The Last Thing You Should Do with a Banana Peel Before You Toss It

updated Jan 8, 2021
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Woman in denim holds a partially eaten/peeled banana.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

My plant collection has grown significantly, both since I had my last child (and knew I wouldn’t have any more) and since the pandemic started. Draw what conclusions you will from those facts, but I think it means that plants make me happy and that the act of caring for said plants makes me happy. And yes, as most plant parents know, those are two different, really great, things. 

In addition to frequently checking on my plants, feeling their soil, lifting them up to see how light or heavy their pots are to gauge how moist their soil is, watering them when they need it, and clipping off dying leaves, there are a few more special things I do for my plants every now and then. Sometimes I talk to my plants (mostly for my benefit and less for their enjoyment). Sometimes when it rains, I set them outside (as long as their pots have drainage holes!) for a little field trip to real world weather and a shower. Sometimes, I put a bunch of them at once into my actual shower for a cleaning and thorough watering. 

I also fertilize my plants when they’re in a growing season. I usually use a liquid all-purpose fertilizer in my watering can, and I’m stingy with it because I’m afraid of burning my plants’ leaves by over-fertilizing. Lastly, I periodically dust my plants’ leaves. They get just as dusty as any surface in the home, and they can’t “breathe” as well, nor do they look as good, when coated with a film of dust. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Dust Your Plant Leaves with a Banana Peel

I recently discovered that banana peels can address those two last needs and now I won’t toss one without using it to clean the leaves of my plants and to fertilize them naturally. Here’s how you can do it too.

After you’re done eating your banana, use the peel to dust your plants. Simply rub the inside of the peel on the top surface of your leaves. If it feels easier for you, and this might be the case especially for smaller leaves, fold the peel in half with the leaf in between and run it over the surface of the leaf. Or, you can even use a knife to cut off a section of the peel to use. Note: This tip is best for waxy plants like alocasia or monstera plants, for example.

When you’re done dusting, you can get even more out of the banana peels you would have otherwise tossed. Soak the peels in water for a few days and then use that water to water your plants. The liquid will be full of nutrients, specifically potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Potassium builds turgor and promotes vitality, phosphorus aids root and shoot growth, and calcium helps root development and stem growth. With these effects, your banana peel water will have your plants looking their best in no time. 

Got any other smart plant tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!