain loads of potassium, they would only get to your green pets if you use bananas in traditional compost. The potassium extracted into the water won't transfer to plants. For green pets to utilize the potassium, it first has to get broken down either by fungi or soil microbes, and none of these are present when you soak banana peels in water.
- Using Banana Water can eliminate the need for store-bought fertilizer
Technically, you can get away with using just banana water to fertilize your plants with low-fertilizer needs. However, potassium is a vital nutrient for your plant's overall growth and function, and banana water doesn't provide enough. You will still need to use store-bought fertilizer occasionally. If you have plants with specific nutritional needs, like vegetables, fruits, or ornamental flowering plants, banana water also won't be enough to get them thriving as they should. It is a great way to supply some nutrients between other fertilizer doses.
- Banana water promotes a healthy bacterial population within the soil
Banana water can aid in establishing a bacterial population in your plant's soil, though it may not be the bacteria you want. Overwatering or not diluting the fertilizer enough can have the opposite effect. The sugar in the water can potentially attract pests to your plants, which can quickly become an issue for indoor green pets. We recommend first testing banana peel water on outdoor plants to check whether it will attract many insects.
Can We Get Potassium from Soaking Banana Peels in Water?
Soaking banana peels in water will allow many nutrients to get extracted into the water. However, potassium is not readily available to plants through extraction alone, and most green pets require the potassium to be broken down by fungi or microbes to be able to utilize the nutrient.
Does Mixing Banana Peel into Soil Work?
When banana peels are mixed into the potting medium, they will eventually decompose, allowing for the nutrients in the peel to enrich the soil. This will ultimately act as a light dose of compost to help nourish your plants.
Do Banana Peels Help Plants Grow?
You can use banana peels in your compost or banana water fertilizer. It won't harm your plants if you dilute the mixture before pouring it onto the pot. In general, banana peels will improve your plants' growth and overall health.