Plants get the nutrients needed to grow and thrive from the soil. Some nutrients that plants need include potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. Plants can often get these nutrients from good potting soil, fertilizer, or compost mix, but sometimes they need an extra nutrient boost. You can give your houseplants an extra calcium boost with eggshells!
Keep reading to learn more about why plants like eggshells, the benefits of using eggshells, and how to prepare eggshells for plants.
Why Do Plants Like Egg Shells?
Eggshells are good for houseplants because they are made of 90% calcium carbonate, making them a great source of calcium. Just like in humans, calcium helps your plants grow healthy and strong.
Plants use the calcium to create new cells for plant growth and strengthen their cell walls to grow tall and strong.
Can Eggshells Act as a Fertilizer in Potted Plants?
You can keep your houseplants healthy and thriving by creating an eggshell fertilizer. Eggshells biodegrade in soil, releasing their nutrients over time, making them an excellent natural fertilizer. Homegrown veggies like tomato plants, peppers, cucumbers, and eggplants love the calcium boost from a high-calcium fertilizer like eggshells.
Eggshells are excellent sources of calcium for plants, plus they also provide some magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.
Eggshells can take several months to break down and provide many nutrients to the soil, so you should use eggshell fertilizer no more than once or twice per year. You can add any extra eggshells to your compost pile throughout the rest of the year if you have one.
How Do You Prepare Eggshells for Plants?
First, it is essential to thoroughly clean and sanitize your eggshells. Wash off both the inside and outside, removing any trace of dirt or egg white left on the shell. Then, let them dry for a day or two before adding them to your plant. Another way to sanitize and dry your eggshells before using, boil them on the stove and let them dry or bake them in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 20–30 minutes.
Since eggshells take a long time to biodegrade in soil, another popular method is to prepare an eggshell tea. To make eggshell tea, soak some crushed eggshells in boiling water overnight. In the morning, strain out the eggshells, be sure the tea has cooled to room temperature, and pour it over your plants when they are ready to be watered.
If you’d like to take your plant fertilizer tea to the next level, you can also add banana peels to the mixture and let them soak overnight with the eggshells. Soaking banana peels will add potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium to the tea.
Is It Good to Put Crushed Eggshells in Plants?
If your houseplants have a calcium deficiency or seem like they could use some fertilizer, crushed eggshells can be a great type of plant food. Crushed eggshells also benefit from aerating the soil and can help facilitate good drainage. You can add crushed eggshells on top of the soil, or if you are potting a new plant, you can add eggshells to the bottom of the pot.
Eggshells can take several months to biodegrade in the plant’s soil, and crushing the shells or turning them into a fine powder helps them break down more quickly. You can create an eggshell powder by placing the dry eggshells in a coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle. Be careful not to cut yourself on sharp edges while handling the ground eggshells.
Can You Use Eggshells as a Seed Starter?
If you have entire halves or larger pieces of eggshells leftover from cooking, you can use these shells as DIY seed starters for indoor plants, small veggie plants, and herb plants. This seed starter method works exceptionally well with succulents.
Again, start by sanitizing your eggshells by boiling them or baking them in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 20–30 minutes. Next, use a needle or toothpick to carefully poke some drainage holes in the bottom of the shell. Then, once the shells are clean and dry, gently add in some potting soil and your seeds or small succulent. You can store your eggshells in the original egg carton or a seed starting tray to keep them upright. Carefully water them as needed.
You can plant the entire eggshell in a pot when they’re ready since it will biodegrade over time. The eggshells will also provide added nutrients like calcium to the soil as it degrades. However, since it can take a while for the eggshell to biodegrade fully, this method is not ideal for large, fast-growing plants because the plant’s roots may become rootbound as it outgrows the shell.
Conclusion: Are Eggshells Good for Houseplants?
In summary, eggshells can be great for houseplants. Eggshells act as a natural fertilizer and provide an excellent nutrient boost that helps keep your plants thriving and putting out healthy growth. Eggshells can also be great DIY seed starters or succulent starters that look adorable too!
So, the next time you cook with eggs in the kitchen, consider saving your eggshells and giving them to your houseplants instead of throwing them away!